we sat there, in the cafe, watching the rain fall horizontally outside. people react very much in the same way as ants when the rain becomes imminent. however, unlike our ant-friends, we don't react until there is a genuine threat of our carefully-styled-to-look-like-i-just-got-up hair-do getting that horrible wet stuff on it: water.
i don't even know why we were having the conversation. I'm fairly sure i made a comment about his hair - the new cut was giving me serious flashbacks whenever i looked at him. he looked almost the same as when i first remembered.
i have two memories, no, three, of the 'first meeting' partly because they were all at least different times of the year. the first, was walking into homeroom and realising that we had three new additions to our class that were not there at the end of the term before. all three, sitting in the back row, one noticeably tall for the ethnicity, or so i thought, as well as noticeably good looking, and god knows other girls noticed. maybe not many, but i heard some rather amusing whispers from the girls in the year below. the other, as he does now, does little to grasp my attention, partly because we have 0/5 classes together, partly because i have never, not once, heard him speak English. the third, was sitting between them, and all three were talking, in a language i didn't understand, amongst themselves, paying little attention to what was going on around them in terms of notes or bulletins. eyes glanced over the class, though. that i do remember.
so there they sat, for most mornings, in the ow behind me, where i didn't have to notice them, and where they wouldn't have to notice me.
the second, is an aural memory. aural because i was too busy reading my handout of the tutorial he was presenting. he seemed nervous. fair call. we had a big class. mine went for 20 mins by accident cause i kept getting interrupted. he was talking about his hometown. it was hard to hear, but i remember reading his notes along with him, trying to comprehend the sheer number of people.
but then, its a little hard for a person from a country as small in population as Australia to comprehend the 1.1 or so billion people in china. too many zeroes.
he said the name. it was near hong kong.
by now i knew his name. and the nervousness was cute, but not crush inspiring.
year 11 hit, and we had art. and this is where the first really happened. its all well and good to flash the brightest smile possible and a cheery 'hello' at the lockers, but talking bonding are very very different.
i don't think ill ever really forget Jess' menagerie. her paper zoo. the art teacher grabbed a big piece of cartridge paper, screwed it up, then put it in the middle of the table that her, two if the three new additions and myself sat, and said 'draw this'. so we did. we found about 10 animals in her drawing, from the shading and shapes. it is from this that i firmly believe that laughing is one of the strongest forms of bonding. that was the beginning. after that, the painting came along, and i just went 'wow'. complements are a good bonding thing too. but not as good as laughing.
i don't know what it was, but something began to make me think 'yes, this is him. i want this one. how do i get him?'. i know it sounds like a rather clinical, divide-and-conquer way to think about it, but truly, that's how i did. i guess... i wasn't worrying about the things i used to, the happy personality and the smiles back were enough to give me the go ahead to see what i could do. coming back from japan I'd learnt a few things - there were enough boys staring (only cause we were foreign strangers) to boost my confidence and let me get the smile and eye-thing as it's been called, just right.
I'm the paranoid worrier, the drama queen. he's got the worlds best poker face sometimes, and exudes calm, the effects felt just by being in the same room as him.
calm, and focus.
I'm hyperactive and loud and distracted.
total opposites... almost.
it worked, i think, whatever 'it' was. whether it was honesty or the smile or something else entirely, because we'll have been together for three months next week, and I'm frankly amazed that this actually exists, which i told him shyly as we finished up the last of our respective coffees and made our move for the door once the downpour had stopped long enough to get to the bus stop without needing a snorkel and flippers to safely navigate the rain.