Warning: This is soppy. It involves mild kissing and horrific amounts of smiling. It also involves a bit of swearing. You’ll wish there was a lot more swearing by the end of this…
You were one of the loudest people in the class. You took part in every discussion. You talked to people like you’d known them for years. You were the sort of person that intimidated me, the type that I wished I could have been.
I barely spoke to anyone at uni in those three months. I didn’t stay behind, or go for coffee, or attend the events we were all supposed to attend. I was shy, socially anxious, terrified, and I probably came off as rude. That’s why I was surprised when your name popped up on Facebook.
You asked me about open mic night. The conversation wasn’t long or “special” it was just the sort of thing you’d have with a mate. I thought nothing of it. Why would I? At least half of it was just us joking about performing offensive pieces at open mic.
The next conversation was similar. I asked you if you’d got the work for this week. You also called me “sweetheart”, so I complained to my friends about ‘this guy from uni thinking he can call me “sweetheart”’. They started calling me “sweetheart” for a bit after that.
A month went by. I still didn’t speak to anyone on our course. I’d go in, do the two hours and go home, wishing I’d taken an Open University course instead, so I wouldn’t have to feel like the weird one again. When anyone asked me a question I’d blush and struggle for an answer. I’d wish I could fall through the floor, so I wouldn’t have to feel so anxious.
I’d go home angry. Angry at myself for not embracing the fresh start like I said I was going to. Angry with everyone else for being able to have normal conversations so easily, to be able to be part of the group so easily. I never felt like part of the group. I felt like an outsider the whole time and I just wished I hadn’t bothered with university at all.
You didn’t notice any of that. You didn’t think I was being rude by not talking to people. You didn’t think I was up myself. You just thought I was quiet.
The next Facebook message was similar. You asked me about Pokemon X and Y. I replied. The conversation was over for a few days, you never wrote back. I was a bit worried that you didn’t like my opinion on the game, that I’d said something wrong. But I convinced myself to not be bothered. After all, you definitely didn’t want anything other than a chat, and I could get through the next five months at uni without having anyone to talk to. From no friends to no friends, why would that matter?
But it did matter.
Two days later you replied. I replied. You replied. For some reason, you wanted to talk to me. You were replying instantly. I didn’t understand why you were so eager to chat to me, when you were so great at talking to everyone. What reason did you have to even speak to someone socially awkward when you could have a nice, easy conversation with someone else?
That’s when it happened. You sent a message. A message complimenting me. Saying I was “pretty”.
If you could have seen me at that moment, you would have seen my mouth drop open. Were you flirting? Was that was this was? No, it couldn’t be. You were winding me up.
I avoided your comment. I kept talking to you like you hadn’t said it. I didn’t want to embarrass myself. Every time you complimented me I guided the conversation around it. I’d change the subject, make a joke, reply with a not-committal “lol”. I didn’t say anything serious back. But I was flirting. I’ll admit that now.
We spent the whole evening talking on Facebook. I stayed up until 2am. We did the same thing the next night and the next and the next. I was so tired, but I stayed up because I never wanted the conversations to end. You were so perfect and lovely and I wanted you so much.
Before the next lecture, you asked me to meet you for drinks in the student union. I didn’t want to, because we’d never really spoken in person. I was scared that I’d become my usual anxious self and ruin everything. I was scared that all the late-night conversations would disappear, and I’d go back to being the lonely weird one again. You told me not to be silly. You offered to buy me a drink. I couldn’t say no to that.
The union was definitely awkward. I couldn’t talk in person like I could online, and I was struggling to respond to what you said. I remember trying to say something funny, but it wouldn’t come out properly and you were just left with a bunch of shaky sounds. Hardly girlfriend material.
On the way to the lecture, you held every door open for me. I laughed and I joked with you on that walk, but I felt like I’d ruined everything. Why couldn’t I just have a conversation like a normal person? Why couldn’t I form coherent sentences? I told you all of this online, and you reassured me, saying next time would be okay. You wanted a next time. I couldn’t stop smiling again.
You asked me on real date. You booked us a taxi, and bought me food and told me I looked beautiful. The conversation was still awkward though, and I kept looking away to blush and laugh. I was worried that this wouldn’t go any further, that the awkwardness would take over and you’d just give up. But you just laughed along with me.
We went to the pub after food. I still hadn’t managed to relax yet, and was still having to turn away occasionally to smile and get a hold of myself. I didn’t want to annoy you, but I was really, really anxious. This was probably the worst date you’d ever been on.
You asked me for a hug. I went into your arms. I was shaking. I never knew you could fuck up a hug until that moment. You just pulled me closer; stroking my back, holding me tight.
I looked up at you, you looked down at me. I leaned in to kiss you. You reciprocated. The nerves evaporated in that moment, and suddenly it was just me and you in a dark pub, with no more awkwardness, no more anxiety. Just a hell of a lot of happiness.
Now, we live together. We cook food together, play PS4 games together, spend way too much money on Pokemon cards together. There is definitely no awkwardness anymore. I can say anything, tell you anything, and even do bad Sean Paul impressions in front of you. It doesn’t matter that I’m the shy one and you’re the confident one. All that matters is we have each other.