I was admiring him looking at me, staring so piercingly as his placid breaths warmed the air between us. His big hazel eyes lit his entire face, his soft lips parted ways to reveal perfectly white teeth. That smile fluttered my belly and I immediately felt a gush rushing through me, brightening my countenance which spurred an involuntary reciprocity. His soft palms were caressing my hands in rhythmic motion, drumming up emotions in me I wasn’t sure I wanted to feel. If he had intentions of gingering me up for a big finale in a few minutes, then he was well on his way to it if I didn’t jolt myself back to my senses soon.
I pulled my hand from under his and stood up briskly. I didn’t want him seeing how flushed he had made me or notice how quickly my heartbeat was rising as I sauntered slowly over to the couch.
‘Did I do something wrong?” he uttered in a confused tone.
“No…No, you didn’t do anything. I …” I what? I needed to choose my next words carefully so I didn’t hurt him any further than he already seemed to be.
Tyler was my course mate who happened to be in the same group project with me during my freshman year at the university. He told me after one of our group meets that he liked how smart I was and would like to study together.Whether intentionally or unintentionally, we started spending too much time together, we would either be at a group session or in some corner studying.
Somehow, it must have gotten lost on him that we were just course mates because he would offer to walk with me to school and always happened to have lunch right were I did, and so we would end up eating together.
He could have been a good 5’7” and then some.He didn’t work out but he had the body of a soccer athlete and perfect brown skin. His finely chiseled features and hazel eyes completed and established him as a reputable hunk. His self-confidence was alluring and often spoke for him even before he could open his mouth. In spite of himself, he was always soft spoken, kind and warm with everyone around him.
I wondered how we even got to this point. What did he really like about me? All I had going was being one of the smart ones. I mean I was beautiful, but I wasn’t your typical drop-dead-gorgeous-kind-of girl and many of them openly lusted after him. Why didn’t he go for…
“You what? …Stacy?” His alarmed voice jarred me out of la-la land.
“I… I like you very much Tyler..”
“But I am not sure that I am ready for a relationship yet. I would very much like to remain friends though”
He slumped forward, dropping his head in his hands as he did.
I could feel him hurting from where I sat and I hated that I was the source of his pain. I could only imagine how disappointed he must have been hearing me say those words especially since it took him an entire semester to let me know he had feelings for me. We had become really close friends before the dinner with a mission to woo me.
He respected my decision and agreed to remain friends. He was cordial too the entire time he walked me back to my hostel, cradling my hand with his. I did feel special and I enjoyed every moment of that dinner I spent with him. He was a really sweet guy and it took me these many years later to realize how fragile he was; which could be the reason why he ignored me the next day when he saw me on campus. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to be friends anymore, but I see it now. How could he? How could anyone remain friends with someone they were strongly attracted to and yet know they couldn’t have them.
I never really had any concrete reasons for not dating him those years ago; maybe it was my own insecurity of not feeling pretty enough or maybe I truly wasn’t ready albeit that I was nineteen. Now I would never really know what could have been with Tyler.