The Seat Next to His, Romance in the Schooling Years

Translated…

In my college years, I’d often passed the time in the libraries, especially during my free periods, I’d squatted in the libraries, passing my time. And, right before midterms of my freshman year, I’d, met him.

The Man Who Showed Up Right Before Mid-Terms

I’d always believed, that the library is a separate world, that every time I’d visited, the lighting, the temperature are forever the same, like time just, stopped moving forward here, save for the week before our major exams. By that time, the library would get so crowded and I’d needed to, remove my backpack on the other chair, so someone else can sit down.

And that, was how he’d, appeared before me, he’d first asked, if this seat was taken, after I’d shaken my head, he’d, quietly, pulled up the chair, then, sat down in it. I’d noticed that he had a ton of books, with that sense of drive about him, and, as I was wandering, how long he’s staying here to study, he’d asked me, “Are those handouts from Professor Hsu’s class?”

picture from the papers…

圖/奚佩璐

I thought he’d spoken very loudly, but, nobody around us lifted her/his head to look; perhaps, it was, my hallucinations, otherwise, why would I still remember his first words to me after all this time? I’d nodded, and he’d told me, he was also in the Chinese Department, a second-year older schoolmate. At this time, I’d taken a closer look at his face, and smelled some sort of an aromatic scent coming from his body, that’s almost, blocked out the smell of those aromatic old volumes of books in the libraries.

He’d started talking about how Professor Hsu would go about, writing out the exams, and before he’d noted my needs, he’d flipped to the next page of the study guide, and checked the items that I needed to pay more attention to. And, for the time being, I’d not known how I was supposed to respond, and, in the silence, he’d mentioned how he will be bringing his notes from his previous years to me to look over.

I can’t understand why he was so passionate about wanting to help me, is it because how we were seated? Or, is he like me, inept in socializing with others, would rather hide out in the libraries, and enjoying some quiet moments to myself? But, I was, drawn to him, and, we’d started, this flirtatious behavior, in this totally, unromantic place.

footage from online…

That day, I’d left first, and, out of courtesy, I’d said goodbye to him. As I’d walked out of the library, the sun was still high, but, I’d felt, that he’d, vanished out of my mind quickly, and I’d treated his kindness toward me as being a kind schoolmate, until the next day, I saw him again. He was, right there, in my preferred corner, handed me the study guides.

At that time, he’d asked my name, I’d not asked him his, but, I saw the signature on his handout packets. I’d, stared at it for a long time.

A Bookmark with a Lot of Love to It

We were, from different years, we’d had unalike electives, but, it seemed, that we would, bump into one another at the various spots on campus. Since our short connection ended in the libraries, our topics of discussion, with the mid-terms over, changed to movies, music, and we’d gone out every once in a while for meal. He kept acting like a warm big boy, but, the moment I’d stepped out of the libraries, I’d started blushing. Thankfully, for the library with the air-conditioning on full-blast, that way, he wouldn’t have discovered my acting abnormally.

And still, the feelings, fermented without my knowing it, it’d driven me, to profess my love for him. I’d bought a bookmark with words of love, clipped it into the book I’d returned back to him, hoped that he’d noticed it.

The very next time we’d bumped into one another in the libraries, I saw there was someone else, sitting next to him. At the place where I used to sit, and, that slender figure had, whispered into his ears from time to time.

That was a hint, I suppose, but I’d kept, hoping it was only, a coincidence. As I walked by him, I saw how he had that bookmark I’d given him in the book he was reading, as I was feeling glad over that, he’d, introduced his girlfriend, the one sitting next to him, to me.

Perhaps, this, was a punishment that the library had, given to me, making me realize, that nobody can squat on a single seat.

But, my thin bookmark had, made a vacant small space in his books, planned, to live on persistently and silently, in his life too. Besides, he’d also, taken up a spot inside my heart, that’s mixed with the sweetness, and the sourness too………

not my picture…

And, thinking on it, it’s like, we’re, even now, and everything became nothing, in this quiet corner of the library once more.

So, this, is not really love, it’s, not even, a crush, it’s only, getting along well, and thinking that there’s love that existed when there really wasn’t, and, this woman didn’t get her heart shattered to badly, because she didn’t expect anything out of the interactions she’d shared with this older male from the same department.

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