Attempt 12: Strangeness

 We’re sitting in the lecture hall together. Actually, I’m on his lap with my body facing him completely. I’m leaning in to give him a peck. His hands are massaging my back. Unexpectedly, I think he has unhooked my bra. 
“Kai . . . are you sure?” I ask him. He gives me a devilish grin and nods. “B-b-but what if someone comes in here?”

He stretches his neck out to kiss me. His lips are way softer than I had imagined. I think this is his way of reassuring me that everything will be all right. Then, I squeal once I sense his hand stroking my chest . . .

All I want is you. All I want is you.

Oh my god . . . I almost fall off my bed when I hear my alarm ringing. What am I thinking? What was that dream all about? Why was I even fantasizing that scene with Kai? I feel my cheeks fluster, and I hide under my blanket. Oh my god. I can’t believe I’m such a pervert. I can’t believe this. I haven’t even touched any part of . . . oh damn. I did touch some part of his body. Oh god. I keep shaking my head when I remember what I most likely touched.

I’m a pervert even in real life! This is horrible because I think I’ll see him today. It’s a Monday, and he always passes by when I’m going back home. I’m supposed to look at his whole face too this time, so I know if I only like his side profile or all of his face. Oh dear. I sound so shallow, but I honestly don’t want to be attracted to only one side of his face. I’d have to talk to him at a 45 degree angle at all times then.

I scramble to class, running my way there to wake my mind up. Actually, it’s ridiculous how the professor takes attendance for this class. It’s rather stupid, and what’s even sillier is that they have participation marks. I hate participating in class; people just end up being arrogant or being stupid. They say such shallow stuff, yet the professor soaks it up like a sponge. Luckily, we have started our business presentations, and our group is up today. 

Once we present, we make a few mistakes here and there. The projector doesn’t show our slide at first. Then, we have a couple of presenters that really shouldn’t have presented. I love how they stepped out of their comfort zone to help out, and well, I was lazy and decided to stick with just my part. However, after presenting and hearing a few others do their job, I realize that some people aren’t born to speak publically. Being a good speaker is actually not easy at all. I don’t mean to be cocky or anything, but I think I’m not bad. After rehearsing a few times, I barely stutter and I kind of have a script in my head. Plus, I think my voice is nice. At least my family says my singing voice is nice and has wondered why I never sang at karaoke. That’s another story though.

Now, after this ordeal, I realize that there are a few things you have to have or accomplish to be a good public speaker. You have to be confident. You can’t show that you’re nervous. It’s so easy to tell when people are nervous. There’s that strain in their throats or their hands are shaking. Sometimes, they stumble over words or stammer. Other times, their voices turn robotic. Another point is that you have to know your material well. What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t memorize your script, but you should be fluent enough that you can talk about it like you’re talking about your favourite TV show. 

There’s also the problem of how you stand. Some people cross their legs or sway back and forth. God, I hate the people that sway around. My mind goes dizzy. If you walk, you have to walk with skills. Walking and talking is extremely hard. Even I don’t attempt that. Then, there is the way you dress. Straighten your shirts and wear clothes that actually fit you. Some girls were wearing extremely short skirts. Oh my goodness, this is not a club! This is a business presentation! 

Plus, the words you use are important. I like speaking directly so you don’t confuse people. But, it all depends on what sort of presentation you are doing. In this business one, I definitely use clear, persuasive words. Ask rhetorical questions from time to time, and make sure that you transition well from one point to another. Finally, there is the voice. If you’re with a group, then don’t let anyone without a nice voice present. If you have an annoying voice and you keep talking, I’m obviously going to be bothered by your presentation. Trust me, I got a headache after hearing awful voices. For girls, high-pitched, squeaky ones are not cute like in those Japanese animes. They are fu.cking my mind in a bad way. Now, guys, gentle, higher-pitched ones are not favourable. Monotonous tones are to be avoided. I’m snoozing in that case, and don’t make a joke if you’re not the sort to be naturally funny. It’ll just sound forced, and I’m laughing because of the irony: You sound serious yet you actually mean to be light-hearted.

Now, it’s 3:15 pm. I know he’s bound to show up soon. He’s a bit slower today, but oh well . . . wait, I think I see a shadow, a very tall one. This shadow is moving very, very quickly. I’m willing to bet a nickel that this is Kai, and . . . damn it, it’s snowing rather hard. I’m choking on snow flakes, and this figure is coming towards me. As I’m coughing away, I look up and although he is around 20 steps away from me, he waves at me. Plus, he is taking out his ear buds. Seconds later, he’s in front of me, saying, “Hey!”


“Business presen—“

“Oh, yeah, I had my business presentation today,” I accidentally cut his question off.

“How was it?” he asks me.

We’re standing a bit weirdly. I’m a step away from him, while he is a step ahead of me. Still, his body is positioned towards me, and he is making eye contact with me. According to sites I’ve read online about body language, if his whole body is directed towards me, then he may have an interest in me. At least, it means that his full attention is to me. Now, I manage to get a glimpse of his whole visage. Sigh, I think in my head. I think I really like his side profile more. I mean this isn’t bad, but the side view is just splendidly perfect. 

I shrug my shoulders now, uttering, “Well, we kind of had a boo boo in the beginning, but you know, it turned out fine, and it was funny.”

“Yeah, it happens, but that’s good that it was funny,” he adds. 

There’s a bit of a pause between us, and he takes a step forward. Immediately, I ask him, “So, are you going to class tomorrow for geography?”

“Mhm . . .” I see him touch his lips while looking at the ground. “Well, there’s my business presentation and then we’re probably going out later.”

I think he’s lying to me. I don’t get why he’d decide to stare elsewhere and why he’d touch his face. Apparently when people are lying, they like to touch their noses or lips. Though, you have to put together a lot of clues to assess the situation. I’m still an amateur, but I just don’t . . . believe in him. Plus, I’m not sure what he said exactly. He mumbled a bit too much. Oh well, I think to myself. I’ll just give him the benefit of the doubt.

This time I know that I’ll be in a hurry to get to class because I have to meet with my English professor to talk about my essay. I’m writing about detective fiction because that’s what the course is on. Specifically, I’m focusing on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murder in Rue Morgue”. It’s a lovely piece that isn’t meant for everyone, but I adore his writing style. It’s so fluid and so sophisticated. I kind of wish I could write like him. He truly has talent. 

Now, I haven’t really narrowed down the topic yet. I want to look at the detective, but I’m not sure how. I have borrowed tons and tons of books on Poe. There are bits and pieces talked about this short story, yet I’m not sure where to concentrate. My mind is already bombarded by another research paper and a presentation. I also feel like I’m going to catch a cold. Everyone, almost everyone, around me is sick. They’re either coughing or sniffling or doing both. Please, dear God, do not let me be sick now.

And when I sit beside Kai, I realize that he’s sick . . . later on. Let’s backtrack a bit though. So, I texted Kai to ask him to save me a spot next time because I’ll most likely be late for class. He doesn’t respond. I give him a day to answer me, and he doesn’t. That’s just how I expected him to be. I actually think he wouldn’t come to class today, but he is there . . . around that odd area. I have no idea why he likes to sit there now. Whenever I’m there, which is rarely, I have to strain my neck to see the professor. Anyways, here’s how everything happens.

Biho catches me around the corner and greets me. I think he is expecting me to sit beside him, but I just say hi back and run off to Kai’s row. I know it is awkward, and trust me, I’m sure Biho is super confused. I’m pretty sure he said what the in his mind because really, an Asian girl going to a white guy? All right, all right, I know I’m not supposed to be racist, and I have no preference. Traditionally, though, Asians are expected to date Asians, perhaps not the same ethnicity exactly but that’s good enough. Now, Kai . . . he’s as European as he can be. There’s no faking that at all. I can’t even say he might be mixed. I don’t care what Biho thinks though. I can sit with other friends too right? 

So, I pass by this girl at the end of the row and go kind of to the center where he is. He looks paler than before and sterner. Still, he utters a croaky, “Hi.”

Then, he coughs. That’s exactly how I sense that he is ill. I pretend that maybe I heard wrong and ask, “How was your business presentation?”

He answers softly, “We had some technical difficulties, but it was okay.”

“Oh, what type?” He doesn’t really answer quickly, so I go on asking, “Like slides not showing up?”

“Just some issues like sound.”

I can kind of guess that he’s irritated; I decide to tell him what happened with ours. “Well, for ours, the projector wouldn’t show our slide at first, so one of our group members said, ‘What the hell!’” Kai looks straight ahead with a grim look. In fact, this whole time, I think he hasn’t made much eye contact with me. For some reason, I feel that this isn’t like him. I’m a bit disappointed to be honest. I honestly thought that he would laugh. He usually laughs at anything I say or do.

Out of the blue, he asks, “Did you go to class last time?”

I’m not prepared to answer this, so I scramble saying, “No. I was busy . . . wait no, I’m not really sure what I was doing. I think I was tired, so I just napped.” There goes that awkwardness once more. I try to be friendly again and inquire, “Do you have any midterms then?”

He replies, “Yes. I have one tomorrow.”

“Oh? Are you ready?”

“No, I’m going to start studying after this class,” he explains. “I just hope I feel better tomorrow.”

That’s when I realize that he has more than a cold. He is probably feeling pretty awful. I feel bad that he’s even here. He didn’t need to be here. Maybe I’m thinking too much, but I think he was here for me because I asked him to save me a spot. I know he didn’t text back, yet somehow, that’s how I feel. He does look like he’s very tired. With my guilt escalating, I blurt, “You didn’t have to come then!”

“No,” he corrects me, “it’s okay.”

I guess so . . . I guess it’s okay. Trying to make him feel better, I say, “Yesterday I was feeling pretty sick too, but I slept through and was better. What made it worse was that I was hearing business presentations and no offense, some people’s voices were horrible that I got a massive headache.”

Still, Kai is emotionless today. I shrug it off as class begins. During class, Kai keeps fidgeting, and the way he has positioned himself is odd. He’s not spreading his legs out like before. He’s kind of leaning to a side. All in all, he’s just weird today. At least when our elbows lightly touch against each other, he doesn’t move away. I seriously think he’s too ill.

At the end of class, Kai follows me to exit from the row because there’s only one girl sitting at that side. At first, I’m walking faster than him but he sort of catches up and ends up holding the door for me. Kai doesn’t run off in a hurry this time. He’s not walking that fast anymore. Perhaps, it’s because he is sick, but I like to think that he is accommodating with my speed.

There’s kind of a pause between us after I thank him for making sure the door doesn’t slam on me. Then, amazingly, Kai asks in a mumble, “So . . . are you heading back to the dorm?”

“No,” I utter, “I actually have to go to this urban geography event. If I don’t go, then I’ll lose five percent of my grade.”


“What about you?” I wonder. “Are you heading back?”

He shakes his head, murmuring, “No. I’m going to do some grocery shopping first.”

“Wow . . . you cook?” 

Every time I hear a guy cook, I can’t help but be amazed. Why? All my other guy friends don’t cook, except for Biho. Biho can cook all these crazy Asian dishes because his dad taught him. Other than him, there isn’t any guy that I know that cooks. 

In a shocked tone, Kai defends, “Yeah . . .”

I go on adding, “It’s just that my guy friends don’t. They buy meals on campus instead. There’s this discount plan or something.”

“Oh, I see.”

There’s that weird pause again. I want to break it, so this time, I ask, “So what do you cook?”

“Mhm . . . not much.”

“Like pasta?” 

“Yeah, that’s easy.”

As soon as he responds to me, we have reached the top of the stairs. He looks side to side while I do the same. Then, he crosses first and I sort of tag along by jogging slightly. Once he notices the gap between us, he looks back at me. Because I don’t want us to have these silences, I go forth inquiring, “Are you going to shop at around DaeDong Mall?”

Immediately, he refutes with much surprise, “Oh no! It’s just at the school.”

Our school has a small grocery store that carries goods here and there. It makes life much easier on campus. Now, I hear him cough again, and so I comment, “Oh that’s good. That’d be really far, and being sick sucks. I don’t know about you but whenever I’m sick, all I want to do is just sleep.”

“Oh, it’s okay,” he reassures. Again, we have that weirdness between us. As we’re about to turn the corner, he poses, “So, what is the bio geo you’re doing?”

Huh? I think . . . what? Since when did I talk about bio geo? Being a super bad liar, I spill out, “Huh? Bio geo?” I have a bit of a pause, and then I firmly answer, “No. I’m not doing bio geo.”

I don’t know if he’s embarrassed or not, but he instantly stammers, “O-oh, I must have heard wrong then. Sorry.”

“It’s oka—“

“Hey!” a guy and a girl greet him.

One look at the girl, and I know who she is. She’s that weird girl with bad teeth! She’s with a guy friend. I guess they all hang out in the same circle. I’m so confused because when our eyes meet, she glances at him and bursts out laughing. The way she laughs is like she is making fun of him. I don’t know why. Is it embarrassing walking with me?

Then, the guy asks, “So, are you coming with us for dinner?”

Kai doesn’t really answer, and just shrugs his shoulders. We take a few steps forward, and suddenly, Kai tells me, “Hey . . .”

I actually don’t hear his mumblings. Still, I wave back at him, saying, “Okay! Bye!”

I think he said that he doesn’t have to cook now? I don’t know. He has already run off to them. I don’t know why he decides to do that. Moreover, I’m more confused about that girl. Why . . . was she reacting that way? This is far too puzzling for my mind. Really, what does she want?