I felt the connection the first our eyes met. It was just for a second or two, I’m not sure. It’s not every day that I feel such kind of force to get close to somebody, so I was certain that it’s something. However, I didn’t get to know him because he belonged to a different batch of trainees. Days passed. I was surprised that I have actually forgotten about him until the night our classes were combined for a series of training discussions.
There were just a few vacant seats inside their training room, so I wasted no time to get myself one. All around me were unfamiliar faces. I tried to look around for someone I knew when I saw him seating just right behind me, busy with his computer. I immediately swiveled my armchair to the direction of my own computer and turned away before he could even look at me. I tried to pretend to be busy tinkering with the PC and couldn’t stop myself from smiling.
I tried to remember how he looked that moment I saw him. He was wearing a purple shirt, and through the gap under the table I could see that he’s wearing a pair of snickers with some cute floral design, which I found really girly. This was actually what made me more attracted to him. I know that he’s into men as well, but there’s something in him that gives him a certain air of machismo without even trying.
Our teams would be separated again after two days, and I knew that I had only a little time to introduce myself to him. I knew that he also goes to work 2 hours in advance and usually kills time at the smoking area, so I decided to wait for him the next day. I was sitting on one of the benches, smoking a Marlboro Lights to pass time. I saw him coming but he stopped at the mini store for a stick of cigarette. He lit it up, inhaled and exhaled the first smoke, and walked toward me. But instead of sitting beside me, he chose to sit on the bench in front. It was really awkward. I didn’t know what to do or what to say to strike up a conversation. We just stayed that way, both of us staring at different directions, if not staring at the ground, to avoid each other’s gazes.
After almost a quarter of an hour of ignoring each other, his team mates started to arrive one by one, joining us in the place. Some sat with me; some sat with him. I was able to join their conversation by throwing in some questions and remarks about our training. When someone sitting beside him left to do something, I took the courage to sit beside him, so that I could start a small talk. He said that his name is Rue. I introduced myself as Jerro, although he must’ve already known me because I was one of the loudest participants during our training discussions. We talked for a while, and that’s how I knew that he’s from Bulacan, that he’s also a frustrated journalist, and that he resides in the same city I am in.
What followed was a series of getting-to-know-each-other episodes. I made sure to have some progress with each night that passed, like getting his Facebook account and his cellphone number. But even with the occasional chats we’ve been having, I could sense that he’s still not comfortable with me, because I was always the first one to do the first move, while he was just merely returning the favor.
Eventually, I grew tired. I started to keep the distance, so as to avoid any kind of encounter. I could also sense that he felt my sudden disinterest because he would no longer try to greet me whenever we see each other at work. I got used to it, though. He was just a passing fancy, I thought. But a simple act kindness from him from changed me.