Before I reveal my story I have to give you a hint about the definition of ‘Late Bloomer’. It is best defined as a person whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual. So how this description relates my story? Here goes..
I had never been in loved, I was definitely a late bloomer until my second year of high school and I remember every encounter I had. But something unusual happened inevitably in the middle of my so-called ordinary life. One day, I came home to my dorm after a ride, and found a group of family looking a bit confused, bringing along lots of luggages. New kids on the block, I assume. I swiftly picked up their luggages and guided them to their daughter’s new home and showed them the way. Not paying attention along the way, nor bothering to introduce myself.
I learned the girl name –Susan. I had never fallen in love and had never had plans to fall with her especially. We casually talked but no sparks nor feelings ever aroused. I was and had always been isolated, not popular at school and not very social. It was then a school break, offering us to travel around the country where I got to choose a route.
Off we went on the trip, we took combination between bus and train and I was always on the back sitting alone and listening to my MD (Sony Mini Disk, and yes they were cool as Walkman).
Somewhere along the trip, Susan started to feel unwell and was really sick. So on a bus trip, I jumped down and ran to get coconut water (because she told her friend, she would feel better if she drinks that and I overheard that) and somehow… along the rain I managed to find... coconut water. My teacher was furious that I left without permission.
I came back to the bus wet, handed her the coconut and proceeded to the back and join my friend solitaliry.
I cannot remember how, but we started to talk and got closer and closer. Before I knew it, school trip was almost over and we were about to board our train back to the city. It was maybe 5 hours night train but it felt longer.
At this point, I was not able to describe what I had in my chest, it was flowery, it was heart thumping, was I unwell or was I getting an anxiety attack? The uneasy feeling ran down to my stomach. I wasn’t able to explain what it was.
We continued to talk in the train, just the two us despite being no doors, I have forgotten and felt it was just us. I decided to peer us from the group and asked if she wanted to take a walk in the train with me. She agreed.
We walked all the way back to the train and I was sweating, again the bag of mixed feelings came in.
I finally realized what it was. It was romantic feeling. And I need to say something though those words would not escape me at all and in that point of panic I remembered a movie that I believe we just watched together. So I replicated those words and told her everything I felt.
She was in silence.
I wish there was a manual on what to do. But no, I had to fly solo and waiting silently for minutes or...hours?
She finally broke silent, “After this, we are going back together, okay?”.
I thought, “Oh she doesn’t feel the same way”.
She leaned in and whisper to my ear, “Me, too”.
She started walking back, “Coming?”
I followed, with a lot more questions in my head not knowing what it was.
We joined our friends, sat together and continued talking along the way on the train for hours with maybe four or five of us (the setting is lower bunk bed, so our seat was flat with no pillows or cushions). Silently, and nervously – my hand was slowly moving on the back reaching out for hers. She felt it and reached out for my hand first, the night went longer for me with a slow tap to the heart beat dancing to a tune I have never known before.
Coming back, unexpectedly a storm was waiting for me. My ex roommate was furious to learned that I have went out with Susan and that we were in a relationship. We had good time, though I being a newbie in love was not able to handle or knew what I was doing. But the only one thing I knew what to do was to care, show affection and continue to care as I know how.
One night, I could not remember but I knew it was closer to winter. My ex-roommate asked to see her in private and I was in the room at the time, I agreed to give them privacy and left the room waiting outside, not knowing the conversation or what happened that night to this day.
Needless to say, everything was over. With no words to explain it, Everything that she said to me, all short memory lane was gone in a tick. All I wanted was to leave the city and go home. But I had nowhere to turn to.
After a heartbreak weekend, came Monday morning. I was going to attend a class and “they” happened to be walking back to the dorm – hand in hand. I walked past them, without any greetings just like as you pass anyone at the airport – being strangers.
So what are you going to do, with a heartbreak and sleepless nights? I learned to seal myself again, cut my ties in solitary. Found a good workout space for me and beat the energy out of me for two years straight or more.
In search, I have never found a feeling like that on my journey. Susan roommate once told me, years after she loved and cared for me that she wasn’t able to explain why she did what she did.
Years after the breakup, I have recovered and was back on track. Until one day an exchange student came in, she was American but born in Japan - Celine and I was very much fascinated in Japanese culture (manga and anime stuff). So I took every opportunity to learn Japanese with her, needless to say we spent a lot of time together.
Until one day, she said her ICQ (an instant messaging software) wasn’t working (yes ICQ era). So I went over to setup, which I did not know it was an “invitation” to spend more time together. Once I was done, we shared joke, we talked and we laughed. Until our face was way too close, growing up watching some black and white movies, I thought the polite thing to do is ask whether I could kiss her, instead of just did it. Though thinking about it years later, all the signs were there like bright as a light. Sorry, I had not found any manual at this time and Google wasn’t a thing yet and internet was still limited that made a lot of noise.
So we did, and there was the start of my second relationship. All was well and it was an easy going one, where everything fits.
Until……….. my ex roommate, whom was at this time was still with Susan was eyeing on my girlfriend AGAIN! He started his approach and try to steal time away from me, meanwhile I was in protective mode but then it hit me again. One day she asked to talk to me and said the relationship wasn’t working and she felt it’s better if we were back becoming friends, I guessed at least we broke up in a nice way and I was okay. Surprisingly I was okay, no pain, no hurt nor shock, no tears, no drama. I went back to my life, until I heard the rumor that my ex roommate decided to dump Susan for her.
That made me really angry, I didn’t do anything though.
Time passed by and I started to notice Susan started to walk to school alone and would spend time at park. So I would just trail behind her, making sure she was ok. We would often just take a walk, not talking much and just walking.
As the years drew end, everyone started to leave school and went on their own university. Susan and Celine were the first to move away from the city. I guess as time pass by, we all healed in our own way, I never got back with Susan however.
Susan is married now, with a newborn and while Celine just got married.
Looking back, I prefer love story from that era. It was profoundly simple and satisfying. We has no disturbance. We were simple. We would have real conversations more than just on the screens.
To relate what I meant about Late Bloomer, you should know that my ex roommate and I were best friends, we were roommate and had a lot of fun together and I always looked up to him as a smart guy. It was the time when you were young and trying to see if you can find girlfriend, because everyone seems to have one. So I was looking one for my own, but at this point I really have no idea, clueless and all.
I actually did meet a girl in our school long before Susan’s case and started talking, as usual I would share this with my ex roommate. But one day he was just suddenly angry at me and said that was his girl or rather he was pursuing at the time. Anyway, I had no feelings whatsoever for the girl in anyway, so I said I didn’t want to cause issue and will back off, I stopped talking to the girl and of course they became couple.
Which prompt me, he actually dumped this girl to be with Susan.
To wrap up, it makes me a late bloomer as I think my ex roommate did not think I had that quality to be with some interesting girls but when he realized it and as my capabilities arrived later than others, he just could not accept it and wanted the girl I was seeing. This is just my speculation though. Perhaps..
Illustration by @sabinaka