You can do this, I tell myself. Just like you’ve practiced. You’re ready.
It doesn’t take me long to find her, so I stroll up to the table she’s sitting at. Being all nonchalant and cool about it, I call out to her.
“Yes?” She looks up at me with those deep, blue eyes, and I forget how to breathe.
I’m not sure how long I stand there before she speaks up again. “Cecilie? Did you want something?”
I think I let out a squeak, I’m not entirely sure. Act cool!
“Um, h-hi, how a- how- w-what… are…” She gives me a quizzical look. Retreat, retreat! “I’m s-sorry, I-I have t-to… go. Now.”
I barely manage to not outright run as I flee the library. I scurry down the hallway and into the nearest bathroom where I hide in a stall.
Damn it. Why does she have to be so small and cute and beautiful? I hug my knees as I sit down, and feel like I might cry. I must have looked like a complete idiot! What does she think of me now…
20 years. For 20 years I had been fine, and then I saw Linda walk into the lecture hall one morning. Now look at me. I’m a mess. Is this what adult life is like?
“Ugh!” I groan out loud before I think about whether anyone else might be in here. I hope no one heard that… get a grip, Cecilie! You’re an adult!
Even in my head I don’t sound very convincing right now. I take out my phone as a distraction, and see the time.
Crap! The next lecture is starting in about one minute. How long have I been in here? I grab some paper to quickly dry my eyes as I rush out.
“Shit, shit shit…” I mutter to myself as I sprint towards the lecture hall.
Of course everyone looks at me as I barge in, but I have bigger things to worry about right now. I see the professor give me an annoyed look as I head up and find a seat, but it doesn’t seem to have broken his stride, as he continues right where I assume he left off. At least Linda doesn’t take this subject, so I don’t have to face her right now.
We have talked before! We study together for gods’ sake! I’ve been able to have conversations with this cute girl, this wonderful… no, don’t get distracted again, bad me. I learned her name, we talked about things, some of her hobbies… I realised why I felt so weird when looking at her, and even more so when near her. I’ve been working up my nerve for ages, and then… how did it go so wrong?
Maybe I’m hopeless… surely not everyone has this much trouble? Because then no one would be going out… oh no, I can feel my face heating up again at the mere thought. Oh no. How red did I look when I tried to ask Linda out? I wish the earth would open up and swallow me whole!
I manage to pay some attention to the lecture, but in my panic I completely missed the first chunk of it. At least I can look up the material later.
I don’t dare leave the hall during the break on the off-chance that I run into Linda, but once the lecture is over I have to. It was my last one of the day, so maybe I can manage to get home before I die of shame.
I have managed to calm down a little. What do I do now, though? I have to try again, right? Things are going to be unbearably awkward if I try to just ignore this ever happened. I could just stop going to the lectures I share with Linda, and stay away from her forever.
No, I can’t. I grasp my own head in frustration. I’m not a good enough student that I can manage entirely on self-study. And Linda and I study together three times a week. Losing that would be bad… and never seeing her again would be worse.
“Ow!” I… walked into the door. I got too preoccupied with my own thoughts. Do I have a nosebleed? It kinda feels like I might. I take out a tissue to check, but there’s no blood. Thank the gods for that. I’m going to feel this for a while, though. Stupid. I’m so stupid.
I don’t know if anyone saw that, but I also don’t care that much right now. While embarrassing, it would be nowhere near the peak I hit earlier.
Getting outside into the fresh air feels good. It is technically Spring, but it’s not that warm yet. I take out my scarf and wrap it snugly around my neck. Just let me get home without further incident.
Maybe I should try again tomorrow? I think to myself as I walk over to the subway station. Or maybe I should stay at home. I’m feeling a bit dizzy, and everything hurts. Maybe my heart most of all.
[Sequel: Head in the Clouds]