I received a love letter back in middle school.
7th grade is an era which the cesspit of rampaging hormones and petty disappointments strikes its hardest. Of all passive-aggressive, nervous, timid acts to do as a middle schooler, a love letter was a Big Fucking Deal. This particular letter was delivered, as all letters inevitably end up being delivered, in my locker. I would eventually find out that the author of this letter was a girl who went by the name of Kimmy, who also happened to sit close enough in math class for me to recognize. What did I do next? Well, if you so insist, I took that letter to a deep, dark recess in my room and thought nothing of it.
It wasn’t that I hated her, no. But, in the interest of keeping this interesting, I’ll tell you what was going through my mind at the time.
I was extremely confused.
What, exactly, did she see in me that made me the recipient of her affection? And, perhaps more importantly, why should I pay attention to a girl I don’t know too much about besides the point that we share a class? Perhaps such questions were too enormous for the middle school child to handle, because after hours upon hours of thinking it through, and several hours more thinking about real life issues, I dismissed the whole thing as frivolous and never bothered to answer her words, as I was such to hold myself in such low esteem that I denied myself reward in most forms. We never talked much in math class, so things were still okay at that point… I think. I thought that, maybe, this whole thing would blow over and everything would be fine and dandy again just like before I received the letter. And in a way that was worse than hating her for the letter, because I ignored her and became indifferent. And so a year passes.
On the day of 8th grade, I get another letter. Same person, same statement, just a year older.
And now that I think about it, perhaps it was the genuine frankness of those words, and also the amount of time that passed, that made me reconsider myself. As piles of trashy romance novels would gladly explain it, since Kimmy had been “spurned” in this attempt, the love only grew from there to the point of sending another letter, albeit in a long time. There was something about that I admired. I did not think of it as creepy, since I had been long acquainted with her shyness around me since we shared yet another class that year.
So one day I decide to answer her letter with one of my own, telling her my thoughts on the issue at hand. She, of course, replied happily. Truthfully, I did not share the same feelings that she had felt. I, at the time, regarded her as a friend, perhaps only at the level of schoolmate that I happen to know. Of course, this I didn’t tell her in writing. As things still didn’t develop as fast as one might think, things were still awkward and a rumor even spread about it. Her older sister was a year above us, and certainly had a hand in fanning any gossip towards people we knew.
It wouldn’t be until graduation was near that the idea of going to the movies together sounded like a wonderful venture. It would also be my first “date”, so to speak. I would also be the last date I would have with Kimmy. The movie was a choice romance of the year: Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Perhaps in a more depressing note, it wasn’t very eventful. We met there, I bought most everything except her movie ticket (which she refused to let me pay for, and for which I desired no conflict), and watched the feature presentation without making a single move on the date in question. I won’t deny wanting to hold her hand during the movie, however, and I’m not sure why. Was it out of pity, that this girl loved me for who I was, and that I couldn’t understand that? Or did I, deep down somewhere, actually have feelings for her? The motive escapes me to this day. After the credits, after leaving the movie, even after the ride back home, I never attempted physical contact.
One could attribute to the fact that this was the first time I was with a girl, alone, on a date. Assuredly, there is going to be complications. However, at that time I knew something was off about this situation. And that, no matter how much affection she could muster to catch my attention, the only response I could ever give was to appreciate her company as a friend, so to speak.
The ambiguous relationship between me and her ended with our goodbyes towards middle school, as we would not be in the same high school from here on out.
From here, I’m stuck. Am I supposed to feel depressed about this? Was it perhaps the fact that there was such a thin bond to begin with that the severing didn’t have much of an impact?
That’s not to say, of course, that I’m incapable of loving. In fact, there’s been several people that I’ve been attracted to over the years I’ve been in high school. At times, those feelings reveal themselves every now and then in college as well. However, there’s still a lot of things about romance that boggles me, as well as the occasional scare. A great fear, perhaps an irrational fear, of being rejected. I’m think that my inherent tendency to mentally isolate myself from others lies within more than just a social boundary.
Obviously, there’s a huge distance from here to the far more profound, personal love developed over the years, especially in marriage. But seeing goodness is the beginning.
It’s strange to see, as one would most likely assume, that basic attraction starts with something that can be defined by a whole as “goodness”. Attraction is achieved once it is understood that there’s things to like about this person. In order to love in the first place, there has to be a reason. It doesn’t matter how twisted or uncouth the reason may be, as often abusive and obsessive relationships would boggle the mind, but still it makes sense in the human psyche to hold a bond in such a turmoil. It’s a required event in all of the romance genre of fiction, though often given in a variety of colorful and creative methods of exactly how that happens. Attraction, somehow, still becomes the prime issue.
It would probably explain my ambiguous relationship with Kimmy as well, since, while she seemed to see a lot in me, I couldn’t see much of her at all that brought me to her. I found the whole thing to be an interesting phenomenon, an experiment waiting for observations, probably the most offensive attitude towards love there is. And so, not being able to recognize those kinds of qualities at the time, nothing amounted of that relationship. I’m not necessarily say that the chemicals weren’t reacting for me, nor that I wasn’t feeling it enough, but the fact still stands that the behavior exhibited brought about this kind of string of events. My middle school experience taught me that there was much more to romance than the usual “I like you” statement. It’s a commitment that, perhaps unfortunately, I do not feel mentally prepared for. Of course, I’ve never tried getting into a relationship after that point, so it could possibly be moot.
- The images used come from episode 7 of both Kimi to Boku and Kimi to Boku 2, which deal with the issue of unrequited love from the recipient’s perspective.
- I decided to watch this anime on a whim. I shall now trust my whims more often.