There was no single defining meeting for this nerd and Mr. P. We had no moment when time slowed down or music played or light shone somewhere. Our story was a series of small seemingly irrelevant interactions that only made sense with our togetherness.
I just turned 18.
A public library was looking for volunteers aged 18 and above.
Mr. P was having his on the job training there.
I went to the library one late afternoon because I have nothing to read at home anymore. It was my first time. I grabbed a book and read silently until a lively staff came up to me. She asked if I was interested to be a volunteer. For a lover of books, nothing’s more exciting than that so I said yes.
I had an interview, took a test and attended trainings on storytelling and puppetry. Mr. P was there but he didn’t make an impression on me.
Just before I started working in the library, I agreed to teach the church’s Sunday school.
The church held their Sunday classes at the library.
It was my first morning as a Sunday school teacher. I marched to the library together with the children but the railings on the entrance barred us. That’s when I met Mr. P. He was in the library.
I asked him, “Can you please lift these railings?” He did.
That was our first encounter. It made me recognize his face.
It was a Wednesday. My first day at work in the library.
For an hour, I was assigned to welcome the patrons with Mr. P. It wasn’t a busy day so Mr. P and I talked about random things including butts.
There was no tentativeness in our first conversation. There was familiarity between us like two old friends talking about their days. There was no hint of romance but a lightness of being that I really like.
It made me look forward to the few times we were together in that place welcoming the patrons. I don’t remember anymore what we talked about but I remember how he always smelt so good and how I can laugh so carefree with him
After 8 months, our time in the library was up. We parted ways without drama. We didn’t see each other until after a month when all other volunteers visited the library.
One of our friends there invited us to her birthday. I didn’t know her place so I planned to go with the others. Out of all the possible people there, I asked Mr. P for his number so I could know where and what time they’ll meet. It must be fate.
I didn’t go to the party but I did sent a message to Mr. P. I told him I couldn’t come and if he could be kind enough to greet our friend for me.
He replied and obliged my request. He also started sending me messages daily.
Mr. P and I were sending friendly messages. But I guess we both know there’s a subtle flirtation in what we do. I didn’t mind this mild flirtation. It added color to a dull semestral break and brought comfort to the bleak situation of my family at that time.
We met twice on the pretext that he needed some help. I could have helped him without needing to meet him personally but we met anyway. We wouldn’t admit they were dates.
It was a few days after our second not-a-date that he expressed his affections through a text message. Mr. P wasn’t a Romeo obviously but it didn’t stop my heart from smiling.
We decided to meet the following day where he personally said whatever he said on text. That was our first date. I don’t remember now what we did except that I played an intense motorcycle racing game in the arcade. I had my period at that time and I went home with a small blood stain on my pants. I wasn’t sure if Mr. P noticed it or maybe he didn’t want to embarrass me.
We sent some more messages and met a few times before I decided to give a possible relationship with him a go.
The semestral break was drawing to a close. I knew I couldn’t focus on my studies if I wouldn’t settle my thing with Mr. P. Either I stop dating him or make it official. I don’t like gray areas and courtship for me feels like a gray area.
I asked Mr. P if we could meet the next day. I told him my decision with a no frills “Yes, we’re now a couple.”
I remember his smile- it was big that spreads from ear to ear. He was happy. I was happy too.
And more than 10 years down the road, Mr. P and I are still happy.
We want to make our happiness lasts a lifetime so Mr. P and this nerd decided to get married soon.