She asked me a question that night and I froze. It was too soon, I didn’t know what to answer. My inner defense mechanism started to take control, trying to reason and justify. Trying to conceal feelings, trying to make what seems to be, something else. It wasn’t even face to face, it was only on MSN.
Yet I choked. I was petrified and I was disappointed…
Second period on a Tuesday morning, our class monitor had just notified us that our class was going to combine with another class for biology today. And there she was walking into the lab like it was in a movie when the leading actress takes the scene. Her long hair fell across her face as she walked over to her seat, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. I was like having a temporary amnesia, I couldn’t even remember what I was doing in that class, and you can bet your bottom dollar that I couldn’t even remember my parents' names then. That day, while everyone in that lab was having a lesson in biology, I wasn’t. I was having a whole different lesson and the lesson was her.
I couldn’t stop thinking about her from that day onwards - The girl who made my stomach leap and heart stop. You know I nearly spoke to her once during school assembly, she was alone and just 10 feet away from me and I could have gone up and introduce myself. But my feet couldn’t move, my head went vertigo and I was about to hurl; I stood there like a lifeless rock staring at the ground, only to see her shoes passed me by after the period bell rang. But I really wanted to tell her how I feel, so I decided to make her a mix tape and let it do all the talking for me. And you know what, the timing was just about right, Valentine’s was in a month’s time.
For the rest of the month I spent a lot of my time picking up the songs from my cassette collection and I used up most of my savings to get the songs that I needed to fill in the mix tape. There wasn’t a thing as downloading a song from the internet then; you want a song you gotta buy the whole album. I am not sure if you have tried making a mix tape. But I tell you it isn’t as simple as just picking out some cool songs you like and putting it on to a cassette. I remember spending the most time listening to the song that I have selected over and over again, learning what it means and at the same time trying to imagine how she would react and feel when she gets to that particular song. Once I was pretty sure what I wanted on that tape, I had to ask a favor from a friend who was the only person I knew who owns a twin deck cassette tape player; I needed that to make my mix tape. We cut a deal, in return for letting me use his player; I had to do all his lab report for the whole term. I agreed without even thinking it twice.
With a sketch of a rose which I ripped off from Depeche Mode's Violator as the cover, the tape was now ready but it didn’t make it to her for Valentine’s Day because that year it fell on our 1 week Chinese New Year school break. So my best shot was to pass her the tape right after the break.
I tell you that was the longest one week that I have ever gone through. Never have I been so excited about going back to school and never have I been to school so early in my entire life. I waited at the back school gates near our canteen for her, which was usually where she comes in. This was it, now all I have to do is just walk up to her, smile, pass her the tape and try not to faint in doing so. I must have practice my smiling while passing her the tape on the mirror a zillion times just so I don’t fuck up. And I guess most of my close friends who knew what I was doing were pretty fed up with me because that whole week before school started. I kept asking them question like…
“You think she will like it?”
"Do you wanna listen to the whole tape again, just in case?"
“Do you think she will freak out?”
“What if she doesn’t wanna accept the tape?”
I was just moments away from handing out a mix tape that was a soundtrack of all my stacked up feelings about someone that I really like. The culmination of everything I’ve did for her for the last month. On the surface I may look calm but inside there was a typhoon swinging me back and forth. I waited and waited and waited that morning. I waited till the bell rang.
She never turned up.
Later that day, I found out from a friend of a friend of a friend of her bestie that she and her family had moved to East Malaysia even before the break. She ain’t gonna show up today, tomorrow or even the day after. All I have now is this mix tape, a heart full of regrets for not having the guts to tell her how I felt and a whole term of extra lab report to do. I guess I will never know all that could have been if the mix tape have gotten into her hands.
I choked. I was petrified and I was disappointed...
I was disappointed in myself again for not coming clean; deep down inside I was dying to let it out but I kept telling told myself that it wasn’t the right time because she still has her issues. But the thing is I wasn’t asking for an answer from her, it was a just-so-you-know thing and I still couldn't do it.
Right now, I find myself once again making that mix tape. Even though cassette tape and CD may have become obsolete in this damn age but I still believe that there is a way of giving the girl that you like a mix tape. It isn’t really the tape or the CD that makes up the gift but the choices of songs and the meaning that it holds that makes it the corniest yet most heartfelt gift from a guy to a girl. In other words, as long as those songs you want her to listen to reaches her, you've already got yourself a mix tape.
Yeah, laugh all you can but when you finally meet the girl that makes you knees wobble and cause the butterflies in your stomach to come alive but you are just too scare stiff to approach her or tell her how you feel and you are out of ideas, a mix tape is actually a pretty good place to start.
P.s. That wasn't how the above story actually ended . A couple of months after that I managed to get her new address in KK and I mailed her the mix tape together with the sender’s address and a note saying 'I made this for you'. She never replied.