I remember watching "Perks of being a wallflower" and watching the characters listen to the tunnel song. If I ever had a "tunnel song", this had to be mine. People choose their favourite songs based on the lyrics, the music or the thoughts they relate to it. I never really thought a lot about what I liked. I would just fall in love with a random song for no reason.
"I have never heard this song before", I commented as the music filled the car. He smiled and tongued his cheek. "What's the name?" I asked. He shrugged. "I don't know. I just heard it on the radio once and my ex girlfriend was dancing to it. She is the one who gave me the song. After that, it's just been there." I wasn't sure if I liked the song anymore.
"What was your ex like?" I asked biting back the question I really wanted to ask. He glanced at me for a second. His eyes were rather unfocused as he looked back at the road. "She was beautiful... she is beautiful." It was obvious that he still loved her. There was no question about it. He took in a deep breath and exhaled like he had got a weight off his chest. Meanwhile, it felt like my heart had been dipped in lead. It weighed down with a small strand of pride holding it up.
We were quiet for the remainder of the road. "Don't fall in love", I told myself but then I was taken aback by my own mental note. Why did I even tell myself that?
"...that's why I think it's perfect..."
I had zoned out and I had no idea what he had just said. But he was waiting like I was supposed to respond. "Yeah, true", I said perfunctorily. He raised a brow but didn't comment as he parked the car. His left arm reached out and held the back of my seat. He turned his head and looked at the back. I held my breath. It felt like a bad copy of an Asian drama where the male lead uses the excuse of backing to hold the back of the seat because he likes the protagonist.
But... this guy... I wasn't the protagonist. I looked away and focused on the pink cat painted on the window display. I didn't look at him as we walked to the cafe. I felt like his eyes were stripping away at my thoughts, like he knew that I was...jealous.
I didn't even want to talk as we sat down. I just acted like I was absorbed in choosing what coffee I wanted to drink. I knew what I wanted - a big, piping hot cup of mocha with extra whipped cream and marshmallows. I also wanted a large slice of caramel cheesecake. Basically, I wanted lots and lots of calories. I wouldn't tell him that. I would just keep staring...
"Have you decided?" "Mmmm..." I answered vaguely. "I am going to get a long black and a blueberry muffin. I deserve the muffin", he said. "Yeah, you need to take care of that perfect body with your perfect abs", I said in irritation. "You think I have a perfect body with perfect abs?" I mentally hit myself. "Tell me more about what I need to take care", he said. I whipped my head back. He didn't look like he was teasing me. He looked at me in all seriousness.
I gaped at him - that perfect jawline... I stopped myself. I had to stop with the "perfect" word.
"I have said enough."
"Does that mean it's my turn?"
When I didn't answer and trust me, there was no way I could answer that, he continued. "I need to think about what you need to take care." He stood up. "So have you decided on what you want?" "A peppermint latte and a blueberry muffin", I said. I silently mourned the loss of the cheesecake. Dear cheesecake, I will meet you next time, don't you fear!
While he was ordering, I gazed longingly at the delicious looking caramel cheesecake in the display. The glistening caramel, the soft white layer...
"Do you need my notes from today's lecture? It seemed that you were rather distracted and missed out on a few notes. Moreover, he is so strict that I doubt you can actually get his notes from him. The old timer does not even upload the notes on the e-learning site."
"Could I really?" I needed the notes. "Of course. You are my ... partner."
It really could mean anything. It was a different experience having coffee with Namdrul. I had half expected it to go like it had with Kinga. Considering how Kinga seemed so much more open than Namdrul, I was surprised to see that Namdrul took the initiative to keep the conversation flowing. Maybe it was because we had so much in common including classes, but we kept on talking - his voice soft and quiet, occasionally getting louder when he talked about how much he loved certain subjects. He talked animatedly about the new hydraulics project that he had spent the summer interning at. His eyes gleamed as he described how he waded into the river to get the fixed points.
I laughed as he told me about how a fish slipped into his wading suit and he had to bear it because he couldn't move while holding the prism up. Namdrul really looked his best when he smiled.
I know girls loved the way he seemed so cold and approachable but maybe they had never seen him like this - his hair messed up because he was running his fingers through them, his face flushed as he talked about what he loved - the gentle smile... no, they had surely not seen him like that. Anyone would fall in love with him if they saw him like I did then.
When he dropped me back, I couldn't stop smiling. My phone beeped a few minutes after he dropped me off.
I opened the text:
"You need to take care of the way you seem like a perfect song - you would make someone fall in love."
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