“Think before you decide.”

It sounded like an ultimatum though I guessed it was what I needed in my life.

Without a doubt, she was the mature part in our relationship. I was immature so I took all the burden of getting at par with her. I wanted a trophy: she wanted romance.

All the lessons and techniques I learned from my classmate, who flew to the States after graduation, were irrelevant. Those were for playing around, never for serious matters of the heart.

How could I be mature? Taking out the im (I am) from the word was like removing one’s self-importance from the equation. More on giving than receiving.

Like an old vinyl record, I had played Side A every time. I was satisfied with regularity and normalcy that attempting to listen to Side B was considered experimentation.

I did give it a try.

My mother was given a T-shirt by one of our store suppliers. Such a giveaway often went to my father because it fitted him quite well. This time it was a bit smaller so I had the chance to grab it away from him.

I wore it proudly on the way to my girl’s house. She would be elated to see me.

However, she was frowning as I approached her. It was not the reaction I expected.

“Are you ill?” she asked after the initial pleasantries. She placed her palm on my forehead and then to my neck to feel if I had fever. “You seem to be okay.”

“I am okay,” I assured her. “What gave you that idea? I won’t be here if I am sick.”

She was unsure how to reply. Where her eyes stared at gave her away.

“You don’t have to follow everything I said if you are only forced to do so.”

“No, I am serious,” I said while adjusting the hem of my shirt. “I feel sunnier today.”



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