By Amy Zhang
I am shy. I don’t seem like the shy type with my friends because I’m the loud one. But when I talk to someone who doesn’t know how I tick, I act like I’m listening while I am melting inside. What if they think I’m boring? What if they’re just being polite? Do I look bored? Am I coming off like a crappy person? Am I blinking weird? Should I make eye contact? Wait, how much eye contact? Oh man, they think I’m insane. I unsuccessfully try to hold in the slippery dangerous words. Did that make sense? Why did I even say that? Wow, I don’t love myself. This silence is so awkward. I feel it. It’s my fault. What is wrong with me? How do I get out of this? That’s when I start uncontrollably blushing.
In my mind, I think that I can contribute without turning into Clifford the Big Red Dog. A red face is a pain in the butt. Oh, you think it’s cute, but it’s not at all, especially when you’re talking about the Holocaust or the meaning behind Frankenstein’s creature.
I don’t even have the guts to just say “hi” to my crush in the hallway. When I see him in my periphery, I get super interactive with the person I’m talking to or the stuff in my locker or I fast-walk to my next class lickety-split. I am easier to read than a Dr. Seuss book. He’ll know by one look. He’ll know from something I said that was just too nice. He’ll know from my pink cheeks and how I can’t keep eye contact.
I remember everything he’s ever said to me. Especially that time I ended up taking the subway home with him alone. It was nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time.
Me: This is so awkward.
Wait, did I just say that to him aloud? Wow, what a great start.
Him: Give me something to work with. Football.
Me: Did you see the last game on Sunday? That call on Vick was crap. He didn’t even do anything. “Bad Sportsmanship,” more like “Blind Refs.”
Him: No, I didn’t watch the game.
Michael. Achievement Hunter.
Me: So, who’s your favorite Achievement Hunter?
Oh god, I can feel the blood rushing to my face. Who called Clifford? Great, the train is coming. At least the conversation is going and he’s talking about Minecraft now. He’s such a nerd. I like it.
Him: Obviously Ray, and then Michael. Ryan or Jack. Geoff and Gavin are the worst.
Me: But Jack is only good at Trial games.
The train is too loud. Oh my gosh, he bent over just to listen to what I have to say. He cares about what I have to say. How many stops until his? Is he going to sit down on those empty seats? He can get off here and catch an express train.
Me: Hey, don’t you get off here?
Him: Yeah, but I can take this to the last stop.
He stayed! He’s too nice. Wow, what do I talk to him about next?
Me: Words are hard. Gah!
Yes! I got him to laugh. Am I blinking weird? Am I smiling too much? Am I blushing already?
Me: I don’t think anyone should waste time with stuff that won’t matter.
Him: I love wasting time. (laughs) Sometimes at 12AM I get up to do pushups.
Me: Weren’t you late to class one day because you were out jogging?
Him: Let’s not talk about that. (laughs) So what are your favorite football games you have watched?
He wants to know things. About me.
Me: I don’t have favorites. I just want a good game to watch.
Him: Me, too.
Me: Your Jets are doing pretty bad this season.
Him: Yeah, but I’ll keep rooting for them.
Me: This is my stop.
Him: See you, Amy.
I’ll definitely see you tomorrow. I cannot do conversations. But practice makes perfect, right?
Amy Zhang is a class of 2015 mentee from Queens, NY.
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