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This is a question Will you go out with me?

"Bloody Kraut, a" asks, "How did you get your current flame to go out with you? If they turned you down, how bad was it?"

Was it all romantic? Or were the beer goggles particularly strong that night?

(, Thu 28 Aug 2008, 17:32)
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My story for this week
is a long one of epic proportions which I don't have time to write, so here instead is a sub-plot that's sort of related to this week's QOTW. Regular readers of my posts will remember 'Veronica' - the star of this story.

First, a bit of background. Aged 16, I was very shy. Although I had a small number of friends at school, on the school bus, I didn't have any friends at all. The school bus journey was about an hour each way. At the time, I wasn't an 'open' person, and felt nervous about joining in a conversation, so spent the entire bus journey keeping quiet. This distanced myself from the cluster of other kids sat near me, and it had the effect that they would take the piss out of me on occasion. At it's worst, this was low intensity bullying, but sometimes, it was just as if they were 'trying too hard' to break down my emotional barriers - it seemed well meaning but they couldn't resist taking the piss at the same time. I just wasn’t ready to open up and forcing me to do so didn’t help. Amongst them was an Italian girl called Veronica (not her real name). She only started at my school just a few weeks after this phase of intimidation started, and ended up sitting next to me on the bus. She seemed friendly at first, but soon, couldn't help falling in with the patterns of the other kids and was amongst those teasing me.

This seemed to go on for a few months. The intensity of the teasing did dwindle somewhat but I just did not feel like reaching out to the others around me. For the last few months, I dreaded the bus-journeys. Veronica would occasionally talk to me when the others were paying attention elsewhere, but most of the time, I was isolated in my own mental barrier.

One day in June 1990 (Wednesday June 6th to be precise), the bus was unusually empty on the way back. This was because several school-trips were going on simultaneously, and some kids got to go home on an earlier bus. About 2 stops before my stop, it turned out I was alone with Veronica. Thanks to someone who got off at that stop, the two of us were already talking. For once, she was dead serious. She was telling me about how she felt guilty for not talking with me. She managed to get me to admit that I was shy and I told her how nervous I felt on the bus journeys. I saw a serious side of her I had never seen before. For the time it took to get to my bus stop (she got off at the following stop), I felt like I could talk to her about just about anything. She had well and truly gotten me to open up.

She did not come to school the next day, and by the time she returned, things were back to me being my normal untalkative shy self. It was as if nothing had ever happened. I still did not feel like talking to anyone - even Veronica. My brain started whirring in action. At first, I just thought she was taking the piss, but it later occurred to me she might actually have been trying to flirt with me a few times. I was wondering if I might end up falling in love with her (or even vice versa), but this brief experience did not push us over the edge.

This went on a few more months. I did not get another opportunity to be alone with Veronica. By then, it was the new school year, with new seating-arrangements on the bus, and I was sat in a completely different part of the bus, so didn't see Veronica much. However, it was when I attended a teenaged house-party (which was a rare occurrence for me) where Veronica also came that pushed me over the edge. Even though we hardly spoke at the party (although I did come out of my shell enough to dance to MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice and Young MC), in the days after the party, I fell for her and fell hard. Seeing that I still associated her with the kids who took the piss out of me (although not so much by then), developing a crush on her made me panic somewhat.

Bitten hard by the love-bug and the panic bug, I decided to make an exceptionally bold move. I would write "I love <Veronica>" on a table in the main lunch-hall at school and hope she'd read it and guess it was me. As an extra hint, I deliberately replaced the 'I' with an 'eye' - a sort of visual pun so she could guess it was written by one of the English kids (there were five language streams in my school), but 'love' was replaced with a love-heart to make the bit about guessing my nationality that tiny bit more subtle. And so, when I had a free period, using the cover of my maths homework, I secretly scribbled my masterpiece on the desk. And thus was my first attempt to ask her out. However, my plan had three major flaws:

· Vandalising school property with graffiti is frowned on - even in the pursuit of true love.
· My handwriting was (and still is) very characteristic and just about anyone could have recognised it (but nobody asked me about it).
· The following day, I would develop a massive crush on another girl who was at the same party - her name was Soleil (not her real name).

Needless to say, things did not progress. On the desk next to the graffiti, there appeared some more graffiti, but not only was it written in Italian which I didn't understand, but it was written in non-permanent ink so it didn't last long, and I never acquired whatever pearls of wisdom contained within. Needless to say, she didn't guess it was me (or at least if she did, she kept it quiet).

Fast-forward five more months. Things were pretty much the same. The intimidation/pisstaking from the other kids had died down to almost zero, but I hardly noticed - I was thinking about Veronica so much that nothing else seemed to matter. After letting it get to me for some time, I decided to put my thoughts on paper and let her know in a love-letter (bear in mind, this was before the days of text-messaging, and e-mail was restricted to academia and tech-companies).

I thought it would look more sincere if I wrote it out by hand (that and doing it with handwriting made it seem less likely to be someone else playing a cruel prank), but having had no experience at being a romantic, I decided I'd avoid the old cliché of a huge pile of screwed up balls of paper sitting next to a dustbin by writing the letter on a word-processor running on my trusty Atari ST, printing it out and then writing it out by hand. Gotta love that backspace key!

So I set about typing it out, and to my complete amazement, I actually succeeded in composing a letter that explained the way I felt and attempted to ask her out. By today's standards, it's not very romantic (it came more from the brain than from the heart), but I was impressed that I had managed to churn out what I had done, and it just goes to show that if you're passionate about something and you put your mind towards it, you can accomplish things you never thought you could do. Having succeeded made me glow all that much warmer when I thought about Veronica because I felt I was closer to asking her out than ever before.

I printed it out, copied it out by hand (having done a bit of research into graphology, I deliberately made the slant of the letters vertical to make myself look sincere, although in hindsight, should have made it slant forwards instead to make it look passionate), signed it, and folded it up so it was more compact. The plan was to sneak it into her school bag when she wasn't looking, hope she'd find it and read it without anyone else discovering it. I had absolutely no idea whether or not she'd take it seriously. Would she tell her friends and let it all blow up in my face? It was a risk ... a risk I was willing to take - so I decided to take it.

The day after it was ready was a very tense day for me. I kept thinking I might have had an opportunity to sneak it in her bag, but either thought someone may catch me in the act, or I just didn't have the guts to do so. For once I was on the offensive. I looked as nervous as I was, and my friends asked me why I looked so tense, but I did not have the guts to tell them (at this stage, I had kept my crush to myself). I was not able to overcome my mental block and did not manage to sneak it into her bag. This pattern repeated itself for the next few days. Her bag remained letter-less.

The letter was written 17 years ago. Up until now, nobody has seen its content, but now, my dear b3tans, you are privileged to be the first ones to see it in its entirety.
The letter is contained in the first reply to this story.
(, Thu 4 Sep 2008, 0:17, 3 replies)
The letter.
Here it is in its entirety – never before seen in the 17 years of its existence. In all cases, spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes and typos have been preserved (just the names have been changed).


I know it's not like me to say much, but I must say that I love you. I think you once loved me, but I had underestimated you then. At first, I thought you were only joking, but then, on a busjourney last june you proved that in fact you were serious. I've been thinking about it ever since!

If you think that you have tried to get me to love you so many times, and not seen a result (until now), you only really tried once and never again. This was on the busjourney in june when we were alone and you had nobody to slime up to, which gave us more encouragement to express ourselves. I tried to be myself as much as I could, but I did not realise then that you were being serious. Ever since then, I think you have loved me, and I was starting to, love you. I have felt I must do something about it ever since, but I know I cannot just wait for you to try again, so I've decided to write you this letter. This also gives you some time to think.

If you do love me, this is your chance. Think carefully before you do anything, and remember, when you are deciding, be yourself and don't listen to the opinions, advice, etc. of anyone else.

Mabey I'm completely wrong, you dont love me (or have decided not to love me, or you love someone else), then you know that at least I have tried and would have learned from my mistake. I know I'm not perfect, but nobody's perfect. After all, we're only human.


(, Thu 4 Sep 2008, 0:18, closed)
The following weekend, there was a disco being held for pupils of all schools that were similar to the one I was going to. Because there was only one per country, the venue was chosen as somewhere abroad. I seemed to think that Veronica would be going, so I went along as well, taking the un-delivered letter with me. It turned out that Veronica did not go, although Soleil (who I mentioned earlier) did. At the party, Soleil talked to me a bit and then asked me if I wanted to dance later. For me, things like this did not happen very often. Crush-wise, I had been focused almost exclusively on Veronica for the past few weeks, but even though we never ended up dancing (the party was closed early due to some crap excuse about not enough of us wanting to buy drinks), my thoughts on Soleil were once again surging and I lost the focus I had on Veronica that I needed to take on my shyness (this pattern seemed to repeat itself a few times but it never happened the other way round for some reason).

As I said, this is just a sub-plot of my story, but needless to say, Veronica never found out about the letter. As for Soleil, there be plenty o' QOTW material in that lass.

to be continued (and back-storied and filled in)...

Length? Two sides of handwritten A4, and she never saw it.

PS. If you do want to see my epic story in full, vote for this QOTW suggestion
(, Thu 4 Sep 2008, 0:19, closed)
Hahah, aww. That letter is amazingly cute.
(, Thu 4 Sep 2008, 0:35, closed)

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