Last weekend, I acknowledged for the millionth time that there is nothing more peculiar than human behavior.
This acknowledgement was made when I ran into someone from the past. Albert. That’s his name.
Albert and I met about a decade ago when he came home to visit my brother. As soon as he saw me, he was fidgety. He stuttered and puffed as he introduced himself to me. Like he was star-struck.
I was flattered of course. But I was barely in my teens and after the way my mother had run my previous boyfriend off with threats of jail and death, I couldn’t risk the stress that came with being in a secret relationship.
I would have risked the stress had Albert been my idea of prince charming. Note that my idea of prince charming has drastically changed over the years. Maybe it’s because I’m grown up. Maybe it’s because of desperation. Maybe it’s both.
Anyway, for the next five years, Albert begged and pleaded for my love. He braved the rain to see me. He wrote me poems. He bought me roses made of plastic and sprayed with deodorant. He talked to me in hushed, emotional tones. But I wouldn’t so much as give him the time of day.
Then one day, I ran into him and he spitefully announced his upcoming wedding. I told him that I wished him well on his impending marital journey and I genuinely meant it.
You see, for all my flaws, I’m actually not in the least petty. I don’t reject or breakup with someone only to secretly wish for that person to pine over me for years without end. In fact, I don’t even keep in touch. The idea of being friends with an ex is alien to me. And it’s not that I hate my exes; I just have a difficult time walking backwards, literally and generally in life.
This is why I was shocked at my own behavior when I learnt that I was going to meet Albert again at a workshop last Saturday.
The night before, I squeezed life out of a zit on my face. I plucked my eyebrows. I steamed my face. I contemplated on my attire for many hours before making a decision. I did my hair and on the D-day, I wore makeup. Anybody who knows me knows that this is strange behavior.
I have no feelings for Albert. And even if I did, it wouldn’t matter because he is married. So I have no idea why I went to extra lengths to look good. I pride myself in being a thinker but for the life of me, I cannot explain the madness that overcame me that day.
Was it one of many ‘single people problems’ that I hadn’t encountered thus far? Or is it that I have finally learnt to be petty? From my own observation, pettiness is acquired with and refined by age, ceteris paribus.
You know what’s really pathetic though? For all my preparations, my encounter with Albert lasted no more than five minutes. Those five minutes consisted of an awkward hug and even more awkward small talk. I shook my head at myself afterwards.