I’ve been trying to remember her face.
Not that I spend precious minutes of my days partaking in such an activity, but only because she had a face worth remembering. That was perhaps why I had such difficulty remembering.
I remembered her name, sure enough, to be of Arabic origin. Pretty name, which also translated to pretty eyes — which she undoubtedly had. Undoubtedly kind eyes.
Introductions were short, but sweet. Worth it. An exchange of smiles, a gentle handshake.
“Yes, I suppose I’ll have to stay in this course now,” I replied, smiling, though I don’t think she realized that “now” was directly in reference to her.
It was so strange how I could remember every other face, all except for the one I needed to remember. There was something fascinating about her.
“Just ask,” came some manly advice. “What have you got to lose?”
“At most you’ll lose face, oh well.”
“Oh well?” I retorted. “Losing face is more than I can afford.” No, I wouldn’t take the nonsensical route about it, as my comrades had done so many times before.
“I’m unimpressed,” started a much earlier conversation.
“By what?” asked a friend.
“By everything,” was the reply. “People, the world, myself.”
Suddenly, something just impressed me.
“You know why this so exciting?” I couldn’t help but grin.
“Why?” “Because for the first time in a long time, I’m impressed.” It was true.
Only because I couldn’t find any immediate flaws, or any reasons to dismiss her. The way I had become at a certain point in my life was particularly bitter, but of course with reason. She was a paradox, something strange. She didn’t fit the common description at all. In fact, there wasn’t one description to attach to her. Whereas before I would be quick to attach a label or apply a stereotype, she fit none. At least not very easily.
“I can’t find anything wrong with her,” I laughed, seemingly joking but not at all. “And believe me, I’m being critical. It’s not like I’m trying not to find anything, I’m shocked at the fact that I can’t.”
“Either you’re a fool, or you really like this girl,” he said. “Or maybe both.”
I had become an expert in finding things I don’t like in women at that point. I always knew the first places to look, as well. The common reserves were empty, free of stain.
“I don’t get it,” I steadily complained. “What’s up with this girl?”
My friends just laughed. I chimed along.
I became obsessed in finding a flaw. Any flaw. An unattractive beauty mark, a bruise, a pimple, an orphan freckle. Anything to make me dislike the smallest bit of her, but the more I tried the increasingly more difficult the task became.
“I give up,” I declared one evening at our usual circle.
“End of the pursuit already?” asked one of the boys.
“No, the pursuit just began. I give up on trying to find something about her I don’t like.”
Laughter, heads shaking. Relief.
One day she would ask, “What was your first impression of me?”