A Nap in the Afternoon Classroom

March 18, 2008
By Zhuoxin Miao, Changsha, ZZ

It indeed was a fine afternoon, some people chasing after each other and giggling around on the near playground, facility buildings scattered remotely sun kissed and gentle breezes bringing mellow smell through the windows to hallways as if the whole room was decorated with newly blossoming flowers. Really, nothing was qualified to be complained if judged by any normal mind.
There sat a black-haired boy right next to the window on the second floor of MiddX High’s main teaching building, the best seat for the whole naturally amazing scene, however, his head deeply buried in his arms. Apparently Jim’s concentration was neither on the blackboard on which an arduous math teacher, Mr. White was tossing combination of letters and numbers nor on the beautiful panorama which he could obtain easily by just turning his head up to the left side. He seemed isolated from the all around or maybe just drained off his energy, or both, uncommon for someone with so tanned smooth skins. Not that his teacher was too dedicated to the math problems to notice his inactiveness but exactly the opposite the teacher heeded the owner of the face down-to-the-desk and decided to leave it alone, as long as Jim could get “A”s on toughest exams constantly. Given the outstanding performances of this young man, nobody doubted that this incident was other than a tiny breakdown after finishing an unbearably heavy-loaded academic work package, though Jim had done similar task before and never displayed a signal of a too hot engine and asked for such a special napping time in class. Everybody believed a little time was needed to recover and then again here came the lively Jim. Not entirely false, the assumption concerning a breakdown is correct though anyone knew the whole picture would hardly call it “tiny” and the recovery short. It was love, the cloying sword Jim later commented, entailed all it.
Had never dreamed of what his girlfriend would look like, Jim went quite unsophisticatedly with his early life. With destinations allocated among schools, home, friends’ houses and some other random places close, Jim spent most of his time with friends, including girls but not to a girlfriend level. Life had been all that big and simple until his approach to internet brought him his Girl Unforgettable.
Myspace.com seemed to boom overnight. A friend of Jim very quickly adopted the second life form online and nudged people around into his circle. Purely to meet friend’s request, Jim set off his experience of the Myspace, which later transformed into the usher of his bittersweet story.
Leaving it unchanged for nearly a month after its creation, Jim received a friend request from an unknown. Just being polite, Jim added that girl and talked with her. Odd questions came from Jim, understandably given his rare chances to talk to a girl within the same generation through the Internet.
“How did you find me from numerous profiles? Why would you add me as your friend?” Jim couldn’t help expressing his true curiosity.
“You just seem very nice. Your having very limited friend on the list also indicates you are careful with making new friends. Am I right?” Quickly replied the female stranger.
“I guess the number of my friends results from my lack of getting online. I’m not very interested into the internet talking stuff. Sort of unreal.”
“Partly true. But now you are talking to me. Am I unreal?”
“IDK” Jim used one of the few internet abbreviations he knew then. He gave this answer because he really did not know and, feeling weird, he was sure something was arousing inside him. The good thing about a childhood free from the teenager-love related scenes was more spare time for children to explore other spheres and the bad thing was, once there was a lure, they were likely to fall quickly. Jim’s childhood had left this young woman enough blank to paint and draw and this was the right time to introduce innocent young Jim to an unbelievable world.
Jim felt obsessive with the conversations between him and that girl. He never found such a feeling for his female peers before. Maybe they all were too close to him to ignite him. Although not very fluent with the online chatting, misunderstanding abbreviations and symbols, Jim got on pretty well with that girl. After all he had done so glaring performances on his school studies; so a bunch of misspelled words and abbreviated phrases wouldn’t get in the way between the two; besides, it was the internet, the most resourceful entity second to nothing in front of a studious person. Anyway, Jim handled the online stuff better and better as their relationship progressed. Later Jim recalled this and wondered just how crazy it was for someone who had never experienced the kind of love to jump into a relationship this boldly, considering the base on which the relationship was constructed was the internet, equally resourceful and unreal( maybe surreal).
But then it was an all dreamlike perfection, though Jim didn’t have dream of this type. They exchanged their cell phones’ numbers, sent text messages in the morning, afternoon, evening and at night when they said “good night”. Interestingly these plain procedures were so attractive to those in the scenes. “Miss”, “love”, “think” etc. were among the top used words. Especially Jim, devoted very much into the love, acted as if he wanted to emanate all his enthusiasm he had been storing since he was a little boy.
Then they exchanged pictures. In fact it was requested very early, but, as Jim thought himself might not meet the beloved one’s taste, he decided to wait and went to gym for bodybuilding. “Insanity” came over friends’ mind when first heard that news. But not the first time being referred to be insane, Jim went along with that quite well, since those who called him nerd or simply brain had been a lot harsher than his friends. Working really hard on the equipments, Jim, though not the professional type or steroid using type did get his body sexier and he reckoned it was enough for the first picture. She did praise him. However, as a girl’s sexy well tanned body appeared on his received picture, he determined to get tanned for his love.
Tragedies ensue from happiness. This case is not an exception either. Getting tanned and imagining that girl’s reaction when she got a newly made photo of him, Jim heard about the girl’s boyfriend’s existence. Totally crushed, realizing the emptiness of the work done and that his subjective presumption missed the point, Jim could feel there was something cracked near his heart. Could that be his heart? If it was, then how could he still breathe and feel the pain in guts? But he could feel nothing where the pumping heart should be now. Hollowness and silence exalted their victory. The liveliness and passion had gone. At this moment, Jim was acting like a dead body, with no actions at all.
Never officially informed by the girl about her status, Jim seemed to have no excuse to blame her. He just wondered why, if she had a boyfriend, still went so intimate with him, even though it was the Internet. This was a lesson. Long deemed relationship between the opposite sex unsuitable for him, Jim just learned the internet love scene was even far more beyond his field. Audaciously participating in it, Jim saw its result as enlightenment. “But enlightenment of what kind?” the question crawled onto his mind and wouldn’t fade until weeks later.
There still sat the black-haired boy. As the chalk was continuously rubbing the board, now the head was up, not directed to the equations though. Laughters and cries from the outside still sounded distant. The boy’s reconstruction and new approach should be on the way.

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