Rachel, to the best of my knowledge, had never dated anyone. She was on our cross country running team and very competitive. I would call Rachel my friend. I think I could have called everyone my friend. This is because I got along with everyone, and I guess people found me easy to talk to. I got that quality from my mom. Mom was a very good listener, and so was I.
When Charles joined our class, he didn’t realize I noticed his admiration for Rachel. He couldn’t keep his eyes off her as he was being introduced to the class. I don’t think Rachel noticed any of this, but that’s normal. Charles came up with some tricks to get Rachel’s attention. The first thing he did was send anonymous gifts to her. Though the gifts were anonymous, it had Charles written all over it. To his utmost surprise, the gifts were returned.
When that strategy didn’t work, he resorted to making random appearances where Rachel would be. For example, he signed up to help with the cross country team, even though he had no business there. On another occasion, he waited for her close to her house and acted like he didn’t know she lived there. They both walked to school, had a great time in the process, except that Rachel didn’t “get the message”.
His fourth plan would have gone really bad, had he not mentioned it to me. The girls in our class had a girls’ night, and he planned to dress like a girl for the fun of it, just so that he could attend. I was quick to let him know that not only was it a bad idea, but that it would also get him into trouble. That was when we had the discussion where he told me he really liked her and would do anything to get her attention. After failing to convince him to forget the idea, I told him I would see what I could do.
At dinner that night, I told Mom about Charles and Rachel. Mom made me realize Rachel may not be interested in dating for so many reasons. She said if I could figure out why, then that would tell me what I needed to know to help Charles.
Basically, I had to be a “love detective.”
I took it upon myself to observe Rachel. I made sure I wasn’t stalking her in a creepy way. I tried to understand her personality, and her views concerning dating. I was already friends with her and hung out with her every now and then, so I knew my assignment wouldn’t be very difficult.
The information I had been waiting for came two weeks afterward, when we played a guessing game. The game was pretty easy. You pick a random character, and people take turns to figure out who you are. To make it easier, we chose characters from popular movies.
At one point during the game, someone described their character by saying she was always helpless whenever she liked a guy. She also added that her character believed in love and finding love.
Rachel’s response gave me the answer I was looking for: “I do not believe in love,” she said. “All this love stuff is just in fairy tales. There is no one who can truly love somebody because we are all selfish. Look around us; there are so many break-ups going on between the people dating at school right now.”
I don’t think many people took what she said seriously. I did. That made me understand why she didn’t pay any attention to Charles’ advances.
I spent the next couple of days, trying to figure out how I could make Rachel believe in love again. At this point, many of the guys knew about Charles’ intentions, but no one could help him. The idea to date another girl to make her feel jealous was immediately struck out as it would be counterproductive.
I finally came up with an idea. Since she didn’t believe in fairy tales, maybe he could simply prove to Rachel that his love was genuine. That could be achieved by showing kindness, not being envious, being patient, not being boastful, and seeking her interest. These ideas just kept pouring into my mind.
Now, for me, this was a time to be anonymous. I wrote a note to Charles, asking him to make a conscious effort to not just try to date her, but to be a good friend. I also told him how being content with being single would be a good thing. I told him about kindness, not being envious, and making the effort to seek her best interest, even if those interests didn’t involve dating each other.
I secretly put this letter in his bag. It didn’t have my name on it. I made sure he wouldn’t have any idea it came from me. I wrote a similar letter to Rachel explaining what I thought real love was: sacrifice, putting others first and, above all, optimism. I didn’t say a word to anyone but just watched what effect my letters would have.
A whole week passed, and nothing noticeable happened. The only observation I had was that Charles didn’t obsess over Rachel like he normally did.
During the second week, our chemistry teacher secretly gave me the task of randomly assigning pairs for the class project. Guess which two people my algorithm generated? It appeared that Charles’ affection for her had died down.
No one noticed anything going on between them until seeing a Facebook status showing Charles and Rachel were in a relationship!
Charles told the rest of their love story with Rachel standing alongside him. I noticed they were even wearing matching outfits.
Charles explained, “So, a handful of people knew about my interest in Rachel. I did everything possible to get her attention, sometimes silly things. I was at the point of giving up when, suddenly, this idea came to my mind.
I must tell you, it was a random idea that came out of nowhere. Upon coming across that idea, I understood that love is patient and kind. It is not boastful or envious. It taught me to seek the best interest of whoever I would date, not just mine. You know the most random thing ever? Rachel came across the exact same idea. With that, I began to see her in a totally different light. I was determined to wait, and not to rush things. Unknown to me, Rachel was experiencing the same feelings.
The peak of the whole thing was when Mrs. Johnson assigned us to do our chemistry project together. That gave me the chance to take things slowly and just enjoy being friends with her.
On the last day of our assignment, Rachel asked to take a break and talk to me about something that was on her mind. She told me she knew about all my plans to get her attention. She could clearly read the handwriting on the wall. She confessed she kind of liked me, yet didn’t believe in love.
Then, there was a day she received a letter from a stranger. The author of the letter knew exactly what she was going through. That letter helped reshape her views about love and loving people. She then agreed that if there was something that brought us together within a month, she would believe in love again and date me. She didn’t want it to be coerced, but she wanted it to be natural. Then came the chemistry project.”
There was a huge applause after Charles finished his speech. A few people were moved to tears. Their love story became the talk around school. The school’s Press Club interviewed them and featured their love story in the monthly bulletin.
The only question was, who wrote that letter to Rachel?
But even more on my mind was: Why did Charles act like it was all his idea? Why didn’t he even acknowledge that he too got a letter? Why have I been left out of this entire story? Why did I not mind my own business in the first place?
Why, Why Why???
Find out just why in Akin Adeboye‘s Amazed By Truth: A collection of many stories, packed with life lessons that will definitely help you to become a better version of yourself. I helped with the proof-reading and editing, so I was privy to these stories first-hand and thoroughly enjoyed reading them and applying them to many aspects of my life such as my faith, family and friendships.
I hope you had a wonderful Easter celebration and rested well during the long weekend. Welcome to the second quarter of the year… and Happy New Month!!