Looking in from the present, it was easier when I was 16. It hurt all the same, but I didn’t know any better and I just accepted it as it came, without fighting.

Now it’s a battle. It goes against everything I have known for the past 6 years and it’s a challenge because now, of all times, I understand how it’s about doing something about it, something I have never learnt to do.

It used to be about divine intervention. Andrew didn’t like me, I thought it was all bad luck, about a sort of Eros-ex-machina who would decide how to make people feel about others: I was cursed to love him, he wasn’t. If it had any chance to change, it would take a casual miracle.

I see the logic in that: first off, the reason why I fell in love with those guys was very obscure to me. It felt like it was just a stray arrow from Cupid’s bow, based on nothing and in fact I do believe it was. They were there, they were the cutest thing available so they were viable material for daydreams. Second, I would have never guessed that my persona could make someone interested in me. That came much later, at that time I thought looks was all there was. Third, well it’s not like I had the courage to go up to them and chat them up. So all I did, when I could, was finding someone else who was good enough and hope a twin arrow would skewer them too. I had a point in saying I had no luck in love: I bet no one does, they just know how to work for it.

Well, ain’t it all different now. There’s absolutely nothing I can do if the guy doesn’t like the way I look, but I know I can work the rest. I know, for instance that getting to know me better may make them interested in me. It worked in the past, even if it was spontaneous and not a strategy, so all the more reason it could work as a strategy. I also know, this is possible if we spend time together, alone or with other people. I know I could make it happen, i.e. I am confident enough to believe I could make someone look at me with new eyes.

My confidence though, poor little thing, is still green and inexperienced and only gets so far and, for instance, I am not all that confident that I may make them forget the person they are thinking about and impose myself in their heart as first choice. This is hard, this I do not so much believe, this more importantly feels like something you can pull off only if you’re really good at the game. I’m not.

And that’s my problem right now. Playing the game, when someone else deals you cards is much easier than having to deal cards yourself. It’s like trying to jump an axel before you have mastered your threes. It is to me, at least, since I’ve never really played the game, only studied the theory and here I am in the shoes of the croupier. Since my major occupation in my lifetime has been study, I feel I know all the theory I need, I should just practice it. Problem: I am shy as a lamb. This hummingbird thing has ruined me in this sense, maybe not ruined, but left me utterly unprotected. I used to be a bad boy, that was my shield, that made me bold. And unfeminine. Now that mask is off, I am back at my original shyness, which I have never actually worked to overcome and it’s being nothing more but a backstabbing bitch.

And if by any chance you happen to have to play with someone who is introverted, reserved and shy like you, go figure, it’s a bull-fight. You know you have to talk to him, you know you have to let him know you, maybe give him an excuse to look for you, even propose to do something together, but you look them in the eyes and you choke. All topics and conversation starters seem to have migrated from your head, your line of thought feels like the main character in 28 Days Later, after he leaves the hospital: naked and alone in a deserted square in the middle of the city. Clueless. All the leads you can get never have to do with anything personal, so you can never move the conversation to the next level.

And then there is the pain. The pain of wanting someone so much and never seeming to take a step forward, the pain of knowing he likes someone else, the pain of knowing that someone else isn’t interested but they are still playing with them, the pain of knowing he is smart, cute, nice and rich but heartbroken, the pain of realising how much more you like him the more you know him, the pain of not accepting this situation at your age, the pain of not knowing what to do to change the circumstances, the pain of not knowing how long you’ll have to endure it and how many harder unexpected blows you are still going to get, the pain of not being able to tell him how much you care and how much you’d be willing to give him if he only let you.

So you try your best, and being the 16-year-old you still are at heart, your best is sending him a mix of your favourite songs, carefully avoiding the thought of selecting only the ones your heart sings along every time you think of him. But just one.