Four of the scariest nightmares I can ever have.
Hi, I am Manav. And I have a fear of getting rejected.
Like most people now, I have an inferiority complex. But unlike most people, I admit, I have it. I can’t make eye contact with anyone. If someone looks at me in the eye, I look down or somewhere else. It’s not like I do it purposely. It’s just that I feel a little awkward, weird at that moment and I try to escape from that. I distinguish the people I talk with, to two different concentric circles. If you ask someone from each of the circle to describe me, they will portray two very different characters.
I don’t express much of what I want or what I feel. But I overthink of anything and everything. This is mainly because I’m afraid of being refused and rejected. This is how I am and I’m okay being that.
My everyday routine includes waking up late to the office, getting ready in a very short span and leaving home, starving. I go to a coffee shop that is nearby my office and have one large cup of coffee with extra added sugar.
Weekdays are busy and weekends are boring. For a year now, life hasn’t been anything else except for this.
4 weeks back, at the coffee shop, I saw someone. Someone attractive. Sitting there on the corner table, she was holding a cup of coffee, with a book in her hand. She looked way too interested in the book she was reading, one sip of coffee for every one page read. In this era of social media, to find someone with a book in a coffee shop is as hard as searching for alien life on earth, the odds are very little.
I know I was gazing at her, blatantly. She was beautiful and I couldn’t help it. I was already late to my office. So, I had to get up and leave. But I didn’t. I sat there watching her finish her coffee and leave. I was there till then. Something about her attracted me. I liked her.
Every Wednesday she would come to the coffee shop. I don’t know why, but it was the only day of the week that I could see her. So I’d wake up early on Wednesdays and leave home as fast as I can to get to the coffee shop and wait for her. This has been happening for 3 weeks in a row now. Life has been exciting these days.
Although we did never meet, seeing her made my Wednesdays feel like weekends, happy and peaceful. We all need that sort of a break mid-week, a weekend between the weekdays, don’t we?
But this week she didn’t turn up. I didnt get to see her this whole week. The entire week was dull and gloomy. Hours passed in minutes and days went by as hours. Do you feel that?
I missed seeing her.
I missed her. I was even mad at her because she didn’t show up.
But wait. I haven’t ever talked to her. So how can I miss her?
I don’t know. I’m not sure I can ignore her absence again. Maybe I should go talk to her. What can happen? If I can picturize and go through all the possibilities once, I think I’ll have answers for all the circumstances.
She is reading her book, sipping her cup of coffee. I get up and go talk to her. I say ‘Hello!’. She raises her head up, sees me, ignores my existence and gets back at reading. This can be slightly insulting depending upon the number of people present in the café.
She is reading her book. I get up and go talk to her. I say ‘Hey!’. She replies with a ‘Hi’. What should I talk next? About the book? No, I don’t read. Its not because I haven’t tried. But seldom have I ever read a whole page without falling asleep. So, first impression, we don’t share the same interests. What else can I ask? What if she doesn’t like to be interrupted? How can I keep the conversation going?
This likely doesn’t happen but still, there is nothing wrong in being prepared for all situations. She is reading her book. I get up and go talk to her. I say ‘Hey!’. She doesn’t reply. I raise my voice and say ‘Hello!’. She still doesn’t care. I try one last time with the loudest voice and say ‘Hey you!’ and everyone in the café but her, turns to look at me. The waiter comes to me and says “I am sorry sir, but she has hearing disability”. Audience laugh and there I make an exit. An embarrassing exit.
With computations all over my mind, I am not sure I should talk to her.
Wednesday it was and there I was, waiting for her. She came. She sat in her usual place, ordered her regular cup of coffee and started reading her boring book. I wanted to go and speak to her, ask why she wasn’t there last week. But I couldn’t.
Rejections scare me. I fear them the most. I say this knowing there could be spirits in the world awaiting in darkness, to jump scare and kill us.
I can just go and talk to her, I don’t know. I’m not sure I’d be able to handle the fact that she’s not interested in me. Maybe I shouldn’t go talk to her.
But what if, this can go a long way? I know I oscillate but still, there is a slight chance that she might be interested in me.
Amidst these thoughts, she had her coffee, completed her book and had got up to leave from the place. I know I can’t regret this chance. This can be the last opportunity I get.
But what if she ignores? I don’t care. At least I tried. It doesn’t matter what happens after.
So, I gathered all my courage, all my confidence and went straight up to the door and stood by the exit, obstructing her path. She walked towards me to the door. Seeing her walk towards me, I froze there standing, running through all the calculated scenarios, again.
‘No, I don’t want to be ignored. Maybe I don’t have the courage it takes, but I don’t want to be rejected.’
Thinking all this, feeling low I walked back to my place keeping my head down. I heard a voice, a husky voice. I turned to look back. There she was, with a big smile on her face showing all her teeth, whispering “Hey!’’