With editorial inputs from David Donkor.
He was pleased with himself for making it early to the classroom. The morning was good and the milieu, silent. It had rained the previous day, so the air blew humidly into the classroom, turning the peaceful ambience into a soothing balm. For the umpteenth time that morning he was grateful to be alive.
He was alone and the lecture would not begin for a half hour yet. This was a good time to think about Akos, the second year beauty on Continental Block. It was time to reflect, to take stock, and then to re-strategize how to win that lovely girl’s love.
The heart decides, but it is the mind that plans. His heart had decided to love Akos two semesters ago. His nerves, couriers for his heart, sent the message marked “Urgent” to his busy brain. It simply read: “I have found my desire—my missing rib,” and set his brain in motion.
It had seemed impossible. Akos was hard to get—a quintessential “no-go-area.” And, what is worse, she lived on the last floor of Continental Block, where male visitors are prone to surveillance from the lodge of her uncompromising Hall Tutor. That is not all. She was already in her second year, and he a mere freshman. She took her classes in the Faculty of Arts, but all of his were in the Science. How would they find common ground to meet?
When the heart decides and the mind is in motion a course is set to reach its fruition, finding avenues, exploiting ways and creating means. Thus Project Heart was born. He recruited friends to form a team: to review extant knowledge on the object of his interest, to consider the best methodologies for securing her heart and to estimate potential gains against his likely costs.
Project Heart recommended an expensive gift. It seemed a good start because it won him her time, and the more gifts he brought won more time with her—a visit this week, two the next, then three and more. Her roommates’ attitudes were encouraging and her reception wasn’t bad, she even offered to see him off—he jumped at the chance for a quiet night stroll–everything seemed perfect and according to plan.
Project Heart said it was time to spill the beans. The moment seemed golden. The stars were in the sky. Night birds tweeted him luck. Crickets chirruped a moonlight serenade. Shrubs danced around them like cherubs in the night. And when she stopped and said, “I have to go home now, this is how far I can bring you,” he held her hand and let out, “I love you.”
The whole world must have stopped to listen: the night birds, the cherub-like shrubs, the crickets, moon and the stars; all the members of Project Heart, ears intent hiding in the shadows; his heart, his brain and the nerves that had paired them in this mission. All waited an eternity of the second before she said . . .
“No, we can only be friends”
The mind makes the plans but when it fails it is the heart that hurts. His heart had lived the hurt but it still dreamed of living its hope, and if there was any sign of hope it was in the soothing solace of the classroom in which he sat, in the refreshing air the rain had cleansed, and in the simple fact of being alive for which he still felt grateful. He had loved and lost and lived to love again. Someday there might just be another Project Heart.