Shengliver’s Note: This letter was written to one of my boys in the spring of 2008. During the amorous season he could not help but be attracted to a girl in the class. This term a number of boys and girls in my two classes are cast under the spell of their hormones. They are lovesick. The symptoms are severe: Some lost their appetite; some sleep; and some temper. In one extreme case, a boy has turned misanthropist. Feeling betrayed by everyone, he cocoons himself in his own world. I hope the lovesick read this letter to John should they happen to come to the garden. Shengliver’s message then should still hold true today.


Dear John,


pen and paper 03Thanks for your confidence.


What you told me in the letter is reminiscent of my high school days. Before I venture to offer you any advice, I would like to share with you my first romantic experience.


I thought I had a crush on one of my girl classmates when I was in Grade 3 Senior High. I didn’t know why, but she always caught my eye. I was born of a peasant family while she came from a richer one. I was shy and timid while she was self-assured. Smartly dressed, she walked gracefully, though her academic studies were in a mess.


Life in the last year of high school was difficult and dull. Swotting in the classroom all the time and being subjected to a lot of pressure made me unhappy and miserable. I had troubled sleep. My mind worked painfully slowly at times. At one point I thought I was suffering from depression or some other psychological problem. Probably this mind-numbing existence of mine helped magnify the girl’s charm. Everything about her was perfect, I thought then.


I was terribly shy, however. Then I blushed every time I talked with a girl. But I had to find a way to let the girl on my mind know that I LOVED her. Our class held a party to mark New Year’s Day toward the end of the term. After the party I stayed behind and slipped into her desk a Christmas card I had prepared.


The next morning, I kept an eye on the girl. When she opened her desk and her eyes fell on the card, she was a bit shocked. I noticed her blushing for a moment. Never before had we talked with each other. Neither had we been desk mates. Probably the girl was asking herself mentally, “Why did the stupid boy give me a card with some sweet words on it?”


She was kind to me later on in the remaining days of high school. But I never took the initiative in a conversation. When we ran into each other on the street, it was she who first said hello. I had a small problem with my blood pressure when all the students were going through the medical check-up before the national college entrance examination. The doctor said that my blood pressure was a bit too high. When she learned about it, she came over and asked me what was the matter. I was so touched by her act. That scene of the girl asking me about my problem is etched on my mind.


After leaving high school, we went to different cities for further education. I did not have chances to go and visit her. But I did write to her a lot of passionate LOVE letters. However, at this stage, I realised that she was being just a friend rather than a sweetheart. She was not keen on me otherwise.


Then both of us started work. She came to see me once and I even visited her family. But the story ended up there, and we went our separate ways henceforth.


She is not my wife. She is another man’s wife. She has her happy family and I have my loved ones. I had an awkward moment a few years ago. I was walking on a pavement, carrying my daughter on the back, with my wife by my side, when I came across her. Good Lord!


I hope, John, that my story can cast some light on the puzzle on your mind. Next, I will highlight the following points.


1. It is normal to find a girl attractive. If a boy finds no girl interesting at all, something might be wrong with him, I daresay.


2. We need to express how we feel. It would be a mistake to blame ourselves for feeling romantic about a girl. Being attracted to a person of the opposite sex is human nature. If you like, find a chance to go and talk with her.


3. Good feeling is not equal to LOVE. Most teenagers think they LOVE someone. The truth is that their sentiment is not love. It is just kind of good will towards the other person. If you learn more about the girl and yourself, you will end up changing your first impressions. You might say, “Oh, I like her. It is not love.”


4. Trying to suppress your romantic feelings is no use and no good. Feeling guilty is not necessary. It is not your fault. Humans are born this way. At the right age, we will act romantically, driven by some hormones secreted by our human glands.


5. If you take one step back from the girl and put your life in perspective, you will admit that she is not everything to you. Life is not all about having a girlfriend. We have other missions to accomplish, boy. How will I make a living? Will I become a scientist one day? And should I forget all about my parents and my siblings and my friends?


6. The girl you feel good about is NOT perfect. A person in love is blind. A person in love does not know it, because he is blind. If you feel the girl is perfect, remind yourself that this is not right. You choose to wear a rosy pair of glasses mainly because you are trying to idolise her.


7. To get a real picture of the girl, you will have to take off the rosy spectacles. Examine her up close. Do not avoid her; talk with her. This way your idolisation will gradually diminish and the mysterious female will shed the aureole about her.


8. If you fail to substitute a realistic picture for the rosy one now, then her imperfections will not dawn upon you until after your passion has waned or until you two tie the knot someday. A practical life in the world would show you two clearly what the faults are. But it would be too late, too late, John.


9. My final word is: Do not feel guilty about your feelings. They are normal. Go and talk with her if you have time. I am afraid that both of you would be too busy for that. Learn more about her and let her know how you feel. Find out how she feels about you. Keep in mind that life is more than love. Life is not 100% romantic. We have to eat and shit, work and rest, sleep and wake, and play it cool and play the fool. A balanced life is a happy life. Even if you love someone, you could still give your attention to your studies, your teachers and your classmates. Remember that infatuation is not healthy and hence must not last long.


Good luck, John. Gulp down some Wanglaoji (a Chinese herbal tea drink) and cool down. Have a sweet dream.




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