I said, “Well, I thought a lot of things. But mostly, I thought that your being sad was much more important to me than Craig not being your boyfriend anymore. And if it meant that I would never get to think of you that way, as long as you were happy, it was okay. That’s when I realized that I really loved you.”
She sat down on the floor with me. She spoke quiet.
“Charlie, don’t you get it? I can’t feel that. It’s sweet and everything, but it’s like you’re not even there sometimes. It’s great that you can listen and be a shoulder to someone, but what about when someone doesn’t need a shoulder. What if they need the arms or something like that? You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things.”
“Like what?” I asked. My mouth was dry.
“I don’t know. Like take their hands when the slow song comes up for a change. Or be the one who asks someone for a date. Or tell people what you need. Or what you want. Like on the dance floor, did you want to kiss me?”
“Yeah,” I said.
“Then, why didn’t you?” she asked real serious.
— The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
A book about high school life. About crushes. About sexual awakening. About growing up. About facing one’s insecurities. And this book, in one of its chapters, made me cry real hard. And there were many moments in the story when it made me smile and reminded me how it feels to be young and in love. The pain and exhilaration that are happening simultaneously when loving someone, when inspired by someone. The joys of friendship, the comfort of knowing that there are people who are willing to accept you for who you are despite your flaws, despite your mistakes. And the family that we never choose to be part of, only designated by fate, who we can be sure are the ones who will be there for us through thick and thin regardless of our sins.
Many books were written talking about the same things I listed above but what made this book extra special is Charlie. Who started high school awkward and scared, a mere observer of the things around him, only wondering about them. Until he got to meet Patrick and Sam. Until he got to meet his teacher, Bill. Until he got to meet other people that Patrick and Sam and Bill are acquainted with. Until he got himself into trouble for punching somebody defending another person. And along the way he learns many gems of lessons and realizations as a 15-year old boy who at that age knew already how it feels to lose a family member, who at that age had to cope with his despair over a friend’s suicide, and left with no choice, forced himself to “participate” in the game of life instead of being a mere observer, a mere reactor of life’s happenings. And I am happy to be a witness of this boy’s life who reminds me of myself. (Well not exactly but almost.) And we both like the same things—movies, books, and good music! And I used to give mixed tapes to my friends, too!
If ever I meet Charlie in person, I won’t think twice of befriending him. And I hope he will like me, too. And if he likes me, we’ll go out and watch a movie or just listen to music together. Then after that we will talk about it over a delicious chocolate-flavored cake or dessert which is my favorite.