This may sound like a “personal” story but it is not, since everybody knew about it even before she did.
Abu Shreek was admitted to the university. The most frequent question he was subjected to was "Sooo, how are the university chicks?". He took great offense to that inquiry, since his parents had the vision to have him attend one of the pioneer coed schools in his country, and believe it or not, he even had some really good female friends.
Abu Shreek did not appreciate the college environment that much, and that resulted in him confining himself to the same group he was familiar with since high school. He did not believe that meeting "new people" would enhance his "college experience".
Until one day he saw her in her athletic jumpsuit with a pony tail rising from the top of her head. He asked about her name and instantly recognized that she played for the national team. He loved sports. He kept an eye on her for a couple of months and kept thinking of a creative way to make her aware of his existence. He despised the common “by the way this is ….” introduction method, usually employed at JU in such situuations. He thought she was special, and he needed a special approach.
One day (November, 21st) he made an arrangement with a friend from school to help him take the big step. But unfortunately, she had problems with registration (registartaion day is groundhog day for anybody who attended that school), and the Rose was getting pale, so he decided to get his stuff together and approach her without the support of the friend. She was sitting under the tree in the middle of the “Square”, and he had been seeing her everywhere, to the point that it seemed like a good idea at the time, to address her with the line :
-Hi Hanna (obviously not her real name), can I please give you this rose!!
-Her : speechless, but accepting the red rose.
-Her fat friend : “ from who?”
-Him : from me, my name is ….
-Her : speechless and surprised.
-Him : just wanted to say hi in a different way.
-Her: slightly nodding, but obviously not happy.
-Him: walking away.
His friend finally showed up, and Abu Shreek asked her to go check on the mess he just made.
She checked with Hanna and her friends and informed him that he just embarrassed her in front of all six of her girlfriends. So, without reluctance, he trotted back to the scene of the crime and apologized:
“ I am really sorry, all I wanted to do, was to say hi in an unconventional way”.
The next time they talked, was two years later. He convinced a mutual friend (who obviously was unaware of the rose incident) to (re)introduce him to her, but she refused to even exchange pleasantries with him. In the mean time, she kept accepting the ice-creams and chocolate bars he sent her through the little kids who sold gum on campus. That made him happy. He attend all her games in person, (he likes sports anyway), hoping for a chance.
Abu Shreek believed in “Cherchez La Femme” in the sense that "Behind every successful man is a woman". Every accomplishment in his life was driven by a semi-fictional love motivation, and he was not going to stop now. She was everywhere. Some call it Platonic love, but he always created his fictitious parallel universe and treated it as reality. He remained faithful to her illusion through years and years (honestly, only around 4 years). He dropped a dozen roses in front of her door on every birthday. (Since hers was one day before his (what a coincidence!!)). He sent her cards explaining the trifles of his genuine emotions, but he always managed to keep an appropriate distance, to avoid ruining the “thing” that helped him survive through the misery of 18 credits a semester.
Until the “university community service” program, and her final appearance in a national tournament “reunited” them, just like he imagined in that little mind of his. One evening, he picked her up, and they went to dinner. (actually, it was around sunset, since it was during Ramadan, and they were both fasting ), and it was OK. The next “meeting” was a year later, for dinner and an ice-cream treat to follow. But unfortunately, Abu Shreek (now graduated) realized that the whole “thing” was nothing more than his own “Pygmalion”; that same exact one that helped him get through every key challenge he faced. Nonetheless, it was Good Times.