His name was Charles.
I met him during an argument in my lecture hall just after we had Professor Adim. I was what you would call a “bitter feminist” and a very active LGBT rights activist. He, on the other hand, hated feminists and was an unrepentant homophobe.
The debate was heated and everybody cheered on, listening as we assaulted each other with points and online references. He was a smooth talker, but an aggressive debater, and the duel ended with both of us seething mad and harbouring hate for each other. And to think he had the temerity to ask for my Whatsapp number and Facebook add. Nevertheless, I admired his guts and gave them to him.
Everybody knew me as the controversial, bespectacled pretty girl in school who regularly devoured homophobic and misogynistic elements I happened to come across in real life and on social media. That was until Charles added me up.
Charles – the dark skinned, toned, good-looking boy from the Creative Arts Department in school – was my exact opposite. We disagreed on everything and anything. He opposed virtually all my posts and comments on feminism and I opposed all of his. We met a couple of times after our initial standoff, and our meetings always ended in a fierce, heated word tussle that would eventually leave me drained and sickened because I would ended up wondering how one person could be this obstinate, stubborn, unbearably ignorant.
He never seemed to give up, never accepted reason and never got tired. I was unpleasantly shocked one night when we argued online about gender equality from 7pm till 12am, and the dude kept on coming at me without a trace of weariness. This was when I came to deduce that this guy wasn’t your average Joe.
I sometimes wondered why I even added him on all my social media accounts, the discontent between us was so palpable, it left me teetering on the edge of insanity.
Eventually, I started avoiding him, not because he was smarter than I – no, he wasn’t –but because he drained me emotionally. He could argue nonstop till I got fed up. His resilience was overbearing, and it didn’t only make me fear he didn’t have a life outside social media, it also made me suspect he was a weirdo. A boy who could type long epistles to counter yours and kept going at it even when it was so painfully obvious he was wrong?
I stayed away from him actively in school and online, I didn’t need that kind of negativity in my life. Maybe he got the point and slowly began to retreat from my posts, DMs and Whatsapp, and if he commented, I made sure I ignored it or outright deleted his comment. I couldn’t handle such aggressive, bitter person. And though I hadn’t yet summoned enough courage to wipe him off completely, with my new stance, he eventually got the message and stayed away.
I saw him in school sometimes and he was never alone, and by “sometimes” I mean, once in several weeks. But, I realised I couldn’t stop thinking about him, the only guy who had managed to argue me down to submission. He was cute too and as much as I hated to admit it, equally intelligent.
I began to regularly check up on his timeline for his latest updates, pictures and posts, then gauge the likes, reactions and read the comments. It disconcerted me that I would feel jealous whenever any girl complimented him on a post or picture. Once in a while, I dropped a ‘like’ but never commented, and he avoided me like a plague.
I also took strolls down his department to catch a glimpse of him.
Then I actually began to miss our arguments. Weird, right? Even worse, I actually began to want to be on his side, if only to have him agree with me for once. It even surprised me good that made me feel whenever I thought of it.
It didn’t take long for me to realise I had actually fallen in love with Charles.