Chapter 4:

Fateful Encounter in the Library (Part 2)

Would You Paint My Dunk


Between the shelves, we were talking about a few random topics. We whispered as we spoke, partly because we didn’t want to disturb others, partly because we didn’t want to get kicked out of the library.

After a while, she looked at the basketball book in my left hand.

“Oh, you’re reading basketball books? Well, you are a basketball player, it wouldn’t be surprising if you looked at them.”

“Yeah, I chose to attend this university because I heard that many basketball draftees come from here...”

“Sorry, what are ‘draftees’?” She had a confused look on her face. “I’m not familiar with the term.”

“Well, do you know regional basketball teams in the U.S. that play on TV?”

“Ah, like Silver State and Green Deers? I saw my dad watching the Silver State and Green Deers basketball match on our tv.”

“Exactly!” I confirmed her guesses with excitement.

“So, to join those teams, you need to participate in a nationally scaled annual competition to be scouted by them. It’s called the Draft. People that enter the Draft are called draftees.” I explained.

“Oh, so draftees are like the new recruits for those teams?”

“Not quite. Technically, draftees are those who had the chance to get a contract with those teams. Top draftees are the ones that make it. I wanted to play with those teams, so I need to get drafted, no matter what.”

“Amazing! You already have a clear path and are committed to it.” She congratulated me with a smile.

Her words flattered me. She didn’t know that I was just getting started.

This is just the starting line.

I scratched the back of my head as I responded to her.

“Ah, I’m just at the starting line. It’s not like I have pulled ahead of everyone.”

“But at least you have a path laid in front of you, and you just need to do it. Me? I don’t know what to do in my life…”

She got a frown on her face, and her tone was tinged with sadness. Thinking about what she meant, I finally realized: She is confused, unsure of what she would become.

I know, the future is full of uncertainty, which makes us anxious, awaiting what’s to come. What path to choose and what career we should pursue, it’s all echoed in our head, questioning if we made the right choice.

Thinking about it would make our heads spin. Even if you make a blueprint of your future, it could go wrong at any time, rendering all our efforts for naught.

However, no matter how blind we are, no matter how uncertain the future is, we must keep moving forward. We can’t just sit and wait for miracles to happen. We need to start doing something.

Nothing done, nothing changes.

I had been in her position, so I knew exactly how she felt. With all these thoughts, I decided to encourage her.

“I used to be like you. It’s not like my situation is any better than you now. I still need to earn a spot on the university team.” I scratched my head as I was talking to her. “But still, we must start somewhere. Nothing in life comes easy, you know?”

Ending my sentence with a shrug, she snorted a little, lifting her sadness a little bit.

“I see. Thanks, I feel a little better now.”

She suddenly smiled. Her expression changed swiftly, pretty much like a switch had just been flipped.

“Well, good luck on your basketball journey, Keith! I’m rooting for you!”

I snorted in reply. Despite whatever is troubling her, she still smiles and roots for someone else's happiness. Her simple encouragement lit the ember in my heart, steeling my resolve once more. In my sense of gratitude, I decided to thank her.

“Thanks.”

As we talked to each other, we started sharing more about ourselves. Somehow, I felt nervous when I introduced myself to her, and I ended up telling her my full name. Following my introduction, she introduced her full name as well.

Her name is Jessica Lawrence, and she is on different faculty. She told me that she studies economics, which is strange to me as she was reading books about art and painting. Knowing she must have her reason, I decided not to inquire more about it.

After we finished our introductions, we started discussing other things. From the university ceremonial speech, the topic derailed so quickly to the point that we talked about cheap restaurants nearby.

One hour had passed, and it was almost time for us to get going for class. She checked her wristwatch, realizing that she needs to go soon.

“Hey Keith, it’s fifty past twelve, our class will start in ten minutes.”

Surprised that one hour has already elapsed, I realized that we need to end our conversation here. I would be late for class if I don’t stop now.

“Oh, right! We need to go.”

But before I could move an inch from the place I stood, she asked me a question.

“Hey... If you don’t mind, can we exchange instant messenger IDs? I’d love to continue our conversation later.”

Wait, is she hitting on me?

Hold on, calm down, don’t get ahead of yourself. She probably sees you as a good friend and nothing more. Take it slow and accept politely.

We took out our smartphones and exchanged messenger IDs.

As I saved her contact, my heart jolted. I couldn’t believe I obtained her contacts so quickly. After all, it was my first experience befriending a girl. What can you expect? My past friends were all boys.

However, my excitement was short-lived, as I remembered that I needed to attend class soon.

Putting my book on the shelf, I realized that hers was placed relatively high up. She couldn’t take it off the shelves, let alone put it back. Feeling the need to help her, I asked her if she needed one.

“Hey, I can put your book back up there, do you need help with that?”

“Sure, thanks.” She smiles as she offers the book in her right hand.

Taking it off her hands, I stepped on the wooden stool again, returning the book to its original position.

“Okay, that’s done. Let’s get our ID cards from the receptionist and go to our classes.”

“Keith, thank you! You can text me later.”

Wait a minute! Did she just permit me to text her? Ahh!!!

This is too much for me! I want to scream, but this is the library… Ahh!!!

Keith! Get a grip on yourself! You need to go to the next class now. Focus on retrieving your ID back and walk to the next class!

I almost screamed out as I held my internal scream to myself. She is the first girl I ever friended, and I couldn’t hold my excitement to myself. If this were not the library, I would have already roared like a lion.

While I was still organizing my thoughts, she left and walked to the receptionist. She quickly retrieved her ID card and went on her way.

I tried calming myself down by taking three deep breaths.

Calm down, take a deep breath, and out… There’s a class soon. You have to get ready…

As I found my inner peace, I approached the receptionist and politely requested my ID card.

“Excuse me, madam. I want to retrieve my ID card, please.”

“Oh, you didn’t borrow anything, did you?”

“No, madam. I was browsing around.”

She turned around and retrieved my ID card from a locker.

“Here’s your ID card.” She handed it to me.

“Thank you, madam.” I expressed my gratitude as I left.

I wore my ID card necklace as I headed toward the next class. While walking in the corridor to the B building, I was shocked as I saw the girl that I met in the library now standing next to a wall.

She held her smartphone in her hand, listening to the sound the device emitted. Even if I can’t hear what the phone call was about, I could tell that she is getting bad news. She frowned in silence, which made me want to console her.

But I realized it would be rude to pry from her. I couldn’t bring myself to approach her.

In the end, I decided not to intervene and left her alone. With my class starting soon, I quickly averted my gaze from her and dashed off to my next classroom.

Reaching my destination, I swiftly secured the back seat in the right corner. Placing my backpack beneath the chair, I rested my head on the table, saving my energy amid the noises made by my classmates.

An old lecturer came into the classroom and started taking attendance. Shortly, he commenced his lecture. Three hours of lecture felt so long, mainly because the lecturer spends half of his lecture talking about his life experience.

Fuck, I didn’t come to this class to listen to an old man’s rambling.

Well, whatever, it means there is nothing essential to note down, and I can leisurely pass the time.

Without anything to do, I started wondering if the girl I met in the library was also getting boring lectures like this.

Three hours had passed, and now it was almost time for the class to end. With my head full of basketball, I couldn’t wait any longer.

“Okay, students, that’s all for today. Class is dismissed.”

As soon as the lecturer ended the class, I dashed off out of the classroom. My hands are itching, craving some basketball action. I can’t wait to start my basketball career at my university.

Soon, my chapter on university basketball shall begin.

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