Chapter 17:

The Notification is Killing Me

Would You Paint My Dunk

After a while, I finally arrived at my house’s doorstep.

“I’m home!” I said as I opened the door.

And once again, my father is sitting on the couch. Still watching the television, he greeted me.

“Welcome home, son! Was it fun?”

“Yes! I’m glad I went and joined them.”

“Right? Basketball is life.”

“Ah, you two are basketball fanatics.” My mom shook her head as she looked at me. She is wearing an apron in the kitchen, talking through the distance. “Anyway, your dinner is almost ready. Please wash your hands first.”

“Sweet! Thanks, Mom!”

I swiftly went to the washbasin and washed my hands. With my hand completely clean, I sat at the dining table with my dad. My mom is putting down some dish plates for our dinner.

“Thank you for the food.” I clasped my hands before I began to eat.

As we ate, we talked about random stuff. My dad talked about the stock market, and my mom talked about UTube recipes. We had a heartwarming talk as the dinner went on.

After I finished my portion, I put the plates in the sink and went upstairs to the bathroom. I took a bath longer than usual, which erased the unpleasant sweating scent on my body.

While drying myself down with a towel after the bath, I suddenly got the urge to text her. Wrapping the towel around my waist, I walked into my room and changed my clothes with my usual sleepwear. No, I won’t chat with her with a towel on my waist again, I already learned my lesson.

Taking the phone with my right hand, I started a chat with her.

“Hi, Jessica.”

I stared at my phone screen, waiting for her reply. However, ten minutes had passed, and there was no reply from her.

Ah, she must be busy. I shouldn’t expect her to reply right away. After all, she isn’t a chatbot.

Tired of practicing basketball the whole day, I decided to sleep early. I threw myself onto the bed and put my phone away, closing my eyes to prepare for another day.

Just before I could enter the realms of dreams, the phone rang loudly with a message notification. Feeling excited, I opened my eyes and rushed to grab my phone.

However, I was quickly disappointed as I read my phone’s notification. It’s a message containing my cellular carrier’s advertisement.

Fuck! I was excited over nothing! Sigh… I should just go back to sleep.

I put my phone away, closing my eyes once more. And again, my phone rang out loud. Feeling irritated, I woke in anger, enough that I could throw my phone against the wall to shut it off.

Holy shit! What is it this time? Can’t you just fucking shut up? Oh, wait, I could just mute that phone.

My lips exude a heavy breath as I am trying to calm myself down. I know that I shouldn’t be angry at the phone, throwing the phone away won’t help me with anything. Instead of helping, it will actually hurt me because I would need to fix the broken screen if I did.

Grabbing my phone once again, I unlocked the phone to put it on silent mode. After looking at the screen, the thought of silencing the phone was completely gone from my mind. My eyes were brimming with happiness as I looked at her reply.

“Hello, Keith! Sorry for the late reply! I was doing my stuff. You know, my faculties gave me so much homework and I had to finish them early.”

Wait, homework in the first week? I’m glad my faculties didn’t give me one this week. Well, different faculties have different teachers and treatments it seems.

“Wow, homework for the first week? It sux!”

I typed my message quickly, followed by a bear mascot emoticon with a praying pose.

“Lol, I know right? It’s sux indeed! My lecturers are such a killjoy. Well, it can’t be helped. We need to finish the tasks given to us, right?”

She finished her reply with a bunny mascot character emoticon that is giving a thumbs up while winking.

“Oh, Thank God! I didn’t get any homework this week.”

Deciding to tease her, I sent a bear mascot character emoticon that is putting its right hand on his mouth, smirking devilishly.

“Ahhh! It’s unfair!!! I shouldn’t have joined the economics faculty! I hate math! Ahhhh!!!”

With the night still young, we chatted to each other until it was Ten PM. As the moon ascended in the sky, we said our goodbyes and prepared to sleep. However, I recalled what Carlos had said earlier.

“There’s no way a boy like you approached a girl just to make her your talking buddy”

The thought of it made me wonder to myself.

How do you define love? If you said that it’s about interest in the opposite gender, then how do you define a friend? This situation is more like a friend than a crush, wouldn’t it?

As I guessed, I didn’t think of her as a love interest, but as a friend that I love chatting with.

Pondering myself, I realized that I don’t have many friends. Of course, as I have only one girl as a friend, Carlos will think that way.

I remembered my mother’s advice a few days ago.

“You should have made some friends…”

With that, I decided to try to make some new friends when I get back to the university. By the time I fell asleep, the moon had fallen into its slumber, and the sun had risen like a phoenix in the morning.

I spent my Sunday practicing alone in the park, repeating what those seniors had taught me. Honing my skills for hours, time flies quickly as the evening sets in. However, as I trained more than Saturday, my water bottle was emptied before my training session was over.

Feeling thirsty, I decided to end my practice early and go to the convenience store to buy a drink. Arriving in front of the building, the door slides open automatically, welcoming my existence inside.

However, I never expected that I would see her here. Yes, I didn’t mistake her. I saw Jessica Lawrence carrying a grocery basket in front of my eyes. At the sight of a familiar face, I decided to greet her.

“Hi, Jessica.”

She turned around. Looking at me, she had a shocked expression on her face as she jolted backward.

“Oh! It’s you, Keith! You surprised me!”

"Sorry! I thought I'd say hello when I saw you." I scratched the back of my head.

Looking at me, she sighed in relief.

“Ha-ah, I mistook you for those pickup artists. They were so persistent.”

I was half surprised to hear that she was being hit on. No, I'm not really surprised. After all, her pretty face and slender figure would be enough to justify those people to get their hands at her.

Still, I didn’t want her to look at me weirdly, as if I knew that this is bound to happen. And so, I tried to act surprised as I replied to her.

"Wait! Are you getting picked up?”

"Yes, that's why I shop here instead of my usual supermarket.”

“Haha, I can’t blame them. You are such a beauty after all.”

I could see her face turning red, flustered hearing my flattery.

“K-Keith! A-Are you trying to hit on me too?”

“Nah! I'm not looking at you in that way.” I chuckled “I’m just saying that you’re such a catch. You know, I’m wondering who will eventually get you.”

“Oh my gosh! Keith! Even if you say you didn't look at me that way, you do a better job of sending a girl's heart into the clouds than those guys.”

“Ha-ha.” I chuckled again. “But I didn’t lie about that, you are a pretty girl, so…”

My response was cut by her, whose face was red like a tomato.

“Keith, what are you doing here?” She diverted the topic.

Realizing that she must not be comfortable being flattered, I decided to stop and just talk like a friend would do.

“Me?” I pointed to myself. “I’m just here to buy some drinks. Just finished my basketball practice session and now I’m thirsty as hell.”

“Basketball practice? Heh, it’s so like you!”

“And so are you! Look at your painting tools in your basket.” I pointed to her basket.

Her basket had a lot of painting stuff, from brushes, paint inks, and a white plastic palette. Considering her hobby, it is no surprise that she would buy these kinds of stuff.

However, what amused me is the fact that this store actually sells them. I never expected a convenience store to sell art tools. Big supermarkets, maybe, but a convenience store? That’s something.

It’s just like she knew that this store was selling the tools in advance.

Before I could think about it too much, she let out a loud laugh that snapped me back to reality.

“We can read each other like a book, huh?” She giggled.

“I suppose so, haha.” I giggled back.

“Anyway, I will go to the cashier to check these items out. Just text me later if you wanna chat.”

“Sure, I also need to buy a drink. I’ll be right behind ya.”

I took a sports drink out of a showcase cooler and lined up behind her.

And so, we queued at the cashier, checked out our items before we went home. After I took my bath and dinner, I threw myself to the bed, chatting with her again until ten pm before I fell asleep.

The dawning sun in the morning marked the beginning of a new day. With the curtains unveiled for the new week, I got up early and did my daily routines. This time, I managed to jog in the morning again and went to university thirty-two minutes early before the class started.

The classroom was void of people. I dropped my backpack in my usual seat and sat in silence. With no one in sight, I cleared my throat, awaiting the other students to come.

As I waited, I pondered what topic I should bring into the conversation later. I wanted to prepare some materials to bring up so I don’t fall flat when I’m trying to socialize later.

However, after a few minutes, I stopped as my brain overheated. The only thing that popped into my mind is basketball, nothing else.

Sigh, I guess I’m really a basketball maniac.

I waited cautiously at my desk, and my heart was shrouded with anxiety. I could only hope that a guy like me could make some friends.

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