something like curiosity

I can’t believe it’s been 12 years since we talked about you turning the “big one seven.” Now looking at it, turning seventeen doesn’t seem so big anymore. It was a big deal to us back then though. It was so exciting I remember you thought the phrase “big one seven” was cool enough to share with a guy friend I didn’t even know you had, right in front of me after you just learned it. I guess hot guys get special treatment. I mean, I guess he was cute or hot or whatever, though I can’t really say because back then I didn’t know what those words meant. As a result I don’t remember too much of what he looked like, but he did have blonde hair and I had no idea you knew someone cool like him or hung out with boys like that. Because hot guys are always cool. I guess you wanted his approval that you’re all right.

“YuMin says I turn the big one seven,” you said to him.

You called him over first. He couldn’t really stand still. When he walked over, this was a turning moment for me. It was the moment that my studious Asian girl mindset began to crave something you had—the attention of boys. You didn’t know that, of course. I didn’t know that, either. But I know now it was definitely at that moment when you called a boy to come over and he came over that I was done being a nerd. I wanted to know how to flirt like the way you did.

Only, I didn’t know it was called flirting.

It was my first experience observing a girl friend get the kind of attention from an attractive boy that a girl would want, to feel attractive herself. That is what I wanted. I just didn’t quite figure out how to get what I wanted until college. Until I had other examples from girl friends. You were the first example though.

So I will always associate the number 17 with going up to a guy and starting a conversation for being in the same physics class, with playing ping pong with a guy and then asking him to have dinner right after, with smelling a sweaty white towel around a guy’s neck, with smelling the natural scent of a guy right after working out, with talking to a guy about playing the euphonium and finding out later the instrument looks like a tuba, with calling up a guy and asking to visit him in his room so he can play the violin for an audience of one, with giving a T.A. guy a Christmas gift of homemade cookies and most importantly of all, with becoming best friends with a guy who’s basically the male version of me.

It’s safe to say I like the number 17.

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