*Victorian palace-styled buildings. Willow trees at every garden. Wide courtyards. Harvard was every bit as Kyle had imagined it to be. A place too gorgeous to school in, Kyle marvelled at the beauty of the college. He felt like he was in a dream.
Ever since his mother left he had always felt that he’s living life like a dream anyway.
Kyle gazed at the people in the campus. I’ll be studying with these geniuses. The mere thought of it made him shiver. He became afraid that he wouldn’t be able to keep up with the lectures, or compete with his rivals. But there wasn’t a need to worry about that at this time. School term had yet to begin anyhow. He cleared his mind of all the paranoia and made his way to the dormitory.
*The rooms looked more like mini apartments than dorms. Kyle could easily make himself feel at home. He put his luggage at a corner in his room and pounced onto his bed like a 5-year-old who had just reached home after a long day of fun. It felt like as though the room had been waiting for him for a long time; it had a surprisingly strong sense of nostalgia and deja-vu, like a lost-and-found home. He liked the smell of the newly washed bedsheets, the soft comfort of the bed, the fresh air… No, he couldn’t afford to be too relaxed. Kyle immediately stood up, rubbed his eyes, and reminded himself of his mission here. I’m here to be the top student, he chanted to himself. I can’t afford to be complacent. I can’t let Dad down.
And I can’t let Mom down when she comes back.
Kyle had overestimated the difficulty of the syllabus. He found it surprisingly easy to follow the lectures, and always finished his tutorials ahead of his peers. On top of that, he emerged as the top scorer for every assignment, project and exams. People approached him for advice on how to study, but he chose not to reply. He felt that his way of studying wouldn’t work for them anyway. ***So much for thinking that you guys are geniuses, Kyle felt smug with himself.
After one year of getting accustomed to his new environment, Kyle was able to breeze through college life effortlessly, securing high scores easily. He then began to work towards building a presentable portfolio. The Harvard Economics Department had teamed up with **Gordon and Associates, a leading economics analysts’ firm, to engage students in all faculties to help in researching on ways to extrapolate Third World countries from poverty. Kyle decided to sign up for the programme since the activities looked interesting, and working with a reputable company would also boost his portfolio.
A preparatory talk on the programme, **Project First World, would be held on the following month after registration had ended. It seemed as though the whole school had signed up for the programme, since everyone was talking about it excitedly all the time. Kyle realised that joining the programme wouldn’t be enough for his portfolio, because everyone would have the same thing on theirs. What the heck, Kyle swore in his head. He would have to look for other activities that would differentiate him from the rest.
LADY OF THE DREAMS
The day of the talk came, and Kyle felt incredibly restless. He had to squeeze through a crowd of overenthusiastic students outside the auditorium who wouldn’t budge even when he asked politely. It was like as if people preferred to be screamed at. He had lost count of how many times he had flared up with his schoolmates who kept blocking his way. The glaring sun didn’t help things either. What a total waste of time, Kyle got fed up with the crowd and with himself. He deeply regretted his choice but he couldn’t turn back now anyway.
After what seemed like hours, Kyle finally found a seat in the auditorium, extremely glad to escape the scorching sun and the stale crowd. He suddenly realised that he had been sweating profusely everywhere, and wiped the sweat beads frantically off his face with his sleeves. The two girls beside him looked disgusted, and Kyle felt disgusted with himself too, though he couldn’t really care less.
**Gordon Hankins, the chairman of Gordon and Associates, and the co-organiser of Project First World, began to take the stand on the stage, look at the excited, active audience, test the mike, and clear his throat several times, an indication that he was about to start the talk. Students took the cue and frantically scurried to find seats. When everyone had finally settled down, Hankins embarked on his speech promptly. He had barely said a few lines when the side door of the auditorium opened. Kyle’s heart skipped a beat, after which he began sweating profusely again.
It wasn’t the scorching sun or the hard-to-pass crowd this time. It was the entrance of the most beautiful and ravishing woman that Kyle had ever laid his eyes on. More beautiful than those middle-aged ladies that he had hoped were his mother. So beautiful that she seemed to dazzle, dazzle so much that she seemed to light up the whole auditorium brightly. It was so bright that Kyle couldn’t see anything or anyone else except for that woman who had just come in. He couldn’t hear anything else either; he couldn’t even concentrate on what Hankins was saying – even though he knew it was quite important to listen to the speech at the back of his head. Time had slowed down tremendously. Everyone else had disappeared (or maybe they’d never existed). Kyle had left the physical world and entered another realm. The whole world now was just Kyle and the heavenly woman.
Kyle had never felt anything like that before. Not with those middle-aged women, nor with any of his female acquaintances. No one else could make him feel anything like that.
Throughout the 1 hour speech by Hankins – what the heck was he rambling about anyway? – Kyle couldn’t take his eyes off the goddess-like lady. He had been staring at her going about her chores: arranging the chairs in front of the stage (a distraction to many guys in the auditorium, Kyle noticed), talking to random people (the guys she talked to got incredibly excited), preparing some notes (at the corner of the stage – no distractions there), typing some stuff on her laptop…. Then she began giving out pamphlets to the audience… And she’s giving them out down the row! She’d walk down the aisle, distributing those things, and eventually she’d reach Kyle, who was also sitting by the side! Oh damn! Kyle’s mind screamed at him. He got tensed up and broke out in sweat even more, when he thought about how it would be like to see her upclose, to feel her aura, to get a whiff of her perfume, to get those pamphlets from her, and to touch her hand by accident (if possible), to feel her…
‘And now shall we invite Ms Amber to brief us on the main tasks of the programme. Ms Amber, please.’
A round of applause broke out, and the fairy stopped the distribution of the pamphlets and walked to the stage. Kyle heaved a sigh of relief, and his mind and body relaxed. But at the same time he had hoped to see her closer. He wanted to examine her facial features better, to smell her, to talk to her, and perhaps ask her for her name in person rather than through the speaker (who was the speaker again?).
So Amber is her name…
*imagery of Harvard is not accurate since I’ve never seen the campus before
**names and situations are fictitious
***no offense of any kind intended! it’s purely fictitious ^^