People usually have stories to tell. About team events and sports. About shared moments and memories. About those who bring smiles in the shower and other odd places. Some, however, have always looked in from the outside. They’ve been invited only to be uninvited. Included only to be excluded. These individuals dream about a specific kind of bond. One that doesn’t happen to just anyone. A call from destiny, if you will. A call only the individual and their destined companion can answer.
Ram is one such individual. It was forever ago when he first felt like an outsider. The cricket ball had left the playing area and he was to retrieve it and throw it back to a fielder. As it turned out, his throwing arm needed work and the ball dropped just short of its mark. But that was all it took for the others to flag him. Cricket was never again the same for Ram. These incidents relegate one to their rooms where all they can do is reflect on the had-beens and what-ifs. So it was with Ram. In his room, he conceived of his first ever social ambition, to one day be “unflaggable” by society.
Then came Pokemon. Every time Ram watched Pokemon, he was drawn to the bond between Pikachu and Ash. For Pikachu, there could be no other Ash and, for Ash, there could be no other Pikachu. Any others, no matter how close to Ash, such as his other pokemon and friends, would always be outsiders, looking into that special relationship that they would never have or understand.
Pokemon was followed by many other shows depicting similar special relationships. In the end, it didn’t matter to Ram whether the whole world didn’t want him. It only mattered that one pre-destined companion shared something so special and unique with him that no one else, no matter how close, would ever be able to replace him.
Throughout Ram’s highschool, the more he got along with people in general, the higher his chances were of finding that special connection. Thus, social desirability was but a means to an end. But it didn’t come without costs. Every instance in which Ram felt socially undesirable, he etched it to remain in his memory forever. Eventually, there came a time when he became acutely aware of all the ways in which his social desirability could be threatened.
Around age 18, Ram met a girl named Riya. Riya was the only one in class who loved board games as much as he did. So they started getting together regularly for gaming sessions. Ram particularly loved a cooperative game where the players took on superheroes to fight against a common villain (played by the game). Riya enjoyed that one too, but she enjoyed competitive resource trading games even more. In the end, except for the superhero game, Ram ended up following Riya’s lead for the games to be played at their sessions. But that was okay. He quite enjoyed her choice of games too. It wasn’t long before they became special companions. It was smooth sailing for a long time. About 3 years. One day, Riya wanted to expand her gaming network. So she asked Ram to come with her to a board gaming meetup. Now Ram had social anxiety for reasons previously mentioned. But for Riya’s sake, he said yes. That’s when the trouble began.
For some strange reason, Ram felt betrayed every time Riya had a good time with someone else at that gaming meetup. It was the damnedest thing. It drove Ram wild to the point of him accusing Riya of flirting with other men. He knew it was wrong, but it was like an animal inside him was just waiting to pounce. A pikachu waiting to thunderbolt anyone who dared to take away his Ash. Before long, this behavior damaged the relationship. Eventually, Riya told Ram he was psychotically possessive and a bad person overall for trying to make “everything” about him. Ram lashed out himself. He didn’t think he made everything about him. He also recalled apologizing in each instance that he did do it. Still, all the fighting put both of them on edge. Soon enough, it was over. They had broken up.
Ram didn’t change. What Riya called possessiveness, he called a right to have that special bond where nobody could replace him. He generally maintained a distance from friends because there was always the possibility of him being flagged by the group, and now, he also had a botched relationship.
Today, at age 26, Ram is a lonely man with no friends and a string of failed relationships. He isn’t convinced that he has to change in order to find social fulfillment. He will wait as long as it takes to find social fulfillment his way.