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It was almost 3 AM, and I was sitting among the disarranged monobloc chairs, and people were leaving. My hair was in a ponytail, a slight mess like it always is, strands brushing my face like I just got out of bed. Beside me was my friend. Let me describe what was in front of me: An interviewer holding his list of questions; a boom mic hanging above; the cameraman and his recording device; and the man I decided I would want to see  again after that day. His overbite smile and singular chuckle as he looked for a second to where I was sitting was enough to drown the voice of my friend who was telling me something, but I cannot remember what because I was not listening. My nervous self unknowingly smiled back.

Three months passed, and the plot which I primed myself to be familiar with has come to the inevitable point. I was careful with my heart, knowing sweet words were things he has said to those he might have loved or fucked. I made certain that his whispers did not mean too much to me, but eventually the words that came in one ear and out the other took a different direction and entered my bloodstream to affect me like any substance can. I was a seventeen-year-old again, turning the apple and refusing to see what was rotting here and there; I made sure the fresh crisp peel was all I can see. And I took a bite. I allowed myself to be special to someone again. It was a risk I was willing to take on again—letting a new person into my life, like one would open a door for a stranger to step into one’s home, going beyond the doormat that says welcome. I wanted to ask him who he is, to know who he is, to see who I am, but I held back from speaking my soul out of fear, out of logical excuses of the mind.

There were things I wanted to say—how I loved his eyelashes that pointed down, making his eyes look sad, delicate, but beautiful; that a month before his birthday I was already excited to get him a present, to write him a letter, to see him again and tell him how happy I am to have him around, to invite him to my home, curl up and talk for hours. But I only exist in one of the parallel universes, and to where I belong, he has decided to set me aside like a task and end a budding connection with an unapologetic lie—the funniest part that came with the twinge in the organ under my left ribcage.  And because the right time I was waiting for was not to come anyway, these words are only meant to be written, and maybe shared, but never spoken.

It’s the nicest word to use when you have nothing better to say. It’s tossed around often, but not as sickening as the very loathsome word ‘like’ in every, like, sentence—probably because nice is a subtle and indirect lifesaver. And just like a hanky or a skill, this word is very handy in various circumstances.

Mostly this word is used to deviate from awkwardness. Someone shows you a drawing, an essay, or even a masterpiece—and what can you do? You are just not as impressed as he or she expects you to be. Hence, this is your cue to say with a slight nod coupled with a smile (the degree of which is at your disposal), that’s nice!

Second, it comes in handy when in conversation with another, and he or she blurts out things like I have a bug collection in my drawer or I like bananas out of context. In fact, I’ve written about this matter before for a required blog in one of my classes. It’s a template of how to address this situation.

Here’s an excerpt from that entry:

“You always start off by looking into her eyes with your mouth slightly open. Softly say ‘ahh’ while she is still talking. Nod a bit with your mouth shut or your lips pursed until she finishes.

When she’s done, give her a blank face and follow through by saying either of these two:

  • Nice to know!
  • Good for you!

Say both if you wish. Next, you combine it with any of the following:

  • Cannot live without knowing that fact!
  • Very informative!
  • You made my day!
  • That information just made my day!
  • That’s so inspirational!
  • It’s an honor to be blessed with such information!

Say it like you mean it. I suggest you also use hand gestures and try to look overwhelmed by the information that has been imparted to you.”

Well, this is good if sarcasm is a better option. This actually started as a joke among my friends.

Moving on, nice is your best bet for lack of a better word, especially if you have limited time to respond. Nice building! Nice job! Nice sneakers! Nice top! Nice place! Nice haircut! Nice day today, isn’t it! There are also enough pop songs containing the word, which aren’t so bad. An expanded vocabulary would make for a smarter-sounding—although not necessarily smarter—conversation, but ‘nice’ is convenient enough to be understood.

Last, this word is used when you genuinely mean what it expresses. Saying it often doesn’t make it as detestable as some overused words, because injecting it into conversations can only mean two things: something really is nice, or you’re just being nice.  At least it means something, in whatever sense that may be.

I have nothing against the word nice. I’m actually grateful for it, as I use it as often as I described it in this entry. It’s one word that yields satisfactory results when socializing. How many words can do that?