You are in the open air parking lot of your high-school when you see her for the first time. You are drawn towards her—she’s the magnet, you are the metal. She has a name that you are scared to ask.
You see her again in the class—packed with a few hundred desperately inane students—the next day, and none of them matter to you. The sinusoidal wave equations, if at all you pay attention, dance funny. And in the next class, the one about the alcohols, phenols and ethers, you get up and sit three rows closer to her. The class after that—although you like limits and derivatives—is exhausting. The teacher doesn’t speak loudly, perhaps has a lisp, and the students—most of them—are either obnoxious geeks or teenage hooligans and you stay away from all of them. In fact, you stay alone, driven by an overpowering awe. Your admiration for her, from this point onwards in life, is laughable. Like your frayed and baggy, patchy jeans. Like your middle partitioned long hair. Like your cross shoulder unwieldy backpack. Like you!
You are awed by her for months, almost a year. A year and a half, maybe. You know her name now, you know she laughs a lot. You know, you aren’t the only one who is obsessed with her. You have overheard confrontations from some fuckboys in the alley. You have seen her name scribbled on the desks of the classrooms. You have seen her close friends being over-protective of her. You know she laughs loudly, maybe her friends are funny, maybe she’s always happy, or maybe she laughs only when you are around. These are just assumptions after all. You have never spoken to her. She seems unapproachable and you know you are still scared deep down. You have seen other guys being rejected, if not by her then by some other girls, so you are saving yourself from all the embarrassment. You know, you will never gather the courage to talk to her. And the day you do, pigs will fly in the air, in a flying saucer, full of Italian sausages.
It’s middle of the summer and you are in college fourth semester. You have found yourself some really good friends. You have learned a thing or two about life. Your hair is still long, your pants are still baggy and saggy and your backpack, although less bulky, is still off-putting. You have not changed much, except you talk more now. You’re quirky, funny and somewhat likeable. You talk quite often about her, to your really close friends and they laugh. They mostly make fun of you, but you laugh along. They have no idea, where you come from.
You haven’t seen her in almost two years, except for a few pictures from her school farewell days. Has she changed a lot? Does she have a boyfriend now? Which city is she in? Will she recall your face, if you ever bump in to her? Should you approach her friends? You keep wondering. Her face flashes in your head when you go to sleep every night and you wake up every morning, with a hope deep down, to see her, to meet her, to be with her someday. You play her smile in your mind over and over again—even when you don’t want to. You have no control over yourself. Your ego doesn’t let you hang out with girls who like you for who you are.
Years go by, you are smarter, sharper and more confident. You have acquired a few vices, but girls and casual sex aren’t any of them. Almost all your friends are in a relationship, even the ones who couldn’t talk to girls without stuttering. Even the ones who reeked like pigs. Get someone, they keep counseling you, like that would solve all your problems. Like that would make you forget about her. Like that’s what you are supposed to do. Get someone.
You know the city and the college she studied in. You know where she lives now. You have seen her pictures on social media, in tagged posts, in event photos. All that yearning for years, and all that undivided attention—multiplies, every time you think of her.
You don’t know what the future holds for you, but you for sure, do know, what it must hold for you.
Your friends have moved their cities and have left you alone. They, in this superficial world, “have a life”. Get someone, they still advise you. They must care for me, you think. So you finally listen to them. You do get someone. Someone older than you, someone who is not your type, someone you can’t talk much to for hours without fighting at least once, someone who is perhaps not meant for you. So it doesn’t really last very long. Of course it doesn’t, because it was someone, and not her. You shouldn’t have listened to your friends in the first place. You sulk for months, because although it wasn’t her, it was still your first relationship and it did mean a lot to you.
A few months have gone by since your last break-up and you are half as sedated as you used to be. You care less. Your vices are pretty strong. You listen to a lot of aggressive hate songs and you relate to each of them. You think you have learned all the valuable lessons in life, and that you will never make the same mistakes twice. Now, that you have nothing to lose, you make fun of Valentine’s Day and mushy talks. You make fun of love, you make fun of people in love, you make fun of the “idea” of love, and you make fun of people and their beliefs, in general. But you guard your own emotions quite well and get upset when your mockery backfires. You aren’t really that strong you realize, or you might after all, could have a soft-spot.
You do still think about her once in a while even now. You wonder if she even knows that you exist and if she does, will she ever acknowledge it, let alone falling for it.
Almost a year goes by and somehow, by the magic of the heavens, you two are talking—for the first time ever. You two are talking all day and all night. She knows everything about you, including your obsession for her and seems to be okay with it, maybe because you’re harmless, or maybe because she likes you back. You don’t know all that yet. All you know is that you two are more than just good friends. She tells you everything about herself and you of course tell her, everything that she needs to know—and more.
Valentine’s Day this year, does mean something to both of you, but neither of you want to accept that. Instead, she, is a bit tipsy this night and laughs (loudly) at your previous year’s misery. You make fun of her certain choices. You both are sort of—dating. It’s in the eyes, you can tell.
Few days from that day, you both are officially dating. Not a lot of people know about it, but that doesn’t change anything. You are happy, for the first time in your life. She seems happy too, in fact, she’s equally obsessed with you, as you have been with her for seven, eight, nine years or more.
You both talk music, movies, books and all sorts of things. She seems to know it all. But you never doubted that, she’s always been smart, sort of—at the top and beyond your league. You on the other hand, have been average and insincere at everything. Except at being obsessive compulsive at some particular unwanted things. You are kind of nasty at those.
Life is a fairytale with her. You feel like you have everything that you ever wanted. Years go by, one after the other, and even though your life, for the most part, isn’t going that well (jobs, health, family issues, etc.), you are at peace. I have you, and I am happy. You tell her, if she points out the flaws in you or in general or in the future possibilities. It’s like you don’t want to address a lot of things. It’s like you’re delusional. It’s like she is your escape-ship from all the problems.
Valentine’s Day comes and goes every year, and you two are beyond the idea of a “special love day”. You both (or at least you) are content and don’t want anything more. In an over ambitious but an unadulterated way, you think this is what being eternally content must feel like. Some sort of Love-nirvana. So you start taking it all for granted. You start ignoring the signs, the deadlines, the past lessons.
You had sworn, you’d never make the same mistake twice, after your first break-up. But like the famous myth that the lightening doesn’t strike twice at the same place, you end up making the same mistake(s) again and again, disobeying your own promises to yourself. Distancing yourself from the plausible fixes. Trusting a little too much.
You are on a treadmill—sweating. Fuck it, let me get that six pack (or at least four of those), you lie to yourself. Let me lose all that flab, let me drink green tea, let me listen to the rock songs, let me be a bit like her. She has moved on, you have moved on. There are voices in your head, mostly your own, that tell you, that she is stupid. Why else would she do that?
You replay the fights in your head, you try back-tracking the loose tags—looking for the traces to find the missing pieces of the puzzle. Where did it all go wrong? What’s the point now! You tell yourself. Your head spins, like you have a disease, maybe you do. You sweat more than everyone else does on an average, you never used to before. So what changed? You’re a bit shaky all the time. What’s that about? Are you going to have heart attack soon? Or is it a nerve disorder?
Your vices, in the recent months have tripled, in amounts and types. You come home every night, pass-out, wake up the next afternoon and roam around half conscious, half sedated. You are overdoing it, your friends (new friends) tell you.
Okay! You mock them. You like being alone, you go mask yourself in solitude. You go to the mountains, you go to the rivers, you go for treks. You grow beard, you smoke pot, you listen to the hate songs all day all night, you stare at nothing and breathe pernicious fumes, you have sugar cravings, you gain a few ounces, you buy new clothes, you take long walks, you watch psychological romantic thrillers, you write dark notes. You aren’t proud of any of that, but you don’t have any regrets either, so you do it anyway.
You aren’t well, some girls tell you. You act like you don’t know what they mean, but you know exactly what they mean. You are aloof, possibly have an ADD. You don’t care, not for a single of them. The fat ones, the slim ones, the young ones, the old ones, the pretty ones, the not so pretty ones and everyone else, all around the world, are all in the same bucket for you. The bucket that has no love in it. How fucking sad is that? You often question yourself. Very, is the instant answer you get. It will never be the same for you, you know that much.
It’s a phase, you’ll be fine, someone tells you. One day, you’ll look back and you will be happy. Everyone around seems to have genuine concerns for you, but you want to tell them to shut the fuck up. You don’t do it, because it’s rude. But that’s what you really feel.
It’s that day of the year again. Love birds are flocking in through the door in numbers, in this coffee shop; holding hands, kissing in the dull corners, being mushy when no one is looking. You are somewhat jealous, but you hold on to that cynical urge of yours and quickly jump on to judging the genuineness of their love. More than half of these are going to go down the shitter, you predict—although you have no rights to do so. You couldn’t predict any better for yourself. Could you?
You look at your phone, at one of her old pictures, and there is a gust of emotions (as usual) driving you back to your life’s journey so far. A journey of over more than a decade.
You want to say so many things to her. But mostly good things, you don’t hate her after all. On the contrary, you still love her and you wonder if she loves you back. Or if she ever thinks of you. But starting such conversations is not only hard, but also pointless. Why would she even entertain such questions?
So instead, like an absolute fool, you send her something; a picture, a postcard, a greetings card, just a photo. You are not sure what it really is.
It’s alright, you tell yourself. After all, it isn’t a love card, it doesn’t say anything, it’s not really a big deal, in fact, it doesn’t even have a heart on it.