Thinking back I remember how she flowed down the aisles. Tearing my heart out of my chest. Her smiles like blossoms.
You know I was not the smartest in the matter of these blood pumps. I knew her and felt something I couldn’t explain. I was sitting with her in her room, sharing our days. Oh yes, it was February the 14th. It was not because of love and neither because of attraction. It was like I had never done it before, I didn’t have a girlfriend. We didn’t have girlfriends in our days. For some reasons, she felt like the person to be with and without a sense and before I could talk myself out of it, I blurted it out. And guess what it was. It wasn’t “be my girlfriend” nor was it “I love you”. It was “will you marry me?”
This was just when we had begun our college. We went to different colleges. But we would meet at weekends and when we could. She was a good friend and close to me. She looked at me and stared. I looked into her eyes and fear rose in me that I would have to leave her gracious company. This was a mistake, I shouldn’t have said this. She kept looking.
Her lips quivered and she exhaled, “It is too early for us. Complete your college, finish your studies”. I couldn’t read her mind for mine was speeding to all thoughts.
I left her house that day and returned the next weekend. It was more of an impulse than real love that made me blurt out those words. I felt good that this mishap didn’t break our friendship. We talked, watched films and had the best days.
My engineering was coming to an end. I got a job through campus selection. I called her and told her.
Next day, I met her and exaggerated about how I had cracked the tough question at the interview and how I was among the few who got the job. She was calm for some reason and lost in thought. I was too occupied to notice at that time.
She moved next to me and said something. I looked at her puzzled. I wasn’t sure what she had said. It couldn’t be true, I must be mistaken.
She had proposed. And now was reminiscing how she spent long hours after I left, thinking about me and thinking of a life we could have together. I was distraught. My words from long ago had somehow taken root and from then she looked at me like I was hers. She didn’t know I had just blurted without thought.
Now it made sense that she was mad when I spoke of girls at my college and when I told her how I fancied that particular girl with rosy cheeks.
I said no. I didn’t have any other words. It’s amazing how much you could say and how much you manage to do. I left her there. Sitting on that chair next to the old table where we had spent several years doing our homework.
It was a loss. I couldn’t bear what my dumbness had done. Brought pain. I went home and messaged her something. She replied and I replied. This went on all night. It was the first time we had done this. We messaged all the time but this was different. We had never messaged through the night nor shared our hearts this way.
We messaged all day and all night. No one at home seemed to notice. We did the same thing the next day. Then something moved in my mind and I remembered I had said no.
Somewhere deep in my heart, I thought I was better than this, than her. I was an engineer, had a job in the most favoured company. Not to sound like a pig with a big ego but I felt I could find someone better. She wasn’t my destiny.
I stopped replying. She sent message after message. I didn’t reply.
My ego had taken a hold. She stopped. To this day, I wonder what she felt for she wouldn’t share those days with me. I left the city and was kept engaged with my new life. My new life was great. Away from home and all binds, I was the king of my life. All thoughts of her and her pain left me.
A couple of years later, I had made my mark and was soaring through my career. I was soon chosen to go to US for my job. Something I wanted for long.
Before I left the country, I went home to spend a few days with your grandparents. One day she came to my house. I felt guilty for not going to meet her. It was a long time since we had spoken. We had drifted apart.
The childhood friendship was weakened by the coming of youth. I saw the love in her eyes again. I acted as though I didn’t notice. We spoke and laughed. It was hard to sit in the room with her. She left.
The night before I left for US, she came to bid me bye. She and I found ourselves alone. We were silent. She spoke softly, “can’t you marry me? You know my parents have started searching”. I thought, how her life would change. How she would need to quit her government job and come with me to US and become a housewife. Leave her passion and life behind.
I was saved from telling her anything. The taxi had arrived and it was time to go.
What would have I said? Yes, I wish nothing else or no, don’t be stupid. Was it my ego that I could find someone else? Or was it a fear of what would happen? I didn’t want to discomfort by asking her to change her life and her job.
Before I could finish the story, my wife entered and told the kids off. It was time for them to sleep. And for me to lie away in my bed.
- Adapted from words of ....... May the name be never disclosed.