I fell in love for the first time when I was 10. All other memories from that age is pretty vague, yet this one is clear.
I used to come home from school by a school van. His house was on the way. I didn’t know him, neither did he. He would come out everyday at the time our school van passed by his house and would stand at the gate. He would tease me by calling me some weird names. I don’t know why out of all my fellow classmates he chose me whereas we had never met before. I used to get very angry; I would turn my face away to show my disgust. It was more embarrassing as my classmates used to laugh at me. I was pretty mad at him until one day when I didn’t see him standing at the gate while our van passed by his house. My classmates were busy chitchatting, but I kept staring at the gate of his house expecting he would come out until his place was out of my sight. It was a queer feeling since I had never experienced that before in my life. I hardly knew how to spell ‘expectation’, let alone realizing I experienced it for the first time with a stranger.
Next day, he showed up while my van was passing by his place; he had a wide grin on his face. I gazed at him; this time I didn’t care to turn my face away. I still don’t know why. He didn’t tease me that day. By the time I reached home, I understood I was in love. I ran to my room, took out a notebook and scribbled – ‘I love you T…’ . Huh! it was a wonderful feeling. I still feel it when I look back on that day; it was like when the first drop of rain fell on your face, or the first wind of spring blew your hair.
But quite naturally our budding romance did not last. I changed schools and our paths never crossed again. It didn’t hurt me though, as I had no expectations of commitment, or that of waiting for each other. I didn’t expect a ‘forever’ kind of love. I moved on and I believed that he did too. I didn’t share that feeling with anybody ever for I myself didn’t quite comprehend what name I should give to this relationship. My feeling for him was neither a crush nor an infatuation, it was beyond friendship and liking. But I knew that nobody would understand my feelings for him; I thought they would laugh it off. I didn’t want it to become a laughingstock.
5 years had passed. The memory of him remained buried in some part of my heart. One day I met a old friend of mine from primary school. We talked for a while; I asked her about our friends who I had lost touch with and then cherished the good old days. She was about to leave when suddenly she turned around and asked,’ Do you remember that guy…who used to call you funny names?’ My heart skipped a beat. I knew who she was talking about. My cheeks flushed; much to my surprise I felt like a part inside me was still waiting for him.
‘Hey what happened? I know it’s been a long time…maybe you don’t remember…’
I cut my friend off saying,’ I do.’
‘Okay. When I heard the news, the first thing I remembered was that he used to tease you a lot.’
‘What news?’ I asked.
‘He died in a train accident a couple of days back. It’s very unfortunate, isn’t it?’
Her words reached my ears, but I could not process them for a few seconds. I stared at her for a while as her words kept ringing in my ears. I could feel twinges of pain and sorrow inside, but quickly composed myself and replied,’ Yeah..right.’ I made sure my face showed no signs of misery.
Probably I lost nothing that day. Probably I did. I don’t know what or who I lost. I remember a line from my journal that I had written for him – ‘I may not love you forever, but I promise to never forget you’. – Chirasree, a dreamer