Friends – they make up our lives. They complete us, understand us, and make life worth living. This one’s a tribute to someone special. Not a best friend, neither a boyfriend. This post is about someone different, whose friendship with me is inexplicable. What equation I had with him, I still do not know but his presence itself was different. Better. Worse. But different.
My life has always been a circle. Round, closed on all sides, secluded. The few people I am really aware of are my friends and family. Apart from them, everyone else is unknown to me. Neither do I go ahead and talk to strangers, trying to make friends, nor do people take the initiative to talk to me. So yeah, that’s what my world is. Friends. Family. Friends. Family. Add books, music, sleep and good food to the list. That’s all I need for paradise.
So, my simple yet fun life was going on right on track when, enter ‘him’. My neighbor. And also, my classmate. The ‘Prince Charming’ for whom many girls in our school were waiting for. But for me, just a new headache I had to put up with in the form of a neighbor and classmate.
My mother sent me to their house one fine Sunday (before I met him in school)to ‘get to know them and welcome them to Mumbai’. I agreed after a bit of arguing and went and rang their doorbell. The door opened and he appeared. He was tall for his age, and the first thing I noticed were his eyes. beautiful, grey eyes. He didn’t smile, he didn’t invite me inside, nor did he ask me why I was here for. He just stared at me with that shrewd look in his eyes as if asking me how the hell could I disturb him? Mean. And me being me, the silly me who gets pissed off whenever someone shows unnecessary attitude, snapped at him, said something I don’t even remember and walked up to my house and shut the door. Loudly. With a bang.
Day #1 : First Impression ~ Bad Impression.
Next day, next meeting : at school. I entered the class and there he was, sitting behind my bench. The class began. A pat on my back. He was asking for a pencil. When I turned, all of a sudden, he flashed his crooked grin, the grin I came to love over the months. And there began our everlasting friendship. It was not attraction or even a teeny-meeny crush. Not at all. It was something deeper, and that smile triggered something inside me. I laughed, he gave a short laugh and we were friends!
We started talking from that day onward. And once we started, we never stopped! I still talk to him sometimes in my mind today. We would talk about crazy, weird stuff, of everything under the sun and everything which could be talked about. Things which I had never shared with anyone became his secrets too. His fears, apprehensions, thoughts, ideologies, became general knowledge to me. My interests, hobbies, past-times became a part of his daily life.
We would talk the whole day and text each other when we were not together, which rarely happened. We being neighbors, usually studied together, even went out together. He taught me how to play football, and I taught him to read love stories. He made me listen to Metallica, and I showed him cheesy romantic movies. It was all equal between us – what he had, did, I also had and did. Time spent with him flew by, and yet I was aware of each passing day, not even realizing that time was slipping away. That I had less and less time with him.
Some people called it love, some called it madness, some called it infatuation, and others called it ‘trying to gain popularity’. But little did we care! Life seemed simpler with him. No confusions, no complications. Just a deep, understanding bond which we shared. I didn’t love him like I loved my other girl best-friends, but yet he was somewhat more special to me.
————18 months later————
Me. At the hospital. Not as a patient, though. I rubbed my tear-stained eyes and looked at the closed door of the OT again. My heart skipped a beat and I looked down again. His face came into my mind, and I let out another soundless wail. That day was a blur to me. I remember having said goodbye to him that day in the morning. He was going to school, whereas I had decided to bunk it in order to complete my homework. 6 hours passed sooner than I expected and after completing my homework, I took up a book and started waiting for him to come home.
1 more hour passed. Strange. Since he was supposed to head back home straight. I thought that maybe he was passing time with his friends. That was when my mother called. And from then on, time stilled for me. I remember my mother telling me that he had gotten into an accident, and that I was supposed to go to the hospital alone. I remember fumbling for the house keys with numb fingers, walking blindly through the streets looking for an auto. I remember reaching the hospital and being directed towards the OT.
Bus accident. We used to walk home everyday from school together but since that day he was alone, he had decided to take the bus. I silently cursed myself for not going to school that day and inside, I could feel myself crumble and fall apart.
Seconds passed like hours, and I wondered how time could torture me like that. The doctor finally emerged from the OT and I made myself prepare for the worst. However, the worst didn’t happen. He would live, the doctor promised though in what conditions, he still couldn’t predict.
————1 month later———–
I was sitting alone in my room. My books were around me, there was coffee on the table, a pillow in case I wanted to sleep and my cell phone and earphones beside me. Everything I needed was there, but not him. His absence was deafening to me. The silence in the room was too loud, too suffocating.
The only thing I was thankful about in the whole matter was that he had survived. He was alive, breathing and very much living. However, he had gotten some incurable biological-thingy in his system which needed special care. He could not talk properly, had lost a considerable portion of his consciousness and intellect, and things between us…they were just lost. And that was when his parents decided that they would shift back to USA, from where they had come. He needed special medical care and I needed him to get better. So I agreed, put on a brave face, and helped them get ready to get back to USA.
The day they were going back came soon. To relieve my heart of some of the pain I felt, I would often look back on all the memories we had together. He had come like a whirlwind into my life, shaken things up, messed up everything and too soon, too fast, was leaving too. Though his time in my life was short-lived, it’s impact was huge. And I guess the memories are all I have to cherish now. Nothing else.
He left that day. In his car. He was peeping out of the window, looking at me and just when the car was about to go around a corner, he smiled. A smile. That was how it had all begun. And that was how it all ended.
Thanks for reading.