(Inspired by True Events shared by an old friend)
It had been 20 years since they had last seen each other; yet the memories were still fresh in her head. She had finally found him on Facebook, but lacked the courage to reach out to him. Today, she decided, that she would not hold back and finally give it a shot.
“Hi, I hope you remember me. We went to school together”
She was staring at the chat window; not blinking an eye; mind expecting him to not reply; heart waiting for him to. Time had never been slower.
“Hey.. hello.. of course !!! How can I forget you ??”
It had started as a high school romance. The innocence of youth and yet the bond strong. They called themselves soul-mates. She had been just recovering from a heart break when he came along. Just the shoulder she needed most..
Someone has professed his love for you on the school corner wall he had said. She had stormed there in anger, but ended up smiling when she saw his name. She hadn’t even realized when she fell in love.
“How are you? You still look the same.. haven’t changed a bit.. was easy for me to spot you”
“LOL. Just age catching up. How are you?”
“I’m fine.. where have you been for so long? You do know you bailed on me right?”
“I am so so so sorry for that. I really am and I do hope that someday you will be able to forgive me”
“Well I don’t know really. You sort of made a joke of me and then disappeared !!”
The memory, though painful, had never left her. He got her involved in a serious prank with another guy and then instead of stepping in and sorting things out; he was just gone. She was left alone to fend for herself, embarrassed, insulted & crying; and yet; he never came back..
She tried reaching out to him; searching him; but it was like he had just vanished into thin air. It had not been easy for her. She was madly in love and had always thought he was too; but now; she had felt like a fool, taken for a ride. The nights spent crying alone were a constant reminder of what she missed. Moving on wasn’t easy; especially when all questions were left unanswered.
“I know I was a jerk.. Someday hopefully you will give me a chance to tell you what happened… To at least be your friend again.”
Things were different now. They were both married with children and living their separate lives. Yet some part of them had always kept the candle burning. They did not stop talking after that night. From Facebook to WhatsApp and on to phone calls; they felt like kids again; reliving the old days. Miles apart and yet never alone.
“I am at the airport.. I really wanted to meet you before I left”
“Tell me about it. Couldn’t you postpone by 1 day? I am reaching there tonight !!”
“I wish”… her eyes moist..
“You never told me why you left? We were so happy together..”
He was sighing.. like he was about to confess a big mistake
“You remember my brother??”
“Yea I do.. he always hung out with my elder brother. He used to come home after you left.. Somehow I never had the courage to ask him about you. I didn’t even know if you wanted to be found”
“Well they found out about us.. and they didn’t approve”
“What the ??”
“Yea.. We were poor, your family was never gonna agree you know that. They kept threatening me to end it and I fought them.. for quite a while”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I tried.. but since they found out, they were always around me.. you think I wanted to avoid you??”
“But then you should have … we would have faced them together”
“We were just kids… I was scared and then finally they threatened to tell your dad; and that he would beat you and put you under house arrest; no more schooling; no more life.. I couldn’t bear that happening to you!! They forced me to set up that prank to break your heart and like an idiot I….”
“You did a very good job of it !!” .. she couldn’t fight her tears any longer
“And I have regretted it all my life.. If only I had more courage.. life would have been very different today.. I searched everywhere for you… and when I did finally find you; it was too late..”
“What do you mean?”
“I found your wedding card.. I came.. I had to see you.. and maybe try one last time to correct my mistake.. but you looked happy.. moved on.. all I could do was cry back home.. like someone who had just lost everything..”
Even he couldn’t stop his tears now..
“Please forgive me.. I left you behind all alone and helpless. I’m really sorry. I would do anything to make up for it !!”
“Then start with something you should have done a long back..”
“I … love you.. always did and I know I will always do..”
She said nothing after that. Wiped her tears and silently moved to board her flight.
A few months passed.. They continued talking to each other. This time they were in control. Even though they were married now and respected the sanctity of marriage; they still had each other.
She finally flew back in. He had no clue.. She wanted the moment to be special; when they meet; after so many years.. When she entered his office, wearing a beautiful white ethnic dress; he could not take his eyes off her. He just stood there, looking at her; his heart beating at a pace he hadn’t known in years.
Time had slowed down and taken him back all these years, to the time when they were together and made promises to be one forever..
She smiled; the twinkle in her eyes; a sight he would take with him to his grave
He wanted to hold her in his arms; hold her tight and never let go and yet somehow he was frozen in place.
She knew exactly how he felt. She wanted nothing more herself and yet she knew she couldn’t.. she shouldn’t..
“I came.. I just had to come.. I had to see you..”
“Wow… you are still so beautiful..”
“Careful mister.. you are a married man now”
“My bad luck !!”
It wasn’t the end.. It was a beginning.. Beginning of something beautiful. They knew they couldn’t be together and yet didn’t need to stop loving each other. Love does not understand rules, conventions. Love transcends it…
The found something special that day, a relationship that didn’t need desire, love that didn’t need reason; a moment to cherish for themselves and each other.. forever !!