The unfolding of all true love stories
Today I met him, the boy in the middle of this whole love story.
Back in eight grade of my schooling, I had a huge crush on him.
Actually, when I say huge, it’s a complete understatement. I had a gargantuan crush on that guy.
It was like one of those fairytale love stories your grandmother would have made up, to convince you to get married.
I believed in that fairytale. I believed in love, and him, just as much.
During my pinky frilly days (minus the pink and frill, realistically I was a tomboy), I was the goon in school, and a good one at that.
I bullied my schoolmates who picked on nice kids like me. You know the ones, spotty, wearing cheap plastic glasses that covered more than just the eyes, the whole face really.
As cool as we considered ourselves to be, in reality my friends and I were actually the dorky geeks of the school. My pals and I were uncool and shunned by the so called “cooler people”.
On the contrary, the teachers loved geeks like me. We had the best grades, the simplest hairstyles and we were the best-behaved children. But I was also good at sports. Sports were given a lot of importance in our school and sportsmen in my school were like the quarterbacks in Hollywood teen movies. They were the idols. My spectacles never came between me and my star status. Until I fell in love.
If you were to ask me about the whole deal now, I would call it silly.
But then, I never felt silly. It was a serious and dramatic chapter for me in my life.
The beginning of my true love story
I remember the day when I first saw him and it feels like it was just yesterday. My friends and I were walking on the loggia and then, just like in one of the H-Town mush movies, time just stood still. The dry leaves stopped in midair and so did the rest of the world. He was coming from the other side with his pals. He was so handsome, so dashing and so all that. Who was he? He was a senior, and two years older than me. I got to know that later that day.
Where there is a will, there is a way, especially when it comes to information. I was in eighth grade and he was in tenth grade. Wow! His class was very close to the ladies’ room. I started frequenting the loo so much that my teacher had to send me to the sick room to check if I had some bladder infection. She was right, I did have an infection. It was love.
Within no time I had all the information about him. He had an elder brother who was married. He lived near the city hall. And he went by the route ‘3’ bus. Sadly, I went home by route ‘1’ bus.
I tried going once by route ‘3’ bus. He was there, reclining in the back seats, talking and flirting with his girlfriends. It wasn’t a pleasant sight. To make things worse, going by route ‘3’ meant that I had to walk four miles back home.
I wanted him to know that I liked him but at times, I wanted the secret to die with me. Now I wonder if that was limerence or true love I was feeling for him. I guess there was that bit of girliness underneath my skin of a tomboy. How could I tell him, should I even tell him, and other questions along those lines became more important to me than algebra and differentiation.
I loved him, I was sure of that then. I wanted to marry him and live happily ever after. All this, without ever knowing whether there was a girl in his life or whether he would ever like me. I was pretty sure he would like me. He was supposed to. Everyone liked me. Why wouldn’t he? I could never summon the courage to tell him.
The days passed and I passed into my ninth grade. Now I was a big girl who was trying to hide the tomboy in the closet. I was a girl who was trying to be a girl. I grew my hair despite my battles with the comb. My skirt got shorter and my socks got lower. Although I wasn’t allowed to wax in my traditional school, I didn’t have to worry about that. I had great legs. I wanted to lure him with my beauty. I was beautiful although I wore glasses.
In ninth grade, my class ended up being the one opposite his and I didn’t have to frequent the loo to see him anymore. One time, he got a sty in his eye and I felt like I had one too, the whole week. I had two Valentine’s Day cards, two get-well-soon cards, and one Congratulations card when he won the Badminton’s Title. Although I never gave any of them to him. And how could I have given it to him, he didn’t even know that I loved him.
The first conversation of love
But I was certain that he knew about my secret love story, how could he not know that I loved him when the whole world knew it. The sky, the trees, the earth, my badminton racquet that I picked up when I knew it was his favorite game, and all my friends. How could he be so ignorant of my eyes which were so full of love and my heart which sighed every time I saw him?
I never tried to conceal my love, but I didn’t want to force him to love me. I had walked half the distance for him and wanted him to cross the rest. I knew he would come. Every year, a sports tournament was organized by the school and students from all the schools across the country participated in it. It was a big event in September. It was a very exciting experience and the perfect platform to meet new faces and a chance to express your crush, love and… whatever!
I was being desperate and itching to shed the goody-two-shoes. If only I could tell him, everything would settle. Feminism was in, a lot of girls ask guys out, and I was not an alien.
I made up my mind to tell him in the Badminton court. I had kept a nice frock for the occasion. I wore it, tied my hair in a ponytail, applied home-stolen scarlet lipstick, and my aunt’s heels (which were way too big for me). I was ready to dispatch myself for the mission.
He was there as expected, like the Prince Charming of Cinderella. And I was his Cinderella, only without the glass slippers. Or so I thought. I went to the court where he was practicing and occupied a corner. He was playing and I had to wait for him. He looked at me and I waved. He turned away, no hints there. I stood there for an hour and he was still playing. Why can’t he stop for a minute and listen to me? Maybe he wanted to meet me alone and so was pretending to play.
My mind was working furiously. But I could see that he wasn’t focused on the game as he was missing many shots. He walked up to me. “Hey, whom are you waiting for?”
“Y…ouu…” All I could manage to say, after stuttering for a minute.
“Me, why?” he asked in mock surprise. By then I had summoned all my courage, enough to tell him that it was important to talk to him alone and somewhere less public. So we were walking together. He was eying me intensely. I got the heebie jeebies, and yet, it excited me. It was a difficult walk, as my heels were too big for me. But I loved it, the walk. After walking a while, he stopped abruptly. “What do you want from me?”
“You” I blurted without hesitation. Cheesy and ego shattering, but what can a ninth grader say when all they used to watch back in those days was Animal Planet. He was amused. Oh wow, he likes me. “You are kidding, right?” he asked me. I could only shake my head for no.
“So is that why you’re wearing a Christmas frock in September and putting on scarlet lipstick. To lure me for a date? You look like a fool. Didn’t you see the mirror before coming here? Go home and put that lipstick in your locker if you want to attract a boy sometime in your life. You’re a child and I don’t date children.”
The end of love as I knew it
Snip, snip… with each word that he uttered, he was snipping away all the confidence I ever had. He walked away. I sat on the ground. I didn’t know when I got back home. I could never love again. I was shattered. A year passed but my love for him never changed even after his harsh words.
I loved him the same way I did the first day I saw him. That love had made me a real girl. My friends too had grown up. A very dear friend of mine used to travel in the same school bus as he did. She was more beautiful than me. And she didn’t wear glasses. She got friendly with him. It was done with a purpose to bring him to me. There was a ray of hope at last. But instead of bringing him to me, she hooked up with him. They fell in love with each other.
Time passed by and I really grew up this time. I passed my years with good grades. My friend and he were still together. I was still friends with her too. To pursue my education, I went to the big city where my parents lived. But the memories of my small town dorms and him were with me all the time. Could I ever forget him? When I first got to my parent’s place, I didn’t like the big city. It was just too big. And there were no things such as friendship, everyone was in his or her own boat rowing on to crush others.
A true love story rekindled
But then I clung close to my parents and I loved it. I was tuned to my studies and made myself forget the whole heart-breaking “trauma” of my teen years. Do you think I could ever make the folly of falling in love again? I never did believe I would.
But I did fall in love again. There was this guy, my neighbor. For the first time in my life I was a girly girl who actually was hogging all the stares of the men from Mars, and vicious green stares from Venusian eyes. For the first time in my life, I started flirting. “Harmless flirting”, that’s what one of my cousins called it. My neighbor was very handsome and I could say, quite interested too.
So we started our little game of “harmless flirting”. We would look at each other and smile. But there was nothing more than that. No words. He was good, with words (gestures actually, as we never spoke to each other) and I was mesmerized by his eyes. I never thought that I could fall in love all over again. I was a veteran in love long before it was time to be one.
I had left everything of my past behind, even the phone numbers and addresses of my friends. I was happy with my new found flirting partner. I had my future clearly etched for me. I would study hard as I always did, get a job and would flirt with him for a change, if he ever remained around that long.
I was going through a blank frame of mind for a few days and the occasional veranda flirt also failed to cheer me up. So I completely avoided going out on the balcony for two days. One time, as I was sauntering home after school, I saw him. My flirting friend. Whoa, what was he doing here? He waved his hands and gestured towards me. I felt like I was in a stupor, I went to him. “Where were you the last two days?” he asked.
So he could use his mouth to communicate. Interesting.
“I was wondering if something happened to you”, he added.
“No, I am fine”, I managed to say. It was one thing to flirt from your balcony, but a completely different thing to talk to him, that too in front of your school. “Wanna have coffee?” he asked all of a sudden. “Uhm, oh, ok” Whew, I could talk to him too, though in monosyllables. He took me to a café. I was on my first date.
My first date with love
My first date, and I was so not ready for it! There I was on my first date. The worst part was that he was looking so handsome. And he was talking to me like he knew me for years. I was too busy thinking. He was asking why he didn’t see me on the balcony the last two days. I just shrugged my shoulder and said, “Blame my shitty mood”. I couldn’t believe that I had cussed in front of him. Ding Ding! Minus two hundred points!
My first date was converting into a disaster and I was the jackass axing the branch I was sitting on. Believe it or not, surprisingly, it didn’t end in a disaster. He asked me out and we met frequently afterwards. He was pursuing a graduate degree. And I got to know much more about him and his family as the time passed. His name is Andrew. Not a romantic name.
But today I can tell you that he is the most romantic person in the world. He is responsible for bringing out the lost confidence in me and I am not afraid to be myself with him. He is mine and I could ask for nothing more. He proposed to me and it was the best day of my life. Of course, I accepted and we’re going to get married soon.
Just last month, my first crush tracked me down on Facebook. He got my number from one of my old classmates and called me up. He was in the city and wanted to meet. Why? Just like that, an acquaintance with an old friend was what he said. He was begging me to meet him. I told him that I would meet him at a café the next evening. I was so not looking forward to meeting him though.
When I discussed it with my fiancé, he told me to go and meet the guy. “Talking has never killed anyone and as long as your old love story doesn’t rekindle, I have no issues.” He was teasing me. That “old love story” had failed to revive after all those long years. I wasn’t even able to remember his full name.
After work the next day, I went to meet this guy. Surprisingly, I was able to recognize him. He hadn’t changed one bit. But something was different this time, I wasn’t feeling that tingle. Nothing. Zilch. It felt like he was just a stranger that I had bumped into for a conversation. Perhaps I had grown up or perhaps the pages of my love story were filled with another man’s name.
I wasn’t feeling any bitterness towards him either. The half hour with him felt like a business meeting. No emotions or fake emotions exchanged. I couldn’t even understand why he even wanted to meet me. We were never friends. When I told him that I was engaged, he seemed shocked.
“You can’t do that to me, I like you a lot!” he said all of a sudden.
“What do you mean by that?”
His reaction was a surprise to me. “Your scarlet lipstick looks good on you,” he reminded me, hoping to rekindle that day when I was crazy about him.
But it hit me the other way, and the pain of that evening came rushing back to me. I just looked at him, blankly. “I don’t want you to live in the past.” I wasn’t able to hold back words this time around.
“It was just a childhood crush. Please don’t take it seriously. I am fine with my life and have no clue why you’re bringing this up, and now, after all these years. I am happy with my partner and wish you can find someone nice for yourself too. Please don’t get in touch with me again. Good luck with your life.” I told him and rushed home to meet my love.
We can all fall in love plenty of times, but there’s always that one special time when we come across a perfectly true love story in your own life.
So don’t be afraid to fall in love, and don’t ever give up on it, because romantic true love stories may seem like a fairytale, but they’re usually always waiting for you right around the corner.