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LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT.

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Someone intuitive once told that after climbing a great hill, one finds out that there are many more hills to climb. This is one of the most real things I’d ever heard. You see, I was a kid with a lot of potential but I had one very severe flaw. I was afraid of everything and I didn’t even know it.

The problem with being the second child in a family with an over accomplished sibling is that nothing you do will ever be good enough. Having lived all my life being compared to someone who is better than me in everything, I learned the harsh truth that sometimes people don’t want what’s best for you. Sometimes all they want for you is something to stroke their ego with.

Long story short, I come from a family of great leaders, doctors and engineers and I grew up surrounded by walls filled with laurels and accomplishments of my parents and brother. I am the prime example of how apples can sometimes fall far away from the tree. I was always an average student, an average son, and a below average brother.

And just like every teenager who wanted to run away from home to get away from everything that confined him, I did too. Well, I didn’t technically run away because all I did was go to college somewhere far away so that I could get away from everything messy in my life.

So, I ran away to pursue Science and ended up falling in love with a girl with whom I shouldn’t have been associated with in the first place. Cliché? You don’t know the beginning of it.

She and I had a good thing going on and I was happy. I was young, away from home and in love and I felt like I could do anything I wanted to do. I fell hard for this girl and before you know it, she was acting distant and awry. And just like every song, even this one ended and I was distraught and broken.

Maybe I don’t sound like it right now because this happened a long time ago.

The point behind this ludicrous skinny love story is not the heartbreak.

No, this is not that kind of a story.

I am 45 years old and I am not going to tell you yet another teenage love story which will make you text your ex again.

This is a different kind of story, a story that I should’ve told many moons ago but maybe chose not to because of what it represented to me.

So, after the break-up and after my course ended, I pretty much just wanted to go back home.

Yes, that’s what heartbreak does to you, stupid teenager. First, you run away from home because everything is too confining and the second things get rough all you want to do is run back to your mommy and whine about how life treated you unfairly.

And that’s exactly what I did.

I had to take a 15-hour non-stop flight to get back home and I was on the first flight out that morning. On reaching the airport, I was notified that one of the passengers in my row had canceled last minute and that it would just be two people in my row. I liked the sound of that. After everything I’d been through, I liked the idea of some personal space.

I boarded the aircraft and I was sitting in my seat and ready to go. I used to be the kind of person who needed the window seat whenever I flew, but ever since her, I lost the ability to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and I didn’t care when I saw that an old man was sitting in my window seat; where I was initially supposed to sit. There was something about him that calmed me. I didn’t see his face, because he was already asleep and he wore an unusually attractive grey fedora on his head. Despite the simple appearance, he seemed to be holding onto a small black bag while he slept. I wondered what it could be but before I could figure out what that was I fell into the mellow depths of slumber.

The next thing I remember was an Asian man waking me up and the words “Son, are you okay?” echoing repeatedly as I struggled to wake up. Apparently, I was sleeping and I had been crying in my sleep. I liked telling people it was PTSD from the heartbreak but I’ve seen far too much in life now to give it such a name. I was crying because of the mind-numbing realization that the girl I loved would always be a part of my distant past as I flew further away from her. I tell him that I am fine and I realize that my co-passenger finally has a face. He was Asian and had strong facial features, bold eyes, and very grey beard. He smiles at me and offers me chocolate.

Now, every kid in the world has been brought up with one major instruction: Never take anything a stranger offers you!!

But there was something about this man, something I never saw in other people. He was well dressed but he looked extremely tired and his hair looked as grey as it could possibly get. But there was something about his eyes. They spoke volumes on their own. They told a tale of all the battles that he had to possibly endure in his life and how they took a toll on him. They were deep, strong, and beautiful brown eyes. And I thought what could possibly go wrong with a little bit of chocolate?

So, I graciously accepted.

He told me that I reminded him of someone that he used to know.

I chuckled and told him there was no way he could know someone like me.

Maybe it was the pain in my voice, or maybe it was just the way I told it. I still don’t know what it was.

But he told me that just because you think life is messy right now, it doesn’t mean it is not going to get better. I scoffed and told him that this is what everyone tells to make themselves feel better but the reality is that pain is eternal, you just learn different ways to mask it. And sometimes, you get good at it.

That conversation soon turned into an argument where he tried to prove how ungrateful most people are for what they have and me, being a completely self-obsessed teenager, told him how you may love a person as much as you possibly can and they’d still leave when they wanted to. I probably didn’t understand that this conversation wasn’t completely about me. It was maybe more than just an explanation to some teensy angst.

The conversation emphatically got the better of me and I didn’t realize as tears dripped down my cheeks as I spoke angrily with a man I had just met.

After a while, I calmed down and apologized for behaving disrespectfully and that was when I noticed his eyes again. He was not angry. Why was he not angry? Some random punk in the flight just rudely yelled at him. But no, his eyes were sad. It was almost as though he knew exactly what I was going through.

But, how could he? Every single atom in my body told me I was losing my mind, but there was something about the way he looked at me. It was almost as though he was torn between two wars within himself. Maybe he was wondering if he should help a kid out or let the kid find the light at the end of the tunnel by himself.

Anyway, I decided that it was best to ease the tension because we still had a long way to go before we reached home. So, I did what some people do best and made conversation with him and he told me about himself.

He was a traveler and he saw the entire world through the lens of his camera. He documented every moment he thought was important to tell the story.

That’s when I realized that the little black bag he held close to his heart was his camera. I wondered why it was so important to him but didn’t bother asking him about it.

But what I did ask him was why he was traveling alone and that was when his face dropped. I realized I had hit a wrong nerve. You see, I always did this. I always asked the wrong questions and did the wrong things and ended up at the right place at the wrong time. I was unparalleled when it came to ruining relationships with people.

He was a good man though, he overlooked it and asked me if I wanted to see the pictures that he took.

He opened his little black bag and took out a camera and gave it to me and OH..MY…GOD.

He was really good.

He wasn’t just another rich guy traveling the world with a DSLR calling himself a lifestyle blogger.

His passion painted such a bright and colorful picture on the canvas of life that it was almost poetic.

The way the pictures were balanced and lit and how he was able to portray the emotions through just the lens of his camera was truly mesmerizing.

He had indeed seen a lot in his lifetime and through his passion to show the world what the absence of love can do was truly represented in a monochromatic fashion.

Such passion didn’t just appear out of thin air. There was something that drove him every single day to get out with his camera and take pictures of the world. I needed to know what that was but I’d never truly been passionate about anything in life. So, I asked him and he told me that the answer was not going to be simple. Where was I going? I was going to be stuck in that flight with him for the next 15 hours, might as well make a story out of it and little did I know that this story was going to change my life forever.

 

He was a very average kid from the People’s Republic of China. His superpower was that he was average at everything he did. He was never too bad at anything but not too good at anything either. You could say that he was surviving life one day at a time. And then came the phase in everyone’s life where hormones make all the decisions and ruin everything: TEENAGE. And just like me and every other stupid kid, he was dumb too. He fell for the girl that everyone wanted but couldn’t have. Or so he thought. She was very pretty and by the way he described her, I could understand just how intimidating it would have been to start a conversation with a girl who’s so pretty with a stark personality, dark brown hair, light brown eyes, and a smile that could floor any guy without even trying.

But you see he was confident because he was a bad boy, and girls like bad boys, don’t they?

He was bad at everything when it came to girls and the stupid kid thought he had a chance.

And this is where life gets funny. Sometimes you think you don’t have a chance with that person so you step back and let things fall apart. But sometimes things do work out in your favor and things fall into place like pieces of a jigsaw.

After many weeks of careful stalking, he finally talked to her. And who knew! She didn’t seem bothered by it. And like that, the little puppy from the shadows became confident enough to talk to the pretty little girl that he massively crushed on.

No one knew that it was going to be the beginning of a lifetime full of happiness. You see, up until then, she had a long line of mistakes. And all those mistakes were 6-feet tall, with muscular bodies and perfect jaw and he was just a scrawny ass kid who was shy.

You see, he had figured out what most people still haven’t.

Pretty girls fall for the bad boys who promise to break their hearts not because they smell like smoke and talk like rain; they do that because they don’t know what they want. All of them make a first mistake, which turns into another mistake and soon they find themselves unable to stop spiraling down the vicious cycle of guys who break their hearts.

He was her break.

She needed him just as much as he needed her to teach him how to be a little less uptight.

Their love was epic. They were always together. They went to classes together, they ate together and they most of the moments awake together.

And when they were away, they couldn’t stop thinking about how amazing it would be the next time they saw each other.

Their love never faded and it only grew stronger and everyone who knew them knew that they’d end up getting their happily ever after. Everyone was rooting for them.

Through the sophomore year, junior year, senior year and college, their love echoed through countless walls and classrooms.

It was now when I noticed his eyes again. He didn’t look old anymore. He didn’t look tired. He looked happy. His eyes gleamed as he told the story and I realized there is nothing better than listening to a man talk about the love of his life.

Then he told about the last day of college. It was a very sad day full of goodbyes and tears. All his friends were going to leave to different places and life was about to get real and couples broke up here, there, and everywhere but not them. No, he had different plans for them. He was going to propose to her.

You see, he hadn’t given much thought to what they would do after they got married but he knew that he was always going to be in love with one woman for the rest of his life. So, he decided to do the deed where they spent most of their nights together. Others had cafes, theatres, parks, and rivers. But not them. Their spot was the terrace of the building they stayed at. He was a simple man. All he ever wanted to do was sit on the terrace and stare at the starry night with the woman of his dreams by his side.

So that’s where he waited. He decorated the entire place with pretty fairy lights and orchids and he waited there for the love of his life to come and begin the rest of their life together.

He waited,

And he waited,

But she never showed.

And then his phone rang.

It was a call from his best friend and something inside told him that things were about to go terribly wrong.

Everything that happened after that was kind of a blur. It was raining by the time he got there and he was completely drenched but his face wasn’t wet because of the rain. No, it was as salty as tears could get but they still wouldn’t let him inside because he wasn’t immediate family. He cried and begged for them to let him in and finally they did.

As he walked into the hospital room, his heart stopped beating as he saw the most beautiful girl he had ever seen lying there, and he was barely able to move. His heart was ripped from his body.

You see, she was coming to meet him. She was driving and a drunk driver collided with her vehicle and died immediately on impact. She was now in critical condition and the only thing she wanted to do was see him.

I almost didn’t want to hear this part. The happy eyes turned very morose and he was crying but there was no whimpering or sobbing. Tears just rolled down his cheeks like this was something that he lived through every day and had gotten used to.

Her final words in the bed were that she knew. She knew that he was going to propose to her and she was going to say yes and she couldn’t wait to spend the rest of their lives together. But the universe had other plans. The universe took away everything that he held dear and along with it, his will to love.

She made him promise something though. She felt that the love they shared was too pure to be forgotten so she made him promise that he’d move on and love another and through his love, she’d live forever.

People say that you aren’t supposed to break the promises that you make to someone on their death bed.

But he did. He didn’t even try loving another. Maybe he couldn’t or maybe he didn’t want to.

And that’s when he told me the greatest regret of his life. The greatest regret of his life was never taking too many pictures of her.

Every time as the sun went down and the stars came out, he remembered her face as the one he saw on her deathbed.

He was stupid. He thought it would last forever, so he never bothered taking any pictures.

And as he got older as the years passed by, her face became more of a feeling he got when he talked about her. He liked talking about her. He liked the tears that rolled down his cheeks that reminded him that what he felt for her was real and it would always be real.

This is why he took pictures. This is what that drove him every day.

He didn’t want another person to go through what he went through and forget something that they love because of time. He needed them to remember the moments that they were the most loved because if they didn’t, then maybe she died in vain. Maybe there was never a love that was shared, and maybe she didn’t have an impact in this world at all. This thought was what he used every single day to convert emotions into a picturesque masterpiece.

As he finished his story, he looked relieved. He looked like he needed to get that out of his chest.

This man was a hero.

He was the culmination of everything that was lacking in the world.

He found the perfect girl. The girl took her own sweet time but she finally learned to love him back and they thought they had a lifetime of happiness together but she left him to go to a place where no one ever returned from.

His love for Alice will always be remembered through his pictures and now through my stories.

He went through something that would’ve broken most men.

But not him.

He was stronger than the rest of us. He was an apex model of a true human being and how love can transform one’s life.

Every single decision I made after that day was by remembering the story told by the old man with a grey fedora I’ve now come to love.

His story gave me purpose.

I couldn’t be just another sad, angsty teenager. I needed to make a difference in this world and so I did.

I broke the stereotype of a long line of engineers, doctors, and politicians and became the first writer in my family.

And everything I know about love was taught by a stranger I spent 15 hours with on a flight.

He had his regrets and I have mine.

Even after spending 15 hours with a man who opened his world to me, I forgot to ask his name.

And by the time I turned back to see if he was there at the airport, he was gone.

I will carry this with me for the rest of my life,

And I hope you carry something with you through your life too.

Because a life without regrets is sometimes too perfect to be true.

But every cloud has its silver lining.

A conversation with a stranger is sometimes all that you need.

Sometimes it sublime.

Sometimes it’s radiant.

Most of the time, it’s just liberating.

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The Look of Love

Who else hates that moment in the morning when the alarm goes off? That moment of excruciating pain when the blissful peace of dreams are slowly being stripped away from you is probably one of the worst ways to start your day with. But then there are those days, days that you can count using just your fingertips, when we are wide awake even before the alarm goes off. Just lying there, waiting for it to be the right time to get off the bed so that you can do whatever you’ve been looking forward to do.

Today is one of those days. Oh, how long had I been waiting for this day. I had picked out the perfect suit and tie for today and everything seemed to be just right. It felt like I had spent years just preparing for this very moment.

So that’s what I did. I got up when the clock struck 8 and I took a shower. It was an oddly peaceful morning, there were no distractions and everything was going smoothly. Ironic I suppose.

I wore my best white dress shirt and I put on my suit and after what seemed to be an extremely long hour of accessorizing myself, I was finally ready for the big day.

The drive to the church was a short one, but today I knew I couldn’t do it alone. That’s why my brother drove me.

Jimmy asked me multiple times if this would make me happy, and every time he asked me I was more certain. I’d been looking forward to this day since the moment I had met her.

We finally reached the church after a short 20-minute drive and I was reluctant to get of my vehicle.

Was I getting cold feet? Did I not want this anymore? Should I leave?

A million thoughts flooded into my head as I finally stepped out of my vehicle.

I looked up to see a lot of familiar faces all of which were smiling at me. Along with my favorite suit I had also equipped myself with my favorite-people-smile, a weapon I used only for such awkward occasions. Today was going to be a good day for all of them and I was more excited than ever. I walked towards the church where I was greeted with flowers by cute little flower girls who looked like they had just been dropped from the heavens above.

The church looked so beautiful. It was so well lit, just the way I liked it. It had flowers on every single bit of spare wall, just the way she liked it.

Wow, it looked perfect. Everything was perfect but then why was I getting scared?

I guess it was normal. I had been scared every single time I imagined a future with her before, it was only right to have that feeling magnified on this special day. There I stood, patiently waiting for the church bells to chime and for the choir to play the wedding march.

And so, it did. The church went silent as the bells chimed through the monotony and the familiar sound of the wedding march opened the main doors of the church.

and there she was

My Rose.

She looked so breathtaking in that long white gown. Her hair ever so perfectly made into a bun. Her cheeks glistening like roses and her eyes which made her seem like no one in this world deserved her.

And as I saw her walk towards me, I felt my entire world flip upside down. I saw the way she walked so gracefully down the aisle and I wondered what I had done to deserve someone like her.

That’s when I remembered the first time I saw Rose.

Oh, we were so young, wild and free. We were both classmates and we were doing Engineering.

The thing about Engineering Universities these days are that the people who actually come there to do Engineering are about 20%. The rest of us are lovers, poets, artists, dancers and dreamers whose dreams have been stripped away by the communal pressure of succeeding in life with a B.Tech degree.

So what do we do? We study Engineering and at the end of four years, we find families. We come as strangers hailing from different parts of the world and when we leave we leave as a single organism that’s been formed by a thousand nights of countless memories.

Rose was always the gorgeous one in the room, I’d know because getting her to like me has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. There are a lot of things that people envy about me, but the one thing I never mastered was the ability to tell the people I love what I really want to tell them. She was a tough cookie, throughout the 7 years I’ve known her, I had seen her rise above the ashes on multiple occasions and her fear of commitment had been the greatest one of them.

She and I had been through so much together and none of it would have happened if I had never seen her walking down the stairs during that first week of college.

Seems like I have a thing for her walking, eh?

You wouldn’t understand how she never failed to blow my mind every single time she walked into the room. I fell in love with her long before she even began to fathom the idea of her falling in love with me.

But I never gave up on her because I knew that one of those days she was bound to see how every time I looked at her, I could see an entire universe flash before my eyes. She had to know that her mere existence was why I went to class every day. She had to know how every time she looked at someone else, my heart wished I hadn’t seen that.

She gave me love and she gave me heartbreak and then she gave me more love through the heartbreak. That’s the thing about people that are meant to stay in your life. Irrespective of the number of times you try to defy the universe by pushing them away, they’ll still find their way back to you. That’s what I was in her life, the universes kick-ass way of teaching me the lesson I’ve failed to grasp every single time.

It’s not about you.

Things weren’t always peaches and oranges with us. Things were hard sometimes, sometimes harder than I’d care to admit. But knowing that we could get through each and every one of those things was enough for me to hold on.

That was it.

We were together for four years and they were literally the most exciting four years of our lives. So here I stand in the church awaiting the girl of my dreams to take her position at the altar.

She gave me a very familiar warm smile as she passed by me and took her place at the altar. And at that moment, all I wanted to do was hug her tight.

Suddenly, the church bells chimed for the second time and that was when reality finally struck me. It was never my wedding. I was here just holding onto the last bit of my past and I was stretching it out as much as I possibly could because I thought that once this moment got over, I’d never have it back and she could never be mine ever again.

Rose was the best girlfriend anyone could ever ask for. Yes, she had her flaws and she took her own sweet time to do things but when she did them, she did them so perfectly that you’d love yourself for not giving up on her.

She was perfect in every way but I wasn’t.

I made many mistakes along the way, some of which I wish I could take back. But some people cannot hold on as much as other people can. So she left and I fell apart.

I blamed her for a very long time for what happened between us but I realized that things actually happen for a reason. They may not make sense at that moment and they shouldn’t and sometimes the best thing to do is sit back and let life unfold before our eyes.

Things were clearer now. The bells stopped chiming and the wedding march began again and there walked someone just as beautiful as the girl I once loved. She was beautiful too, I guess, in a way I could never fathom. I never really liked Elaine. Obviously, who would like the guy who came after you? But my case was different. There was no guy after me. There was no guy before me. There was just one guy and that was me.

And then there was Elaine. As she walked past me and stood beside Rose at the altar I finally saw what Rose saw in her. She loved Rose very much. I knew because I used to look at Rose the same way Elaine did now. And maybe, just maybe, it was okay.

That’s how funny life is. We may have the most perfect of people already in our lives. But because of the tyranny of temptation, even the best of us fail to give those amazing people the best that they actually deserve. We go chasing superficial things and find momentary happiness in people who are just meant to be temporary. And in that process, we lose the ones that gave us their everything even when they absolutely didn’t have to. If you’ve made a mistake like this, or if you are making a mistake like this right now, you’re probably as dumb as I was with Rose.

The wedding was sweet and a short one and I knew I’d remember it for the rest of my life. I used to think I’d remember it because It’d be my wedding, but now the reason would be that the girl of my dreams found the girl of her dreams.

Funny how we just find things, isn’t it?

We spend so much time every day wanting things to be perfect. Wanting the chords to rhyme the way we hear it, wanting the hair to look exactly like how it looked in the movie or even wanting that special person to look at you the way no one has ever looked at you. We spend so much time every day wanting a lot of things, but how much time do we spend every day doing something the way someone else wants it?

Only the really lucky ones get the girl. Really, only if you’re the luckiest person on this entire planet, the person you love decides to love you back.

There’s just something about the way you look at someone you love. I’d like to call it the look of love.

It’s said that our pupils dilate by 80% when we look at someone we love. It happens so that the receptors in our eyes can accommodate enough light to see that person we’re with.

That’s science and nature coming together as an accolade for the existence of love.

 

The drive back was one of the worst ones. I wished I was drunk so I could have an excuse just to ram the car into a post and end this life which was going to be completely uncertain. But as my legs moved toward the accelerator, I remembered my promise.

I’ve always been big on promises and maybe that’s what drew Rose to me in the first place.

So, I drove back home because after what seemed to be an eternity, it finally felt like I got closure.

As I walked back into the house I heard laughter of the people I now loved inside, and as I closed the door behind me, I knew that it would be the last time I’d ever revisit my sweet heart who brightened most of the days of a past I’d never forget.

As Rose faded into the depths of my memory, I knew a part of me would always love that girl who made me who I am today. And for that, I’m eternally thankful.

 

Those thoughts faded as she ran towards me and hugged me.

All my little girl wanted for Christmas was for daddy to come home with her favorite socks.

The way her eyes gleamed at the sight of her favorite socks reminded me of someone who I should probably forget now.

I just hope that little Rosie doesn’t grow up too soon.

Losing one of them to someone else is probably enough for one lifetime.

 

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Humble Beginnings

From the moment we wake up in the morning until we retire to our beds at night, we are all presented with so many choices daily. Choices like ‘what do I wear to work today?’ or like ‘what do I eat for dinner tonight?’. Choices can also be like ‘Do I smile back at that stranger who always looks at me in class?’ or even like ‘Should I skip my last hour to get some extra sleep?’.

It’s funny, really, because irrespective of making thousands of decisions in a day, we always undeniably fail to make the right choices at the right time.

You must be thinking what wrong choice could I have possibly made to end up as a writer in an era where gadgets have vanquished books. Don’t worry, my friend, my life is far from complete and I have made many enthralling mistakes in my life but putting pen to paper has never been one of them.

This story is kind of different because it has no beginning, it has a lot of in-betweens and it definitely has no ending. Confused? I feel you.

Not confused? You will be.

Now before I continue rambling about the inevitable, let me tell you a little story.

Or as I’d like to call, “Humble Beginnings”.

 

I was in high school and everyday was a hoot because I went there with my friend Samantha. Sam and I were the best of buds. I’d known her all my life and my mom would gladly swap me for her in a heartbeat. She was a jovial chick with a quick-wit and a bubbly personality. Most importantly she was a perfect 9.5 whereas I was barely a 4.5 (with preparation). So as you all can assume, having her as my best friend was always a great pleasure because I got to be around her hot friends (who didn’t look at me twice. But who cares, right?) a lot . As incredible as I am making all this sound, it really wasn’t the case. You see, things were great when Samantha was around because the girls liked having me around because I was somewhat like her side-kick. But at the same time the boys liked me too (in a completely platonic way) because I was friends with the girl who most of them could only stalk during the wee hours of night when nobody was awake.

I’d like to think I am a smart man. But you see the journey to all this smartness I embody today did not come easy. It came at a very huge price. The price being me being completely idiotic and naïve throughout high school. You see I used to think that people used to like me for who I was. That was hardly the case because people liked me for who I was with and I learned the harsh truth about people when Samantha had dropped out of school for a year in between for health reasons. You see, that year sucked so bad that I’d like to give myself an award for surviving it. That was when I learnt that I’m a famous loser who’s quite literally known for nothing other than knowing Samantha Rivers.

Don’t worry this is not a sappy old story where I’m the kid who gets bullied. No. Life is not always that crappy. When I was 14 something miraculous happened. I wanted to call it magic, my mother called it God’s grace and I know my sister calls it an accident but you’d know it by the term puberty.

Yes, that’s right. I got hot.

My body changed in ways I couldn’t fathom and the girls definitely couldn’t handle it. Most importantly, the other guys now knew that I was not just another scrawny kid anymore. I had the brains and the brawns and the looks to go with it like cherry on the icing. After my ever-so-sucky year, Samantha returned back and she saw that I had changed and had amassed a lot of new friends. Over the course of the next few days I realized something very weird. Sam was JEALOUS of my new female friends. She didn’t say it or hint at it in any obvious way but she was and I knew I had never been more right. That behavior was very hard to understand as why would she be jealous of anybody?

You see Sam and I weren’t just best friends. We knew each other like no one else knew us. One could see it when the other was sad and one could see it when the other was hiding something. We weren’t just two people who got to know each for the sake of it. We were two souls who were forced into being friends because our parents were buddies. We were two children who hated each other in the beginning and through countless quarrels and fights blossomed an ever so sweet friendship that I will savor for a very very long time.

So you must understand how difficult it was for me to understand why she was jealous and why she wouldn’t talk to me about it. But like I told I was an idiot. I didn’t do anything about it and went ahead raving and raging my way through high school.

Do you remember those friends of Sam I told you all about? Yeah, Amanda was one of them. She was, well, she was a very nice girl. And she liked me back so we went out when we were in our Senior year. That year was a memorable one.

Amanda and I were like this power couple most kids those days wanted to be. I loved Amanda and she loved me back and our story was a great one. We never fought and nobody ever came between us and that is when you know that this relationship was not meant to be. You see, no relationship is supposed to be flawless. When two people come together and try to keep things together in perfect order for the sake of it; that’s when you know that somewhere along the line, the love died and now all of it is just an act and you’re both pawns in the game of love tricked into playing by the universe. Amanda and I were never meant to be. But that isn’t what people saw. They only saw our cute pictures together, they saw us walking down the hallways holding hands and they saw us kissing good bye every day after class. As difficult as it was to break all of their hearts by ending our relationship it had to end someday and it ended when she ran away with my Maths professor.

Yeah, that was a shock for me too. But you see that’s the funny thing about life, it is going to come crashing down on you sooner or later than nothing you plan will ever work out. Everything that’s happening in your life is only because the universe has it planned out for you. You must think whoever is in charge of the universe’s planning committee must be one hell of a sadistic arse to constantly put us all through never ending cycles of suppressing emotional torments, but that is hardly true because if you really think about it; you will owe your trials and sufferings the credit for making you the person you are today.

So Amanda and I broke up and I was heartbroken and obviously the loser for so many weeks to come.

That was when something magical happened again. I understood the worth of my best friend. I realized that so many people came and went in the grand episode of my life but one person was always constant and she was my Sammy. She was a wonderful person. She was funny, she was intelligent and moreover she was always there for me irrespective of when I needed her. It was one of those classic tales where you spend a lifetime knowing a person, not looking at them in any way but platonically, and one fine day they just look so damn yummy, right? No.

She was and always will be my best friend. That was what happened when she finally told me how she felt about me. She told me that she couldn’t do anything but watch me as I drove myself away from her. She told me how she looked at me every single day and wanted me to be all hers but couldn’t muster the courage to utter the words. She used a hundred words to beautifully paint her perennial love for me but all I could think of was, ‘Why me?’.

You see, irrespective of how cocky I was I never thought I was good enough to be with Samantha because all I saw was perfection in her. She was too perfect that I thought it was impossible for me to reciprocate her feelings. But I was blessed. Blessed enough to be loved by Samantha, but sometimes blessings can become real scary if you do not know what to do. That’s where I messed up.

I loved Samantha too. I loved her so much but I thought it was just as a friend.

That’s what I did. I told her the same and broke her heart. Sam was not the same for a very long time. I thought I lost her and it was the worst feeling in the world. I suddenly needed no one. I hated the people around me and all I hoped for was a call for Sam, all I wanted was for us to go back to who we used to be. But I knew things would never be the same because once you fall for someone you never really get back up. You learn how to be okay with the fall because the person you love forgot to catch you and then you spend the rest of your life using other people to heal that wound the fall caused.

Samantha was no ordinary girl, she came back stronger than ever. She spoke to me like we always have and soon everything went back to normal. You see, I used to think it’s very easy to fall out of love with someone because now a days all you see is people faking love. But let me assure you, even in this absurd generation of the millennials, true love still exists. True love still lasts forever. Maybe it can be masked with other emotions and uproars but sooner or later every party ends and there comes a time where you need to take the mask off. When that time comes, that moment of utmost fear where you are forced to make a decision as to love a person back or choose to leave them forever? That moment. Yes, that moment is what we all live for.

That is the whole point of life. We are all born to die someday and every single thing we do in between is completely irrelevant if we do not have a loved one to share those memories with. We all kid ourselves with a lot of distractions throughout our life and when the time comes to make the decision we all falter because that’s who we are. We are WEAK. We do not strive for what we actually want and most importantly we are all a bunch of cowards who will not take the first step because we want everything to be presented to us by life on a golden platter.
Samantha came back and my senior year was great and soon it was time to say good bye. You see, we hadn’t talked about this ever. We’d known each other for 18 years now and I had never gone a day without seeing her and after today we would all embark on separate journeys to pursue our careers and soon be just strangers with a lot of memories. I guess that was it. The goodbye wasn’t magical, I’m sorry to disappoint. But that’s how life is, nothing is beautiful, it just happens and well sometimes some moments get carved onto our memories.

We bid our farewells and parted ways and today it becomes 15 years since our last day at school together. We both led complete and happy lives. While working abroad with a company I met someone, a girl who reminded me of who I used to be and someone who understood me way more than anyone else and somehow, I knew that this girl would be the girl I’d marry someday from the very first moment I laid my eyes on her.

Sam had a similar story too. She was abroad working with a social group who aided little kids with education and she met a man who turned out to be everything she ever dreamed of. He now makes her happier than anything else in the world.

You see folks, that’s how life gets you. You think you have a choice as to who you fall in love with but the truth is that you have absolutely no choice. I write this while I sit beside my beautiful wife on a journey back home where it all truly began. My Sam is happy, so is our son Walter.

All we needed was a fresh beginning somewhere away from home.

I fell in love with my best friend.

And that made all the difference.

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A letter to Alice.

You know how you think you’ve gotten everything figured out in life and then something comes along and all of a sudden you have no clue what to do anymore?

Yeah, me too.

My name is Nicholas and as cliché as it is going to sound this is the story of the Inevitable.

A friend once asked me, “Do you have something against running away?”

I simply answered him saying that “Once you start running away, there’s no stopping. You either run for the rest of your life and watch it slowly gain on you or you stand up and fight. Either ways, if you are meant to lose, you will lose. So might as well do it thoroughly”.

So question remains, What exactly did I lose?

To decipher the answer of that question, you will need to read ahead patiently.

I have had so many people in my life who promised me wonders, people who let me whip up an entire alternate reality where I would spend hours thinking about what may or may not happen.

The same people also taught me that believing in such stark lies is what makes us humans. We are all dreamers. But some of us are just better at dreaming than at living.

Remember how I told you that this story is about the inevitable?

What does Inevitable even mean? It means that something that is supposed to happen will happen.

But enough of the Oxford Dictionary definitions.

Inevitable is one of the greatest tricks played by the universe on us.

It’s funny how people seem to think that they are the ones always in control but then when you really think about it. Things just happen because it wanted to happen. I agree you might have worked hard, you may have planned out the brilliant scheme behind a huge project or you may have even come up with a billion dollar idea. But how did the idea come into existence?

Even if you do figure out how it did, why did you think of it when you thought of it and not a moment earlier?

How does one small thing change the way you look at a person?

How can a person make you question yourself?

If you are reading this then it also means you also know about my past. But if you don’t, in a nut shell, it sucked in varying levels.

So here I am, an ordinary guy with above average people skills trying to mind my own business and then guess what?

A miracle happened.

When you spend enough time trying to forget the different things you’ve had to do just because you surrounded yourself with bad people, you start to question whether or not you are fundamentally bad.

I’m not here to rant the entire time.

I’m here for Alice.

Who’s Alice?

Alice was, well, Alice.

I don’t think there’s an adjective to describe her sheer brilliance.

To be honest, I could write a book on her and I’d still have failed miserably to portray how beautiful she is as a person.

I was just walking one fine day, not caring for a thing in the world when I first noticed her. Noticed. Not met.

She didn’t even know about my existence back then.

I was with my friends that day when I looked across the hall to see this new face talking to my friend. I don’t know what it was but I just knew she’d be important to me someday.

What can I say? That was it.

Coup de foudre.

Then again life is funny and we never talked and we move on with our lives.

Thank you for reading.

The End.

Just kidding, I don’t know why I do such things all the time. Apologies are in order.

But yes, we didn’t talk. We didn’t talk the next day either, or the day after that.

We didn’t talk for months.

Until the day we did. Which was just so random.

I didn’t plan on engaging in a conversation with her because she looked happy with herself. She didn’t need me to come and mess it up for her.

But we talked

And her eyes spoke tales her lips wouldn’t.

The first time I actually spoke to Alice, I was scared as hell. I didn’t know why, she was just a normal person sitting across the table from me doing normal things.

I guess that’s what made me nervous the most.

I spent a lot of time trying to become someone else for people who didn’t deserve it and there I was looking at a person who was essentially me, but more beautiful.

We just clicked and it was one of the most beautiful things in a very long time.

The worst part is that Alice didn’t know what she did to me. She didn’t know how every touch of hers made my heart beat faster. She didn’t know how her smile pretty much lit the entire damn night up. She didn’t know how a single frown on her face made me want to kill people.

I had lost everything in the world. I lost the will to love, I lost the will to trust and I lost the will to forgive myself for things I didn’t do.

She was my hope though.

She’s the talisman that drives me each day to become the person I think I can be.

She is my anchor and the one who will bring me back someday.

She was in every possible way the miracle I’ve been waiting for all my life.

But she doesn’t have the slightest clue about any of this.

To her, I’m just Nicholas.

I don’t want her to know what she does for me every day just by smiling and being herself. It will probably scare her away.

Do you know that feeling when you walk into a garden full of flowers and they’re all beautiful but then you fall in love with this particular flower for no absolute reason whatsoever? You know that the flower doesn’t have super powers, the flower is ordinary to everyone else. But every time you look at the flower, everything else seems to be…unimportant. Everything seems to be ordinary but the one that you have your eyes on.

So now tell me, what is the right thing to do? To be selfish and keep the flower for myself and watch it grow or to be selfless and let the flower stay where it is and leave it undisturbed?

Alice was perfect in her own way. She was shy but then at the same time she talked so much. She was a sleepy head but at the same time she creased her forehead and listened to everything the lecturer told.

She spent an entire lifetime not knowing how truly good she was and now that she’s finally in my life, I am determined to treat her the way she should have been treated all her life.

Noticing the little things that she did was my favorite hobby.

I guess I have made my choice. I do not want to run away anymore. What I feel right now is real. I have lost a great deal of trust in people over the course of many years but if she is what it takes to hold me together, I am willing to wait an entire lifetime or to go through hell and back for her. I don’t have to push her away.

So I guess now I know what Inevitable truly means. I’ve spent a major part of my life running away from who I truly was. I have run from battles I knew I could have won. I have tried avoiding feelings. I have tried being content. I have tried it, but I tried it all alone. That was my mistake. Even the best of us need a little help sometimes. Now all of it is happening anyway, only that it’s in a way I never even dreamed of.

Maybe someday I will have the courage to tell her all this or maybe she already knows all this.

For now, I will wait.

Who knows?

Maybe she will read my story someday and realize she’s not just a character in my book.

She’s the whole damn story.