by Nitin Dangwal
You came to know that a guy in your college loved you. You came to know this when you bumped into an old friend from college, and he casually mentions this. You are bemused because you always thought of him as a friend. You smile, and express surprise about this, and move over to other tidbits about the old college times.
Later in the week, you hang out with a bunch of friends, a small reunion. His name comes up in the conversation. They joke about how he was too shy to express himself, insecure perhaps. You feel a slight tinge of irritation at them for saying that, for making fun of him. Another mentions how he had almost flunked his Marketing Paper in the last semester of college. You remember he was helping you out with your project during that time. You actually got an A grade in that project because of him. But he almost flunked. You remember you were too happy after the project presentation. You never cared to ask him how he fared in that paper. You don’t mention this to your friends.
You come back home but the taste of his name lingers in your mouth, his thoughts on your mind. You become curious about what has happened to him in all these years. Random questions start filling your head. Where did he go after college? In which city he lives now? How does he look like today? Why are you not in touch with him?
You imagine how his life is, now, without you? And then you imagine what would his life be, if he was with you?
You remember he used to write. You used to like his random scribbling. You had a collection of his scribbling once. But not anymore. You had lost them the last time you were shifting house. You feel a strange urge to read them now. But you can’t. You wonder whether he is a writer now. Did he finish the book he was working on? Does he live in a wooded house, near a river, surrounded by hills, and write all day long—the way he always wanted to live, which he had shared with you once, after getting tipsy in a party.
Then you realize he must not have finished his book. For otherwise you would have known. Maybe he is still working on it, a final draft. You secretly wish to find his name on a book cover someday. Long lost in such thoughts you curse yourself for wasting your time. You shrug it off as a trivial thing and go back to your mundane chores.
That night you fire up your laptop and search for him on the Facebook. He is not there. Then you search for him on the LinkedIn. He isn’t there either. You go to your college Facebook group and enter his name in the search box. An old profile appears that was updated like ages ago. You make random searches on Google. But there are like a million guys with his name. But not him. He does not exist.
You look at the time and realized it’s late. You decide to sleep.
You get up in the morning and feel unusually good. The morning looks brighter, the air fresher. Your footsteps almost dancing in rhythm. And then you remember, that you had a dream about him last night. You had dreamed of the second year college trip, to a hill station. You had loved that trip. You two had jelled very well there. You had liked him. You had felt very good in his company. And you had thought about knowing more about him after the trip.
But after the trip, your jerk boyfriend had come to you. Begged you to get back together, like he always did. You had said yes. And forgotten about the trip. Forgotten him. Forgotten the time spent with him on that trip. You remember you got too busy in life after that, and did not meet him for days.
You look back on those memories and are surprised that how much of that was buried in your mind. And now all the memories and the feelings, are rushing back to fill in your life like the water fills a void.
Days pass. Circumstances change. And Life happens.
So, slowly and gradually, his image, that was once so palpable in your thoughts, its taste as rich as the taste of the first bite of orange in your mouth, started fading away. And you got busy in your life. Busy in its routine, busy in its daily grind.
But then time and again, when you’re least expecting, maybe when you are taking a corner on a busy street, you see someone in the crowd, someone wearing a similar shirt like he used to wear or the similar hairstyle like he once had, you almost instinctively wish, that it was him.
Category: Fiction, Short Story, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing