September 5 marks a thousand days since December 11, 2011, the worst day of my life. The day she walked out and never returned. The day that plays on and on in my head, making me sick to my stomach. As horrible as it makes me feel, it’s the wonderful memories of her that are the best and at the same time, the worst.
I wanted to put down some of my best memories as I remember them, trying to assuage the nausea filling me. I never understood why the movie 500 days of Summer used a non linear format till now. It’s the best way to reminisce about the good times.
There we are, sitting in the park opposite my home, after all the other kids had left for the day, talking to her about the same things every evening – about school, about teachers, and yet never getting tired of watching her laugh at the stupid jokes I’d recycle over and over. Going over to my neighbours place in the evening first, to call them out to play, before going to her place, to not make it obvious that I really only cared if she came out to play (I don’t know to whom I didn’t want to make it obvious to, but it’s one of those silly things kids do I guess).
The first time I saw her, I was captivated. She was riding a bike. I was riding a bike. I remember riding past her at top speed “showing off” as we idiot boys do. Thankfully, she didn’t see me slip on a muddy patch on the road and fall. Years later, I would hear the music of her voice, as she laughing her guts out as I told her about this story she didn’t even know about.
It’s my birthday, one of the multiple lonely birthdays in college. I’m by myself in my room feeling horrible, since as always, it is forgotten to everyone there. I cry, feeling broken, lonely. But she’s there, over the phone, whispering so she won’t be heard, being there for me, and at least for the moment, letting me know I’ll never be alone (even though, years later, she would break that promise).
I’m terrible at gifts. She’s not overly fond of anything I’ve ever given her. But there was the bracelet. She loved it when I gave it to her – couldn’t stop smiling, so much so, that her mum caught her smiling for no apparent reason, and she had to confess.
I write and sing a song to her for her birthday, because I can’t be there and give her something in person, and I can think of no better way to show how much I love her.
There we are playing basketball among other friends, on opposite teams. I guard her and she guards me. We pass each other sneaky smiles as we continue playing way after we’ve begun tiring, because it’s fun going at each other.
Across a crowded party hall on my 21st birthday, my eyes meet hers. She smiles, and suddenly the rest of the room evaporates. It’s like no one else is there and there’s quiet all round. In the midst of a crowd, it’s just me and her, and no one else.
We’re at a coffee place. She’s nervous. She doesn’t want to get caught by her parents. I know she wants to be there, but the fear she feels makes me uncomfortable. Our hands brush each other, and for a brief moment, she smiles. She then blushes for the next few seconds, before going back to being uncomfortable with her surroundings. Those few seconds – bliss.
We’re a bunch of kids playing cards, making fun of each other as kids do. I don’t know I’m in love with her yet, but she makes me feel funny, especially when she laughs. She leaves, but she leaves behind one of her cards. It’s the two of clubs. I keep it with me, to this day.
She’s crying. We’ve been together for less than three months, but I’m leaving for college. I’ll be away four years. She’s crying because she’ll miss me. I make her some promises. She cheers up, but there are still tears. I feel more special than I’ve ever felt. It hits me harder than ever. She loves me.
It’s dark. She has to go home. I offer to walk her home. We go around the bend walk to within 40 metres of her home. Suddenly she turns and heads of in a different direction. I follow. She doesn’t want to get home just yet. She wants a few extra minutes with me. I’m touched.
We’re kids attending basketball coaching. We’re friends at home, but here we’re almost strangers. She missed the last few sessions. She told me the lie she was going to tell the coach. She’s talking to him, using that lie. I’m standing behind the coach unable to contain my laughter. She sees me out of the corner, but gets through it determinedly. But her cheeks are pink. She is so damn beautiful.
I’m still in school. We haven’t spoken in about a year. I’m crying because I miss her. I’m crying because I don’t know why she won’t talk to me. I miss our long talks in the park. I miss that smile. I realize she’s more to me than just a friend. I’m in love.
There’s a text on my phone. I don’t recognize the number. Someone needs my Physics text book. It’s her. After such a long time, it’s her. We become friends again. We’re texting each other all day long. I know happiness again. I really like her. No, I love her. I don’t know how to tell her. She’s texting some gossip to me. I tell her I like someone. She asks me who. I tell her that can’t tell her. I tell her that I find “the girl” very beautiful. I share with her the little things I love about her, though she doesn’t know I’m talking about her. I promise to tell her “the girl’s” identity, once I’ve told “the girl”.
Today’s the day I decide. I tell her that I’m about to tell the girl. She’s on her scooter, on the way home. She sees me on the way. She is in a bluish green outfit and so beautiful. I want to tell her. But nerves get the better of me. I can’t do it. I tell her, not yet. She goes home. I know I can’t do it looking into those eyes. I send her a long text. She’s the one. I love her. She looks at me as a friend. She’s sorry. But she tells me something – I was her first crush. I feel down, but I’m not out. She used to like me, maybe she can again.
We’re texting each other all the time. My gut tells me she’s into me. I tell her, everyday. She won’t admit it. I flirt with her. She responds, with an air of guilt. I know she likes me. I tell her. She won’t admit it. It’s the 5th of May. She tells me I’m right. “Are you serious?!”, I exclaim. She tells me she’s joking. I’m hurt. I tell her. She didn’t have to make fun of me. She texts later. She meant it. She just didn’t like the way I reacted. She likes me. We’re together. Just like that. The 5th of May – the best day of my life.
There are no selfies in the world yet. We’re there together. She’s laughing with me. We realize we don’t have a picture together, not since we started dating. I take out my laptop, and we sit together, my arm around her. I just manage to take our picture, before my brother walks in and I pretend to be teaching her something from computer science. She’s blushing. I make fun of her saying something computer science a little. She’s laughing. My brother goes out, she hits me playfully. She’s laughing. She’s so beautiful. I look at our picture, she is stunning. I look horrendous. Why she is with me, I don’t know. I don’t deserve her.
After everything we went through – the long distance, the stress that came with it, I broke it. I took her presence for granted. I took her love for granted. She’s gone, and I’ve been through a 1000 days of winter, and look to be spending many more in the cold. I love her, and that love will never cease. But I don’t deserve her. I never did.