I remember the first time I saw you, thirteen years back, I thought you were a rich, entitled, ultra femme girl, who strutted around as if the world owed her a favour. I neither liked you nor disliked you at that time and I didn’t even think you were pretty then. I must have been blind, cause you were gorgeous, and it was not until much later when we started speaking that I realised your beauty was not just from without. You emitted something – something special – which I still have no words to describe. What drew me to you the most was how incredibly childlike you were. Though, you knew full well that people would be on their hands and knees to serve you and am not sure whether you took advantage of it or just accepted it so fully, that it made even your knowledge about it so endearing.
I remember you walking in late to work every day and leaving before anyone else did while lowly mortals such as myself practically had to live at work. Your work was always prioritised and yet I could not get myself to dislike you for it. When you matter-of-factly denied my assertions that you got special favours only because you were pretty by claiming you were more efficient, I could not get myself to dislike you or think you were full of hot air. Cause that’s just who you were – people were willing to let you get the first pass as a personal privilege.
I don’t remember when I first started falling in love with you. We shared meals, we sat less than an arm’s length from each other and would constantly be chatting on Messenger, we shared a telephone connection which you insisted on cleaning with Dettol till it reeked and basically became unfit for use, you made those puppy-eyes at me every time I tried to dismiss anything you did or teased you. What I do remember is that my body, nay, my heart had to give me a violent physical signal for me to realise that I had, in fact been in love with you for months already. I vividly recall you sitting next to me and untying your hair. I wasn’t even looking at you (ok, maybe from the corner of my eye I was) and my heart genuinely skipped a beat. It sounds rather dramatic, but the intensity of that is impossible to explain to someone who has not experienced it. Since then, it has been thirteen years and I am still in love with you.
Both of us have dated multiple people, broken up with as many, never lived in the same city again but met in multiple cities around the world, chatted non-stop for years in between, shared conversations from the mundane to the philosophical, I saw you fall in love and get married, I saw you transition to motherhood, and through that all a corner of my heart was always reserved for you. When I told you you were my longest crush, you basked in that glory and made me fall even more in love with you. I remember the time when I finally came out to myself and to you and I told you about about this girl who was only the second girl I had plucked the courage to approach, you immediately asked me who the first was. I knew fully well you wanted me to say it was you, but I loved to tease you so that I wasn’t going to give you that satisfaction and cooked up a story about another girl. Yet, there has never been another. Yes I have been in several relationships and no these relationships were not meaningless – I invested in them, I have happy memories of them, I still count all of them as friends who I am grateful for. But there has not been another who made me want to give myself up so fully and completely as I volunteered to with you. Yet, there was never any jealousy or anger – disappointment, yes – that you didn’t feel the same way about me. When you dated some real losers my heart screamed every minute that you didn’t deserve them and they sure as hell didn’t deserve you. I told myself constantly that I could give you love and happiness like no other, just as you did to me, but I always knew it was never meant to be. Not in this lifetime.
And now you are gone. Even as I write this I still cannot believe it. This is not how things were supposed to be. We were supposed to grow old together. We were supposed to see whether you would be the strict mother and I the cool aunt to your kids. We were supposed to spend many many more years texting and talking to one another, and meeting at different places like star-crossed lovers. We were supposed to know how the other would react or what the other would say even before they themselves did. We were supposed to see whose time capsule prediction would be more accurate (it would have been me, of course). You were supposed to plan my destination wedding. You were supposed to meet the girl I fall in love with and for once approve of the person I dated. Our kids were supposed to play together while we sat on the couch chatting for hours while you drank your wine and I my whiskey. But more than all of that, it was I who was supposed to precede you in death. We even spoke about this. I was convinced about it. More so because I could not fathom a world without you. And yet, here I am. Forced to live god knows how many years without ever being able to BBM or Whatsapp you. Without seeing your babies grow up almost every day.
Every day, I can think of at least a hundred things that I just want to pick up the phone and tell you. Every day, I have to remind myself that you are no longer here and relive your death. I want to talk to you about your death – what happened, how did you feel when you saw it coming, how did you manage to save your baby, how much it hurt you, how do you feel now, are you at peace, are you concerned about your family, what would you have me do? Why did it happen? What have you been called back for? When will you return? When will the comfort of you being there in some part of the world be enough for me to live with?
I was alone in my love and now I am alone in my grief. Your family has each another. But I? I don’t have the one person whose every message and picture made me smile and do a deep prayer for their happiness.
No. There is just too much unfinished business here. You have to return and this time you have to return to me. I don’t care in what form. I don’t care if I have to wait a lifetime. We need to pick up from where we left off, and not just make up for the time we will not have together but even for the time we spent together. This time I will not passively accept the fact that we have different orientations, or the doubt I felt deep within that I could not match your lifestyle. This time I will do what it takes to have the most solid companionship two people could hope for. This time I will tell you every day that I love you and that you somehow make the world a better place, even though you didn’t actually do anything to make it so. This time you will help me become an even better person than you did before.
And don’t worry. I will not put my life on hold. I will, in fact, fall in love with someone just as I fell in love with you. I will cherish you forever and have conversations with you daily – for that I don’t need you for I know only too well what you would have said. I will open up my heart to let more love flow freely – both to and from – so that when you return there will be no division of love, only multiplication.
Rest up, my sweet, and reload that divine inner beauty of yours and then come back again to re-light the world with it. Till then, I will try in my own way to do the same in your stead.
With a rawness of heart that I didn’t fathom possible,