To the boy who was brave,

I met him at a time when I had very few friends. In fact, I didn’t have any. I joined college at mid semester and so, it was hard to catch up with the course and with friends. I often felt non- existent back then. I didn’t have people I could resonate to, my words created nothing more than a sigh and solitude constantly felt lonely. I would lay down on my bed in the hostel, comparing the days to my high school ones which was lot more happier and easier. At that time of loneliness and low self esteem, he came as an angel, really.

I thought I had lost that ability to connect to people truly but I can still remember the first time we talked. It was so easy, comfortable and fluent. It felt as if we had been rehearsing it previously. We were on a microbus to reach the bus stop where our college bus would be. I knew nothing about him besides his first name and that he was a classmate. We talked and I still can feel that instant click we had. We talked of ordinary things, the usual stuff but it was something much more. The spontaneity I think. I don’t remember though who paid the bus fare which I normally would remember for the future. I gave that conversation a thought or two later that day, I can clearly remember it made me smile.

I call him brave though he was a shy boy. We often chatted online but I could notice the awkwardness he had when we met in person. As we would pass across one another in the hallway or happen to be together in the newspaper section, I could see it in his eyes that he meant to say so much but would end up saying nothing more than a casual ‘hi’. And at times when I would ask him of some topic of politics or general knowledge or a movie or a book, he could speak unhesitatingly. So, we found that commonness between us, in the pages of old novels, in the talks of Tom Hanks’ movies, in the discussions of feminism, in the ironic criticisms we made against social media and in almost anything that caught anyone of us thinking. I knew this was a person I would love to talk to always.

I call him brave because he was brave enough to express how he felt. Initially with his eyes and one fine day, when finally his thoughts met with beautiful words. Besides saying that he was in love with me, he told me that I was wonderful. Rather than pretty or beautiful, he used the word ‘wonderful’. That my thoughts were different and that I was different. It had been long enough since I stopped believing that. I felt speechless, I said him that I didn’t know what I should say. He replied saying that he didn’t expect me to say anything. It was just a feeling he had to share.

I felt this heavy guilt somewhere instantly. A guilt that this guy I talked to so often, he knew so much about me and I knew very little about him. He always showed interest in what my opinions were, what I did in my spare time, what I wrote about. He would often ask me what my beliefs or perspective was about this and that. He would suggest me fact videos and songs and he would say that I would surely like them. And on the other hand, I knew very little about him. I never really gave in to that mutual thing. I knew of only the things we had in common. I was too much preoccupied and self centered, I guess. Like they say, I clearly took him for granted.

I read somewhere that relations are like growing plants. They need constant care. You need to nurture them, water them and maintain their needed atmosphere. With him, I was the lazy one, contributing far less. I wasn’t generous enough to care. The wheels got old and weak being unrepaired and the cart was doomed to crash.

I am writing this today, to tell him that I miss him. I miss talking to him. And I also want to thank him for who he has been. I feel blessed to have had a generous friend. I may never return him back with what he gave me. Love, strength and the constant belief that I was doing something creative, that my thoughts and my writings were important and that these little things are what makes a person, her or his true self. I am glad to have received that message from him verbally and most of the times without the use of actual words. I think we all need such people in our lives. I know I was stupid to have realized that when it got far too late. The spark had already been shadowed and the click had been voiced over by all the background noises. All I can do now is to bring it down all on paper and shove it under my pillow.

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