Have you ever heard your own heart beating wildly, literally thumping in your chest when you see that one person? Each one of us has. But do you know how it feels like when this feeling is not mutual between you and that special person?
I was in my early twenties when I first met him. The simpler times of life when you are worried only about getting your eyeliner on point and heels to match with your dress. I was happily chatting away with my girlfriends at our favorite brunch spot. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around only to see a tall guy with a confused smile. My brows furrowed and I looked at him questioningly. He had my key bunch between his fingers and smiled again. They must have fallen out of my bag. I took them and thanked him.
I had no reason to think about him or meet him anytime. But as fate would have it, we ended up in the same college. We were in different classes but would casually meet up or have lunch together once in a while. We gradually became very good friends and we would always hang out together.
I remember spilling ice cream soda on my top and crying for my newly murdered (and very expensive) top when he took off his shirt and gave it to me just because..well I was being a baby back then..
I remember him calling me and bugging me incessantly to watch the new Bollywood movie that I would decline but go with him anyway just because..he would sulk otherwise..
I remember teaching him how to cook and watch him fail miserably just because..he was a bad student but I was a good teacher..
I remember studying together but ending up binge watching our favorite sit-coms just because..those shows were funnier with him by my side and caramel & cheese popcorn in our laps..
I remember laughing and crying with him, getting absolutely drunk, dancing my ass off at the club, confessing my deepest fears that I would never have told anyone and giving/receiving life advice.
I remember throwing tantrums and arguing about being around in the same house as his dog because I was scared of them but I ended up temporarily adopting his dog when he was visiting his parents or just out-of-town..
I remember being petrified of going horse riding with him because he wouldn’t have it another way but yes..I am still scared of horses..
One day I rung the bell to his apartment and he did not answer immediately. I rang it for five or six times more till he opened it. I was shocked to see his face. His eyes were all red and swollen from crying. He saw me and hugged me so tight and started sobbing again. I really did not know what had happened but tears welled up in my eyes because I had never seen him this shattered. His girlfriend broke up with him.
I shared an amiable relationship with his girlfriend. We had hung out quite a few times whenever she was in the city. I, being me, was never usually a threat to the girlfriend clan. I fall under the eternally best-friend zoned girls. (Yes! We exist as well!). It is never love with us, maybe a crush or in a worst case scenario a passing season of infatuation which is comparatively easier to get over with. So his girlfriend had no issues with me. *Phew*.
But seeing him so shattered and broken I suddenly realized I had issues with his girlfriend. I was trying to console him but mentally I completely hated her by now. A few weeks passed since. I tried to get myself together and handle it like the best friend I was but I couldn’t bring myself to just do that. I was mad at his girlfriend. Mad at her for making him go through this. I was mad at her because she had hurt the person I was in love with. Yes I was in love with him and it was the most clichéd thing ever. The irony was not lost on me. After all I was not a fan of Bollywood love stories.
He was in a better place by now and was back to being himself. I tried to rationalize it and figure out if it was a real deal. You know it is real when it hurts. Maybe it was the way he smiled when he spoke to her that annoyed me or the way his faced contorted when he was angry at her or the way I used to feel every time she called and he moved away to speak with her. All of these feelings which were alien to me till now were completely overwhelming me. I was feeling his pain and his sadness had washed over me. I tried to cheer him up and gave him the Bollywood filmy speech that he was the best and he doesn’t need anyone. That may or may not have helped either of us.
I was cooking his favorite meal when I thought I could tell him how I felt about him. I mustered up all the courage that I had. If you have ever gone through this, you know that I would have gladly borrowed your courage as well. I drove to his house with his favorite Chicken Biryani safely tucked in my bag and knocked at his door. With each passing second I was standing firm on my decision and simultaneously regretting it. It was an emotional dilemma. I was surprised at my capability to feel so much for someone else. Do you know the overwhelming feeling when your eyes meet from across the room and you smile..? It cannot be expressed in words.. By now my heart was beating wildly and I could hear it in my head. My head was going to explode. I knocked once again and I heard footsteps approaching..
This is it, I thought. Just do it. I giggled slightly unable to contain myself. I was suddenly shy. I heard the door knob turning. The door swung open and my big huge grin just vanished suddenly. I saw his girlfriend at the door, smiling at me and suddenly frowning when she registered the look on my face. I quickly straightened up and she ushered me in. By now I was feeling extremely stupid and cursing myself and even wondering what she was doing there. He strode in and hugged me tightly. He told me that they had patched up and she would move in with him next month. I smiled nervously and hugged him back trying to control my tears. They insisted I stay back for dinner but I had lost my appetite by now. I politely dropped off the Biryani and stepped out of the house where I couldn’t breathe. He came downstairs with me to walk me to my car while his girlfriend happily waved at me from “their” balcony. The balcony which was “ours” once upon a time.
I had fallen irrevocably and stupidly in love with a friend. The one friend who was clueless about it. I could not do anything about it now. Neither would I do anything about it. His happiness was paramount to me at that moment. When he kissed me on my forehead and hugged me again, I realized.. he has the other half of my heart and I had none of his. I drove off. I cried and laughed at myself for being so insanely stupid and silly. But those four and a half weeks of my love were the most beautiful daydreams and the best smiles I have ever had..because..
What is love without a bit of chaos anyway?