Saturday, February 9, 2013

We Might As Well Be Strangers

I remember it. Vividly.

It was a sultry afternoon, and we were in the school bus, on our way to our homes. I was in the 8th grade while she was in the 9th. We had been friends ever since I could remember. That day, we were prattling about the latest gossip in school, like every day.

"I need to tell you something." she said suddenly.

"Go on!" I encouraged her.

"I am moving to Delhi." she said.

"Are you kidding me?" I asked.

"No, sweetie. I actually am."

"But, why didn't you tell me?"

"I just did." she smiled.

For once, that smile failed to brighten me up. My whole world came crashing down. In that one moment, I realized what she meant to me. Millions of thoughts ran through my mind, my head spinning. I felt weak, dizzy and nauseous. I didn't know my tears had spilled out.

"You are crying?" she asked, appalled.

"No!" I said, wiping off the tears with the back of my right hand.

"Oh, man!" she hugged me, "I am sorry! I was kidding! I didn't know you'd react this way! I am so sorry!"

I wasn't sure I had heard her right. I wasn't certain if she was lying now, just to make me feel better.

"Are you sure?" I asked her, timidly.

"Yes, silly! I am not going anywhere!" she grinned.

"Don't you ever play that prank on me again!" I yelled, hugging her tightly, "Stupid! Stupid!" I ranted.

"Aw!" she said, patting my head.

"I love you!" I blurted out, "Don't talk about leaving me, ever!"
It was the first time I had ever said that to anyone, besides my family. And, it was the first time my mind registered the fact that she was actually like family to me.

"I love you, too, babe!" she smiled at me, wiping away my tears.
Those three, actually five, words made my day.

Years passed and then came a time when she told me she was moving to Delhi, this time for real. I was in the 11th grade, she was in the 12th. She was going there for higher studies. I could not stop her for my sake. I smiled and let her go.

She returned home twice a year: during the summer vacations and for Divali. I tried to catch up as much as I could. But, she was becoming a big city girl, no longer much interested in her hometown or in her hometown 'best friend'.

She did not come back during the 2012 summer, nor for Divali. A few months ago, she got married. I wasn't invited.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.