Sitting alone on a idle Saturday evening my mind was wandering back in the past. Wandering across vague memories of my college days from over twenty years ago. Though the memories were hazy and I couldn’t remember much, slowly but surely a fond feeling was starting to build within me. A feeling of being loved a feeling of lost days that were close to my heart.
Those were the days when we skipped college, broke rules, and did what our hearts felt like. Those were the days when we were spontaneous to the point of being reckless with our future yet those were the days that gave us a real education. We learnt lessons in faith, love, and relating and many more things that can not be taught in classrooms.
Back then I was fifteen, and had taken a strong liking for this beautiful girl who seemed to be getting attention from many guys. A girl who was cheerful, smart, and seemed to have a charisma that went way beyond beauty. A girl who would never consider a guy like me – a guy who was extremely lanky with oiled hair and geeky looks. But that thought did not much cross my mind or stop me from trying in my own way to get to know her.
For some reason the game that never stood a chance started and kept going. I used the power of my group of friends to interact with her and somehow build a personal connect. And over two months found multiple ways to convey my feelings to her. Each time she would brush it away, not reciprocate and I would fear the end of our short friendship. A few days would pass after my failed attempts and somehow things would be back to normal between us as friends. Which of course my teen aged lovelorn brain would interpret as “I still have a chance”. And my continued attempts encouraged my friends and even some teachers to joke about us. Nothing dissuaded me or her away from our friendship. Then after many months of our friendship and no progress on romantic front , she invited me over to her home for evening coffee (or was it tea that was in vogue then). My heart of course was beating faster than ever and I was split between planning my steps and just happily being there.
Once we reached her house, initially it was all a family affair. I was introduced to her parents and grand mother. I sat with them for sometime talking about general things none of which I remember at all now. After sometime she said, “why don’t I show you my picture albums” and took to me to her room. We sat there going through her picture albums, talking about writing diaries and astrology. Those days Linda Goodman and her star sign books were quite a thing in college campus and we both had interest in them. Or shall I say got interested as she was interested and honestly anything that could help me get her girlfriend I would give a shot to.
While going through these things and conversations I have no idea when the conversation started turning towards career and more mature things. Then at one moment when I was completely engaged, she glanced towards me, look at me in the eye and said, ” you know, you have a lot of potential … I would not be happy you let that go to waste”. While this one of the least romantic thing I would expect, it felt like the most loving thing I had ever heard.
Honestly, to this date, I don’t remember the exact words, but I remember the glance and look in the eye which more than said the words I wrote above. Though nothing ever happened between us romantically, for years to come that look stayed with me, giving me the confidence, making me feel accepted and loved and encouraging me to fulfill my potential.
Today, when I reflect back on the whole story, I remember the feeling I had after this incident. The feeling of complete acceptance, the feeling of not needing to try and being who are. After this incidence though I kept hoping for our relationship to take a romantic turn I was not trying hard. Somehow that one look had created such acceptance that I was happy with the friendship and would never want to risk that for anything else.