“The first time you fall in love, it changes you forever and no matter how hard you try, that feeling just never goes away” – Nicholas Sparks
I had picked up my first Sparks’ novel because of HIM…the guy who could make anyone smile. He was my classmate in college and in the first year itself I had developed a serious crush on him. I don’t know if it was his good looks, his terrific sense of humor, his friendly nature or just some random connection I felt with him, but just the sight of his face would cheer me up for the whole day.
However, I never took this seriously during those days. Having been a biology student in high school, I knew these were just hormones at work. Also, I was a bookworm and an introvert who didn’t have many friends, let alone guy friends.
For a year, it stayed as a distant admiration with occasional exchange of glances. And all this while, I would often get annoyed with myself for not being able to get rid of this feeling for him. Especially since he had a girlfriend and was happily committed to her.
Then, one day, we were being assigned partners for our last project for the college. My heart started beating faster as I sat in the lab because I knew he would either be paired with me or my best friend, for his roll number was in between ours. After a long wait of 45 minutes the lecturer announced the groups and he was paired with my best friend. I was both happy and sad, for I knew he wouldn’t be far away from me, but not too close either.
That was the day that my life changed its course forever. His best friend was also friends with me, and together with his best friend and my best friend, and the girl who was my project partner, we formed a group to work together.
Those days were probably the most beautiful days of my life. For a girl who had been bullied all in school all her life, finding friends who accepted her just the way she was - that was a new experience. We soon became a close knit gang and started to hang out together. He would often praise me for the way I would make our project files or win the college debates with flying colors. He would talk to me as if I was the most beautiful girl in the world and listen to me as if I was the most intelligent one. He would make me laugh insanely about random things, and together "the gang" would stay till late in college playing games, chatting. He was the same with everyone. But it was all so new for me!
Even today, I cannot forget the way he gave me a high five when I hit a strike during one of our group’s bowling outings (my first try at the game), or the way he shook hands with me to congratulate me on my selection for masters. And the excitement in his voice when he called me after I got placed in one of the on-campus recruitment programmes. Or the way he scolded me when I asked him to drop me on the road rather than bothering to drive to the inner lane to my house after our farewell. Slowly his friendship and his jokes healed the scars my not so happening school life had left me with.
It’s been five years since college got over and I have changed a lot in these years. I got a job at an MNC and am pursuing a life that makes me happy. My family has noticed the change that has come in me – a girl who would not even want to attend family functions now insists on taking selfies with her cousins. It’s he who taught me how to live life to the fullest and how to have a good time with people around you, be it friends or family or even new people.
He and I would often chat on our common WhatsApp group, but never had an individual chat. It was after I had joined my new job that I decided to let go of the feelings I had for him. I knew we were not meant to be together; he was still going strong with his girlfriend. But four months into the job and I came to know that they had broken up a few months back. Actually, I asked him as I had started noticing that they had stopped posting pictures together on Facebook.
When he told me that they are no longer together, I didn’t know how to react. I wanted to console him, tell him that I understood how it felt to lose your first love but couldn’t say much. All these years I had lived with the belief that had he not loved someone else, we would be together but that illusion was shattered now. I realized we were not together not because of someone else but because he never loved me. It was not a good feeling.
It’s been six months of that revelation and finally I have made peace with the fact that he will never be mine. We still chat on our group and sometimes I feel like walking up to him and confessing my feelings. But then I know he is not on the same page as me. They say that things which happen twice are not a co-incidence. I don’t know how true that is. I don’t know what future holds for me and him. But one thing is for sure; he is my first love.
We might not end up together but had he not been there, I wouldn’t have become the person I am today. Had he not taught me to love myself I would have most probably believed in the hatred the world showed me. And for this, I will love him till my last breath. May be as a friend, as an estranged lover or may be as a soulmate. But I will always love him for making me understand the meaning of true love.