I was in that typical sweet sixteen phase of life when I first saw Aarav. Till that time, my crushes were limited to actors because I never found the guys in my school good looking, even though my friends did. In fact, I even thought that I would never fall in love. But I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Aarav joined our school and instantly became very popular. He was very good looking, had a great physique and the most amazing voice. My heart would skip a beat every time I saw him.
I looked him up (stalked, to be precise!) on Facebook and found a lot of pictures with his “dear friends” who were mostly girls. I was sure that a popular guy like him didn’t even have an idea that I existed.
So, I was just happy staring at him and dreaming about him when he was not around. A couple of times, I thought I would tell him about my feelings but I was too shy. I never had the courage to even walk up to him, let alone confess my feelings. After school, I got busy with my college life and he became a distant memory.
A couple of years later I saw him at this pub in Mumbai, I had shifted to the city for a job. He looked even better now but I thought it would be better if I just stayed away from him. After dancing for a couple of hours with my friends, I left the place, exhausted.
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I was waiting for a taxi when someone tapped on my shoulder. To my surprise, it was Aarav.
"Hey, you're Arati right? I'm Aarav, remember?"
"Yes I do,” I said. How couldn't I? And well, it seems he did notice me in school.
"I must say you've changed quite a lot. Where do you stay, let me drop you?!"
Before I got down at my place, we exchanged numbers. We met a couple of times, had dinners and we became quite good friends.
Then one night, I got a call from him at 3 am.
The moment I picked up, he said, "I thought you would be asleep."
"Of course I was, it's you who woke me up. Anything urgent?"
"Can we meet tomorrow? I'll pick you up from your office."
I kind of knew what he wanted to talk about, so I got all dressed up that day. He came to pick me up sharp at 5 and drove silently to a nearby park. We sat on the bench and I broke the ice.
"You were supposed to say something?"
"Did you know about me when we were in school? I know I was linked with so many girls," he said as he took my hand. And before I could give any answer he said, "I love you. I'd liked you since our schooldays, but I was afraid to tell because I thought a nice girl like you would never be interested in me. Let me tell you, all those rumours were not true, those girls were just friends."
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I simply couldn’t believe what I was hearing; all these years I had no idea about this. I looked at him and said, "Shut up, you idiot. I had a huge crush on you in school. Why didn’t you tell me? We’ve both wasted so many years by not telling each other!"
We sealed that moment of realization with a hug followed by a kiss.
When I think about all this, I regret not having the guts to speak about my feelings to him, when we were in school. I wonder how things would have been if one of us had summed up the courage…
* Names changed to protect privacy.
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Published on Jul 28, 2016