I was in Class 11 when in the middle of the academic year, a new student joined our school. He was bit odd though. He used to travel in my school bus and always sat alone. He didn’t speak to anyone in class either. Because of his nature, he was made fun of at times, but I thought he was really cute.
Eventually, everyone was used to his quiet presence. Until one day, he missed the bus. He boarded a few stops after me, and his seat was gone by then. He looked around for an empty seat, and not finding any, he walked towards me and timidly asked if he could sit there. That was the first time I had heard him speak. He didn’t say a word on the entire ride to the school. And his eyes, they looked lost, like he was looking for something or someone.
The next day, I deliberately went up to his seat and asked him if I could sit there. I tried initiating small talk and over some time he opened up to me and we became good friends. I found out that he had been recently adopted by an affluent but abusive family. He never told me about the abuse, but I would see scars and wounds on him, and a lot more lay hidden under his clothes because he would wince every time I hugged him. He never told me the reason, and I never asked.
Slowly and steadily we found ourselves falling in love. I had butterflies in my stomach every time he broke into a smile. We kissed on the New Year’s Eve and that’s how we started our relationship. We would study and hang out together and I made him promise to write my Head Girl speech if I won our student council election.
But, my mother didn’t like him. She never directly expressed her disapproval but kept telling me that I merely pitied him and he wasn’t good enough for me. Rumours about us were doing the rounds at school too.
This went on for a few months until one day we had an argument on a petty matter and my mother’s words got the better of me, and in a moment of anger, I ended things with him. I knew I had broken his heart because I was his only friend and more. Also because he stopped smiling. He asked me to forgive him many times, but I wouldn’t budge. My mind was too clouded to think. I stopped using the bus and slowly he receded, back to his world. He was again the quiet boy who sat alone on the bus.
Next year, I was elected as the Head Girl. He came to see me in my class and before he said anything, I screamed at him. My classmates laughed at the spectacle. The next morning I found an envelope on my front door. In it was a note that said, ‘Here is the speech I promised to write for you. This is what I had come to give you yesterday. I’m sorry for everything.’
That was the last time I heard from him. Turns out, it was the same day his family decided to not have him anymore. That’s all anyone knew of him. I tried looking for him everywhere but he had just vanished. 14 years later, this has still remained the biggest regret of my life. That I did not give him another chance when I should have.
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