Have you ever found yourself in a labyrinth of choices that a part of you *really* wanted to make whilst every fibre in your body KNEW you shouldn't? Well, I did. Since childhood, I had grown up watching movies which taught me to love hard and take risks. They taught me to always, always, always listen to my heart—no matter how irrational, ridiculous or crazy it might sound. And last but not least, they taught me to never give up on someone whom I believed was 'the one' for me, even if that person already belonged to someone else. In my case, it was worse, for he belonged to a close friend!
Little did I know that these 'all is fair in love and war' escapades were never really cut out for the real world. For a girl like me, who had hailed from an all-girls' school and had little to nil experience in the psyche of guys, I was ready to explore the world of relationships. I was confident that if and when cupid ever came knocking on my door, I'd know when to let my guards down and when to abort. I knew if I just followed my gut, everything would go smoothly and happen for the best. Ironically, that was literally the last thing I did!
It all started when we decided to throw a surprise birthday party for my friend, Aisha. We had less than a week to plan everything and contact her best friends from school, cousins and everyone else she'd want there. Her boyfriend, Karan, was of course, on top of our list. However, just when we were about to make the call, we heard that they broke up. Now, for me, breaking up with a boyfriend whom you dated for almost 3 years would have seemed like a pretty big deal. But to my surprise, she looked perfectly fine!
Later, I was told that it was a recurring event. Like many other college relationships, theirs was an unstable one. They broke up and made up at least once every two weeks. And for the smallest and craziest of things! No wonder she seemed cool when she told us. She knew that sooner or later, Karan would do something to win her back and she'd happily forgive him.
So, a day or two before her birthday, Aisha and Karan finally got back together. And the plan was back on! Coincidentally, I was told to speak with Karan and tell him about the party. I still remember our first conversation. We began talking about Aisha of course, imagining her priceless reactions when she'd see us all there at her home at 8 in the morning and how she'd freak out about being dressed in lousy PJs with messy hair. We shared a few of her tantrums with each other and laughed ceaselessly.
Later, we began talking about each other—our goals, our college courses, our hobbies. Even though we didn't share any personal stuff, our responses were quick and interesting enough to keep the conversation going for hours. I was surprised to find him so easy going! He was the first guy I had felt so comfortable sharing everything. I had other guy friends in college as well—but he just seemed different. I never bonded with anyone as quickly as I did with him!
The party was a hit. Aisha was left just as stunned as we had expected! We even teased her about those 'tears of joy' for months to come. What really left me stunned though, was how well Karan and I connected. We clicked instantly! While Aisha was too busy catching up with her old school buddies, whom she had met after ages, Karan ended up spending more time with me.
Over the next 7-8 months, Karan and I became great friends. We never really hung out much, owing to our lack of mutual friends—except Aisha, who was almost always busy with her dance rehearsals. And although he wanted to meet me alone several times, something always seemed to stop me from going ahead with it. I knew we were just friends and not going out *secretly* behind Aisha's back, but something just made me feel uncomfortable. I really DID want to meet him and have a good time, but I just wasn't sure of how cool Aisha was with our friendship. So, one day, I decided to ask.
Somehow, I chose the wrong time. They were going through one of their "breakups" when Aisha confessed how she 'really' felt about Karan. I don't know if any of that was true or she was just simply pissed off, but the way she talked about him made it seem as though she wasn't in love with Karan at all. She only spoke badly of him and his habits, which got her angry. They were as small as not being able to talk to her every night or pick her up from college on time. It seemed like that's all she really cared about! But amidst all of this, without the slightest hesitation, she told me how fond Karan was of me!
Soon, Karan and Aisha began fighting more than they usually did. One day, Karan blurted out everything to me. He felt like he was being treated like some sort of a chauffeur whom she only used for his car. He hated the way she'd ditch him at the last moment for her dance society friends, made him wait at her doorstep for hours every single day and flirted with other guys whilst making fun of Karan in front of them, consistently. He admitted how Aisha and him had nothing in common anymore and couldn't even remember the last time they had a romantic conversation, let alone a date!
I felt so sad for him. I had no idea he was so unhappy in this relationship! But before I could console him or give him some advice, he confessed something which made my head spin faster than my heartbeat:
"I know we've only known each other for a few months, but I've realised something. I couldn't find the courage to admit this until I met you. I don't love Aisha anymore. She's not the one I want. It's you."
I was stunned. Taking a second to think it over, I carefully said, "No Karan. You THINK that you want me. But you don't. You can't get over someone this quickly. You're just saying this because you two had a fight recently. You guys will be back together in no time."
"But I don't WANT to get back together with her. She's not the one for me. You are! This has felt right from the moment we began talking. And I know you feel the same way about me, don't you?" He asked.
"No, I don't. I never have and I never will. You're dating my friend. Period." with this, I ended the call.
But this conversation never seemed to end. The discussion went on for weeks. He told me that the reason I "couldn't understand" what I felt was that I had never fallen in love before. And as much as I wished I didn't believe him, my heart told me this exact same thing. Ever since he had confessed his feelings for me, I couldn't stop thinking about him! And when I thought about it, he did seem to fit in perfectly with the idea of the kind of guy I always wanted to be with. He was kind, compassionate, fun and romantic, and we connected SO well. I hated myself for this, but I did really like him!
I knew I was going against all that I believed. I knew how Karan felt about me, but what about Aisha? Was she over him as well? Could you *really* get over someone you loved for 3 years? Was love so transitory? And what if she wasn't? Did I want to be responsible for their breakup? Everybody would think that this is what I wanted all along—to steal my friend's boyfriend and take advantage of their problems. These thoughts constantly clouded my mind. Meanwhile, Karan tried to prove his love for me as much as he could. He even assured me that he was in no hurry to jump into a relationship and that I could take as much time as I needed to figure out my feelings for him. So, in the end, I finally told him that I liked him—even though my gut warned me not to. And unfortunately, I broke the girl code!
If you're wondering what happened next, you're in for a heartbreak. The guy turned out to be a jerk—surprise surprise! Just a few weeks prior to my confession, I learnt that he never broke up with Aisha in the first place. They were in the midst of a fight, which soon ended and everything was back in its place. He only wanted me as a back-up option, just in case things didn't work out. So this is how I ended up losing my first best 'guy' friend, someone I almost-loved, my friend (since I couldn't bear to talk to her anymore) and the thing which bothered me the most—my self-respect.
But now that I think about it, I'm not sure if I really loved him at all. All I really wanted was to be someone's exception and to be good enough to be chosen over someone else. Ever since then, I take my own time to get to know a guy before trusting him, let alone 'falling' for him and remind myself to trust someone's actions more than their words. Most importantly, I've learnt to listen to my gut. 'Cause that's one sign that can never, EVER lie! Don't you agree?
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