When I walked through those gates on that fateful day, I knew my life would change. The type of change, however, came as a shock.
It was my first day at my new job. I wasn’t really interested in the job. It was way outside my specialization and just another way to make ends meet till something better came up. We were twelve new recruits and we all sat at the reception sizing ourselves up. The extroverted ones among us started striking up conversations with each other. Soon the reception was filled with lively chatter. I kept my mouth shut and my eyes glued on the book I had opened. I had no desire to make any friends especially not on the first day.
He walked up to me and said ‘Hi’. That word would later have a lot of meaning behind it. I was startled. Didn’t he see my no-smiling-leave-me-alone face? I summoned a smile and responded in the I’m-not-really-in-the-mood way so he would leave me. He did.
A week later I still had the don’t-come-close face but he still walked up to me and said hi again. I was in a much better mood so I responded well and we had a mini talk. I realized he was fun to be around and very witty. From that day, we exchanged greetings whenever we ran into each other and slowly but steadily started on the path to becoming good friends. We never made it there.
My birthday came a few weeks later. He was out on an official assignment but made it a point of duty to come back. I wondered why. I overheard a fellow newbie who went with him for the assignment complaining aloud to her friend ‘‘if you see the way he was rushing back for her birthday eh. As if she is throwing a huge party in the office. I couldn’t even buy what I wanted to because he was scared the traffic would build up and delay us’’. I turned to look at him. He overheard her too. Our eyes met.
After my birthday we became inseparable. A friend of mine said we both lit up like bulbs when the next person was around. We walked miles together and talked about little nonsense. We boarded bikes together and took selfies on them. He smiled at me and my heart melted. You see, he had this special way he smiled at me. It spread slowly across his face. He looked into my eyes and told me I was beautiful. I blushed. Said I had the most beautiful eyes. Eyes he could stare at forever.
I was happy. He was happy. Attraction sizzled. We fought it. It conquered us. He kissed me.
And all hell broke loose. He travelled to his hometown where he had registered for his PVC. He was a firm believer of exercising voting rights. I couldn’t care less. I didn’t want him to go. He left and I missed him. Felt like a part of me had gone. It was terrifying. I started to give myself reasons why we shouldn’t be together. Culled up all the disadvantages of it.
He came back and met a changed me. He wondered what happened. I had no explanation. He tried to break through my barriers. I could not afford to let him. I was terrified.
The emotions I felt for him were like none I had ever felt. It was raging, wanting me to possess all of him. Threatening to overwhelm me. I always liked being in control but this time I wasn’t. It was a scary feeling. Nobody should have that kind of hold over me.
He didn’t understand what was going on. After trying for a while to reach out to me, he built walls around himself.
Now we barely speak. We just hello and hi at each other.
My heart breaks. Every day I see him. I want to hold his hands, watch him smile, specially, for me. Hear him tell me ‘HI’ laden with meaning. Take selfies with him.
I tried reaching out to him. He built his walls higher than mine. I understand. I hurt him without explaining why. I retreat. I cry. I’m miserable.
I wonder why I feel this way. I will not give my emotions a name. If this is love, I do not want it.
Is this really love?