I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.
I walked up to her silently. The class was in pandemonium – but I could hear my heartbeat perfectly. It was P.E (short for Physical Education), the last period of the day. A few of the students had permission to skip P.E for extra classes. She was one of them. This was my last chance.
She was jamming her stuff into her bag. The bell would ring any minute now, and their teacher hated latecomers.
She turned around.
She smiled, even though she was clearly stressed out and in a hurry.
I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t –
“I was…uh wondering if you’d … like to go out with me?”
I tried putting on a smile.
The bell rang. I saw her expression change from utter confusion to surprise, and then to panic.
“Got to go, sorry!”
She turned and ran, her bag bobbing dangerously behind her.
I sighed. Blew it again.
“And what would you do if I said yes?” , she asked, faking an expression of intense scrutiny, making her look cute, not scary.
What was it with all the riddles? Wouldn’t a simple yes or a no suffice?
“I’d be with Santa Claus. Right on top of the world.”
Her smile broke free.
I’m sorry. For a lot of things. I’ve never spoken about them to you, the reasons for which, will be made clear. But it was wrong. I should have.
I’m sorry you had to deal with 15-for-a-month me. I’m sorry he was a bit too… serious about you. Too conscious. So scared of losing you that it never occurred to him that he had lost you, way before he actually did. In his defense, it was his first love. Years of rejection and living in shadows were erased the moment you said yes. And to be honest, I think he really was crazy about you.
I’m sorry he didn’t realise what the relationship was becoming, sooner. How you seemed reluctant to go on, but needed the love he gave you. How he gave it willingly, even though the dark spots of reality grew day by day, at the back of his mind. How he showered you with whatever he could manage, and expected nothing back, though he did question it at times.
I’m sorry that, after ending things a month later, he reacted the way he did. The things he said, the way he behaved. The way he decided to shut you out and withdraw completely. The boy was hurt. The one who he’d loved like no one else, for whom he was ready to give this world and many others, had just told him she’d never loved him at all. That she thought it was “sweet” that he tried.
Was it fair? To lead someone on for a month before crushing all his hopes and dreams in a second?
Perhaps it was.
I agree it could’ve been worse.
Nevertheless, if it wasn’t for that one month, he’d have never grown up. He would never have learnt that those three words didn’t mean as much as he thought he did. He would never know that saying those words could never convey even a fraction of the emotions behind them.
The boy tried. Do forgive him.