Everything Changes | A Short Story

Walking through the corridors of my school was always a lonesome errand to ease off boredom, and sometimes, to bunk classes. I did have friends, a lot of them, yet, nobody to connect my heart with. Discovering couples walking hand in hand inside school premises reminded me that such an act is against the 'morals' of schooling, and it's rules at this age, but in actuality, it made me feel empty, and lonely, for myself.

Just like any other boy, I had a crush. The girl was a beauty; black hair, cute eyes and an enticing smile, basically the same old same set of features every teenage guy falls for. To our surprise, she got into a relationship with some tall guy adept at mockery, rendering all of us trolled, as she had vowed in the past to never be one of 'those' girls who drool after a guy. As time and circumstances would have it, like I said, she did the exact opposite, and I was, yet again, alone, with a void in my heart.

I was told not to dwell in the past and move forward in life, to live life king-size and keep on dreaming. Friends who would check the 'plus one' box in an invitation were the very people who imparted this wisdom to me. How would they understand the solitude of a lad who walks empty hallways, checks in on a 'no new messages' inbox and feels a rush in him only when he gets an answer right in a maths class? Times were strange and only academics went smooth. It was time to step up the game, but as they say, almost everything is easier said than done.

Cross-fading began as November neared. What used to be lush green was now twinkling with a hue of white in it's vibrancy. Flashing their blue blazers, students dilly-dallied around the campus, minding their own business. Some remained stubborn and decided not to wear that overpriced apparel, and boasted white full sleeves shirts. Enraged by such a non-abiding nature of the pupils, our school authorities forced most of them to buy blazers from the school kit shop, right after the school assembly. Hue and cry was evident, yet, all those 'white birdies' walked into their respective classes, covered with the same blue linen.

After attending a couple of classes, when a teacher walked out, I stealthily accompanied him in order to escape the building and take shelter under the Olive Anthony Block. The plan was a success and I began to walk around, with no worries of being caught. It was cold, rendering the winter uniform useless as it were; chilling breeze pierced through everything, even the measly woollen socks. Without raising anybody's eyebrows, I sat on one of those humungous red bricks right by the field and wondered about the coaching classes I had to attend after school. The field looked morbid, covered by an impenetrable fog, and that's when it happened.

She walked towards the red brick and stood at its opposite end. I couldn't help but timidly gaze at her. It's funny because even though she stood still, she added grace to everything. This wasn't the girl who ended up with the adept boy, this was someone else, this was something else. Next thing I knew, she was sitting right beside me, looking o'er at the highly extended patch of lawn, and believe me when I say it, as she glanced over, it all came to life. Just her presence made the fog minimal, and those clichéd golden rays of light reach out to us, as if to speak that even in the coldest of worlds, there is beauty.

Although it was certain that geography and time were the only two factors responsible for that lovely change in the scenery, I wanted to believe that it was her; controlling the very elemental forces of nature at her will. She looked no less than an angel, even though I hadn't seen one before.

It's strange how a person, just by being present right where they are, can change the way someone else sees the world. I believe that such people are our personal magicians, granted with special permissions to tingle with our minds, to keep themselves illuminated in our hearts when all the lights are out, to stay etched in our memories forever, when all else is lost.

As she turned towards me, her eyes held me. None of us uttered a word, because her eyes spoke more than her lips ever could, whereas I remained silent, perfectly expressing my nervousness. I felt my heart beating faster, along with a rush within me, which no answer to a question had ever given me. I saw eternity in those enticing eyes, and I can tell you this, it was breath-taking.

At last, she waved her hand, and I knew this was goodbye. Our meeting was short, but really intense. As she retreated to the basketball practice area, I watched the momentary light of my life walk away; still numbed by her aura, knowing that this moment was a rare event, one of those which occur once in a lifetime.

These are the moments that remain a secret with no witnesses, but become a fable, when passed on to your fellow friends as an ultimate revelation, or an anecdote of nostalgia. Nevertheless, I was far away from her, and as I watched her dribble the basketball swiftly through her opponents, with that same clichéd golden sunlight shining over her, I knew we'll never get to unite like that again.

Between all the complications of life, this memory laid dormant for a long time. School ended, life began, and things just kept on moving. Coping up with the world outside the shell of school was difficult; responsibilities, personality, and things that go along with them needed a check, and that is how most of my life went, for a while.

Just like every story has a twist in the tail of a dragon, mine did as well. One fine day, a friend of mine called me up, and talked of a girl, a schoolmate, who was about to tie the knot with a guy. It didn't come to me as a surprise because I've seen a student coming in our classroom, in the middle of a lecture, to give an invitation card of her wedding to her friend. Naturally, it didn't really startle me at first. As I asked him who this girl actually was, he exclaimed, “Man, the basketball player of our school who was coveted by every guy! Haven't you figured out the rest?”, and at that moment, somewhere in my mind, a storm surged, activating every memory which had been lulled to sleep for too long, just to recall that one moment, that rare moment, that amazing moment, that impossible moment.

I hung up the call, sat in a trance, and tried to imagine time flowing in front me in neon waves. There was nothing to be said or done. I just smiled and wondered how things change so fast, without letting us realize the shift.

Walking through the corridors of my school was always a lonesome task, and as I walk through the corridors of this grandiose university called Life, for me, nothing changed.

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Abhinav Thakur

I exist in a myriad of lies.
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