By Suchita S.
I met this guy once. Twice actually.
The first meeting was in a strange city, in a derelict place and we made each other’s acquaintance over beer towers. He made fun of my choice in music- Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’ was making the rounds that time.He liked dub-step and electronic and listened to bands whose names I didn’t know. He seemed interesting and it definitely didn’t hurt that he looked good. Maybe it was the inebriation, but we spent countless hours talking about everything under the sun. Flirting? A little, yes, but it wasn’t callous banter. It wasn’t prolific talk either. It was genuinely casual conversation if you know what I mean- where it’s not like your letting out your deepest darkest secrets, but you’re getting to know different sides of one-another through recounts of your experiences, funny stories, memories… nothing personal. Just honest and fun conversation.
It was just one evening- I had to catch the flight back home the next day. But we kept in touch. Facebook, bbm, you know- the conversations continued. ‘Why is he talking to me so much?’ I’d think. But I enjoyed our endless discussions. ‘I’m so busy!’ I’d say. ‘My boss is driving me up the wall’ You see, I have this terrible habit of sounding awfully busy all the time and this acquaintance, who was slowly becoming a friend, wasn’t going to be spared from my incessant talk-to-you-later’s. As work-obsessed as I was (am), he was that laid back about everything. He had to find a job, but wasn’t really bothered. I knew for a fact he wasn’t an idiot. The guy was pretty smart, a smooth talker and like I said, it didn’t hurt that he looked good. But he was lazy as all hell, and my interest ended with him being a friend.
‘I’m coming to Delhi soon. See you there?’ is what his text read. Was I excited? Nervous? I don’t know. But if it counts, I did go to a friend’s house to change into a cute shirt before our next encounter. As I sat at Smokehouse Deli with another friend, I casually mentioned this cute guy I’d be meeting. So what’s his name? I took his name. Oh my god, what school is he from? I answered, and Delhi became just a little smaller. She knew him too, and given my poor record with men and that I was terrible at judging people, she said to me, concerned ‘Please. Just be friends with him. Nothing else. Please.’ But that’s what we were right? We were just friends, I guess. Seriously, how loosely is that seven letter word is used?! Its multiple said and unsaid connotations called out to me, and it got me thinking- so what was this relationship between the both of us? Or was their any sort of relationship between the both of us? For the moment though, I had to hold on to the question- because he was standing there waiting for me. ‘Please be wise’ my friend whispered in my ear before I left Smokehouse. Thoughts and questions played games in my head, but I decided to deal with them later.
We chatted for a while, about everything under the sun once again. Flirted? A little. But again, it was all just fun, casual conversation. I had to leave- I’m always so busy, you see. And as good-bye’s were exchanged, he said ‘It’s your eyes. I’ve been trying to put my finger on that one thing that draws me to you. It’s your eyes.’ I don’t take compliments very well, at all. So I awkwardly laughed off this little revelation, gave him a tight hug and left. My evening with him was great, and he seemed like a sweet guy, but my friend’s words were looming in the back of my head. He texted later in the evening, asking if I wanted to meet him for dinner. I lied and said I had ‘work’. He was in town for just a few more days, and asked if I’d like to meet him before he left. What was the point, really? I mean, he was a stranger at the end of the day. Yes, we shared great conversations, two fun evenings, but he wasn’t my anything. We were opposites. We wanted different things from life, and honestly, I could barely keep up with my own life, let alone expect him to keep up with it. And from what my friend told me, he had his demons to deal with. Forget it- I told myself. I found excuses to ignore him, kept our interactions to minimal at the most, and ultimately he went back to college.
We didn’t talk all that often anymore. It wasn’t intentional, I just kept saying to myself- what’s the point? This isn’t going anywhere in any case. Maybe, when he’s back we can be ‘friends’ again.
I had stumbled upon the music of Foster the People. ‘Oh, he’d love this song!’ I thought I’d text him, but I put it on the back-burner. Something came up.
On a Sunday evening, I got a frantic phone call from a friend. ‘Listen. What are you doing?’
‘Just got out of a shower, what’s up?’
‘I just got a call. I don’t know how to say this. Oh god.’
‘What happened babe? All good?’
‘He died, Such. He died.’
It’s been a while since that phone call. That phone call that changed nothing but somehow everything. Nothing because who was I to him and who was he to me. What did I mean to him, and what did he mean to me? Was I just one of the people he spoke with? We had plenty common friends, but what the hell would they know? As much as I’d like to know the answers to these ramblings in my mind, I know I’ll never get them. We might have been nothing. But he was, and I am.
I don’t question death, or life for that matter. I think they are controlled by forces that are mightier than us mere mortals. The more time you spend delving on what-if’s and what-could-have-been’s, the harder it’s going to get for you. Accepting loss doesn’t come easy, and it doesn’t come with answers. But loss teaches you something- that you cannot control the people or the circumstances under which they come in and out of your life. All you’ve got, at the end of the day, is honest memories and honest moments spent with people. You have conversations, texts and emails exchanged, or a meal and a drink that was enjoyed. And if I had a last request, I’d pick those over answers. Any given day.