Quietly she stares out of her bedroom window.
There’s an empty feeling in her stomach, and with every breath she takes the emptiness inside seems to grow, her eyes are fixed, almost in a trans like state-on the golden beam of light emanating from a fluorescent bulb on the road outside, a silent observer, she watches as people walk up and down the street.
She knows the feeling too well, in fact there are times when she misses it. Someone once told her when you live by yourself long enough, you start liking it.
She’s 24 and in one hour, on February 14th 2011, she would turn 25.
While everyone she knows thinks it’s an amazing co-incidence that her birthday falls on the same day as valentines day, a day when the whole world celebrates romantic love, she is burdened by the all too familiar thought that even this year too she wouldn't have to wait up all night to hear the sweet voice of a lover, and even though she never worked on her birthday she knew there weren't going to be any heart shaped packages delivered at her doorstep the next morning with a wide eyed boy holding flowers in his hands, no knight in shining armor to rescue her from this fortress of loneliness she has been confined to for a long, long time.
She reflects on her past, 24 years is a long time.
She’s never really been in a relationship with anyone and although she longs to say the magical words ‘I love you’ to someone, she wants to do so only when she means it.
She recalls the 'crushes' from her school days, the tall boy with the hair that completely covered his forehead every time he bent down, the guy in college who sent her poorly worded poems in vain attempts ask her out and of course the class hunk whom everyone in the world loved, but for her. She barely remembers their names now but these memories from her past fill up a little of that void she feels deep inside.
Soon her phone would be flooded with texts from people who remember her only because of the reminders on their digital calendars, she longs for something more, she would readily surrender all of those wishes in return for just one honest greeting from someone who waited all year for this day to come, just to make her feel special.
She remembers something her mother told her when she was a child, Good things come to them that wait, not to those who hesitate, but she can’t help but think that maybe she waited too long, maybe stories of eternal love are fictional for a reason that they don’t happen in real life, The Romeos and Juliet’s and Jacks and Roses are after all characters born out of vivid imaginations of gifted authors.
She looks out of window again for the last time that night, she knows its going to be hard getting any sleep but she was going to try to anyway.
She holds on to the curtains as her hopeful eyes scan the street for the final time in that year of her life.
No one comes.
She turns off the lights, pulls down the blinds and rests on her bed.
A minute later, she hears the indistinct voice of someone having a conversation on the phone.
The lights come on, she looks out her window, it appears as though someone is walking up and down the street, but she can only see his feet.
Every 2 minutes she can see a portion of his legs as he walks close to the light and stops short before she can get a complete look at him, he turns around and comes back she can only see a little more of him, but his face is not visible.
She waits and watches, like a physicist studying the movements of a pendulum, she stares at this faceless man with a distinct voice oscillating to and fro on the street where she has lived all her life.
He seems to be speaking to a friend, and their conversation looks to be coming to a close.
And yet,she can’t see his face.
Her heart is racing, in a couple of minutes the call would end and he would just go back from where he came from, she had to see him at least one time. She tries in vain to tell herself that it’s the guy from the opposite apartment who walked shirtless every evening on his terrace, but it doesn’t help.
She walks out of her room to the balcony.
The mystery man seems to have stopped walking. He has his back turned in the opposite direction and his head is facing down, looking at his phone, the call has ended.
She waits with bated breath for him to turn around.
She’s now has to decide between waiting right where she stands or take a chance and go downstairs out on the streets and try to see him clearly.
The longest 2 minutes of her life go by.
She takes a deep breath and without warning bolts down three flights of stairs and rushes out on to the street.
It’s cold outside, and she doesn't have her favorite purple sweater on, she feels it however when she becomes aware that he is not there anymore.
She is out of breath and feels like her knees could give way at any moment.
She blinks again and again hoping he would appear but he doesn’t.
She makes her way back to her room slowly, the enthusiasm with which she ran out to see this guy has gone, conflicting thoughts occupy her mind.
When she enters inside she finds herself in the same situation all over again, the same window, the same curtain, the same fluorescent light on the same old street.
It dawns on her that her life seems to be going nowhere, just spinning around in circles.
Her phone rings, momentarily the trance is broken, she picks it up and walks out to the balcony to talk to her childhood friend , a young doctor who was graduating from med school the next day.
She tried to look away from the spot where she thought she saw someone earlier, but like a magnet. Her eyes are drawn in that direction.
That’s when she sees him, the mystery guy from a moment ago, only this time for some unknown reason, he is looking straight up at her.
She cuts the call.
They look at each other for a while, and then….. he smiles.
It’s been two years now, and to this day Amy tells me that right at that moment, when she saw Sid standing out there on the street, smiling at her, she knew she would never feel alone again.
To Amy and Sid for showing me that true love does exist.
I believe, because of you guys.
Happy Valentines Day !
P.S In case you are wondering who that childhood friend was who called Amy that night……… It was me!