The nerdy guy that you dated and broke your heart back in university. The one we never talked about. I was downright jealous, despite the fact that I was with someone else too at that time.
But that relationship of yours didn’t survive. Neither did mine.
I supposed we were still figuring things out at that age.
We talked about the time when you were struggling to come to terms with its ending. You told me this particular story when you were trying to contact him. This was some time after the breakup where you were still trying to remain friendly. So you tried contacting him several times on his mobile and land lines. You left messages after messages yet he did not reply for days. You were worried sick that something could have happened to him. You left your campus and went all the way downtown to his shabby rental flat; walking all on your own you ignored your safety. You banged his door a couple of times to no avail. You were about to call the police to report a missing person. You almost went mad with worry.
And then he opened the door. Right there and then, you could have slapped him for putting you into that mess. But instead you took off like an idiot.
You had me there.
The story stayed with me for years and years because it pointed out to me one thing. How much you cared for someone. Your compassion always seemed to outweigh your anger, a fact that I found to be true. And that little paranoia of yours was strangely entertaining.
I didn’t have the nerve to tell you then.
And I do have something else to share with you.
There was this time when you told me you were in high school. About this other boy who didn’t treat you right. I couldn’t really remember the details, but I know school boys are generally mean and hopeless. We had more exciting things to think of and explore, and girls more or less is just a piece of meat. Nothing of importance.
He put you through emotional misery at such tender age. I remembered you told me you would save up coins so that over the weekend you could go to the public phone and call him up. This boy was mean to you, and harsh, saying all hurtful things and at times leaving the phone simply hanging while you on the other hand were trying to reach him. To talk to him. You cried throughout the conversations. You cried after talking to him. It was the saddest episode of your school life that pushed you to a brink. I think you said that was the catalyst that made you excel in academic subjects. You channeled all your efforts religiously into forgetting him and into producing excellent results. And left this country.
liyana, it pained me.
Because I was once that boy too.
When you spoke about being wounded on the receiving side, I know how it was like to play that game. To scold and say hurtful things that made the girl I talked to cried. I knew what it was like to make her go through such agony and pain through the public phone, where she had to walk couple of blocks away from her residence just to call me. To tell me that she missed me. I put her through hell. Just like what he did to you. There was no compassion in what I did.
Boys are generally mean at that age, I know. But there was no excuse to treat anyone that way. I know that now.
I realised how hideous it was after you told me this story.
That thing you said,
‘You and I. Whatever karma we have. Whatever karma we share. The bond.’