It was hot sultry afternoon and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to trudge all the way to the auditorium to see my ‘so called best friend’ perform on stage. The air conditioning in the library was just brilliant and I had found the most comfortable spot in the whole library. Do I want to give that up? I guess I would have to. I had unfortunately mentioned that I would turn up; not that it would matter if I didn’t. I slowly shut down the laptop and pulled out the cord plugged into the socket. I gathered my stuff and walked down four floors rethinking my decision the whole time. Would it make any difference? I could just probably just add this to the whole lot of things I had done to keep our friendship going. I still remember the first time we met. It was pouring like it was the end of the world. I had taken shelter under my umbrella and was expectantly waiting for the bus to turn up. That’s when I spotted a figure running in my direction. I peered at the dark figure that stopped right in front of me.
“Umm… Could I…” I just stared at the dripping figure in front of me without registering what was being said. The figure attempted again, “Do you mind if I stood under the umbrella too?” I was shaken out of my reverie and I nodded. My mind was on a roll. I was standing in the rain with an unknown person, who was dripping wet from the incessant rain and I couldn’t get myself to say one sensible word. Tongue tied? Now, why in the world would I be tongue tied? I shook my head and tried to say something but nothing would come out of my mouth. Silence, this is how I met my ‘so called best friend’.
Then the rest is like every other story. I didn’t see him for ages and well, I wasn’t exactly interested either. C’mon, we meet so many people every day and that day wasn’t an exception. I’m the kind of person who goes back and reviews her day, playing it like a mini movie in my head. It’s fun when you do it with a friend. And I found that friend on that rainy day. The funny part about our friendship is that it was played backwards, unlike others. Normally, two people become friends and then may be fall in love. But here, I fell in love and then befriended him. I saw him first as my crush and then as my friend. As time went by I realized that I was living a lie, believing in something that was unreal. Life became infinitely easier after I friend-zoned him, on the outside. Inside was a constant storm of love and hate.
I don’t know what changed. I still can’t understand if it was him or if it was me. After one year of college, everything just changed. We used to take small walks every day evening to just exchange our daily comings and goings. In those few hours I used to ramble about the most inconsequential things while he interjected a couple of lines to piss me off. But that was a nice routine for me and that was one way I relaxed after a stress filled day. It suddenly stopped and I was left hanging on the edge with nothing to hold onto. I stuffed my laptop into my bag and walked out of the library. The sun hit my face and I couldn’t believe I was doing this. I felt the strap of my bag dig into my back as I walked towards the auditorium. I shifted the bag to my other shoulder and plugged in my ear phones. I scanned the skies hoping to catch a plane in flight, no luck there though. I glanced at my watch to see how late I was. The black strapped watch belonged to him. The day I saw the watch I knew I had to own one just like that. I used to pester him to let me wear the watch and he used to loan it to me for a couple of days. Then, out of the blue, he said I could keep the watch. That was one of the brighter moments in our friendship. An unknown distance grew between us and it seemed to be visible only to my inquisitive eyes. There would be days when all I did was attend class and sit and stare at my bedroom wall. I used to skip meals even though I was starving. I knew I had lost it, but that’s when I realized that he didn’t want me to be his friend. He just wanted someone to hang out with when no one else was around. Even though that thought hurt me a lot I kept up my side of the act. I went along with whatever he said and did whatever he wanted to do. I put up a facade in front of everyone and kept my feelings to myself. I got over him but I wished that we could still be friends like we used to be. I knew that was never going to happen so I just let him be and continued my life. I used to keep track of his activities through his friends and I smiled at every new venture of his. Triple coord, freshie mentor, project representative. His list of exploits were endless. I reached the auditorium and made my way to the back and occupied a corner seat from where I could see the complete stage. He acted brilliantly and I couldn’t help feeling proud of him. The best part about my life was when I finally let go, when I let him go from my life. I wiped a single tear and smiled at my ‘so called best friend’.