Crushes are truths we hide from all and most importantly, live within us just like an untold story which is waiting to be spoken but never is because of the fear of not being accepted. Sometimes, for us it takes a long time to understand what we have inside of us for a specific person is that very feeling which we had all heard about, read about and even witnessed but never felt. That feeling called ‘love’. It also happens sometimes that the time when we realize this silly fact to which we were bind to is gone, not the feeling but the time. The time together is gone, and it has to be so and is really justified because that very moment of separation makes us realize what our heart had been feeling since a long time but the brain failed to admit it and now it is too late.
Diya reverted from her chain of thoughts and looked around her. She was surrounded by a number of people who were there smiling at her wearing their best attires. They were all her acquaintances, she smiled back to them, accepted their gifts, readjusted her red lehenga and sat down with the air of a princess on the grand sofa set, looking at the seat beside her which was still empty. How she wished for the person on her mind (and heart) to be the person whom the seat beside was kept for, but destiny always has other plans. Just then, a hand approached her, she looked at him, perfect as always, clad in a black suit with a huge box covered with beautiful paper and a bunch of tulips in his hands, she smiled looking at him. He handed her the gifts which she accepted gladly.
“I never noticed that you are so beautiful.” He winked at her.
“You never noticed a lot of things.” She said with emotions which he failed to understand.
“Where is Nivedita?” She quickly changed the topic.
“She is just on her way, she’ll be here anytime.”
“Okay then, the guests need your attention now; I’ll just go around.” He said.
“Okay, will see you around.” She faked a smile and saw him leaving the room.
Her mind diverted back to the time when they became friends in the 3rd standard. They became friends and gradually became the best of friends and would never leave each other’s company even if death wanted to do them apart.
There were no secrets which were hidden from the other, no pain went unshared. Gradually people started to think of them as a couple but the rumours were shaken off by Diya herself. It was very normal of people to think so because such closeness was not very common among boys and girls of those days. They were always spotted together be it the library, the canteen or the class. The people around could see what they both were blind towards, the fact that they needed each other so much, that they could not do without the other; but when this particular topic was raised in front of them by any of their other friends, the just shoved it off. According to them they were “Just Friends”.
Time flew away like wind and they soon found themselves entering the farewell party by the school to the 12th standard. Diya was clad in the most beautiful attire and Vivaan just slipped when he looked at her. Smiles were passed and inside she knew that her mission succeeded. It was the time of lunch when Diya’s friend, Rishika approached her and caught her blushing to herself. Rishika was the closest of her friends after Vivaan. She knew Diya more than her.
“May I know why you are blushing scarlet?”
“Are you out of your senses?” Diya could feel her cheeks getting hot.
“There again, see?” Rishika pointed out.
“There’s nothing like that.” Diya tried to hide her blush but failed miserably.
“I know you will never accept this fact that a guy can give you so many vibrant feelings.”
“Oh, come on Diya, do you think you can hide all of this from me? I am supposed to be your best friend after that freak.” She pointed towards Vivaan
“I am not hiding anything and he is not a freak.” Diya spoke with an air of anger in her voice.
“Gottcha! Your anger here proves my suspicions. You are in love with Vivaan, aren’t you Diya?”
And just like that, Diya was caught by her friend. The thing which she had been trying to ignore since a long time came out in notice just like that. Diya flushed scarlet. “Shh, don’t tell anyone.” That was all she could say.
“So, why don’t you tell it to him?” Rishika asked her.
“I can’t. I don’t know what he thinks about me. A part of me says that he loves me but a part of me says that he doesn’t. I am confused. What if he breaks our friendship after knowing about this?” These questions were there on her mind all day long but she never thought that she would be sharing all this with anyone else. A vast land of possibilities lies ahead of the small puddles of what ifs, only if we choose to focus on the land than on the puddle. But sometimes circumstances force us to create and illusion that these puddles are bigger than the possibilities.
“What if he feels the same?” Rishika spoke after some time. It was an answer which Diya had never thought about. It created a whole new world of excitement and enthusiasm inside her. There were butterflies fluttering and tickling inside her stomach. She ought to give it a chance, she thought to herself.
“By the way since when are you in love with him?”
“Since the time I understood its meaning.” Diya said and smiled to herself.
Vivaan and Diya were returning back home together. All that time, sitting beside him she felt the butterflies back in her stomach. She was blushing and was unable to start a conversation.
“What happened? Why are you so quiet?” He asked suddenly.
The awkward silence followed.
“Vivaan, what kind of a girl do you like?”She asked.
“What? Have you gone crazy?” He was amazed.
“No, I was just asking like that. Can’t I know what the preferences of my best friend are? The day is not very far when I will have to take the headache of finding a perfect girl for you.” She joked.
“I am only too obliged to tell you that you don’t require taking all that pain now. I found the perfect girl.” He spoke with a sense of proud and guilt all at once.
Diya’s heart skipped a beat. He has already found a girl he is in love with and here she was too silly to admit the fact that she loved him. She was sure that girl was her. But what she heard next shattered her into pieces.
The car reached its destination; she got off the car and went inside. This was supposed to be the best day of her life if it was her name that he took. She went to her bedroom, locked herself and cried her heart out.
“May I know who that unlucky girl is?” She had asked him with a naughty smile playing on her lips.
“You.” Was what she was expecting but, to her surprise he said “NIVEDITA”.
Nivedita was a girl from the 11th standard who had recently joined school and was very famous for her charming looks and perfect personality. Now, Diya could see what Vivaan saw in Nivedita. She was perfect, unlike Diya, she was popular, beautiful and even a Bengali like Vivaan. They were perfectly made for each other.
“I am sorry. I was looking for a chance to tell you about this. I was in love with her since the first time I saw her. I really love her and she loves me as well.” He said looking at Diya, expecting any reply from her but none came. After a long time, she spoke, “Congratulations”, faked a smile and got down from the car.
The days that followed were the toughest for her. His voice saying that he loved Nivedita kept ringing in her ears. She lacked each and everything Nivedita had, the realization had made her weep more and more. She saw him in her dreams, where they were a couple waiting for each other, she dreamt of him looking at her the way he looked at Nivedita now, she dreamt of him confessing to her that he loved her more than anything in this world but dreams are fake illusions of our minds and in dreams we sometimes find the comfort which we are longing for in real life. She used to lay awake at nights, scared to go to sleep, scared to dream the same and then end up crying and shouting for him in her dreams. She just lay down; looked at his pictures and tried to figure out how he never noticed her even when she was there all the time whenever he was in need of some sort of a company. All these things kept bugging her head hard, yet she choose to stay silent and behaved normally with him but within her, there was something which was no more alive.
Whenever he used to visit her, all he talked about was Nivedita; how beautiful, cute and adorable girl she is, how much he loved her and most importantly he’d never had loved or would love any other girl besides her. Diya would listen to him normally as if there was nothing inside her, but deep down the hurricane she held somehow and when he’d be gone, she threw herself on the bed and cried, cried like a small child throwing her legs, punching her pillows, abusing herself but she was not a child anymore who’d get a doll by just few tears. She learnt that some things are not meant for us, even if they are so close.
Days passed by as things remained pretty much the same. She had accepted the truth even when she didn’t want to. All of this had really broken her inside and the mending business takes a great deal of time. And then just like that there came a time when she was laid down with high fever; fever which just increased with the passage of time. When something hard hits you, it does leave damages to you. Everyone around her was tensed for her; she slept most of the time and whenever she woke up and in her sleep, sometimes would she cry. Everyone around, thought that she cried due to pain in her head or something; pain, yes, but not in her head. She grew weak and pale with time. Vivaan was there most of the time; he stayed there with her, caressing her forehead, praying inside for his best friend to heal soon; he would return home, sleep and then would be back again in the morning. He was the only moral support of Diya’s mother who was shedding tears more than Diya ever did; while he was the only reason of her condition and was totally unaware of it. Time passed by and the medicines started working, she started getting better and would stay awake longer. Vivaan never left her side, he would stay there, talk to her, made her laugh, read her novels even though he hated story telling. He did things which a true friend does.
One fine day, Diya asked him, “What about Nivi? You don’t speak of her now? How is she?” Nivi was Nivedita’s nickname.
Vivaan’s expressions changed, “I don’t want to talk about her.”
His stern expression scared Diya, “What’s wrong? Did you guys fight again?”
“She is a girl out of my comprehension. I left her.” He spoke, his expressions, tight.
“What? Why?” Diya sat up.
“She never understood me, I thought that she was different but she is just the same like very girl, possessive.”
“Just tell me what happened!” By this time, her heart was in her mouth.
“She is just so overprotective of me. I mean she knows that you are not well and I need to stay with you as long as possible but she just doesn’t understand this. How can she not understand that we are best friends and we are meant to be together? She thinks that you love me, that you are trying to snatch me away from her.”
The last lines left Diya speechless.
The next day, she called up Nivi and asked to come down at her place as she wanted to meet her. Nivi was not late; Diya noticed that Nivi had turned weak and developed puffy eyes, a side effect of crying, she knew by experience. They talked and the confusion was sorted out totally that both Diya and Vivaan were just best friends and none of them carry anything other than friendship for the other in their hearts. Lies, they say, sometimes are our best shields to protect others from the wounds that may reach them. Diya promised to herself not to interfere into Vivaan’s life again and decide to leave the place as soon as possible. She got admission in a far off state so that she never became the reason for sadness in his life.
Vivaan and Nivi got back together and since then, have been together. The separation did hurt him and he would never have let Diya go if there wasn’t a question of her bright future ahead. Their friendship never ended but something died inside them, deep down. All of this because Diya knew that she’d never be able to look at Vivaan as ‘just friends’ because every time she looked at him, she fell a little more in love which was definitely wrong.
“Hi, Diya! You are looking gorgeous. I wish you both a very happy married life.” Nivi’s voice brought her back to the present. His affianced husband was standing right beside her busy with other guests.
“Thank you.” She said and smiled, a well-practiced one.
Later, after the ceremonies were done, she could see them from a distance, laughing and teasing each other, just like always. And once again, just like those days, she felt a thud hit her inside as she realised that she could have been the girl by his side, laughing at his lame jokes, only if he’d notice her beyond the fine lie of friendship. Only if he looked at her not like a bestie, but like a girl who craved for his love. She somehow controlled her thoughts and smiled back at him when he tried to get a glance at her. She was happy if he was. Who said that love only means to be together?