I never thought I could fall in love with someone I have never even met. I am not that type of a girl. I don’t have crushes on celebrities or characters from books. I don’t dream about knights in shining armour riding towards me on a white steed and sweeping me off my feet. I have never been in a damsel-in-distress situation. I don’t like romantic comedies. And I dislike the entire concept of candle-lit dinners.
I also intensely dislike the notion of ‘love at first sight’. Each time someone mentions that phrase around me, I snigger inwardly. Sometimes, I forget and even laugh out loud. I receive looks of pure hatred from the speaker of the phrase. I shrug, smile sheepishly and try to change the topic. I usually avoid confrontations.
Until recently, my world consisted of my books, my writing, my brother and the evening walks by myself on the beach. And though I was never too happy, I was quite content.
Why then does everything have to change? Why does life have to go topsy-turvy? Why have I become the very kind of person that I once detested? And why don’t I detest the person I have become? Why?
It was exactly two weeks ago that I first saw you. You stood there, in black tracks and a blue tee, hands on hips, right at the edge of the beach, gazing into the distance. It was as if you were waiting for a signal of sorts. I remember noticing that the blue of your tee matched the blue of the sea. You must have stood there for over half an hour. Perhaps longer. All that while, I stood just a few metres behind you, wondering what it is that you were waiting for. Your lady love to return from her trip? I hoped not. I hoped that you, like me, were standing there to soak in the sound of the sea. You waited till dusk had set in, and then you turned and left.
After that day, you came to the beach at exactly the same time each evening, dressed in exactly the same attire. And stood for exactly forty three minutes gazing at the horizon. And each day, I would watch you, and wonder about the story of your life. A million thoughts raced past my head. Sometimes I wondered if you were mourning a terrible loss. Sometimes I wondered why you never changed your clothes. Sometimes I wondered what if you had eyes on the back of your head and could see me all along. And sometimes, I wondered if I could ever muster the courage to come up to you, lock my hand in yours and gaze at the sea standing by your side. I imagined several other such scenarios with you, but I never once imagined a conversation between us. Maybe because I was already so comfortable with the silence we shared.
After the eight day, you stopped coming. It has been six days since I saw you. On the first day, I thought maybe it was because you had some errands to run. On the second day, I thought you might have caught a fever. On the third day, I feared your lady love was back. On the fourth day, I imagined you got bored of gazing at the sea. On the fifth day, I grew restless. Today is the sixth day. And I am afraid. I am afraid I have lost you even before I met you. I am afraid we will never meet. I am afraid I will never be able to tell you that I love you. For I do. I fell in love with you the very first day, the moment I saw you standing at the edge of the beach with your hand on your hips, gazing into the distance.
And do you know what it is that I am most afraid of? That I might run into you sometime, somewhere, and never recognize you because I never saw your face.