I’ve known her for over 10 years. Feels like forever though. She’s was my first friend. THE person who helped me bring out my own unique colours and paint the world with her. She infused life in my black and white.
I am always told I don’t smile much. But I’m sure she will disagree. Because whenever she’s around me, I am always smiling. Every other moment when she turns around to throw some “her moment” punches, I laugh. I laugh so hard that she has to pull me by the arm to remind me that we are walking on the road. Laughing my heart out. Impervious to the world around me, or the heads that would have turned our way.
We grew together. Our lives separated. She got married. Two years later we were in two different countries with manageable time zone. France and India. Distance had tested us. Our ups and downs. Yet, we were thick through and through.
It had been three years since we had met each other. Longest we have gone on without meeting. And then one fine day she calls me to tell that she’s coming home for the holidays.
My heart bursted.
She had her plans. The only time we could work out was a day and half over the weekend. And after days of silence because of lack of the internet, a day before I landed in our city, she showed some signs of life. My hesitation and doubts of not being able to meet was gone. She would always come through.
The day was still unplanned. And it still was till the end of the night. It was us. Just us. Like we meet everyday. Doing things we would have pulled each other into if we were in same town, every single day. A lazy lunch. Dress hunt for a reception. Another lazy snack. Gorging on a common craving for dinner. And ending it with ice cream and disclosures to her husband. The story of how we became friends. A shaky start, a strong in between and no end.
We were where it began. Just the streets were different.
It was for a few hours. Yet, I felt light. Felt myself. I felt secure.
The goodbye at the airport was like how she would say when we reached our homes, before we became adults. I ignored the thoughts of “when next?” Till she said it out loud. Tears threatened from her eyes. Like everytime she bid me goodbye. Everytime she saw me off. Because we wouldn’t know how long our next gap would be.
She ignored my warnings. Which had turned into desperate pleas. Being taller than me, she hugged me and planted a kiss on my head. Her face turned red. A vein popped out on her forehead. Ironically, it would also pop out when she laughed hard. She wiped her eyes and my heart broke. I kissed her cheek and ran inside the airport. I couldn’t bear the lump in my throat and I found myself turning back. Our goodbyes could never ever be abrupt.
But it wasn’t so bad. I walked inside the airport remembering her bear tight hugs. Me standing on my toes to rest my chin on her shoulder while hugging her back. It always makes me smile.
All that hustle, just for those few hours was totally worth it. Anything and everything.
Because, she is my person.