Love Hurts

I was ready to sacrifice anything to be with the guy I secretly admired during my Junior college days even if it meant giving up my most favorite food. He was in the same class but I was a nonentity to him or even anyone else in the class. Hardly anyone knew my name. On the other hand, he was famous and everyone knew his name! He was good in sports, he was good in studies and most importantly he was handsome. Anybody could fall in love with him and I was no exception. It was different that most of the girls in the class managed to get a place next to him, managed to feel his arm on their waist but as far as I was concerned I shivered even if he brushed against my skin by mistake while walking in the corridor.

It was I who wore specs but he must have had poor vision for he failed to see how his presence affected me. A little more than a few minutes in his presence, would have meant a call to the emergency medical service team to resuscitate me. Even as this thought came to my mind I fantasized about him giving me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Coming back to the senses I almost always found out that he was not there anymore perhaps because he did not want to be seen standing next to me. Whenever I saw him he was with a different girl. Did he crack jokes or was acting like a joker, I did not know but the girls who were with him were always heard giggling! Putting back my specs in proper position on my flat nose I used to walk back home and bury myself into huge books as soon as I entered my room. My parents too, never understood what was wrong with me because almost everything was wrong! The mirror on the wall was tired of me staring back at my ugly reflection fantasizing being kissed by him.

There was only one right thing about me and that was my ability to pen down my feelings but that too ran off to you-will-never-find-me land when I decided to write him a love letter. What would I have written? I am such and such a girl from your class you always fail to notice. I am ugly, wear specs, I am over-weight and I tie my hair in a ponytail but I am madly in love with you. Please marry me!
So I decided to try something else. I decided to write poems, which was easy for me.
On one of those days when a girl feels really lonely, I was sitting in the class attending the most boring lecture of my life and he was busy discussing something really important with the girl sitting next to him. He whispered something in her ears and she blushed. I nearly crushed the pencil I was holding in my hand.
I took out a blank paper from my assignment file and wrote a poem;

Love Hurts

I never knew before ... Till the day I met you
Love hurts, still it's pleasure loving you.
I spend my nights thinking of you
I cry because I long to see you
Love hurts; still I love to wait to see you
My morning begins with a hope to meet you
I rush through my schedule to be there with you
Love hurts; still I can do anything to be with you
As I see you, my joy knows no bounds
But you are with someone else
Love hurts; still I can fight with the world for you
I have done everything to be there with you
But you just don't seem to see me around you
Love hurts, it really does
To know that you are nothing for the one...
Who is everything for you!
Love hurts and I am hurt too,
It hurts more to know that it's the hurt caused by you.

I never knew that the lecture was over and students were walking out of the class. Before I knew what was happening a guy came like a hurricane and pulled the paper out of my hand and started waving it in air as if he wanted the entire world to know that my little heart was breaking into pieces. I struggled hard to take the paper from his hand but damn my height! The tip of my middle finger did not even reach his chest even when I was on the tip of my great toe. Finally my poor great toe succumbed to my weight and I was about to fall when strong arms wrapped around my waist to hold me in place. I looked at the owner of the arms and they belonged to none other than my prince charming! I heard music being played in some corner of my mind and I saw my self clad in white walking the aisle with him. By this time he had taken the paper out of the other guy’s hand and was reading it. When I realized what had just happened I started sweating! Finally he was going to know that I was the most stupid person on this earth in love with the most handsome guy!

I was about to snatch the paper out his hand but the words that came out his mouth mesmerized me! He said he loved the poem and asked whether it was for him. Like a dummy, I said yes! There was a surprised look on his face and he asked me as to why I loved him. Because you are handsome, I wanted to say but I blurted, “Because I admire the real person inside you!” He handed over the paper to me, smiled and walked away. That was it! The end! Period! End of my love story. The castle I had built in air, in which we were going to spend the rest of our lives together living happily ever after, came crushing down on my ugly head!
I tore the paper and put it inside my bag. I feared that other guys of the class might put the pieces back in place and laugh at what I had written.
When I reached home I walked straight to the bathroom where I spent a little more than an hour crying and cursing the mirror for showing me the dream that was not meant to come true and I think I saw the mirror laughing back at me.

The next day I did not feel like going to college and since my parents would have kicked me out anyways, I walked there on my own. I decided to spend time in the canteen in some corner where no one would recognize me. I did not feel like attending lectures. I was surprised when I saw a guy coming my way. And my heart started beating faster when I saw who the guy was. He came and sat on the chair next to me and asked me if I would like to have coffee with him. For a moment I felt as if my heart leaped out of my chest! I was staring at him and he was waiting for an answer. Finally I mumbled, “Yeah sure why not!” He stood up and waited for me to do the same. Were we not supposed to have coffee? “Let’s us go somewhere else”, he said and stretched out his hand. I slipped my hand in his, got up and walked out with him. I could feel numerous jealous eyes following us!

He took me to the nearby Café coffee day and we had coffee. I could not believe that he had just asked me out!
“No one has ever said what you told me yesterday. Girls have always liked to be in my company because I am rich, I entertain them, spend money on them and I am handsome. But no one has ever said that she loves me because of what I really am. I had been watching you past few days and something in you amused me. I wanted to know you, wanted to talk to you but I realized that you are a very shy girl. Can we be friends, Arti?”

Oh! So he knew my name! I nearly fainted on knowing that and would have died then and there because of cardiac arrest if he had said anything further. But may be God wanted me to live because he did not say anything. The date was of longer duration than I had expected it to be. After coffee we walked and talked. I was awestruck so he did most of the talking. He told me about his life, his parents and how much they loved him and that moment I knew why he was searching for love from the outside. The best in me came out without even me realizing it. I held his hand and smiled. He smiled back and my heart skipped a beat. We spent some time in the nearby park and when it grew darker he offered to drop me home.
When we reached home I was nervous because as much as I knew about him, he was known to flirt around with girls so I assumed that he would kiss me goodnight and even if I fantasized about it I was not ready for it. Instead of doing anything of this sort he just said goodnight and left.

Back in my bedroom, I saw the mirror smiling back at me or was I smiling at it? Whatever, I was happy and that is what mattered. I liked the way he treated me … like a perfect gentleman would. He did not try to get awkwardly close to me and I admired that. That night I could not sleep well because I kept thinking of him.
The next day in the college when we came across each other he just smiled and walked away. Was he the same guy I had spent time with yesterday? I asked myself. He sat next to another girl during the lecture and behaved his normal self whispering into the girl’s ears. A big flirt, I cursed him.
After college as I was walking to my bus-stop he stopped his bike in front of me, which meant he wanted me to take the lift he was offering but I continued walking. He followed me and finally I sat on his bike. When we were alone at sea-shore he told me the reason for ignoring me in college. He said he did not want anyone to see me with him more than once because his reputation was that of a flirt. He did not want me to be counted amongst the numerous girls he had dated before because he thought I was special. I am not sure whether he saw that, but my face was red like a tomato!

This time he asked me about myself and to my surprise I found myself talking. I told him about my parents, my life on the whole and about my future plans. After that we both stared towards the horizon and saw the sun romancing with the sea. On way back home he dropped me few lanes before my house so that no one could see me coming with him on his bike.

Even this time it was a simple good night. We met many times after that, every time it was after college and away from the prying eyes. People around us stared as us and laughed seeing the weird pair that we were. But he was not concerned about it. I, myself, felt embarrassed and started dieting and exercising to reduce my weight. There was slow but sure progress and he noticed that but never mentioned.

End of college did not mean end of our friendship. We met on a regular basis in spite of our busy schedules. Days turned to weeks and weeks to months but I was having trouble getting admission into a medical course. He acquired admission to engineering quite easily, not because he was rich but because of his results. He used his influence to get me admission to a medical school.
Our friendship grew stronger over the months and it was routine to meet and share the
happenings of the day. As days went by, I realized that he was not what I thought he was! Yes, I admit he was handsome but that was not it. He was a wonderful human being. I finally found out that I was infatuated towards the handsome guy he was, but now things were different. I loved him for what he really was. I knew him now, more than I thought I would know. He opened himself in front of me like an open diary for me to read. As each page of the diary turned I admired him more until I reached a stage of no-return. I was deeply in love with him. But a thought nudged the back of my mind. He was handsome and I was ugly. He was tall and I was short. He was slim and I was fat. Someone truly said - opposites attract!

As far as he was concerned I was only a friend for him. He never crossed his limits. One night when he dropped me home, I took the initiative and kissed him on the cheek. As I turned to go I saw a strange glow in his eyes. The next few days he did not contact me or attend to my calls. I waited for him at our meeting spot but he did not come. I walked to the sea-shore but he was not there too. I missed him and I felt I had lost him. I made a mistake by kissing him that night. I had lost a friend because of that.
Finally after a week or so, I spotted him waiting for me at the bus-stop. I walked towards our meeting place and he followed. We had coffee together but he was silent for a long time and I was trying to find words to talk. Finally he broke the silence. “Let’s go to the sea”, he said and got up. I followed him and we reached the sea-shore. As we stood there holding hands, all of a sudden he said, “I love you Arti” and I just stared at him. I mean, I wanted him to say that since a long time but I was surprised that he said it. Who would love an ugly person? He had the answer. He told me how much my friendship meant to him and how much help I offered by just listening to him. He had admired me for the patience I showed while listening to him and he loved me for understanding him. Now, he loved me for what I was! I did not know what to say. I just looked at him and smiled and he got his answer. I had taken care of the weight but the fact that I was not beautiful still troubled my mind. That night he showed me what all the mirrors of the world could never show. He showed me in the mirror of his eyes how beautiful I was. When we reached our departing spot he came closer to me and kissed me on my lips. As we kissed passionately I forgot all the differences and gave in to his immense love for me. I kissed him with all my love and when we moved back he stared into my eyes and it was then that I saw how beautiful I was.

Today as I slide into bed next to him and kiss him goodnight I still see the same love in his eyes and I realize once again that I am beautiful! When we married, people might have laughed at the weird couple we were but we both know that we are made for each other. When he takes me in his arms and kisses me, all the differences cease to exist and only the fact remains that we love each other for what we are.


Books by Arti Honrao

Depression is REAL

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