The end of high school was, for me, bittersweet.
Bitter, because of the impending loss of what was familiar; because of the possibility of the loss of friendships; because of the anxiety and uncertainty of tomorrow. Will I succeed? Will my friends stay? Will I be able to make new ones?
Sweet, because of many things. At sixteen, I was the youngest student to graduate in my year; I’d been accepted with a partial scholarship to the university of my choice; I was deeply loved by and in love with the most amazing person I had ever met, and I was convinced that in the midst of all the change, what we had would remain, endure and grow stronger.
Three months later I found myself sitting on the steps of the university, staring out at the town sprawled below, the feint layer of smog and the cerulean canopy above it all. A familiar face was making their way up toward me. Evasion was impossible at that moment, and I tried to fix my smile.
For once, I failed – the stampede within my chest reflected below my lashes.
“Are you okay?”
Inwardly I flinched, not being able at that moment even to deal with sympathy, no matter how sincere it may have seemed. The stampede resonated in my voice too.
“I’m fine. I just want to be alone.”
Thankfully, my message was received and she let me be.
“I’m scared that our friendship will end if we don’t work out as a couple…” “No! We’ll always be friends, no matter what happens.” “I don’t think it’s a good idea if we remain friends. Sorry.” These words, coupled with outright rejection and other girls being flaunted in front of me, were all that went through my mind since the day I first set foot on campus. I lost the battle against the hurt I was trying to contain and felt it spill over my cheeks, abandoning all hope of the heaviness ever going away.
I attended class but learnt my first lesson that day on those steps.
It took someone three months to kill whatever they had felt for me, for them to replace me with someone else. Not once did he try for a reconciliation.
And to this day I wonder whether I had been truly loved, and whether I was worthy of being loved at all.