Nila found herself standing right in front of her first love, the man she had loved so deeply but had last seen 12 years ago when he was just a boy and she was just a girl. She met him when she was 11, at the start of her secondary school.
They met under a compelling milk moon, she had been rehearsing for an upcoming swimming competition till late and he had briskly walked in to close the pool. He stooped low to speak to her ‘Hey there, sorry but we are closing now.’ It was all he needed to say, he struck a chord that would later be the first note of the song of their journey. They talked as if their souls were old friends and fell in love that very night.
Everyone mocked their love for they thought they were too young to understand what love was, but to them, their destinies had been mapped, and theirs was the same path.
They spent the rest of her swimming season getting to know each other, they wrote each other love letters every week, every word he uttered to her tasted like cherry to her soul, and every embrace he gave her released a soothing rhythm in her young heart. They loved each other with a child-like faith, believing that the world was theirs; together they created memories and built a world of their own.
A year in, Nila moved to a neighboring country for school and a few months later, Marvin too. Not only did he move across the region, but across oceans and continents. They were not weak to give up on their relationship because of distance or different time zones, they said. So young as they were, they had committed to making it work and many years later get to sing Shania Twain’s ‘they said “I bet they’ll never make it” but just look at us holding on. We’re still together, still going strong.”
With so much resilience they tried, with so much love they persisted, but nevertheless, four years later, the same fate that had brought them together tore them apart.
With the distance, she struggled with his void; and shared a kiss with someone else. She confessed to Marvin with guilt and regret and he did forgive her, but told her on what deemed to be their very last phone call, “I understand. It is bound to happen to either of us with this distance. Nila, I’m sorry this is too difficult; I don’t think it will work out but hey, at least we tried… There’s the time difference, the exhausting school schedules and little hope of me ever coming back home. If we don’t break up now, the conflicts will grow and turn us into enemies instead.” And she knew he was right but his words still pierced, like a dagger had been gouged straight into her heart, only, it was a double edged dagger. It hurt him as much; she could hear the sadness in his voice. And just like that, they bid farewell to their love story.
She had not imagined a life without him; she was so young yet broken like a haggard soul. She wondered if the fairies had cast a spell on the wrong people, like the Midsummer night, maybe they had brought together two hearts that were never meant to be.
He had spoken of a future together; their future. Those thoughts had floated in her mind and she had drowned in the anticipation of all his words coming to life, of the day they would see and embrace each other again, and make a home for their love. But, it was all lost quicker than it had come. Had they suffered the same fate as the Capulet and Montague lovers? Had they no say in the script of their love story?
She met someone else and hoped his love would make her forget Marvin, but it did not. She decided to love another but left an open door in her heart, in case Marvin ever returned. For 2 years she waited in hope. And finally he called, only to tell her he had met someone special and he was happy. His words hurt again, but this time, like a comet had hit earth and scorched her of her poise. Nonetheless, something in his voice told her he wasn’t entirely telling the truth when he said he was happy, or was it just hopes she had that no one else made him as happy as she had?
She knew she had to let him go but also knew he would always remain her first love, and that there would be no other like him. She sobbed nonstop, and the rain came down in buckets that evening; she stood outside her house and let it drench her. It wiped away her tears, but not her sorrow. The pain just wouldn’t go away.
Before their relationship had ended, she had dreamt, for many nights, and anticipated how deeply in his arms she would fall if she ever saw him again, but things had changed since then. She had been forced to let him go and had dealt with the pain of erasing the love story they had written together and engraved on the skies.
To be continued….