First love is really precious. Not only it teaches us to gambol around with the heart, this special feeling is just way out of the world. First love is when you are surrounded by a mist of tranquility just by thinking about your special one. First love is when you think that this feeling isn’t a fluke, but it was meant to be. First love is when you ferret out all the possible ways to get closer.
I remember my first love. In fact, I remember it more than anything. Because my first love was the only time I fell in love, and I wasn’t fortunate enough, to shake hands with destiny to meet someone so special to me, ever again. Now that every single time I come across this term, her name pops up into my head. And trust me, I can’t think of anything else for quite a while when this happens. First Love. Naila.
More or less most of us went through these stages. Correct me if I’m wrong, because I can’t think of more categorical stages since I’m smothered by these ones; the ones that occurred to me.
Stage One – Realization. This is when you catch on to the fact that you have found someone, who builds up excitement by a touch, or by words, or by a smile, or even by the thoughts that you beget within yourself.
Stage Two – Endeavour. This is when you ask her out to a date, with all your guts. If she says yes, you go to a few more dates until her feelings for you develop into the utmost stage of admiration.
Stage Three – Realization. Don’t get confused because of the same title as stage one. Because is this stage, you realize you have wasted your time, your money, your sleep, to just ‘love’ her. Maybe it’s because she dumped you. Or maybe you two were together for a while, and then you two break up for personal stuff.
I haven’t mentioned that my luck was up to stage two only. Because she didn’t say yes to go out with me.
I clearly remember grade seven. That was when Naila was the best student in our class. Fellow students considered it to be a gift from angels if Naila lent them her study notes. And as usual, when people hear, they talk. Not because they are fond of Hindi Serial Bhabis, to gossip along the Bhabi Community, but because that’s human nature. We tend to shut up less when we are supposed to. Not everyone is introverted. The whole class got to know that I skipped a beat for Naila.
Some friends said, “Are you crazy? This future scientist and you? Never happening.”
Others said, “You should have never asked her out bro. Girls are like this. She doesn’t deserve you.”
I agree with my friends, to be honest. Because some things aren’t just meant to be. We tend to accept the truth, than the fictional story that was supposed to take place. That’s because the human mind has the power to go over anything or anybody, trust me.
When my friends were promoted to Grade Eight, I wasn’t there to study with them.
Hold that thought. I didn’t fail. I wasn’t a class topper like Naila but I was one of the good, obedient ones. See? It’s human psychology to think pessimistic of somebody other than you. In my experience at least. My family, with me included, settled in Australia, as my father got promoted. There it was. I had to leave my beloved country Bangladesh, with a lot of good and bad memories, with a heart full of hopes, but without Naila.
Eleven Years Later
Except for my Grandparents, who my parents visited during summer vacations every year, I lost touch with my relatives. I lost contact with a lot of friends. But my best friend, Tahsin was always there for me. We would video call each other in Skype, whenever we got the chance. Even during these eleven years which turned us into complete adults (physically at least), we told each other secrets, and kept updated with what we were dealing around in our lives. After eleven years, I got the chance to visit Bangladesh again. That’s because my boss gave me a one month vacation due to my good performance in work. And I wanted that vacation badly to go to Bangladesh, because it was Tahsin’s wedding. Yes, that lucky boy got to knot ties with the love of his life, Mehnaz.
As I landed down from the plane, the scenery of Dhaka City injected a shot of nostalgia into me. I indeed missed it a lot. Education and work had kept me away from this place for a long time.
I arrived at Tahsin’s place. Their luxurious, duplex villa had been rebuilt.
“Apurbo my brother!” said Tahsin as he greeted me.
“I missed you man. Where’s the squad?”
“My room. Upstairs. There’s Rafsan, Fariha, Shoikot, Shahnaz, and somebody else you asked me not to talk about.”
Before I could ask him who he was referring to, he picked up the call on his cellphone. It was a Biyebaari (a house full of wedding material). I went straight up to his room, which the caretaker Rana Uncle helped me follow. There was my whole squad. The squad I spent my childhood with. They all screamed with happiness as they saw me. My smile faded to an extent as the unexpected greeted me too. It was Naila.
“I can’t believe this.” I said to Tahsin later on, “Just because I told you not to ever talk about her means that you won’t tell me she was going to be here?”
“Chill Apurbo! Every time I started talking about her in these eleven years, you stopped me. You didn’t even let me tell you about how she turned into a really good friend of mine.”
I agree. It was my fault. Tahsin always wanted to give me heads up about what was going on with his life. I don’t want to recall how disappointed I was after realizing my blemish about not hearing out somebody completely, so I’ll just skip to a few hours later.
After Maghrib prayers, Tahsin called us to the gym room. All his equipment was kept aside in a corner, so the whole huge room gave a lot of space. I had to share the bedroom I was given with Rafsan and Shoikot, since the house had a lot of people, and there wasn’t an individual bedroom for everyone.
“Now my turmeric ceremony is next week. Apurbo isn’t probably familiar with the traditions here, but don’t worry, we’ll teach him! Pick three songs that you guys want to perform along. Remember, for each song, a boy has to perform with a girl, so a dance couple only gets one shot!” said the groom.
“Dance how exactly?” I asked.
“Come on, I’ll teach you. Be my partner.” Said a beautiful voice. Yes it was Naila of course; I don’t find anybody else beautiful. She turned into the prettiest woman ever. Her hair was longer. Her face looked more heartwarming than anything. I was ashamed to even face her after such a sad rejection.
What was I thinking? She just asked as a friend to be her partner and dance with her. Shoikot and Fariha were also partners, but they weren’t in love. Why do I have to fall in love to dance with her?
“She’s just a friend. Forget about what happened and accept the friendship.” I thought to myself.
“What are you thinking?” asked the first love.
“Nothing. Tell me about the dance.” Replied the first rejection.
To be continued…