“Wow. Bet ya 50 bucks, I can reach the waves before you,” she said as we arrived. I reached into my pocket and handed her a 50 dollar note. “Seriously?!” She exclaimed. She walked towards the beach, untying her hair. She always loved beaches. After a few minutes of wading about in the waves she walked towards me. “Hey, aren’t you going to join me at… Wait don’t! My hair sucks!” She shouted over the waves as I took a photo.
It was a beautiful sunny day in May at Long Beach, Cannes, France. With its beautiful blue skies, ebony clouds and chocolate brown sands, overlooked by the glimmering glass covered buildings bordering the beach, there’s no surprise it was her dream destination. Soon, we were walking the streets, looking at a variety of sights, the old and new style buildings, the scents, the food, the music, the sounds, truly an experience of a lifetime. But for Anjali, it would be so much more than just a dream destination.
We had an amazing day at the Cannes ﬁlm festival. We took tonnes of photos of moments we would never want to forget. Funnily enough, all my moments with her were ones I would never want to forget. This trip made me even more adamant to notice and remember as much of her as possible, her perfections and imperfections coming together to create someone so unreal.
Soon we sat down in a small restaurant overlooking the sea. I still remember the gulls cruising in the wind, calm and serene, not a care in the world. I longed for that state of nirvana my entire life and now she was sitting across from me, slurping lime juice. She made it a point to make as much noise as she could, for she knew it irritated me. SLURRRPPPP SLLLUUURRRPPPP. UHHHHHGGGGGGG
The sun slowly slipped below the horizon and she turned to me, “You know, I’ve always wanted a house in a place like this. A small cottage, somewhere on the coast. Salty winds, blue skies, a small garden with grapevines and daffodils. A pet golden retriever too. We’ll name him Puppy, so no matter how old he grows, he’ll still be our Puppy.” She was the best thing that ever happened to me. I simply sat there smiling and commenting on her ideas, but deep down, with each word she said, I fell further apart.
“You know, this vacation would have been perfect if not for these blasted coughs,” she complained as she looked longingly at the ice cream stall across the street. She always ate this purple, black current flavor which I despised. She would paste a little on her face and say, “Look, I’m Thanos.” She could make me laugh, without even trying. Me? I’m not much of a comedian. I’m just a somewhat shy, reserved individual who doesn’t talk much but has a dash of sarcasm and an existent humor sense. I do enjoy jokes, just not the type to crack one.
Then again there is the rare moment I do crack one. Keyword being RARE. In fact, there was this one time back in high-school, the physics teacher spotted me sleeping in class and asked me to prove that path of motion of a projectile is parabolic. I think the word she used was Trajectory. Anyways, I stand up and toss an eraser across the room. I guess my teacher wasn’t a fan of humor, cause I found myself standing guard the classroom door. Outstanding student. It would have been a bit more bearable if I could walk around or something, but here in India (I don’t know how many other places this kind of torture is prevalent), you had to stand outside the classroom door till the class was over after which the teacher will decide either to let you in or something worse.
Just as I thought I was gonna die of boredom, I spotted Anjali making faces at me from our bench in the back. It wasn’t long before she joined me in standing guard. You should have seen her face as she walked out, guilt ridden as she walked past the teacher, but as soon as she crossed her, rolled her eyes at me, “I had enough of her anyway.”
Of course, all this was before we fell in love. It was a beautiful story. I met her at a cultural event at my school where I was catching up with a friend of mine and his buddies from another school who had come to attend the event. This is when a group of girls came there, and we all started talking. In the crowd, I noticed this one girl, very VERY pretty and wanted to go talk to her. I had spotted this girl the moment she ﬁrst came to school. She was a new student. I never really knew how exactly start a conversation with her. But now, seeing my opportunity, I made my way towards her through the chaos. Of course, it wasn’t easy as I thought, because she never stayed at one place and soon I gave up. A few minutes late, my buddy and his gang left. That’s when one of the girls started talking to me and all of us decided to have milkshakes. We sat down at a bench and were talking but soon the girl next to me, got up and the pretty one took her place. “Hi, I’m Anjali. You?”
Things just started from there. Me and her were simply perfect for each other. We completed each other’s sentences, had similar tastes and she was a fan of my drawings and I was a fan of her… well… I was a fan of Her. It wasn’t long before I asked her out, but I wasn’t too hopeful. She was one of the most popular girls and had scores of guys behind her. What did surprise me is when she agreed to go on a date. I still remember how we walked down a small street next to the beach having ice-cream. Bliss.
It was absolutely perfect in every way. All my friends were constantly bugging me to take them out to celebrate my success. It was a memorable day when I introduced her to my friends who pretended to not know we were a couple and when a confused Anjali explained to them, they enacted a very dramatic scene of warning Anjali from making a mistake that she would regret for the rest of her life. I assure you, those idiots went all the way. One girl even faked tears in the corner for the ‘late’ Anjali. Talk about reliable buddies.
In the end we were hysterical thinking about all the antics those idiots got up to on that day and all the crazy things all of us did together. The good old days. She was my partner in crime and crisis. We still laugh out loud over all those beautiful memories
If only I could laugh as wholeheartedly as she did.
The story doesn’t end there. Here’s a small excerpt from the next chapter.
It was her birthday. But today was supposed to be more than just her birthday. If it weren’t for her sudden loss of consciousness, I would have taken her on a trip to a nearby hill where we used to sit on a bench beneath a tree since we were kids. A bench on which I sat, trying to convince myself it’s not just a nightmare.
Where does the dream turn into a nightmare and why?