That is How The Story Goes..

There is a girl. A beautiful girl surrounded by people. Yet, utterly alone. She spends almost all of her time secluded with her family or in the comfort of books. I watched her for all of high school.. waiting for that perfect moment to talk to her but that moment never came. She seemed content to be invisible, to fade away..

But never to me.

Nandani had been living in the same neighbourhood since she was seven. Her parents had relocated from Chennai after her father had lost his ancestral property in a bitter legal battle against his own brother. There was nothing much he could do, except to move to a new city and start over. This neighbourhood had promised him just that.

As a south Indian, Nandini’s hair was black as raven that flowed down over her shoulders and she had big, dark brown eyes. She was unassumingly beautiful. She had no trace of any accent, as she would shift effortlessly from Tamil to Hindi, when talking to her mother or other children. Her sweet disposition, and her melodic laughter was admired by many, but she had almost no friends. She chose a solitary existence, spending most of her idle time with her nose stuck in her books.

She first saw him at his birthday party, almost ten years ago. His parents were nice enough to invite her to join the rest of the kids from the neighbourhood. Aarav was quite the looker, even as a young boy. Over the years, she silently watched him grow into a handsome man. With broad shoulders and the perfect jaw line, he was always the crowd favourite. He was the smartest kid in the neighbourhood and was being scouted by all the big colleges. He knew that he was chased after by every other girl in school and quite enjoyed the attention. What he did not know was how he always managed to stir something inside her, every time he looked her way. She found this feeling hard to explain.

Little did she know how hopelessly in love she was with him.

It was a Friday night and his parents were throwing a party to celebrate his high school graduation. They had a large tent put up in the backyard with a makeshift dance floor set up on the side. All the kids from school were invited, including her. She dressed carefully, picking out an outfit that would best show off her slender curves. She wore a black cocktail dress with a lace finish, that stood just above her knees. Clutching the letter in her hands that she had written out to him the previous night, she walked over to his house.

Standing at a corner where the lights were dim, she steadily scanned the crowd for him. Suddenly, she felt a tingle down her spine as she realised that someone had walked up behind her. There was only one guy who could make her quiver with just his presence. She slowly turned around and looked up into the face of the guy she had loved for the last ten years. She noticed how he had lost some of his boyish looks and now, took on the look of a young man.

She knew this was the chance she had waited all her life for, but stood tongue-tied. The music was wafting through the place and she recognized it as one of her favourite romantic tunes. He took the letter she had held, from her hands and shoved it inside his back pocket.

“Would you like to dance with me?”

Those were his first words to her. They had never spoken before. She looked into his eyes and nodded, for that was all she could do. He grabbed her by the arms and pulled her to him. They danced, cheek to cheek, for what seemed to her like eternity. At the end of the song, he kissed her softly on her forehead.

Without any warning, he grabbed a glass of wine from the nearest table. She had never had a drink before, but when he held it to her lips, she couldn't help but take her first sip. Then the two, had a few more.

Soon after, the music changed to an infectious whirl of rhythm. They had stopped dancing but he still held her close to his body. She was trying to push aside the uncomfortable sensation that every pair of eyes in the party had been fixed on her, since he had first walked up behind her. He probably sensed it, too. Slowly, he led her to his room upstairs. She had always heard that the girl’s first time was a memory she would never forget. But this night would be remembered for reasons she did not yet know.

She found out the hard way about love, when she saw those pictures of her on the Internet the next day. And the note too. In her distinguishable handwriting, it read —

You are my first love. My everything. The kind of love that one never falls back from.. never tries to. A love so big and so strong that it never dies.. never fades. The endless kind of love.

Six days later, at the age of seventeen, she slit her wrists.

To fade into darkness was her ‘happy ending’.

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