The 14 Year Old Boy


As I embarked the last flight to India, I reminisced on all the flight experiences I’ve had as a child. A date popped into my mind and I knew that was by far the best flight memory I have had.

It was June 20th, 2006. It was the last day of school, but I had skipped it to catch my 4 hour long flight to Calicut, Kerala which was via Trivandrum, Kerala. The school was hosting a party and I was going to miss it. I was definitely mad. I sulked all the way to the airport. While waiting in the line to board the flight, I was nudged by a little girl who, you’ll come to know, made my day. This girl, well, she had a brother. I am a little lost on how I’ll explain this to you, because this guy was and still is the biggest crush I’ve ever had in my entire life. Maybe he liked me, maybe he didn’t, but that somehow didn’t matter. I felt like a geek fantasizing over the football quarter back. The girl told me that her family was also boarding the same flight. I was ecstatic.  No, that’s an understatement. I just about cried with joy. Missing the school party no longer mattered. The cute boy was in my flight. Nothing else mattered. The world was perfect.

I distinctly remember wearing a long black skirt with a white shirt. He wore a black shirt paired with a tattered out blue jean. He looked enchanting and I gawked gladly. After boarding the flight, I crossed my fingers and silently prayed that he would be seated next to me. I wasn’t that lucky though. The flight seats were divided into six seats in each row as 3 and 3. Between these seats, there was a small gap through which you could see till the far end. I strained my neck and looked through it with some hope of spotting him. Imagine my surprise when I saw a familiar face looking back at me through the same gap. He was seated around 10 rows from mine and he still turned to have a look. My heart raced and I felt a rush of emotions. 

The gap between the seats
The stare-athon went on for the whole duration till we reached Trivandrum. I opened my Harry Potter book in between just so that I didn’t seem to be having an fanatical disorder. The flight took a break for 10 minutes in the Trivandrum airport. I knew he wouldn’t get down over there so I sat at ease. I guess he did not know whether I would descend or not because I saw him get up and having a good look at all the seats. The flight was almost empty when it took off for Calicut. I had 15 more minutes and this would all be over. I hoped time would go slower. We hadn’t said a word to each other but we both seemed to know what was going through each of our minds. He looked so delicately featured at that age of 14. I knew I could stare at him forever.

We landed safely and the passengers rushed through to get their luggage. I walked slowly because I knew the story was coming to its end. I stood back while my dad and elder sister went to get the luggage. I couldn’t spot him anywhere. I believed he went to help his dad out. I patiently waited and muttered up the very little courage that my 13 year old self could. When I saw him walk by for the last time in a long time, I waved. At least that’s what I intended to do. I had frozen. My hand paused in air and it looked like I was saluting him. I felt my cheeks burning as I slowly withdrew my hand. I was relieved when he grinned and returned the salute. I strained to see which car he was getting into. But the crowd was moving swiftly and my mom pulled me to get into our car.

It was raining heavily and I couldn’t see anything. I hoped I would see him again. I didn’t know that it would be 4 years before I saw him again. I don’t know whether he liked me back then. But I firmly believed that he did. No one used Facebook back then, and so, it was hard to get in contact with him. When fate finally let me let him know about the crazy emotions I felt for him, he had already moved on and had a girl friend that went to school with him. I went into a state of desperation and went to the extent of begging him to be my boyfriend. He declined politely and told me that I would be his second option if he hadn’t met his present girlfriend. I know he sounded like a jerk, but for the 14 year old me that was hope. I met many more boys after that but no one ever had the same effect on me. I was mesmerized by how he leaned when he stood, how his hair looked really unfit for his head, how his freckles looked like tiny beauty spots. It took me 5 years to finally get over the fact that he would never look at me the same way he looked at me from the flight.

I fell for a boy at the age of 11. I was 16 when I finally got hold of my life and let go of it all. But I know that if he walks past me right now, my heart would race and I would shudder for words.

I barely know him now, but I still love that 14 year old boy that travelled with me for 4 hours.

Comments

  1. Sani...reliving the memory of my black and white...
    I dont know whether u remember that I met him on jechu's b'day...after surprise party we gave her...which is 19 of this month last year...just one hour of journey together doesn't make his memory less sweet...sadly I can't even remember his face clearly...but that doesn't make a difference for how i felt for him...the guy who showed me u really feel butterflies in ur stomach....that just one smile of a guy can blur everything and everyone around us in that crowded shop....

    Shabu..

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