When winter comes knocking on my door every year, it refreshes my memory with one faint moment in my history that holds more regard for me than ever. It is not just one memory per say. It’s more like a compound memory- invoking a few more faint, very faint memories associated with winter.
In a quaint little town in the foothill of Himalayas, with Eucalyptus trees, tea estates and several buildings reminiscent of the days of the British Raj, lies my memory- unhurt, unchanged by the way this place has changed over the years. It’s a winter morning and I am walking back home. I am with the guy who was the first and only one who touched my heart in ways I could never imagine. I know it now because I never felt a connection like that before, or ever again.
We were similar, but so different. He-the effervescent fawn, I the quiet river. He bubbling with joy, while I… I was just those silent types back in the day. Everything you could imagine in a 16-year-old with glasses on, who spends most of her time reading books and watching the Discovery Channel. We shared so many interests- reading, writing, eloquence. So much that he almost seemed like a perfect fit for me.
And no… I wasn’t even thinking long term back in the day. We were very good friends but never anything more than that. I just felt comfortable in his presence- almost as comfortable as I was with my books.
It is the same road, rather small. Empty, as it used to be back in the day. The sun is shy, not quite ready to show its glorious face to the world. And an 10 am, two teens, dressed like they were stuck in an avalanche, were walking side by side. The morning was quiet, the rush and madness of the early morning hours had passed and we saw no vehicles, heard no people. All I saw around me were tall boundary walls of beautiful homes, laden with beautiful deep pink flowers.
It was difficult to focus on the road, difficult to focus on anything else. I wasn’t stepping on concrete, I was walking on the clouds. Happy, and I don’t know for what. I could see the flowers all around me, the trees, the houses- all in the background of my little, momentary paradise.
I could smell someone burning leaves somewhere down the road. And I have loved the smell of those burning leaves since I was a child. I had walked down the same path with my grandfather and brother, when we were little kids and had to write an exam to enter my new school. The smell of those leaves never changes- its earthy, beautiful, almost therapeutic.
I could hear our footsteps like I always have and I am walking fast, faster, faster than my much taller counterpart who is strolling his way with hands in his pockets and smiling. The whole world looks like a 3D painting in oil. Colors are bleeding into each other till they are no longer distinctly identifiable and suddenly time stops.
I am walking faster, now unaware of his presence.
Such a small memory, emerging from the dead every year like it was yesterday. I barely remember anything about him or me or the times in which we lived together, in our complex teen years. All that I remember is that every year, when winter says hello and the mornings refuse to show me the sunshine, I remember me walking on the road by your side and it means so much to me that I have never spoken about it before. I will never speak about it again.
Note- The post was originally published on Medium. You can click to read it here