The Boy Next Door

First time it happened to me, I was one tiny tot!

I vividly recall watching the truck arrive, making a loud noise in the otherwise quiet neighbourhood. As the truck grew larger in size on approaching closer, the vision of it became more and more blurred, because of the tears glistening my eyes, threatening to fall down the cheeks any moment. No sooner had the truck stopped with a resounding halt, piles and piles of boxes were brought out and neatly loaded onto its backside, while I was watching morosely clutching my teddy bear close to my chest. In no time the entire house was emptied but for the heavy queen sized bed. In one swift motion, the bed was overhauled onto the truck by adept hands and was delicately placed amidst the boxes. The workers, whose task was over by then dusted themselves off, covered the loadings with one big blue polythene, closed the back of the truck, started the vehicle noisily and rattled off on the street.

As I was watching the truck disappear with a heavy heart, I felt someone tap on my shoulder. I turned around to notice him look at me gloomily. He held his head down, “We are finally leaving” he whispered more to the ground than to me. “New place, new neighbourhood, new friends”; he went on as tears were streaming down my cheeks incessantly. “I will write to you” were the last words he said before the dreaded “Goodbye”.

Holding my never failing teddy tight, I ran home without looking back. By then, I was sobbing uncontrollably. “Why did he have to leave? Why? Why? Why?” I was brooding to myself, while stealthily watching from the window, him and his parents board the car and zoom away. That was the last I saw of that lanky guy, I was once so fond of.

To the outside world, I was his friend; to him, I was his best friend, but to me he was something more. I used to call him my “special” friend. A friend, who earned the “special” status by standing up to me a couple of times when all others in that gang bullied me. The first special guy of my life. My first crush. That day, on seeing him leave, I think I experienced my very first heart break.

Well, although as much as I would have wanted, this is not the story of some divine love which sustained despite the time and distance. On the contrary its just another odd narration of my childhood.

“You will make friends with the new family who will come to live in their house soon, don’t worry”, I remember my Mom’s assurance. Yet, that did not stop me from looking out for his letters, which to my utter disappointment never came. He moved on in no time, unlike me!

I did come to terms with the circumstances and did make friends with few others in that street. But, things were not the same again. He was the first and last best friend I ever had in my neighbourhood.

Looking back more than a decade later, I realize, I have not changed one bit. Although I still cannot stop laughing at my stupidity and my perception of the “unfairness” of it all, I can’t help but wonder in astonishment how even my simple childhood has been woven with such levels of complexity thanks to my random clinging. The penchant for the unattainable, to which I would cling on to even long after it was taken away from me! The clinging which made it difficult for me to let go of so many things; the difficulty which became more and more pronounced overtime making life seem more and more pathetic. At 8, it was him; at 17 it was an undergrad school, at 23 it was some job and now its a place!

My laments ranged from,

“I answered all questions well, I am not sure why the HR did not call me yet, Sigh… if only I had performed a little better, I would have clinched that job offer and life would have been so much better”

to,

“Oh, I still weigh the same, if only I had been more regular at gym, I would have lost more weight and looked as good as her, that way I would have been as happier too. Sigh…”

to,

“Damn! I failed my certification yet again, Sigh… if only I had more time I could have studied better and could have cleared this and my resume would have looked better”

to,

“What the hell, I should have not taken up this decision, should have gone ahead with the other choice, if only I can go back and change, I will be very happy. Sigh!”

to,

“I wish I never moved out of that place, Sigh I am missing everything about that place, my friends, my activities and the lovely surroundings. If only I had stayed there……

This was when I decided to put a full stop ! Enough of clinging onto the “ideal” outcomes! Such clinging has delayed my whole moving on process thereby stopping many a better friendships, jobs and choices midway. Sigh… if only I had moved on earlier from each of the “unfair” events that had to happen to me, I would have definitely been happier!

Wait, did I just sigh again! Nooooooo….

Note to myself: No more clinging ever, not to people nor to situations and especially not to places!

As for the Boy Next Door; Dude, for once the memories about you did not flood me with sadness, regret or even laughter. You were profound even at a young age, finally your words make so much sense to me, “New place, new neighborhood, new friends” it is!

But, unlike you, I will make an effort, to stay in touch, to write to the dear ones I had to leave back. No more lamenting, no more regrets and definitely no more clinging!

Hoping beyond hope that at least now my new found resolution lasts.

A wise person once said “It takes a lot of strength to hang on but a lot more to let go”.

Can’t be truer!

Image Credits : unsplash-logoRachael Crowe

2 Comments

  1. Such a sweet post Renu and I loved reading it. Two messages for me here – 1. People move on. Some stay in touch and some disappear. We tend to cling but it’s in our interest to let go. 2. Never stay what you don’t mean. Stay in touch if you said so. Keeping your word is so important.

    Liked by 1 person

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