Around three years ago, I was in Udaipur, sitting with a group of friends in a backpacker hostel, when I met a Belgian girl. She walked into the room, made some small talk with our group and sat down with us.
I didn’t think much about her when I first met her and thought that she was probably like anyone else you met when you were travelling and staying in one hostel after another (as I was doing at the time).
We got talking, and I discovered that we had similar taste in music and that she plays the saxophone. Instantly, I became interested in her.
Over the next two days, we spent a lot of time together, and I started feeling all kinds of feelings I had never felt about anyone I had met before.
She reminded me a lot of myself, and for some reason, I had this reassuring feeling that I could spill all my secrets and be completely myself around her. She had a great sense of humour and was by far the best listener I’ve ever met.
I fell under the spell of her effortless charm and felt drawn to her like a magnet. When we locked eyes with each other, it felt intoxicating.
As far as I could tell, she had a great personality, and the day after we first met, it made me want to tell her that you seem like a really great person. (“Seem” because seriously, how much can you really know about someone in a couple of days?)
But the effect of the alcohol I had took control over me, and to my surprise, I ended up somewhat randomly blurting out, “you are a really great person.” Thankfully, she took it well and almost instantly responded that she feels the same way about me.
Sadly, by the end of the third day, both of us were leaving and heading in separate directions. That day, while we were sitting together, I recall hearing the song If You Leave Me Now by the band Chicago.
I’d always loved that song, and I would have probably heard it hundreds of times, but now the music and especially the lyrics was hitting me on a whole other level.
Saying goodbye to her was difficult, and I had tears in my eyes. I knew that I would probably never see her again. I told her that I am going to miss you so much.
I sure wasn’t wrong about that.
Over the next two years, she would keep appearing in my thoughts almost every day. Somehow the most random things would remind me of her.
I’d sometimes wonder how it was possible to have such warm feelings for someone I’ve known just for a couple of days, so much so that I wondered if I had some past-life connection with her.
As time passed, my feelings for her were not of a lovey-dovey kind, but there was still this intense longing to get to know her better.
We were friends on Facebook. But I couldn’t imagine having any meaningful conversation with her over instant messaging, so I mostly never messaged except to wish her on her birthday.
Last year, I’d started exchanging emails with a pen pal abroad and found these interactions fun and interesting, so I sent her a mail expressing what I thought about her and asking if she’d like to be pen pals.
I’ve written well over a hundred articles on my blog, but if you ask me, I was almost as proud of writing that mail as much as anything else I have written in my life.
Anyway, I hit send and waited. A week passed.
I wasn’t surprised. I thought she just wanted to take her time, and felt that surely it would only be a matter of time before I heard back from her.
But when I didn’t hear back after three weeks, I realised that she probably wasn’t going to respond.
I would be lying if I said that it didn’t bother me. At first, I was a little pissed off. I felt the least she could have done was acknowledge my letter, and if she wasn’t keen on exchanging mails she could have said so.
But then, after a month or so, I realised she didn’t owe me anything, and before long, the irritation I felt towards her for not replying faded.
So why do I share this story you may wonder, especially since it doesn’t have a typical happy ending?
Even though she didn’t respond or reciprocate my feelings, expressing how I felt about her was liberating.
Once I communicated how I felt and understood that she wasn’t interested, it gave me closure. I started thinking about her a lot less, and I soon accepted the fact that it wasn’t meant to be, and it helped me move on.
I’d say you don’t need to end up with someone to have a happy ending with them.
Even though she just made a cameo appearance in my life, the impact she’s had on my life has been tremendously positive.
Self-acceptance was something I had difficulty with for many years.
While spending time with her, I got the feeling that she completely accepted me for who I am, which helped me to love and accept myself better. I remember thinking to myself that if a person like her (whom I like and respect a lot) can accept me for who I am, then I could go ahead and accept myself.
She told me that she could feel a strong positive vibe from me and conveyed that she thought highly of me, which I must admit was a great boost to my self-esteem and helped me see myself in a much more empowering way. (Since she also happened to be a psychologist, her words made a deep impression on me).
When I was with her, I felt absolutely no need to impress her. This was interesting because I’d sometimes subconsciously feel the need to impress or rather come across a certain way to people I hardly knew and even with people I didn’t even know.
Here was this girl I liked so much, and I thought if I didn’t feel the need to impress her, why should I bother trying to impress anyone else and what for? It’s a thought that has stuck with me ever since.
Then, there’s all the wonderful music I’ve discovered which wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t met her.
For all this and more, I’ll always remain grateful and happy that our paths crossed.
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