A Spring Day
By Angel Baby
Our hostel room was silent. Everyone were sitting with their heads dug deep in their books. A fun fact about my hostel is that students from all faculties stay together. I had a Literature student, a Mechanical Engineering student and an Accounts student sharing a room with me, a Biology student. So, while one was trying to memorize Shakespeare, the other was trying to derive the equations, yet another one was trying to tally the balance sheet for once in her life and I was throwing darts on a human body chart and trying to name the organs hit by the dart.
Spring days were both, a pain and a relief. Pain because we had to cram up day and night for the semester end exams. Relief because of the 3-month long vacation that would follow it. Though we would miss each other, but nothing could beat the sleep we would get on our own bed in our own house hugging our own pillows. Seemed like that was the only ray of hope that could steer us to cross these spring days. It’s been long I was sitting at one place. I looked at the alarm clock on my table. 6:00. I decided to take a break and went to the garden near our campus. As I sat there lost in my thoughts, I felt some warm wet licks on my ankle. I looked down and found a cute Chihuahua licking my ankle. I had never seen him before. I picked him up and started petting him when I heard someone call, “Ricky!”. “So you are Ricky?”, I asked the little one on my lap and he jumped in excitement. That person came nearer to us. I got up when I saw a young man standing in front of me. Nearly 6 feet, a good sculpted face, veiny arms, bunny smile. But what caught my attention were his eyes – they were emerald. He was speaking to me while petting Ricky, but I couldn’t hear anything. My eyes were glued on his face, especially his eyes. He realized that I was lost and snapped me out of my thoughts:
“Hey, you alright?”
“Yes. I’m sorry, I was just lost a bit.”
“That’s okay. Well, I see Ricky here has befriended you.”
“He’s cute and a very adorable little pup.”
“Strange. He never lets strangers be near him. But he seems to be just fine with you.”
“Maybe he knows that I’m not going to be a stranger for long.”
I immediately regretted what I said. ‘Do you think this is a movie? Or a novel?’, I could hear my mind go. The person in front of me was smiling.
“To not be a stranger, Ricky would first like to know your name”
“Alicia”, I replied with a chuckle.
“Martin”, he said extending his hand.
We spoke for some more time. I looked at my watch. It was 6:50.
“Need to leave. Hostel gates close by 7:00.”
“Do you mind if Ricky walks you to your hostel? He’d like to make sure his friend reaches hostel safely.”
“Only on one condition. If Ricky would come to meet me everyday at the garden for the rest of the spring days. As I wage a war with my books, I could use a little bit of Ricky’s cuteness to forget it for some time.” I said with a smile.
“That’s fine. But is Ricky alone invited or can his human friend too tag along? Like a +1?”
“They say a group of three is always the best. But I’d still want to first ask Ricky if he’s okay with it.”
Ricky barked and we both chuckled. I’ve always heard cupids are baby-sized, today I saw one too. And that’s how I got another ray of hope to help me through these spring days.
Exams were starting next week. Since meeting Ricky and Martin, I used to daily go to the park. In the whole day full of cramming up lessons and praying that our ordeals end soon, meeting Ricky was the only time I enjoyed. Though my main purpose was meeting Martin. In the past few weeks, Martin and I got to know quiet a few things about each other. That day too, I was sitting on our bench waiting for them when I heard those cute excited barks. Ricky came running to me and started jumping near my feet. I picked up our excited little pup and started petting him. It was soothing to see him melt under my hand. Though my hands were busy tickling and rubbing Ricky, my eyes were searching someone else. I looked around but could not see Martin anywhere.
“So you came alone today? That’s highly unlikely of Martin, to let you out alone. So tell me” I said picking him up and bringing him near my face “where is Martin?”
Ricky barked cutely and started licking my face. I started laughing and I heard someone chuckling behind me. I turned my head and asked, “So how long have you been spying on us Mr. +1?”
“Long enough to hear you ask him where I am?”
“Wow! But do you know eavesdropping is not ethical?”
“As long as it is not illegal, I’m fine with it.”
He started laughing as I was staring at him. I was again lost. Those emerald eyes, they seemed so warm. As if all the warmth of the world was in them. But more than that, they felt a lot familiar. As if, I had seen them somewhere. As if, they know me. As if, they mean a lot to me. He snapped me out of my thoughts.
“Hey! Lost again?”
I smiled. He then said,
“You know; I always wonder what you think about when you zone out like this.”
“Your eyes. They seem a lot familiar.” I blurted out not knowing what I was saying.
“My eyes?” he was both shocked and surprised. I knew I couldn’t back away now, so I told him what I felt about his eyes. After explaining what I felt about his eyes, I said,
“I know all of this would sound quiet cheesy to you, but it is the truth. Don’t know why, but your eyes do seem a lot familiar. They are very much like Adam’s.”
“Adam? And who is that?”
“My school friend. Best friend you could say.”
“Can I know more about him?”
A smile spread across my face as the memories from school days rushed to my mind.
“Adam was the first friend I had made in that school. How did we become friends? That’s quiet a story. I was new to that school. It was my first day. As I was taking the books out of my locker, I saw this guy come to me. He was tall, fair skinned, had wide shoulders. But most importantly, he had emerald eyes. He stood in front of me and said loudly, “This girl, is mine. Anyone who dares to come near her would have to deal with me.” I was shocked. He pulled me by my arm and took me to the school garden. My brain was still processing what happened in the corridor. When we reached the garden, he made me sit on the bench, knelt in front of me and said, “I’m really sorry for what I said over there. I saw Zain and Vernon coming your way and I knew their intentions.” “Zain and Vernon?” I asked. “Bullies. But don’t worry, now they won’t come near you.” “Okay! And what made you feel that I won’t be able to handle my bullies?” “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it that way. It’s just that, since you are new, I did not want your first day to be awkward” he said looking on the ground. “Yeah! Being claimed by someone is less awkward than being bullied. Point!” I said, trying not to laugh. He was still looking down on the ground. I could not take it anymore and started laughing loudly. I could say that he was confused, but he still did not lift his head up. “It’s okay. But I hope you will stand up for me if and when the need arises.” I said and he nodded still looking down. “So. Friends?” I said, extending my hand. He took it, “Friends!” The smile he had on his face at that time could not be compared to anything. Years passed and we both completed our schooling. He then had to shift to another state for his further studies. Initially we were in touch, but then he got a lot busy. Texts and calls reduced and finally, they became null. I wonder what he would be doing now. I tried a lot to reach him but could not find him. But as they say, ‘The world is round’. One day I would meet him again.”
I looked at Martin. He was looking at me the whole time. He smiled and said,
“Wow. That’s. I don’t know, I don’t have words to say.”
We chuckled at his loss of words.
“Well, even I have a story of my eyes” he said.
looked at him with a questioning face.
“You see. These eyes, they are not mine.”
Today is the last day of our exams. It’s been two weeks since that day. The day Martin told me that his eyes weren’t his own. It’s been two weeks I’ve been waiting to hear that story. He couldn’t tell me that day as it was almost time for me to be back at the hostel. He told me that he’d narrate the whole incident the next time we meet. Post that I’ve not been to park due to my exams. Today, as my exams have ended, I’ll be meeting him. I do want to know, but a certain fear has gripped my heart. As if, I might not like what I’m going to hear. Evening time. I was waiting on the same seat. I was lost in my thoughts when I heard those cute barks. I turned my head towards that sound and saw Ricky coming towards me. He was followed by Martin who had a huge smile on his face, and those eyes. I picked Ricky up and started petting him while Martin sat beside me.
“So ma’am, how were your exams?” Martin asked to which Ricky barked.
“See. Even he is curious to know.” Martin said laughing.
“Or maybe he’s saying that let bygones be bygones.” I said.
We were laughing when I, again, got lost in his eyes. This time, he didn’t bring me back. He was looking at me too. There was silence, but it was comforting. Two pairs of eyes lost in each other, as if there are a lot of things to say but they can’t find the correct words so they just gave up and are now looking at each other hoping that the other just understands without words. But we forgot that there was a third pair of eyes that were looking at us and it seemed that they wanted attention. Ricky barked bringing us back to this world. We chuckled as he looked at us, lost and confused. Third wheeling is difficult and Ricky didn’t seem to enjoy it.
“Seems someone doesn’t like being ignored.” Martin said.
I just smiled. I wanted to ask him about his eyes. But something in my heart was stopping me. Martin seemed to notice it.
“So, you want to know about my eyes?” Martin asked. I nodded and looked at him keenly.
“So. I had just moved to a new town for my job. Figuring out everything on my own was quiet difficult. There used to be days when I used to come back home only to realize that I was out of groceries and then go back to store to get it.” I chuckled when I heard that. He continued. “Most of the time I used to be sleep deprived. I clearly remember that day. I hadn’t slept properly for days. I was driving back home trying to keep my eyes wide open. There was a sharp turn on that road. I always be extra careful on that turn. That day was no exception. But suddenly my eyes were blinded by the bright light from the truck coming the wrong way. I was thrown off the road and so was the guy behind me on his bike. Luckily, someone took us to hospital. That guy didn’t survive and I lost my eyesight. His parents had come to visit me. They told me that he had signed up for organ donation and they had got to know that I had lost my eyesight. I’m still thankful to them for not being selfish. I got to know from the hospital that even his skin was given up as donation. I always wanted to meet them but I couldn’t bring myself up to it. I was given their contact details but I never contacted them. Months later, I shifted here. I have that debt on me but I’m still not sure if I’m ready or equipped to pay that back.”
He looked at me. There were tears in his eyes and that hurt me. I could not see those eyes in tears. Silence followed. After some time, I held his hand and asked
“What if I help you? What if I come with you to meet them?”
“You’re scared they’re Adam?” he asked looking me in the eyes.
I turned away from his gaze. I could do anything but lie to those eyes. He sighed. Gripping my hand tightly he said,
“Let’s not find out his name before we reach there. I’ll tell his parents that I’d be coming down to visit them with a friend of mine. We can find out who it is once we get over there. That sounds better?”
I nodded. It was time for me to go back to the hostel. Martin asked me to give him two days’ time to get in touch with them and arrange everything. Once everything was arranged, we were ready to leave. I had called back home and told my parents that I would stay at one of my friends’ house before coming back. Our travel was mostly quiet. He, thinking about how he would face the parents while my mind unsettled on the thought of what will I do if it is Adam. Fear churning my gut out. Endless questions in my mind and I could give only one answer
“I don’t know.”
After an extremely long drive we reached that city. One of Martin’s friends had arranged our stay. We would go to meet the parents the next day. After our dinner, both of us were sitting on the balcony when Martin asked,
“You think you’re ready?”
“Are you?” I asked back smiling.
“Guess we both will find it out tomorrow.” He said.
Next day, we stood in front of that house. For a moment both of us felt that none of us would knock. Martin then went ahead and knocked the door. The door was opened by an elderly male. He looked at us and asked Martin,
“Would you just be standing outside son?”
We smiled and went inside with him. An elderly lady was setting up the dining table. Seemed like she had prepared a whole feast. I looked around the house. My eyes were searching something my heart didn’t want to see. That’s when I saw that. The family portrait hanging above the fireplace. I stood still, felt as if the world had stopped moving. The father came up to me and said, above the fireplace. I stood still, felt as if the world had stopped moving. The father came up to me and said,
“That’s our son whom we lost in that accident. His name is–“
“Adam.” I cut him in his sentence. Tears had already started falling from my eyes.
“How do you know dear?” he asked.
“I’m one of his school friends.” I said.
“Alicia? Are you Alicia?” his mother asked me.
I looked at her confused. I had never met Adam’s parents when we were in school. So? Did Adam tell them about me? If yes, what did he say?
“Adam always used to say that only one girl would ever walk into this house calling her his school friend. He used to say that only she would remember him.”
I stood there dumbfounded. Adam’s mother came to me, “He never stopped talking about you. Since the day we shifted here, he used to always tell me, ‘Just wait and let me finish my studies. I’ll go back to Alicia.’ He missed you a lot when he was here.” We talked about Adam and school days. I told them how I was pursuing my further studies at the college and how I met Martin. After lunch, Adam’s mother took me to his room.
“This is his personal room. He used to always tell me that only one other person had the permission to enter this room, and that’s you. Before he died, he asked me to give his personal diary to you, if you ever came. He never allowed anyone to touch this diary. That’s why even after his death, we never touched it. Now that you are here, I guess you should take it.”
So saying, she gave me the diary and was about to leave the room when I asked,
“Don’t you want to know what’s written in it?”
“No. He wrote it for you. This is your personal conversation. And I guess he’d want us to keep it that way. Make yourself comfortable. If you need anything, I’d be downstairs.”
She smiled and left. I took a deep and opened the diary and on the first page, I saw our picture. It was taken during the school trip to a farmhouse and I was taken down the memory lane to that day. We were leaving for a 5-day trip to a farmhouse on the outskirts of the city. Adam had told me that he’d pick me up but he overslept and I went to school alone. At school, all were waiting on the ground for the teachers to finish with the attendance and collection of parental consent form when we saw Adam run towards us. He ran and came straight in front of me
“I am sorry, I”
“Because last night”
“You were too excited to sleep”
“And I slept at 4:30 in the morning. I’m really sorry.”
“Mr. Adam, if you’re done with your explanation and sorry then can I please have the parental consent form?” our teacher interrupted us. Adam shook his head and gave the form to the teacher. He was still looking at me. I was avoiding him. He then held my hand and came dangerously close to me and said,
“Alicia Peter Diaz, if you don’t stop ignoring me then I will kiss you right in front of everyone. I won’t mind getting detention for doing that too.”
“Bold of you to assume that you’d be able to stand straight after doing that.” I looked at him and said.
“I mean, if you are made of iron then fine.”
Adam quickly moved back a bit, shock evident in his eyes. I could not hold my laughter seeing his shocked face and ended up laughing hard. Adam looked at me and started laughing along with me. He then took my bag from me putting it across his shoulder and held my hands and said,
“I am sorry dear. I was just so excited.”
“It’s okay Adam. I’m very well aware of your habits. That’s why I had already told my dad to be ready to drop me.”
For the rest of the trip, we were paired together and it indeed was fun.
I turned the page of the diary and behind the photo was written, “This girl threatened to bring me down on my knees by kicking me. But little does she know that I’m already on my knees, waiting for her.”
“He loved me so much.” I told myself wiping the tears off my cheeks.
The diary was filled with more such pictures and his feelings for me. It even had those pictures which I had sent him when we were away. With every picture, he wrote down his unsaid feelings. There was another picture of him at an organ donation center. Behind it was written, “Remember we had promised to sing up for this. Here. I’m keeping my promise. Even if I die, I’ll be here in parts. To be with you.”
In the last page of the diary was written, “I love you so much and I’m waiting to tell this to you in person. But I’ve been feeling uneasy since past few days. As if something’s going to go terribly wrong. So I’m keeping this page empty. If nothing goes wrong, then I’ll do everything to get to you and make you mine and this page will hold our wedding photo. But if not, then take this diary with you. Fall in love with someone who will take care of you as an angel and paste your wedding photo here. Give your heart to him. But keep a small part for me.”
After I was done reading, I went downstairs with the diary. Martin and Adam’s parents were sitting in the living room. His mother got up when she saw me.
“You need anything dear?” she asked.
“No. I am fine.” I smiled as I replied back.
We continued talking for some more time before going to have dinner. We then got ready to leave.
“I’m taking this diary with me.” I told his mother.
“It was always yours dear. You can keep it.”
“Do come to meet us whenever you can.” His father said.
“Sure. We will.” Martin replied.
We bid them goodbye and got into our car. The journey was silent, so was the night.
Next day, Martin had come to drop me to the station from where I was going back home.
“Will we meet again?” he asked.
“Depends. As of now, I just want to be alone.” I said “with Adam” I showed him the diary.
“Yes. Sure. Do let me know once you come back. We’ll hang out?”
“Yeah. I’ll call you when I’m ready.” I smiled at him.
The train left. I was confused about all the emotions I had in my heart now and was hoping that this vacation would sort it out for me.
Time skip: 9 years later.
“Adam. Stop running. You’ll fall.”
“Catch me if you can mumma.”
“And what if dadda catches you?”
“No this is cheating.” Adam giggled in the arms of his father.
“Finally. Somebody stopped this hurricane. Hey love.” I said coming towards them.
“Hi dear. How was your day?” he asked.
“What do you think, how it would have been?” I asked him, taking our giggling son from him. “Super exhausting.” He chuckled. “Dear. Thank you so much. I love you.” He said, looking at me lovingly. “I love you too, Martin.”
Yes. I decided to be with Martin. After I was back from my vacation, I did meet him again at the park. We started meeting daily, understanding each other more. Together, we met other people too who got Adam’s other organs. Martin was with me throughout. In him, I found my man who would take care of me as an angel, just like Adam wrote. Two years after my graduation, Martin proposed to me and I said yes. Soon we got married. Adam’s parents were also called for the wedding. They were really happy for us. And as Adam asked, we pasted our wedding photo on that last page. When we got to know about my pregnancy a year later, we both agreed on naming the child Adam, if it were a boy. And like that, I kept a small part of my heart for Adam.
By Angel Baby