Said or Unsaid Story by Sucheta

She tried to make the wish as visually attractive as possible. So she added a few more more smileys, balloons and gift emojis. She meticulously chose the smileys including the one with tiny hearts in eye's place, wishing if he could understand her untold feelings. She could have called him but did not, fearing that her voice would falter. Confronting him, even though not in person, made her go numb.

Then she, who would never compromise on her 7-hour sleep, painstakingly stood awake until midnight to be the first one to wish him a Happy Birthday. Exactly at 12:00 a.m., she sent the message. She expected quite a reply, a fairly long one. Few minutes passed; no reply yet. He had not even come online yet, still she longed for an immediate reply. She tried to withhold her eyes from blinking. " I can do at least this much for him", she encouraged herself. The wait was too long a wait for that impatient girl, especially because it was something regarded to 'him'. " Must be busy swotting even on his birthday," she reasoned.

And then she dozed away, only to wake up at 6:30 a.m. She frenziedly checked her phone. He had not
come online since! School hours made her restless. She, a discipline-loving child, for the first time, wished to have brought her phone to school surreptitiously. The only pacifying moment was the ringing of bell announcing the home-time.

She quickly went home and checked her phone. And there it was- a message, from him. "Thanks", the message read. She let out a smile. "The same old him, " she thought, "could not hide his shyness even through a message!" Then a phantasmagoria struck her mind. Memories of him and her together plundered her mind. She effusively recalled all that.

Her golden period, it was. Maybe his too.Their parents were friends. She was five and he six. They used to live in different corners of the city but met often as their parents visited each other's house. It started with a formal friendship. As they met more and more, they became informal friends; then nice friends; then close friends; then true friends; then friends for life. Both were shy. At every meet, they first took time to open up, but having opened up, there was no stopping. They found solace in each others company only. Their pointless rants, friendly bantering, mimicry of each other, found no end. Both were talented too. She used to write, he used to sketch. Chess was their favorite game. Yes chess! Even a monotonous game like chess became eventful when it got their company.
This went on even when they entered their teen-hood. By and by, she started falling for him. Maybe he too, for her. But she never let it out, thinking it would spoil their friendship. Every time they met, their mere 'friendship' deepened.

As years passed by, a time came when she had to leave the city for good. She felt monstrously bad. Maybe he felt the same. She thought of telling him her feelings. Maybe he thought the same. But she never let it out. Now, it has been 4 years since their depart. Still their friendship is still afresh in her mind. Probably in his mind too.

One day, she got the news of his coming to her city for taking an exam. Her family invited him to put up at her house. She could not have been happier. He came to his house the other day. Both were silent for a while, taking their own sweet time to open up. Nothing happened. So she brought in chess, their favorite game. Both were mum as they played. Gradually, their conversation picked up pace. In just the other moment, both were rolling on the bed, laughing uncontrollably. Oh! How much had she missed it! Maybe he had missed it too. Seeing them two laugh together was a sight to behold! A silly thought occurred to her mind-"Tell him your feelings". "No," another thought upbraided the first one, "What about your friendship!" Perplexed, she conformed to the latter one.

The game was still on. Chess had never been so fascinating! Together, they  recalled their golden period. They recalled their playing hide and seek; their playing cricket, or rather bat and ball as it just required only a bowler and a batsman.

They recalled telling each other dirty jokes in a corner. Each evocative memory made her long to go back in that time. Maybe he longed for it too. She was teary- eyed but still managed to fake a smile.
"Ahem ... which exam do you have?", she asked out of nowhere.

" S.A.T. exam. I am planning to go abroad for my undergraduation."

She was dumbfounded. "He will be leaving the country. The country!", she thought.

Next day he took the exam.

Time flew by in no time!

It was now time for him to return to his city. She wanted to tell him how she felt. Maybe he too. But she let go. She wanted to cry which she did unbrokenly after he was gone. If her wrath was transpired to the oceans, its waves would have touched the sky; and if to the winds, everything in its way would have been debilitated.

Two months later, she texted him, " How is everything?"

But he didn't reply. She checked her phone again and again. For a while, she did not mind. After some time, there was still no reply but she did not mind . A lot of time passed. She minded it now.
She tried withholding herself from checking her phone to see if he had replied. It had been about 6 days now. She constantly checked his 'last seen'. She hated to do this yet couldn't stop herself. This lonesome feeling of having no answer from him made her restless.

The very next moment her phone vibrated and there it was a message, from him. But when he read it, she nearly stopped breathing. She wondered if he was joking, trying to be his usual self.
"I am coming." said the message. Her heart pounded again.

"What? When?" she replied.

"I am leaving for the USA in two weeks ..." was his irrelevant reply. She went blank. Her jaw dropped. She wrote a poem for him that night, venting out all her long-buried emotions. She cried all through while writing it and ended the poem with the lines:


He came the other day, in the afternoon. Her parents were dazed to see an unexpected visitor. Saddened by his leaving the country, she had forgotten to tell her parents about his coming.
Having had the dinner, he asked her to come on the terrace with him. She did that. Both were silent. She apprehended the worst. "Maybe he would call off our friendship right here. Long distance relationships never work," she tried to predict what he would say.

After hesitating a bit, he procured a folded paper from his pocket and handed it to her. She unfolded it. It was a sketch. Yes he had sketched something for her! It showed a girl and a boy, together, holding hands, under a starry sky.

"What could this mean, " she conjectured.

Suddenly she remembered her poem. Asking him to wait, she ran downstairs to fetch it. It was written in bad writing. She never ever thought of showing it to him originally. But she gave the poem to him. He read it. He gave a baffled expression complemented with a smile.
Both stood facing each other, under the star-lit sky, with the papers in hand, trying to deduce their meanings.

"I love you," he said the unsaid, out of the blue and gasped a deep sigh as if the dam of his chronic hesitation had just been collapsed.

" What do you do?" she exclaimed, disbelieving what her ears had just heard, totally zapped out.
He cleared his throat hesitantly-

"I, the most idiotic person on the earth; love, which is the strongest emotion of affection; you, the most beautiful girl on earth."

She stood there, absolutely mum and motionless, totally astonished. She could not believe that she just heard the prettiest word ever.

She said, " So do I. I love you from the day I used to blow my nose in your shirt and you used to take all the blame of my mischief on yourself." Tears welled up her already moist eyes. He took her hand into his, just as was in the sketch.

Both stood gazing lovingly in each other's eyes, letting their silent speeches do all the talking.

She broke the silence, "Why did you not tell me?"

"I feared that it would spoil our friendship"

"How much do we think alike," she thought

He continued,"I loved you whenever you beat me when I teased you. I loved you for all your smiles and your talks. Above all I love you because you are you. I have loved you since always and will love you till eternity and beyond."

For a while, she had forgotten that he would be in a different country two weeks from now. A different country! She complained, "You seldom reply. Why? How will I spend my days without hearing anything from you?"

"I tried to avoid you but could not. I could not help but fall for you all over again whenever I thought of you. I realised I am made for you. And now that I know you are for me too, I'll be there for you, always. Always and forever. Through and through. I will write for you. Talk to you. Make you sketches" he justified sweetly.

"Pinky promise," he said further, proving his childlike innocence.

Tears streamed down her eyes. Her nose, too, became runny. Seeing this, he offered a sleeve of his shirt to her to wipe her nose with. And they both burst out into an uncontrollable laughter.

"I want to die laughing with you,"  she said under her breath, but he heard. Then they both embraced each other.

Above, the stars beamed at them, the crescent smiled and the leaves rustled, all as if approving the newly signed bond of love.