The toughest time though, was when she had just left.
Though I had never really told her how much she meant to me, my actions spoke volumes, which she pretended to not notice, lest things became uncomfortable for both of us. There was a lot that was going in our lives individually back then, and neither of us wanted another issue to take care of. We just let it be as it was, hoping that one fine day would definitely come when we would have to address it, and then we would. That day never came.
When I now look through old pictures, sieve through memories, or sometimes even talk to her over messages, I wonder how different things would have been if we had had the guts to face the truth. The truth hurt, and we ran from the pain. It was one thing to run, but I was literally scampering away from it. It was not necessary, I later realized. Once she left, things became just like it were before I had met her. I started growing back to what I was. People who had not met me in the interim did not realize how much I had changed. But those friends that I made in that interim when she was around, knew. They knew how much I had changed since before, and they knew how much I had struggled to get back to the point where I had begun. It would have been easy if life were a circle. I could just have continued and reached back to the initial point. But life was a complicated maze. And to retract it meant almost as well as to solve the entire thing again. Nevertheless, I did that.
An afternoon in February, I sat with her on the outskirts of what used to be a fort once upon a time. She talked nonchalantly as she always did, and it did not seem to matter to her that this was the last time that we would be meeting. She was happy because she was meeting me, and she wanted to enjoy the moment. It was then that it struck me how different we both were. There was a reason we had never fought till today. We had no common topic to fight for. We had nothing that could be same or different. We were two trees in a forest, the entire woods separating us. And we kept looking at the skies, never realizing the differences that lay beneath. Perhaps it was time to embrace the truth. Or perhaps it was too late.
I would never know. Nor would she. Unless we met. On the other side of the sea.