From The Heart · General · LifeStyle

That Ego Thing

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        I had a long day at school, the sun was scorching and my handbag seemed unusually heavier than normal so I decided to take a bike to my hostel. While the bike man was about to do a turn and begin the journey, a good looking guy approached us and told the bike man his destination; not too far from mine. I didn’t quite fancy sitting on a motorcycle with guys behind me one bit, but doing a rough mental check, this guy looked responsible and harmless so I just let him hop in.
        That was February 15, a day after Valentine. As usual we struck up a conversation, I got to know his name;  Neil, a final year Mechanical Engineering student (‘an intelligent lad’ I thought). In about ten minutes, we were in front of my hostel, I got off and was about to pay my fare, but he stopped me and said he’d take care of it (how gentlemanly!). I smiled, said thank you and went my way. Oddly enough, he didn’t ask for my contact like the regular guys do. It was surprising that we still had some sane males in this part of the world.
          Sleeping through Professor Njoku’s 3-Hour lecture was inevitable today but unfortunately he caught me on several occasions and had me stand for Thirty minutes but I didn’t care less since I didn’t have my beauty sleep last night in preparation for the quiz we had earlier; so that nap was really needed. (yawns*)
“Course Rep take these notes and make copies for others, while we call it a day” were Professor Njoku’s words as he left. Phew! Finally, our last lecture for the day.
        As I walked down the stairs, I ran into Christine; my very friendly next-door neighbour, who begged me to accompany her to the bookshop to purchase a book. I was really tired but the Christine I know would never take No for an answer. We were at the bookshop when I had this odd feeling I always get when someone I know is somewhere around the corner.
While I was still deep in my thoughts, I felt a slight touch on my shoulder, I turned back and saw Neil; the guy I met three days ago. Christine was still lost between the bookshelves, so Neil and I had a little chit chat, exchanged numbers (finally!) and agreed to see soon.
        For the rest of the day I had Neil on my mind, something that rarely happens. I mean I hardly think of guys like that but Neil seemed different, caring and someone you’d like to hang out with. He seemed like fun.
       After that day, Neil and I had series of dates and hangouts and he was by far the loveliest dude I had met in school so far(especially since I hardly notice them generally). His patience was just out of this world, he once waited for me outside the bank for three hours while I went in to rectify an issue, he never complained or murmured(I probably would have left a long time ago if I was the one waiting; I’m not that patient)
He was tall, slim, fairly light skinned, loving and really fine. A definition of a perfect dude? Yeah right.
Trust my roomies, they referred to him as a potential husband (oh well).
       Neil caught my attention in so many ways, he noticed every little thing about me. He knew when I changed my hairdo, jewelry, makeup…he even noticed the little pimples popping out on my face(can you just imagine?!) no matter how minimal the changes were.
        Everyone thought we were a perfect couple but something kept me back from saying a total yes, I couldn’t tell what exactly it was but I could fell it very strongly. Before exam periods, Neil made it a duty to get me past questions, accompany me to the library and give me wake up calls for my night reading, yet that feeling never left me
         First semester exams came to an end and we all said our “I-miss-yous” and “Goodbyes” and left for our various houses.
During the holidays we made several calls to each other,chatted, laughed and spoke on how we missed school and we were dying to see each other. After a while I stopped hearing from him, I picked up my phone a couple of times to call him but then I remembered my mental rule “You shall only call or text a guy if he was the last to call or text” which I had adapted to over the years. So I shoved every impulse to call him aside and continued going about with my life.
        School resumed and I didn’t get any call or text from Neil, I didn’t even see him pop into my department occasionally like he always did. Christine noticed this too and asked me several times and finally forced me to put a call through to him but his line wasn’t available. Initially i assumed he was doing this because someone else was in the picture but then at some point I began to panic. Soon, the lecture rush and all had me forgetting Neil.
        Sunday was Dinma’s birthday; our assistant course Rep, and thanks to my little skill in Jewelry making, I made her a lovely necklace. So Christine and I took it to her. On our way back, we decide to stop over at one of the boy’s hostels and see a friend.
When we noticed a little unusual crowd at the noticeboard. I usually don’t pay attention to such crowd in school, but Christine dragged me all the way to see what was causing the fuss.
           There was a poster there, and it read “Exit Of A Machine ” an obituary of a student and it had Neil’s picture on it! My Neil! Christine and I saw it at the same time. we crashed into each other in a tearful embrace and fell to the ground. How could this be! why Neil? A final year student. My knees were weak. My heart grew three times its size, I couldn’t believe it No! I had to read it again.
         Neil died after a brief illness and I remembered he once complained about his health which made him go home twice during the semester, no one one knew such a little sickness would be the cause of his death. The day he died from my calculation was the period I didn’t hear from him. I felt guilty, I felt stupid, I was ashamed of myself, how could someone who cared about me so much be ignored because of my rules, ego and assumptions.
           I cried my eyes out whenever I passed the places we had our hangouts. I couldn’t even bear to touch the past question papers he got me. I had to change my ringtone because it reminded me of his regular calls and wake up calls. I was broken and I remembered the strange feeling that didn’t let me say yes to him
Maybe this was why, I probably would have been more broken and heart damaged.
After this whole episode, I vowed never to assume things, ignore my impulse to do something, allow my ego over rule me or totally stick to my mental rules.
Though its okay to have rules and set boundaries and limits, I learnt to follow my heart, be flexible sometimes and just let the spirit lead you. I must tell you, I learnt mine in a hard way. So when I don’t hear from my loved ones for a while, I just remember this and call them up to know if they’re good and still alive. (Though a normal me wouldn’t do that especially if I was the one who called or texted last).
I really do hope someone’s going to learn some lessons here like I did.
Your humble sweetheart,
*Charlene Xoxo*

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2 thoughts on “That Ego Thing

  1. That lesson comes to us all in time. Such a sad story.. hard to know if you’d have been better off saying yes and being heart broken, or as you are and feeling sort of guilty. Life’s a bitch, huh.

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