As a child, I have tried imagining creative ways to die. I have jumped off roofs. I have sunk in oceans. I have burned to death. Shot. Severely cut. And I was occasionally stabbed as well. There were all sorts of crazy endings. But in all of them, I had a higher purpose. I was to sacrifice my life for my loved ones, to save the world and so and so. But I always died for a reason.
But today, as a 17-year-old boy, I faced the worst casualty in my life. It was not a fight. I mean, I did not even know that guy. He just came out of nowhere and bang! Stabbed in the chest I was. It was very close to the heart. It's fatal.
Let's go a bit backward in time. So, I learn at St Lucius School, located right across the Westminister Cafe, of which I was a regular customer. Mr Parker, who used to run the shop, was very fond of me, I guess. Oh! He seemed like a nice guy. I should have talked more with him when I had the chance.
Well, let's come to the point. So, St Lucius School was one of the best in town. It had brilliant teachers, pleasant atmosphere. It was great. And I would not call myself a genius, but still, I was a member of the Teachers' Favourite Students Group, which I believe exists everywhere in the world where education is possible.
So you see, I try and procure as much hate as I can from my classmates. Though I was a bit to the nerdy side when it comes to learning, I was a total failure when it came to attitude. I was a bit too hyperactive, talkative, and everything that a nerd isn't. So you see, I did not belong to the nerd group as well. They considered me useful for doubts only, not the friendly type. And I am still not clear what a friend means in their definition.
So, I found myself rather alone for a few weeks. Then, as it occurs everywhere, I found my team at long last. There were half nerds, idiots, artists, psychopaths and everyone who doesn't belong anywhere else. They only belong together. I found the rest of my days filled with joy and laughter. No meaning. But I still enjoyed the company. It was a relief. But they were not among the ones who I wished to be with me till the end.
Although I tried recruiting new members to the team, they also did not seem to fit. There were a lot of leaving and entering for a few weeks. Then, it kind of acquired a stable state. But still, I was not satisfied. That's when I met her.
Rebecca. That was her name. Somehow, I found her to be very different from the members of my current team. She was different. I found myself to be very happy when I talked with her. I no longer found satisfaction in my old company. It was torture. I would watch her the whole time the stupid conversations go on. I desperately waited for the breaks.
Weeks passed by. And our relationship grew stronger. And I never found myself happier. Was this love? I asked myself. No matter how hard I tried to wipe that question out from my mind, I could not avoid it.
I could no longer talk to her like I used to. I found myself to be tensed and nervous when I talk. I ran out of words. I sweated. Me who desperately tried to grab her attention now proactively tried not to let her know my presence. I avoided her at times.
That was when I faced the next challenge. So, our class consisted of my team, the nerds, the silent, others and the useless. But, there was another prominent team which I always used to avoid. Though I found vague similarities in my attitude with theirs, I was sure I did not belong there. Because they were not the ones, nobody found them comfortable. They were strange. They were angry. They were the ones from who children ran away in horror.
But last week, their two representatives came to me. They wanted to discuss a serious topic. When I tried to go away, they held me by the collar and pulled me back.
'What do you want from me?' I asked.
They only smiled. Leaning a bit, the taller one said 'What is between you and Rebecca?'
"Nothing, we are just friends.' I tried to sound confident.
'Just friends?' asked the other one.
'Yeah, what more do you expect?'
'We expect nothing more.' They laughed terrifically and went away. I became paralysed.
What do they want from Rebecca? Why did they ask me about our relationship? I was confused. It was more stress than I could take. Should I tell Rebecca about this? No, no, I shouldn't. It would make her tensed as well. I had to solve this alone. And for that, I needed a plan.
I tried to formulate a plan all night. The nights of the following days also took me through the same procedure. But I was blank. I did not even know what they want. Then, how am I supposed to do anything against it? I didn't know how, when, why, what, where and who. I realised that I would fail if I try and do this alone. But, no one in my team seemed right. There was no other choice. I would have to tell Rebecca about this.
So, finally, Friday arrived, that is today. I left home early since I had a lot of urgent things to do. As fast as I could tell her about this, the better it would be. It was cloudy in the morning. The rain, last night, had left its marks behind. I had my raincoat on and my school bag on my shoulders.
I decided to walk past the alley to reach the school faster. Regrettably, that was the worst decision in my life. I did not even look straight while I walked. I kept my head down, deeply immersed in thoughts. I planned how to present the topic to Rebecca. I could not make her too tensed.
Suddenly a man ran against me, by my side. He nearly pushed me down. As I was recovering from the fall, I found a second guy running against me. And this man had a knife, in his hands and he was not at all in control of it. The next few moments were too quick to perceive. I was still trying to regain balance, the guy, with the knife, was desperately trying to stop on his tracks. But we both failed in our respective missions.
The result was bitter. I found myself down on the ground, the knife guy upon me. I felt acute pain in my chest region. When my hands reached my chest, a knife was perpendicular to its surface. I glanced at my hands, and all I could see was red. The knife guy stood now, utterly confused. He has just killed a boy. But, I was still moving. 'Should I save him? Should I not?' All those questions went through his mind. But, I could no longer stay awake. I was dying. I could not even warn Rebecca. I could not even say goodbye. Only one thought persisted in my mind. I love her.
It was almost dusk. The room was unfamiliar. I could see a basket of fruits in the table beside me. I still felt pain, and when I checked, I found my chest filled with bandage and plaster. A sudden realisation struck me. I am not dead.
Not dead. I breathed heavily.
'Hey, don't stress out.' I heard a voice. It was so familiar. It was Rebecca. She was at the door now. She came close and sat beside me. "How do you feel now?' She asked.
'Better'. I found it difficult to speak. The regret at my near-death aroused in my brain. I should not wait anymore. I should tell it.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, my mouth began to speak, though I had not asked it. My brain was overwriting my body. 'Rebecca, I think I love you.'
There was a moment of silence, and she broke it with a peal of laughter. But it was not a laugh out of humour, but one out of something strange. She just kept looking at me then. And I could do nothing but look back. Millions of emotions ran around my brain. Was this love? I don't know, maybe it is.