The year 1999 had come to an end and as usual, I was at my uncle’s house in Samtse enjoying my winter vacation with my father and cousin siblings. A few weeks into the vacation, a young girl from our original village in Chengmari came to stay with us for sometime. She had come for a medical checkup at Samtse hospital and she was advised to take rest for a few days before further treatment. So, she decided to stay with us rather than going back to her village. Her father who had escorted her to Samtse went back leaving her with us and we spent almost one-and-half months together in Samtse.
As days went by, we became good friends and had fun sharing jokes, stories and talking about all sorts of things whenever we got free time. She was a very sweet girl with a good sense of humor. She was very nice, friendly and caring to me. I soon found myself falling in love with her and began to miss her whenever she was not around. We would often go to the nearby spring together to fetch water and work in the fields together. I was familiar with all the nearby places and surroundings and hence, she didn’t have to guide me. We walked together as if I were not blind. I enjoyed her company so much that I began to feel empty without her. Her words meant more than the literal messages they carried. I knew I was in love with her. I wondered if I had found my soul mate. She was 14 and I was 19. I thought we would make a perfect couple in the future. I had completed 11th grade and my ambition was to become a teacher after completing high school. So, she wouldn’t have to wait for too long if we were to be married.
One day, I found her alone in the kitchen. After chatting for a while, I gently pulled her head towards me and asked her whether she would mind if I say something to her. She enquired what it was about and I told her that I loved her so much. After having been together for quite sometime, I thought she would accept me. A brief moment of silence prevailed between us as I was struggling to continue my confession and as she was perhaps analyzing what I was saying. I told her that if she accepts me, I would marry her as soon as I join B-Ed which I had thought I would pursue after high school.
But to my surprise, she told me she already has her boy-friend back in the village and that she can never leave him. She said they even have plans to get married soon. I lost words to respond to her. I was sad but ultimately I had to understand her situation. Then I began to ask her more about her boy-friend and how did they start their relationship. I learned from her that her boy-friend was not from her village but had come to help in the construction of her house as a carpenter. I was heart-broken for a while but she was right. After all, I had no right to get between their affairs. I tried to convince her a couple more times assuming that she might have had just tested my mind but she was genuine. She told me again and again how much she loves her boy-friend. Ultimately, I had to leave her alone. I told her that I wouldn’t bother her anymore and that I respect her love for her man. Since then, life continued as usual and I would often tease her with her boy-friend to which she would laugh and giggle. Then finally time came for her to leave us. Her medical checkup was complete and she left for her village. Although she was no longer with us, the memories of being together with her lingered in my head for a long time.
In 2011, I and my uncle decided to go to the village to meet her father to sort out some land issues because we were sharing the same Thram after my father had merged ours with his in 1970s as he could not afford to pay for the new Thram. When we got there, we were greeted by a young sweet girl. “Daju, I am Meena” she told me in a gentle voice. She was the same girl whom I had proposed twelve years back. She took us inside the house and offered us tea. Her father had gone to guard the orchard against the monkeys. As we waited for him, she prepared lunch for us. We talked about many things that have happened in the village since the time I had left as a child. Soon her father joined us and after a brief chat, we were invited for lunch. As Meena was serving us, my uncle told her “I was very sad when I heard your story. I even cried”. “What happened, Baini?” I instantly raised my voice. Meena sounded emotional. “It’s about my marriage, Daju. I recently got divorced with my husband. I think I made a wrong choice. He always assaulted me physically especially after consuming alcohol” she told me. “Oh, I am so sorry, Baini. It’s sad that everybody does not have a human heart!” I tried to console her. She told me she has two kids and that both of them are with her. As I was taking my food, the memories of that distant past flashed back in my head. She did not even ask me whether I was married until my uncle talked about my wife. “Oh, are you married, Daju?” she asked me as though she was surprised. “Yes, Baini” I said. “Then when would you introduce Bhauju (sister-in-law) to me?” she asked me giggling. “I will let you meet her if you come to Thimphu” I said. We soon finished our lunch, got our business done and began our journey back to Samtse. I met her two cute little kids just below the house. As she bid us goodbye, she told me she was also planning to come to Thimphu to do a business. I advised her to contact me if I could be of any help. She never called me although she had kept my contact number but later that year, we met once again at Durga Temple in Thimphu. I introduced her to my wife and they had a nice chat. She told me that she has started a small business in Changjiji area but I don’t know where it is. I wish if I could meet her once again but I don’t even have her contact number. This is a twist of fate. Life runs through time in a zigzag way. It’s a very complicated journey. I still feel sorry for her whenever I think of her. I am totally helpless now.
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