She tossed in bed unable to sleep. Her heart racing hundred miles per hour, she could not contain the thrill of anticipation. She will open up her heart to him, today. Her fantasies ran wild as she imagined all the things she would say to him. The early morning rays of light came in through the windows. She sat up on her bed and hugged the pillow tightly against her bosom. She closed her eyes and smiled. The handsome boy of her dreams smiled back at her. He was 3 years elder to her, so much more mature and almost a grown up. He will show her what life is all about.
The balcony of her apartment overlooked a field where the young boys and girls played every evening, the usual play time for kids. Most of the boys were engaged in playing soccer. She was not too interested in the game but loved to see them play when she could not. Her mother thought it was not safe for her to play with the precocious kids, who gathered to play at the ground floor of her apartment building. So she remained confined to her balcony, everyday, and tried to derive some vicarious pleasure, watching other young boys and girls play.
One day, as she sat in her usual place, she saw one of the boys get hurt while playing soccer. He seemed to have broken his leg. Her mom was also sitting beside her at that moment, enjoying a cup of tea. "Oh my God, that must be so painful. It is quite surprising that he is not crying." Two other boys helped him move to the side of the field and took him towards the other multi-storied apartment building, where he lived, right across from the girl's apartment building.
In the next 4 weeks, she would see him sitting at his balcony in the evenings, watching his friends play soccer. She was happy to find some company and also felt sorry for his broken leg. Pretty soon, even before she realized it, she was starting to looking forward to seeing him every evening. They would sit there till it became almost dark. Sometimes, they looked at each other, when no one else was around. However,they would quickly look away too.
After a few days, both of them became conscious of the other's interest. One day, the boy waved the girl goodbye, as he was going back to his room on his crutches. She felt her heart miss a beat. Was that true? Or was her mind playing tricks with her. To put an end to her doubt, the following day, he repeated the same action. This time, she mustered the courage to wave back at him. Being a twelve-year old girl, she did not think of the consequences of this action. She was doing what came to her naturally.
Soon, the broken leg healed up fine and the boy was back doing everything as usual. So it seemed to the apparent eye but the worlds of these two young people had already changed forever. The boy would finish his soccer game everyday and come to his balcony on some excuse. He would wait for her to show up at her balcony. He would smile and wave to the girl before he settled down to study. And even when they studied, they thought about each other and would steal glances from their window to find out what the other was doing. In their youthful spontaneity, they started communicating to each other in sign language. Sometimes they would not wait for the evening and try and catch a glimpse of each other in the morning before they left for school.
One night, as they stood at the window, their dark forms silhouetted against the light of their rooms, the boy made the heart sign to express what was on his mind. She thought it was too bold an expression and almost vulgar. She simply ran inside. That night she could hardly sleep. She could not make up her mind whether to be happy or angry. She was so young that her parents will not allow her to have a boyfriend. Her brother played with that boy, everyday. If he told his friends and they told her brother then she will be in big trouble. On the other hand, the adventure and thrill of first love was something she wanted to explore and enjoy. Caught in two minds she stopped waiting at the balcony for the boy. Couple days went by and she started to miss seeing him. Finally, after a lot of internal struggle she decided to meet with him in person. She was aware that on the coming Saturday, her mother was going to take her brother to the doctor and her father had some urgent errands at the same time. She communicated this information to the boy so that he could come and meet her that morning at her place when no one else was at home.
On the particular Saturday morning, she had a hard time sitting quietly through breakfast and waiting for the rest of her family to leave. As soon as she was alone , she went to her balcony and waited for him to show up at his. After she let him know, the wait for him to show up at her door seemed forever.
The anticipation overwhelmed her as she expected this boy to be the most impressive person in the world. She was quite surprised at her fear when she heard the door bell . The boy who showed up behind the door was a fairly good looking boy but his expression did not impress her. He seemed too matter of fact. He was not the romantic , spontaneous person she had expected. He chose not even to enter her apartment. He stood at the door step and ceremoniously announced that "since we love each other, we should let our parents know about this before going any further in this relationship". The girl was now really caught between a stone and a hard place. This was not at all close to what she had dreamt of. Where is the spontaneity , where is the love? These just seem like very restrictive rules. The idea of letting her parents know made her tremble all over. But she thought she was young and did not understand what was good for her. May be the boy, being older knew what was right. So she nodded her head, even though her mind was uneasy. On getting a positive answer, the boy felt that he had achieved his desired results. He smiled and bid her goodbye. After he left, the girl sat on the living room sofa, all alone and wondered what love and life was all about.