He rushed into the classroom, afraid that he would lose the seat. But he was lucky. It was empty and he grabbed it before catching another breath. He sat there everyday, in the fourth row, second one from left in that east facing room. Winter evening breeze blew from those big windows at the back of the room. There was little time for the class to begin. The room had started to fill in with faces, hung out of boredom and tiredness as it was last class of the day. But he waited impatiently, his spine erect, trying to peek through the crowd. His eyes searched for only one face. Her face.
His best friend staggered in and took the vacant seat next to him.
“Come on dude! You are scaring the other kitten with that look!” His friend sniggered at him. For the umpteenth time. In the past also, his friend has tried to make him understand that the days are gone when you stare at a girl for hours and hours in classroom unable to speak your heart out, etch their names on the table, write anonymous love letters, still at the end the girl marries you. These days’ girls want hunks who come to their rescue, puncher down dozens of other guys on their way, sweep their darling off her feet and take them on long drive in muscle cars. Guys with six pack abs and a height over six feet top the chart. Not the ones like him.
But he ignored his friend’s remark as always. He loved her truly but couldn’t gather courage to confess. He knew this wasn’t going anywhere yet he was too scared to talk to her. He thought what if she disgusts him and backs him off. And his friend’s words had worsen the situation, shook his confidence.
Class was about to start and still there was no trace of her. It was very unlikely of her. She was always punctual. She came with her friends and sat in the same seat in third row everyday. That made it real difficult for him. He had to come about twenty minutes before the class started, before everyone, just to sit here on the seat diagonally across hers. It was the safest place to watch her from, without any perturbation. To wonder over her angelic face and smile that could be muse to all the cosmeticians in the world. To keep staring at the blackish-brown thick strands of hair that tumbles down till the end of her back. They are so unbelievably smooth and shone like edge of silver sword. As on the last leg of day, when the room fills in with crimson-yellow aura and the far setting sun grins through window over that dark curtain of hair of hers. One would forget to breathe in moments like these. They are beyond beautiful. Ethereal.
Finally he spotted her coming towards the class. She walked in casually, with her friends. Her head was covered with a multi-colored scarf. And she looked more of jovial, more of splendor, more of excitement and more of life. As if overnight she had grown wings. She laughed till her eyes squinted. Before slipping in her usual seat, her eyes met his for a fraction of seconds, and his heart stopped. For the first time it was any kind of reaction from him. Even though it could be just casual, but he didn’t care.
The class started, everyone settled in. His eyes were constantly on her, studying precisely as if she were a puzzle. She unknotted the scarf and loosened it over her shoulder. And it was shatteringly shocking. He could not believe his eyes. The hair that he spoke of so fondly was not there anymore. It was shorn to a neat bob. Those butchered ends fell sharp next her jaw line in bunch. It drove him mad and angry. So much that he wanted to bang the desk off and run out of the room. How could anyone be so merciless to slash down such a beautiful thing? He wanted to go and shake an answer off her. But he waited patiently, gripping the edge of the table till the class was over and students started to leave the room.
As she got up with her friends to leave, he went over to her.
“Hey.” He spoke, fumbling out of nervousness.
“Hi” She smiled at him, her sweet smile.
He stood there, kept staring at her, unable to form words. The silence ensued. Their friends left them alone. Finally, she broke the awkwardness.
“You wanted to say something?”
“Hmm. Yeah. Hmm. New haircut? Good. Nice one.”
“Thanks.” Her lips pressed into a thin line.
“So. All of sudden. I mean it’s good but..” He didn’t know what to say next. His heart was aching. But he didn’t want to hurt her.
She watched him struggling with himself. He was so innocent. Like a child. It made her love him more.
“ Long hair was good. But demanded a lot of time. A lot more care.” She finished his sentence.
Not fair. He shook his head in disappointment. All the beautiful things needed time and care. Not a fair reason to slash them to death.
“So I just cut them down and donated.”
The word caught his attention like the safety net in a free fall.
“Donated? I am sorry. I didn’t get you.”
“Well! It’s difficult to understand the partiality of the nature but there are many people in the world who are deprived of this beauty. It may be very trifle for people like us, just a matter of few months but there are people for whom it is priceless.”
Her words sounded more philosophical than his reach, confused him. But he didn’t interrupt her. She understood the ingoing turmoil inside him.
“There are few organizations who work over these issues, reach out to help these people, people who lost their hair due to going through chemo, or suffering from diseases like severe alopecia, trichotillomania, burns, accidents etc, etc. They take your hair, make wigs and brings smile to them. That simple.” She shrugged.
That simple? He thought.
He froze there. He doesn’t know what triggered what, how it initiated. Everything went blur and decelerated. It was like gravity shifted under his feet and time forgot to tick. Every step he took toward her was like taking a leap over one ocean. Five oceans on the earth, five steps till he reaches over, grabs her face and kisses her. Kisses her with all the adoration and love one can convey, trying to reach the inner beauty of her.
Now he was not afraid to speak anymore. Rather he was afraid that if he didn’t speak then he might lose her forever. The kindest soul and prettiest heart forever. The words came out by themselves.
“I loved you.” He said, tangled in her breath. “And I fell in more love with you after this moment. And I am still falling.”
She chuckled at him. “I knew. But it took six months of time, fourteen inch of my hair to make you confess. I expect you to fall little deeper for me, mister. So keep falling.” And with a mischievous she returned to their kiss again.
One of my adorable blogger friend donated her fourteen inch hair to an organisation called “Children With Hair Loss”. It is a big and commendable leap and needs lots of courage. Please do read her here. This post is in honor of her good deed.