Of an old flame

I have just come from a chance meeting with an old flame. She seems almost exactly the same as she was before, way before. And seeing her as she was, listening to the things she said and hearing her familiar laugh, I could not stop myself from wondering how life would be had I on that fateful evening chosen a different set of words; words of acquiescence rather than rejection.

I remember how I had just come home from school that day. I must have done well in a test, for I felt superior, above the world, at the finger tips of Atlas. Then, very suddenly, rang a message from her. She asked if I still liked her. I remained perplexed for a little while – whatever did occasion this message? But I, the proud and foolish one, who thought himself deserving of better and who gave no consideration at all to those more modest, replied immediately, without the counsel of my reason and of my heart, that I did not. It was not me who typed those words, but Pride. I believed at that time, I still did like her. But it was Pride – who could not resist feasting on that rare meal; that ephemeral power that fills one’s belly upon a free-willed act of rejection.

Sometimes I think it a grave mistake; one that shall follow me and bewitch me all my life. There the chance was given, and so early on, but so haughtily I shunned it. I even took pleasure in shunning it. And now, it takes care never to return to me.

I have also thought, imagined, how the portrait of life would look had she been permitted entrance then. I imagine the hobbies I might have picked up, the places I might have went, the choices I might have made, the subjects I might have studied, the manner in which I speak; all might have been so vastly different. For one, certainly, I would never have entered into this business of philosophy. Her interests lie too far from the world of words and poetry, of self-inspection and melancholia; and so too would mine have been led away from these worlds.

How quickly life advances when decisions are made. In the instant where I said no, life whizzed forward on an entirely different path. And fast it traveled that I am now here; sitting here, writing of the past, reminiscing with a tinge of regret, leading a life complete separate from hers; like two stars which came close to meeting, conflating into a splendid supernova, but alas never did.

Do I suppose I would be happier? Possibly. But every path on which life takes you has joys of its own. Had I gone on that other, I would lose the joys I now enjoy. But so goes the maxim: what privileges we do not possess we think the best of. The lawn on other side does appear a little green.


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