Here’s a little story I told my bestfriend this morning while learning to drive. I thought I’d share the conversation. Here goes.
There are children running around the new lake’s bed. The lake dried because of peak of summer and kids are chasing each other admist sand and what remains of vegetation that flourished in this artificial reservoir. Looking at them, reminded me of my childhood.
“We used to play hide and seek a lot. I wouldn’t come out to play as long as ‘the boy next door’ stepped up to give my turn as “it” every time I got caught.” I tell my best friend as I shift gears.
“You really exploited him.” She chuckles, holding my gear hand, teaching me how to change gears a little gentler.
“I guess I did, but hey he offered himself. Him or the other boy three houses right to mine.” I try clarifying myself “I didn’t care as long as I was safe”
“He was in love with you.” She says, swooning.
“Yeah children’s love. Like kid’s love power rangers or something.” I shrug off the thought.
“Haha yeah. First love.” She smirks at me with her eyebrows arching elegantly
“If you think getting me out to play was a task then wait till you had to find me.” I say boasting and showing off a little, “I was always the last one to be caught.”
“You were so difficult to find.” She says, shoving her curls behind her ears and looking outside signaling me to turn left.
“Yes, I was really good at hiding. I love hiding after all.” I light the indicator and slowly turn the wheel.
“Great turn!” She applauds.
“Thankyou, but I’m trying to focus.” I say, in delight and let go a pretentious laugh. I continue
“During hiding, I used to peek out and watch as other kids got caught. Waiting to be caught while trying hard not to. I never walked out on my own. I liked the thought that someone was looking for me. The feeling of being sought after was oddly satisfying.”
“Yeah, hide and seek is a lot of fun. We used to play all the time.” She says steadying the steering.
“Everyone our age did. I don’t see much children out now” I say, “Back then, even after realising that they had already stopped looking I continued hiding.”
“Eh? Why? That’s odd.” She looks at me, knowing I was a little crazy back then too.
“Because I was not brave enough to admit that hey had grown tired of looking for me.” I answer managing to smile, I always manage to smile.
“There comes a moment when your heart races and you’re desperate to be caught. The thought of being forgotten was awful. I would rather think that I was so good at hiding that they had no choice but to quit. And then there was ‘the boy next door’ who’ll announce that it was okay for me to come out since everyone else was already caught.”
“He’s adorable” she laughs beautifully “then you must’ve come out laughing.” God, she’s beautiful from head to toe. I aspire to be like her. But she never seems to rub off me.
“No” I tell her shaking my head, “I would yell back that he’s lying just to lure me out. ‘Why would I?’ he would say, walking towards the direction of my voice ‘when I’m the one going in your place if you’re caught anyway.’
“You were in love!” She squeal.
“I just liked to be found out better than hiding.” I say, bringing the car to a jerky stop.
– the incomplete verse
To the boy next door