Heidi was 16, sweet sixteen…the age at which, most of the girls are “supposedly” growing up and fantasizing about the “dream man” of their lives. Unlike all the girls of her age, Heidi was different..she was innocent. She didn’t know what love is and didn’t ever feel like that for anyone, not even for Abel, her best friend since childhood. Universally though, in all the love stories, childhood buddies are also supposed to be the sweethearts, but this wasn’t the scenario with Heidi and Abel. They grew up together. Heidi confided into Abel for each and every thing because there wasn’t anyone except her grandfather and Abel who could listen to her joys and sorrows.
It was Heidi’s birthday three days back and she had just turned 16. Abel had turned 16 a few months prior to her. Despite sharing and caring each and everything, all the secrets of each other’s lives, both of them didn’t fall in love with each other. Their friends often asked, “Why are you two not a couple?” And Heidi and Abel always replied, “Why should we be?” They were genuinely friends, or rather, just a little more than just friends, but not a couple definitely!
Despite being the best friends for lifetime, they often fought with each other. “I am never talking to you Heidi, never ever in my entire life. You get it?” Abel often concluded all the fights with the same discourse. Heidi, very soft at heart, concluded the fights with inaudible sobs, which grew only when Grandpa asked what happened. Grandpa was the bridge between Abel and Heidi whenever they fought and when they talked again after the fight, it felt like the world was beautiful again, the grass was greener again, the flowers were colourful again and that everything at heart was “at ease” and “at peace.” Whenever after the fight, Abel and Heidi came together, everything seemed perfect. Looking at them, even Grandpa thought why they were not a couple when they both shared such a brilliant chemistry!
Time passed, seasons changed and both Heidi and Abel grew up to be beautiful people. By now, they were both 21, but still not in love with each other. Strange! Heidi was the most beautiful damsel of the town and Abel too, was the most eligible bachelor of the entire town. The strangest part about them was that despite being so eligible, they both never even thought of anyone else, because their friendship completed the missing part of their lives. One day, Heidi and Abel were sitting with Grandpa. Grandpa was old by now. He had eventually completed the cycle of his life and almost behaved like a child every day. He wanted to be surrounded by lots of people always and wanted to talk to Heidi and Abel every time. Sitting in a living room, the three were sharing the silence, when Grandpa broke the peaceful moment. “Heidi, my sweetest daughter, I am ailing and old now.”
“I know Grandpa. But you’ll be fine.” Her eyes started soaking as she spoke those words because ever since she was a baby, she had only Grandpa as her family.
“No. I’ll not be fine now and you know this. It’s time, my love. It’s time for me to bid adieu to the world and I know it at heart. Its really near, almost there. May be today, may be tomorrow…any time..but its very near and I know it.”
Heidi’s eyes drenched as Grandpa’s words registered in her kind heart. Abel, who was always an extended family to them, too was touched because Grandpa was always there to share all the sorrows and guide him through the tough situations of his life.
“Grandpa, we won’t let anything happen to you,” said Abel as he gulped his own sorrows. “My son, listen very carefully. I have something to tell you both.”
With this Grandpa started off with the discourse, something he hadn’t had with both of them till now.
“Your Grandma was really sweet. She was just like you Heidi. Watching you play in the lawn, water the flowers, learn to cook and most of all, watching you grow up was always a delight to me because you always reminded me of your Grandma. You were 2 years old when she passed away and I didn’t really know how to grow you up without her. But her soul always guided me to help you grow into a beautiful and kind soul as you are now.”
“And Abel…you….as I remember were a shy little lad when you first dropped in at my doorstep at the age of 5 years. You wanted someone to play with. I remember the way your eyes wandered around the home to search for Heidi, for you knew there was a friend inside there! When I called out to Heidi, she came running in with her little steps and stood next to me. When I introduced you both to each other, you forwarded to shake hand, and I remember Heidi hiding behind my long legs.”
“Watching you two play with each other, learning to care for each other, sharing everything, growing together and fighting was a delight, count me on that! I always knew you both would strike a chord, I just knew it at heart and it always assured me to know that my little princess would live for the lifetime with the prince that a father would always like to find for his daughter. However, you two, despite having a wonderful chemistry didn’t know what true love is and how to find it.”
“I know you are wondering why I am talking all this today, but trust me kids, when you look back on life some day, it’ll all make perfect sense! Sometimes, when the two people are together, everyone else except both of them, know that they are meant for each other. Some people just “need” someone to make them realise that they are in love with each other. Take time to realise and when you both will do, my soul will truly rest in peace, for I know that the most wonderful people who were “required” to be together, are really together now. One day, all that I am saying will echo in your ears and you both will realise why you didn’t find time to find “someone else” for your lives. You will realise why you both didn’t even think of anyone else all this time. Think; just ponder over it my kids and the day you stand in the church together as a man and wife, my soul will truly be glad and will bless you for the life ahead.”
With these words, Grandpa looked at Heidi and Abel as they sat still. Their eyes were moist and Grandpa knew that his words had impregnated the seed of love into them.
Next morning, Grandpa didn’t come out of his room to do his daily chores, as he did every day. Terrified, both Heidi and Abel ran towards his room. Their fears were right! Grandpa’s words were true. He knew it was time, but it would be so soon, was far beyond the expectation of Heidi and Abel. They sat next to his bed with drenched eyes and when Abel saw that Heidi was almost broken, he stood up, sat next to her and held her hand. She naturally rest her head on Abel’s shoulder and they knew Grandpa was right. They naturally fell in love with each other and realised why they didn’t even try for anyone else! Grandpa’s departure was an epitome of the depth of love that Abel and Heidi shared since childhood.
Two days later, at the Grandpa’s grave when they sat together, they said together, “Rest in Peace Grandpa!”