Love sometimes has no name. It is just pure and blissful like the sunshine. 

In response to our writing prompt – “We had nothing in common and then…”, this story tells how love needs no name. It does not need a definition.  

Sometimes I feel relationships, attachment, love, affection all these are strange words. All these words are somehow always associated with your partner, your siblings, your kids, your parents…rarely with someone else. Recently I read an article about a young man, a self-confessed drug addict, one fine morning fell in love with a stray kitten, and his life changed. If we keep our minds open, we find these GOD-sent people or other living beings or things in our lives when we are in need. 

In my life or as some like to say, during my mid-life crisis I was surrounded by loneliness. My daughter had gone away to college, my husband was posted at a remote mine and I was left all alone. Every day returning home after work was not something I looked forward to. The empty house was there to tease me. Music, books, even the telephone were not  friends anymore. Hours, days, months, turned into four years. How did I survive? 

Because of our neighbor ‘s small granddaughter. She had not started going to school yet. She used to think that both the houses were her own house and we were also her parents. They were vegetarians, but she enjoyed our non-veg food, much to her grandma’s chargin. On weekends when my husband came home, she would come to us with her lunch plate in hand and exchange it with Papa’s (my husband’s) plate.  

We would watch TV together. Between our houses, there was a low boundary wall. She and I, one on each side of the wall, spent the evenings talking about many interesting things. When she used to go to visit her maternal grandparents, I used to miss her a lot  and would repeatedly ask her grandma when she would return. Her grandma would not understand my need and would get irritated and cross. 

Years passed, she started going to school, we had many more secrets to share. Then one day my husband resigned from his job, I also did the same and we decided to sell the house and move across the country to our hometown. She came to know about it but did not utter a word. One week before we moved, she stopped coming to us and started avoiding us. 

On the day we were leaving, before getting into the car, we were exchanging pleasantries with her mom and grandma, but she was not there. I called out her name and my little friend came running towards us. As I bend my head forward, she held it in both her hands and started crying, the front of her white school shirt drenched with tears. 

We have kept in touch over the years. My little friend is a college student now and I call her to wish her on her birthday every year. She will forever have a special place in my heart and I hope I have in her’s too. 

Written by: Swapna Haldar, a teacher, a mother, a grandmother and a storyteller. You can read her other stories here