After ten and a half hours of flying I'm finally here. Paris -- La Ville-Lumière! I am exhausted and excited at the same time. I suppose anyone visiting Paris for the first time would be in the same state as me. But I am excited for a whole different reason. I can feel the butterflies in my stomach. I have been planning this for so long that I feel dizzy being here. I know exactly what to do now. So I walk down the aisle of the airport heading towards the reception.
Nirjhar and I have been friends since we were both eleven. He was trying to make some sort of a fort out of mud and I joined him. It was that easy and effortless. We didn't share much about ourselves on the first day, or the second, third or fourth. But we were there together, making forts every day and then destroying them. It was fun making forts. It was fun being with him. As we got bored of forts we discovered something else to do as we discovered more about each other. And just like that, we were friends. Our everlasting summers and overwhelming winters made us face life together. Soon we became the best of friends. We shared our happiness, troubles and emotional baggage; most importantly though, we shared life.
I ask the attendant if I can use the telephone for a while. She passes me the telephone and smiles. I thank her and dial the number I know by heart. I can hear my heart pounding as I wait for Nirjhar to receive the call. After two years I'll finally see him in person!
We were together for five years. Time flew by so fast that we didn't really consider for a moment that some day we might not be together any more. So it was more like a shock when Nirjhar's parents decided to move to Paris. None of us could do anything about it. So Nirjhar left me, with tears and a thousand memories. After he left, we called each other often and chatted for hours. But it was never the same. So I asked my parents for my eighteenth birthday present -- a trip to Paris. It was pretty hard to persuade them on letting me travel alone but they finally agreed. And I'm here now. Our in-between time, which had once seemed to stretch into forever, is ending. Nirjhar has no idea I am here, and I can't wait to see him.
I bring myself back to reality. It's Nirjhar's mom. He probably left his cell-phone at home.
“Hi aunty, I'm Sarah. Nirjhar…”
“Oh, hey, did you meet your friend yet?” Okay. This is not the reaction I expected, how did she know I am here?
“Umm no, he doesn't know I'm here, right?”
“Sarah, where are you calling from?”
Something is wrong! Something is definitely wrong. What is she talking about?
“I'm at the airport, Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport.”
“What? Why are you here? Did you tell Nirjhar you were coming?”
Why does it matter? I don't understand.
“No, I wanted it to be a surprise,” I blurt out somehow.
I hear her sighing on the other end. She finally speaks…
“Nirjhar left yesterday, he wanted to surprise you on your birthday.''
She is saying something else, but I can't hear. I stand there awestruck. I can feel tears rolling down my face, drowning all the excitement. Suddenly I feel tired. A smile crosses my face. He is my friend, I should have known, right?
Oyessorzo Chowdhury is an A-level student at S.F.X. Greenherald International School, Dhaka.