I remember meeting him for the first time when I was a cheerful third grader. At the tender age of 12, I found a friend in him. By the time I was fourteen I developed a tiny crush on him. It was when I was sixteen did I finally admit to myself, I loved him. When I was 16, he passed away.
I was informed of his death by an ordinary phone call.
Ordinary at that time, because nobody informed me this one phone call would change my life. Well, it wasn't like my life turned upside-down and that my world came crashing down right before my very eyes, no but I did go through changes, perceptible or not. I felt emotions that I didn't know I was capable of.
It was an ordinary day that turned into a personal milestone.
Having just gotten out of bed I was dealing with my usual morning crankiness when I was interrupted by my phone. The ring tone made me question my own taste. Without a glance at my phone. I pressed the receive button knowing only one person would ever call me.
"Hello," I answered jauntily.
A shifting sound made its way to my ear before the actual answer came. My best friend seemed hesitant of whatever she was planning to say. It didn't go with her upbeat personality.
"Sabrina, something happened," she said in a frighteningly low voice, "And I know you'll start crying once I tell you. It's okay to be upset but I need you to take it as strongly as possible."
The foreign sound of seriousness in her tone alarmed me. My mind searched for possible scenarios that could've caused it.
"Riya you can tell me," I assured her, creasing my forehead.
"It's about Tobin." She stopped.
So did my heart for a fraction of a second.
She clearly took my silence as a cue. Still with hesitation, she finally continued.
"He died." A short pause followed, "Last night."
My answer was a brief "okay" before I hung up on my friend. She understood my situation, whatever it was. I found myself lost in the midst of an oblivion, suffocated by an alien feeling. Should I be feeling morose? I had admitted to myself to loving him with my own definition of love at the raw age of 16. We were friends, not the closest but I believe friendship isn't merely defined by words exchanged. I cared for him. In my own twisted way, I loved him.
So I cried, pouring came down all my emotions. The boy I loved was no more. Never did I get to tell him I cared. That I loved him. That I love him.
What a 16-year-old would know about love, you may wonder. I don't feel obliged to define my emotions. They are for me to keep. If fate hadn't been so brutal maybe in some universe, he would reciprocate; maybe I wouldn't be blessed enough. Now that he's taken away, I will continue to love him still, as if he were alive. I will love him through the memories alive within my heart. In this 16-year-old's mind, to love is to last. Through sorrow and joy. Through sickness and health. Even after death does us apart. Even if my love was one-sided, even if he died not knowing.
And that's the story of a girl who is in love, a boy who died oblivious, and a whirlpool of memories and unanswered possibilities left behind.