(An ode to young love)
It was a lovely dream, the loveliest she’d ever had. It had to be a dream, for how else could something so wonderful be true?
The occasion was the annual Quiz contest and Maya had been chosen to represent their high school as the most likely candidate to win back the coveted trophy they had so narrowly lost to Mt. Carmel last year. And everyone was sure she was the only one who could do it. Not just everyone, she was too because she always won everything. She was invincible.
Maya was oozing with confidence, egged on by the looks of nervous despair on the opposing team members’ faces (her reputation had preceded her) and the shouts and hoots of encouragement and cheer from her own school mates who had turned out in droves. The battle lines were drawn and she had been crowned the indisputable queen.
That is until she saw him and he saw her.
Her mind– her needle sharp, ever alert intellect went blank and the rest of her came alive. It was as though she had been struck by a lightning bolt though she’d never had the experience but the sensation couldn’t be equated with anything else she’d been through.
He was the Quiz master, new that year replacing the old one who with his sonorous voice and pompous attitude had become passe and an object of ridicule. Young, handsome, dynamic and self assured—her ideal male counterpart, a person she believed didn’t exist.
Maya was thrown off her moorings. Try as hard as she could, it proved impossible to wrench him off her sphere of vision. So it appeared was his lot as well. For even while posing questions to others she seemed to remain his sole object of interest. And when it was her turn, every single time, her responses would freeze in her throat and she could do nothing but stare blankly back at him like a mute numb-skull.
Was it love at first sight? No, that was silly adolescent crap. It was more than that. It was desire, a raw naked primal want she recognized in those brazen eyes that caused her body to shiver and the heat to rise to her cheeks. That was it. She was done for. He had stolen her thunder and she’d been dethroned even before the coronation.
The cheers turned into boos as her school lost again and this time by an unheard of margin. She left the stage acutely embarrassed but what pained her even more was a deep yearning that would remain unfulfilled.
It was a lonely trip back home. But somewhere along the way she was accosted and jostled into a dark alley. She was trapped in a rough yet sensual embrace. A pair of hands roamed her nubile body in such a familiar manner that her knees turned to water and she would have collapsed to the ground had she not been held up.
Turning her around he ventured a simple question, “Will you run away with me?”
She scored with her answer.