Bam! She fell head-first into the sandcastle that she painstakingly built. Recovering quickly, she wiped the sand from her face and body, and glanced at her parents who were relaxing on the beach chairs a few feet away. Ok, they dint see. So maybe I haven’t embarrassed myself too much, she thought.

Then her eyes fell on the boy rolling with laughter towards her right. She went red in the face. Tears welled up in her eyes. Get a grip, she muttered. Nonchalantly, she went back to mending her broken castle. And her self-esteem. Moments later, when the boy came over to strike a conversation with her, she never imagined it would be the start of a friendship which she would cherish.

When he moved away just before her tenth birthday, she was inconsolable. He was the only friend she had.

****

A strong turbulence rocked her awake. She checked the time. Four more hours. She sighed still surprised that she went ahead with that spur of the moment decision. But she had to do this. The memory of herself running out of the college dorm flinging her phone came back to her. She remembered thinking “so this is what heartbreak felt like” before waking up at her home days later. She then packed her bags, wrote her parents a note assuring them that she will come out of this trance sooner or later and left for the airport. There’s no wound Europe can’t fix, she thought.

The trip was uneventful the first few days. Then one day she was approached by an older woman in her travel group who had the kindest eyes she had ever seen. There was something about this woman that made her feel comfortable. An unusual friendship bloomed, something she deeply wanted at that time. They kept in touch even after the trip. She found solace in the letters they exchanged. No electronic communication, just plain old letters where they talked about anything and everything under the sun.

It felt like another heartbreak when the letters abruptly stopped. Where in the world do I go now, she wondered.

****

“Where did daddy go?”, her son asked. She stumbled for words, wondering how to convey to the little one that his daddy found happiness elsewhere. This wasn’t working out, he told her as he upped and left. From that day on, her son was her sole companion. She doted on him day in, day out.

When he left for college, she sat down for hours, tears streaming down her face, trying to figure out what her life was like before him.

****

Maybe she did have a drinking problem. Loneliness may have spurred it on. There was no one to tell her that it was one glass too much. In one such drunken stupor, she emptied her pill bottle. That was her rock bottom. By some miracle she ended up in the hospital just in time for the doctors to revive her. When she gained consciousness, she saw her mother asleep on the chair, holding her hand.

She found herself liking being taken care of by her mother. She wondered how all her life she had missed to see the friend in her. Mom seemed like the only best friend she ever needed.

****

She got a cat few weeks after her mother’s demise. The constant purring and scurrying of this furry creature was a welcome distraction. It was just a matter of days before her world started revolving around the feline. At times she was amazed how humans always wanted someone in their life and how they thrived in companionship.

One day her cat brought along a friend, which she shooed away without a moment’s thought . “Two’s company, three’s a crowd”, she muttered under her breath settling back in to her life with her cat.

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