Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Nina and I were childhood buddies. I moved to her neighborhood with my family, when my parents bought their first and last house there. It was a long time ago, I was 10 then. Compare to her, I was very shy, but she was outspoken. When I remember it now, it always reminded me of the Pixar movie “Up”, in which the boy and his whole family were towards the quieter side while that of the girl’s were the opposite.
Well opposite attracts, and not only the two of us, but our families also came closer, and before we knew it, we were fast friends. Nina always loved my name, Lavender. My parents adored the flower and they named me after it.
Our reliance on others doesn’t mean we trust them!
During middle school, we usually took the school-bus, but after Nina’s mum got transferred to a new office, which happened to be on the way to our school, we both were driven there by her mom. She was a fun-loving person, and always listened to Michael Jackson “beat it” like a teenager. She used to talk a lot during the trip and so told us one or two secrets about her school years, liked how the fire alarm went off “automatically”, etc.
As they say, time flies and it did for us too, we were in college. Nina got into a different department than me, though our university was the same. Despite this, we managed to get into the same room in the school dormitories. It seemed to be convenient at first; but later, when group studies began, we often exchanged roommates, whenever felt the need.
After a while, Nina met the boy of her dreams. Kevin. He became the talk of the day between us. She talks a lot about him, so much that at times I started getting bored, not out of jealousy, but because of my reason. Back in school, I liked a guy and never actually “talked” with him. Most of the time, he was on my mind, as when will I be able to get over him!
Nina started regular dating. Though, we were still together most of the time, like going to a movie one day. I watched them kissed during the movie. Soon they became the Romeo and the Juliet of the class, if not the school.
I was happy for her, but didn’t agree with her approach towards quick dating and rapidly falling in love. One night, I managed to get some time to talk about this. She was watching TV and as I sat beside her, I opened the discussion,
“What if he’s not the one, Nina? Will, you not get hurt?” I asked.
Sometimes we aren’t so lucky in love.
“I am cent percent sure he’s the one sweet Lave. You just don’t bother? Besides, one got to take risks!” She was not in a mood for any parental discussion on this, as I realized from her reply.
“What risks? We are talking about your life here, can’t you see? You have started smoking weed with him too. Don’t think I can’t notice it! Does it all seem right to you? Is It?” I remarked while getting up from the couch and looking for my hairbrush.
“Lave dear, it was just one smoke, I just wanted to be like him. You got to take risks in life even with love!” She snapped back.
“I just don’t want to see you get hurt,” I said desperately.
“Lave don’t you worry, I know you have my back here. I am in good hands. Am I not?” she threw a cushion and went outside.
One weekend Kevin invited Nina to a friend’s party. She insisted me to join and I half-heartedly accompanied her.
The place was busting with loud music and dances. I liked the atmosphere. Nina smiled at me and vanished with Kevin leaving me alone to wander around. Kevin did introduce me to one of his classmates. He was quiet and a reserved young man, just like me. We started talking. It was hard to talk in such a noise, so we waddled outside. I liked talking with him. Soon it turned out that he is reserved when it comes to dating and falling in love. After the party, Jimmy and I began to see one another, on and off. Our interests were the same and he was an attractive chap, I started liking him. He was tall, broad, intelligent, with bright eyes, and a very good sense of humor. I told Nina about Jimmy, she immediately responded:
“So what is with you two? Lave!” She inquired interestingly.
“Oh, yeah, Jimmy and I are mostly alike, I kind of liked him” I just remained as plain as possible, realizing fully that Nina will sniff something out of this.
“Wow, Lave, its bloody slow romance. I think you have read lots of romantic novels like Jane Austen’s!” She seemed to be excited; she too was a bookworm like me.
“I don’t know, but this is something I never felt before for anyone.” How can I hide anything from the best of the mates?
“So you are not counting that high school Tommy crush.” She teased me.
I smiled, interestingly I have forgotten about him, “that was just hormones, besides we just had had some library talks and that’s it.” I said bluntly while scrolling on my computer.
If anyone knew Nina, they would say, she is not a person who can be easily shaken off, so she continued, “hmmm, so that will explain your theory of dating and falling in love. Didn’t you and Tommy…….” She waved her hands making a gesture of lovemaking.
“Yes, it was a great night, but after that, I wasn’t attracted to him!” I said in a way like I wanted her to change the topic.
“You mean the sexual attraction, Lave. Didn’t you?” She said cackling while putting a lotion over her hands.
I smiled, “Well, we had great sex that night, but after this nothing was there to continue”.
“Bloody hell, Gal, don’t you think that’s the only attraction that counts the most.” She was loud while making that remark.
“I don’t know, but I can’t understand why Tommy started distancing himself from me back then?”
“If you ask me and permit me, I would say it was you, not him. You brought your attitude into it and the relationship collapsed”, I never expected such a wise-thing from Nina, but when she was saying this, I looked at her and she was dam serious.
Sometimes even distrust is justifiable. When people don’t trust their governments and distrust replaces the trust.
I tried to hide this from her back then, but it dawned to me that she already had the idea, she knew me head to toe.
Without letting her know how wary I had become, I replied, “I don’t know, I never had feelings for anyone which I am having for Jimmy now”. I yawned aimlessly, showing that this conversation needed ending. I turned off my computer and threw myself into the bed. As she turned off the lights, whispered sweetly “good night and good luck with the love this time”.
One day, before the end of the first semester, we decided to go for a long ride. So we left for a lake on a Saturday morning and drove for around 300 kilometers. It was a double date. We had made all the arrangements for camping in the open. The idea of the trip came from Jimmy who had bought a new golden Chevy. Kevin took along lots of beers.
While Jimmy was driving, I was sitting on the front seat. I can’t stop myself looking back where Nina and Kevin were kissing liked he was about to go on a space mission.
It was a nice day. As we drove, we saw lush green and wetland because of last night showers. That was what some shrubs were waiting for to bloom. In this town, every tree, shrub, and weed was talking green. It’s just somehow they are welcoming us on the meander pathways towards the lake.
Everyone was lost in the scenery. It was a perfect ride for the lovers and holidaymakers. We passed by some other people. We exchanged honks as we overtook. The stereo was playing a nice song by Britney Spears, and so were we:
Hit me, baby, one more time
OH baby, baby
Oh baby, baby.
We were all singing aloud. In the rush, my mind swayed towards Britney’s life. It made me think about how she kept herself and her virginity for the man of her dreams, but when she found him, it was not the love she was looking for. She felt betrayed, shattered, and succumbed to addiction.
Jimmy looked at me interrogatively, but I just shook my head and smiled.
He smiled back. Short while after that, he parked at a station for some refreshments. A moment later, when we two got alone, he did ask “why suddenly you turned so quiet back there?”
I was hesitant at first, but then I told him that I was thinking about Britney’s life, her rocking career, and her not so successful marriages and relationships, and trouble with addiction, and how some men working so closed to her betrayed her trust!
“Well, Lave, sometimes we aren’t so lucky in love. Britney was preparing all her life for stardom. She got that and somehow she lost other things, and due to this loneliness, she decided to marry instinctively. I will say fame did take its toll”.
“Maybe, but how come someone takes advantage of somebody like this!” I said in a low voice.
“There are all kinds of people in this world, trust me! They will overwhelm you before you knew it”. He said scrupulously.
“Who got overwhelmed? “, Nina heard the last words of Jimmy while she was walking towards us.
We shook our heads and went inside the diner. The brunch was delicious and was exactly what we needed. We finished it and started our drive listening to Adel, ‘Chasing pavements’.
As we made quite a several stops praising the scenery here and there, we arrived at the lake by the late afternoon. After, putting on our tents, we were ready for the sandwiches, beer, and chips. After a good dinner, a walk before sleep was mandatory, so we started exploring the nearby area. Soon tiredness took the toll and we all felt sleepy after the sunset. We put on some fire, made some coffee, and chatted about how nature affects you. We were tired that evening, so went to our shelters. Jimmy and I got into separate tents.
Later, Jimmy knocked at my tent asking me to come out and see the sky. It was wonderful. The full moon was having a magical spell on me. The stars were twinkling like gems, and the distant sound of the waterfall was weaving a romantic song. We strayed away. I sat on a rock and in that spur of the moment we kissed. It was a passionate one as we both were waiting long for this.
He just stopped for a while and looking into my eyes, and asked “Are you sure about that Lave?”
“Yes”, as I slipped more towards him and let him hold me tighter. We kissed for a while, and then I held his hand and guided him towards my tent.
We woke up the next morning by the giggles of Kevin and Nina.
When we came out, they had already made the coffee by the last night fire and offered us some biscuits and boiled eggs. They both were giving us smiling looks.
I got a little cheeky and kind of shouted, “What?”
They sneered backed and said nothing.
The whole day was fun. We hiked, swam, and talked. Later we drove up to a diner and then back to our school and the dorm in the evening.
For me, life had taken a sudden turn. I was not so sure about it earlier and now I was thinking about what took me so long. Jim was crazy about me. He already knew even before me.
I had always had this concrete thought about how important it is to know the person before dating, particularly if you didn’t believe in love at first sight.
I am a kind of a textbook person. If someone can read my thoughts, it will all be definitions and explanations. These thoughts kept creeping into my mind, one said, “I think I can trust Jimmy”. The other replied, “Trust is relevant; it’s risky and sometimes dangerous. We do trust others so that we can calm ourselves. There may be a motive behind it or maybe it's nonmotivational; and there is a difference between trust and reliance. Our reliance on others doesn’t mean we trust them”. These were all the thoughts keep on encircling me the whole time whenever I was free.
Nina was happy for me. She later told me about her concerns a little about me and Jimmy, as I used to throw all my Philosophy lectures over her about trust and distrust all the time. It’s usually she asking explanations about such things.
“Can you explain how we don’t trust when we are relying on somebody?” Whenever Nina wanted a detailed answer, she always started with such a random question, nevertheless an intelligent one.
“Yeah, like the boss and the employee.” I immediately liked to explain.
Nina always put a little naughty smile on her face,” Oh Yeah and sometimes it is done in the goodwill and virtue that society stands on that motivates the trustee benefits cathartically.”, when she wanted to show her image of knowledge to me, she always carried it to the next level.
Though our majors were different, we took interest in each other’s subjects, “Oh my dear Nina, this is one of the responsive trust theories you are talking about.” I said admiralty.
She continued with the same smile, “thank goodness I don’t have an aptitude for Philosophy; otherwise, it would have taken me a whole semester to sleep with Kevin”.
I laughed. I always felt good about these conversations. Ever since I started taking the lessons and chose Trust and distrust for my research; ‘I began to realize how vital they both are in all kinds of relationships. In building strong governments to ordinary mundane businesses of selling and buying; nevertheless, sometimes even distrust is justifiable. When people don’t trust their governments and distrust replaces the trust; which in turn creates riots, unrest and to the distrusters, they are willing to lose the respect associated with the trust, maybe they are doing it because they thought this is their only way out or they are afraid, ignorant, or simply believe the others are not going to act justly’. One more time I was lost in my thoughts.
Philosophy is my first love. I used to study life events and try to find practical explanations for them.
Once I brought a simple case of lying, proved by the facts but nobody was willing to believe, to the attention of my Philosophy professor. He explained that “sometimes we trust someone so instinctively that we are oblivion to the evidence. Trust can be rational (in the truth or result or both). For some people it’s internalization and for some, they depend on external factors of trust like the trustworthiness of the trustee, social attitude towards trust.”
We usually put our trust daily in different people, like the bus drivers when we are taking the bus, police when we are relying on them for protection, doctors when we become sick. Rational trusts make society livable.
I was in my dreamland when my alarm clock went off. That day Jim had arranged a special dinner for both of us in a place of surprise. I wore my best green sleeveless dress, pinned up my hair in a bun, put on some make-up and jewelry, and was ready to rock.
Jimmy was also looking groomed and trimmed up. “You are right on time”, I exclaimed. He seemed to be more excited than I was, as I could feel it in his reply, “I was preparing it for days, and don’t want to ruin it just by coming late”.
I was astonished to see a new car waiting for us; he opened the door for me and explained about the car as it was a present on his last birthday by his dad. He usually preferred his regular Chevy; but for an occasion like this, he favored it.
As we drove, Jim passed his remarks, “You are looking gorgeous tonight”.
I put my hand slightly on his hand and pressed it. We had a wonderful evening that night; after eating we went to a drive-away theater. I appreciated his choice of restaurant, “how on earth did you know that I liked sushi? I know nothing about your favorites”, I was blushing.
“It’s not a quiz show, where you have to know everything about me or vice versa to prove that we care for each other”. He said confidently, “besides, I asked Nina about it” He was honest.
We stayed most of the night out and stared at the stars. Afterward, we checked into a motel and forgot about everything.
As our relationship grew, my parents were especially anxious about meeting Jimmy. Kevin had already met Nina’s parents and vice versa. They believed in love at first sight so they were going to stay together no matter what. I was planning that meeting for New Year’s Eve. As his parents were usually abroad, so he should meet mine first.
As this was our last year of college, so we were all busy with our review paper, research work, and last assignments we have to submit. Despite that, I carefully planned the meeting, but all of a sudden he had to leave as his dad got a stroke.
My parents were very quiet people, but I felt that it got them worried. I reassured them that I trusted Jim and that we knew each other well.
Jim got back on time for the final exam, after the winter holidays, but he looked paler and a little frailer. I spent almost all the free time and nights with him, reassuring him about things happening in his life. It seemed that my reassurance was not comforting him. Anyhow, gradually, he came back to his regular self as his dad started to show the signs of improvement, and now everyone in the family was hopeful about his dad’s health.
On the day of our graduation, the excitement was above the head. When everything settled, we all bid goodbyes to each other and exchanged lots of addresses and phone numbers. I went back home awaiting the scholarship results. Meanwhile, Nina got a job out of the country along with Kevin, which both of them happily joined.
But something strange happened since we left the college, Jimmy never called me. I tried his number, which was not in service anymore. I tried to use all my resources in trying to contact him. Desperately, I decided to go to his hometown.
I arrived at this address, Kevin found out for me. I was greeted by a graceful middle-aged woman in an orange sweater and black pants.
“Who are you looking for dear?” she was polite. “Jim….Jimmy? Are you his mum?” I stuttered, “Well, yes. Are you his classmate?” She inquired further. I nodded affirming her. “Do come in!” She took me inside.
The house was nothing liked Jimmy described. She offered me a coffee. I inquired about Jim and his dad’s health.
“Oh he is tough like a mule”, she said confidently.
Soon I realized that she had no idea as to who I was to her son. I composed myself, when she went to answer the doorbell, just ranged in time to save me from embarrassment.
“Nobody, just a guy lost and asking for the directions”, she said politely.
I inquired about Jimmy again, to which I was told that he left for Brazil to join a very good job in a university. She noticed the surprise on my face, to which she added, “what was your business coming here, dear?” I decided not to tell her instead I told her that I was in town and knew Jimmy lived here so I came to say hello. She was a nice lady and never once she made that politeness disappear from her attitude.
I left my cell number with her and bid her goodbye. As I was walking towards my car, I felt breathless. It seemed like my legs are heavy, they felt like a hundred kilograms each. I threw myself at the driving seat, ready to cry, but all of a sudden, got all my energy back. I thought for a while, then went to the boot of my car, searched for a while in my suitcase and found it. It was my habit of putting all the pictures, gifts, souvenirs of every person I love in a special package. The same I had done with all the things of Jimmy. I took the package and went to the front door of his house once more.
When the door opened, I smiled and handed his mom the package. I told her that kindly let Jimmy know that I came here to return some of his things left with me.
His mom took it. For some time, she was looking at those things and it didn’t take her much to realize what they are and what they represent. She was an intelligent lady, it was all written on her face. She immediately knew who I was to her son. She stood stone-faced as I walked back to my car and drove away.
On my way back home, I was thinking about my research paper on “Trust and distrust”!