What If The Word Love Did Not Exist? has been edited by Nidhi Shah.
This is the story of Jane, a fifteen-year-old girl who finds it difficult to name her emotions.
Like any other 15-year-old teen, Jane was confused, clueless, and curious. She thought people do things that make themselves happy, which was true but not for her. Seeing her grandmother’s face light up while she made her banana pancakes, Jane came to believe that a person’s greatest joy lies in doing something that makes their cared one elated. She thought the noblest art is that of making others happy.
Months later, Jane walked into the classroom and felt something that was only talked about in books and movies. She found herself looking into his eyes and think, “this is it, isn’t it? He’s the one.” Lost in her own thoughts, she couldn’t see the spilt water on the floor. Jane was that way, always thinking, living in her own world. It was only after she heard the other kids laugh at her, that Jane realised she had fallen on the floor. When she first looked into his eyes, she couldn’t foresee what lay ahead. Now, when she does, she saw an unwavering hope that no matter what, everything will be alright. Nate picked her up and wiped the tears from her eyes, it dawned upon her that she had been crying all along. The moment she got on her feet, she cried even harder.
Jane felt something. She just didn’t know what it was. An emotion? Maybe it was just another phase she was going through. It will go away, she told herself. She never intended for any of this. All she had ever planned for was to get through her life, unnoticed. But is it ever enough? Do things ever go as they are planned? The answer is, well, never. The unexpected happens, and the whole world turns upside down. Soon enough she became aware of the little butterflies in her stomach. Jane and Nate sat next to each other every day, even though they didn’t talk it seemed like they had spoken a thousand words to each other. She couldn’t help but smile the whole day and failed to recall the last time she had been that untroubled.
What do you call it when you deeply care about someone and want them to be happy, without expecting anything in return? Jane wished she had a word for that. An unspoken promise of being with each other, even though there are a couple hundred miles separating them.
As days passed by, she realised she could be herself around Nate. She was filled with a sense of security as if nothing bad could penetrate the aura they shared. Whenever she experiences something different, she expressed it in the form of poetry and short stories. When Nate pushed her to publish them, it turned out to be a huge success. He somehow encouraged the poet in her to succeed. And Jane thought this is what the emotion she feels is – bringing the best out of one another. Helping one grow as a person. It was a divine and ethereal feeling, certainly more than just liking someone.
Jane remembered this quote by Helen Keller, “The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart”, she believed it. This is what she was experiencing, a beautiful thing.
Jane’s story did not end there, she grew to be the best version of herself. She was not alone, and that’s what mattered the most. After all, isn’t this what that nameless feeling was all about?