As a teenager, I never planned anything and preferred to make decisions at the eleventh hour. I was a true believer of the saying that “it will happen if it’s meant to be.” The few times I tried to set goals, did not work out for me so I stopped making resolutions for the future. I taught myself to live in the moment and accept whatever came my way. My life during high school was good, if you compare it to what is shown in high school themed films and T.V series like “13 Reasons Why”. Usual complications of growing up did not spare me, but I got out fine. I made a few friends for life, encountered several fleeting enemies, and rarely neglected my academics. I grew out of a short-lived rebellious stage, participated in some co-curricular activities, and even maintained some social life.

I was not a studious nerd, nor the life of every party. People might categorize me as an introvert, not because I was socially awkward, but just because I was not exactly talkative. Finally, I reached my senior year at high school and everyone was looking at colleges. I did not even know what I wanted to do on the weekend, and focusing on a specific career was the last thing on my head. When my best friend ‘Matt’ asked about my ‘plans’ after high school, I just shrugged and we both laughed it off. He pointed out that I was good at Science and English, so that should narrow it down. My other best friend Kathy suggested that I go for English literature, because she liked what I wrote.

Back then, I used to do a lot of poetry (that rhymed), whenever I was overflowing with sentiments. It was a good way to let it all out, and Kathy adored that mumbo jumbo for some reason. However, writing was more of a hobby to me and I did not favor the idea of turning it into a fulltime career. I did start looking at options in the department of Science, and the diversity made my head spin. Apparently, my parents were also worried about my future and conveyed entirely discrete suggestions.

My father was a renowned business attorney and my mother used to work as a nurse, so they were rooting for legal and medical professions. Suddenly life became stressful, as I could not make up my mind. I hated the idea of shattering my parents’ dreams and feared to drag myself into something that I would regret till eternity. I was already confused about selecting the appropriate livelihood for myself when Kathy came to me with a bewildering confession; she was in love with me, or at least she thought so. I had never been involved in any serious romantic relationships to that point and I was not ready then.

Kathy was smart, kind, good looking, and possessed all the qualities one would desire in their significant other; but she was the best friend I did not want to lose. High school sweethearts did not appeal to me because I believed we lack exposure at that time. We are likely to change as we grow, and juvenile commitments shall become a burden by the time we evolve into our final form. I spoke my mind to Kathy and luckily, she did not lash at me for saying no. Awkward silence lingered between us for a couple of days, and then things went back to normal. Matt and Kathy were already filling college applications, while I was trying to make the best of our remaining days together.

Soon they were off to the colleges of their choice in different states, and I had decided to take the year off. My parents were not happy about it, but they slowly made peace with reality. I took a summer job and did a lot of writing in my free time. In the beginning, Matt, Kathy, and I would stay in touch all day through group chats and video calls. Gradually, we started drifting apart and only talked occasionally. I got bored and craved an adventure. I joined a group of cyclists and travelled all across the U.S. It was a life changing experience and I learned a lot about myself on the journey.

I was somewhere in Texas when I could not stop thinking of Kathy. I had met and made acquaintance with over a hundred people in the past few months, but I did not find someone as amazing as her. I was willing to abandon all my previous beliefs at that stage just to be with her. I decided to tell her that I wanted to come see her in person in Minnesota. I called her that evening just to find her phone switched off. I left her a few messages on WhatsApp, but she did not get back to me by the next day. I got slightly anxious and called up Matt, who admitted not to have heard from her in weeks.

After a few days went by, I rummaged through all her social media accounts and found no recent activity. Eventually I got in touch with her parents and discovered she was missing; nobody had seen her or heard from her in over ten days. They had visited her college, spoken to classmates, and gotten the police involved; no clues were discovered regarding her whereabouts. Several months passed and I never stopped waiting for her to come back somehow. Horrible thoughts crossed my mind that maybe she was kidnapped or got involved in a severe accident? Before long, I decided to study criminology, and become a police detective. I will find her one day.

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