“Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.”- Markos in Khaled Hosseini’s And the mountains echoed.

It’s easy to write about your good, to remember moments you showed clear and, good judgment. To remember the smiles, and laughter you shared.

What do you do with memories of your faults? How do you reconcile moments of selfishness and stupidity with the person you are?

I knew a young man who offered me his friendship. He was almost obsessed with me. I’d see him at the most random of places, at the market, waiting for me while I shopped, standing at the entrance of my house waiting to accompany me anywhere. I’d wake up to good morning messages from him because he wanted to be the first to say it.

He’d walk beside me on the streets. When I’d ask him to stop, he’d walk behind me. He’ll say; Why don’t you want to talk to me? Let’s go somewhere.

I always said no to him. Shortly, he moved far enough to not make the commute to come to see me.

A few months after that situation ended. I talked about it while eating a bowl of noodles and suya with my sister, sharing stories about our lives in the way we often do, with laughter and lots of sarcasm.

She told me of the cunningness and betrayal of old friends. I told her of the young man who wanted to be my friend. I told her I could never walk with someone like him! I said he was ugly in a way that made me conscious. It wasn’t a defect it’s just the structure, it unnerved me.

Years later, I would talk about that incident again with new understanding. It was a stalker situation. I didn’t dwell on it. I’ve been stalked more than once. Fortunately, they were content with only following me around.

Reading the line from Hosseini’s book confronted me with the reality of my past shallowness. It is a flaw to think that I’ve always been a kind and empathetic person.


Talking to my sister, I forgot obvious reasons why friendship with him wouldn’t work. He was a stalker. I glossed over that and focused on the enormously stupid beauty.

I am a different person now. I don’t say this because I need to put a defence for myself. Life has happened to me.

I now see the world differently, enough to know that; beauty is an unmerited gift.