I stared out through the glass; head tilted against the train window. I was searching for a thought to grasp onto, one out of many running through my mind. It was silly of me to be surprised at the one I chose.
The pain instantly found its way into my chest, causing me to wince. At times, I had to ask myself if I enjoyed it. It was something I’d put myself through more frequently. Patiently, eyes closed, I whispered. Hold on, it will pass, just wait it out. My eye lids tightened as I began rocking back and forth slightly, trying to calm my heart’s irregular beats. Soon, a smile snuck its way onto my face. Just as fast as the aching began, it had disappeared. I’d gotten through the gate, and it was time for the prize on the other side: Memories.
I began by remembering the first time we met. I hated that day. I sunk into my seat as I recalled the feeling from then, as though it had happened a few hours ago.
It was a book launch function of one of my author friends in Mumbai. He was there on behalf of the publishing house who published the book. I didn’t realize his presence until he took the mic and started talking about the book. The way he spoke, expressed his views, his body language, I was in love with him at first sight. I walked up to him and said, “You’ve got beautiful eyes”. I had so many things going on in my mind, many of which I wanted to talk about and all I end up saying is, “You got beautiful eyes.”
I was a complete mess and rushed out of the place.
The second one was happier; warmer. His smile was something I had failed to notice the first time. It held something, different. When he looked into my eyes and smiled at me, I felt my heart jump into my throat as I returned the gesture. I can’t remember the last person I had ever known who could make me laugh as much as he did. Not after that day, no.
Remembering where I was, I sat up and composed myself. I had been doing it again. No idea who came on and who got off and stared at the weird expression across my face. I was so busy with myself and my thoughts, I had no idea where I was. I got off at Hauj Khas Metro Station and started my walk towards a nearby park and looked for a bench.
As I entered the park I realized that I have come to a place which would trouble me more than the metros and thoughts I’ll have here. That’s right. Our third time together was in place just like this. That was the day I realized what his touch could do to me. The sensation that ran though my body when he wrapped his arm around me. We were closer at that point in time and ever had our own inside jokes. That was important to me, and was something I clung to. It was something ours. I am positive it became apparent to some people that day what had been going on inside of me. The way I looked at him, should have said everything. Sure the message had been received by those eyes, but it was his view that counted the most. And it was his vision that was failing.
What was coming next caused me to lose breath. Eyes shut tight again, gripping the edge of my seat, I waited. Rocking back and forth I tried to find my lungs. It was so easy to forget them when it came to times like these.
Fourth, it was planned to be more private this time, but not at all. Surrounded by friends, yes. I still find it hard to describe how close we were and the way we would just… be together. It was a new world to me. It was a new feeling, something a drug would give. He gave me a reason to be happy all the time. He could make me so happy, even with something that had happened so long ago.
That day we managed to sneak out some alone time. To surprise me he had bought a beautiful pearl necklace which he presented me and said the words that I was dying to hear.
“Prerna, I love you!!!” He finally said.
I didn’t say anything, instead I moved closer to him, looking up at his kind face that was now bathed in the glow of the full moonlight. I felt a powerful outburst of affection overcoming me. I reached out and placed my hands on his smooth cheeks. He didn’t resist. My heart was now beating heavily, as I slowly elevated myself by standing on the toes and staring into his eyes, almost pleadingly, trying to communicate my desire to be consumed by him. He stared back, and apparently understanding my feelings, drew closer. I closed my eyes, lips parted slightly. A few seconds passed before I finally felt his warm lips brush against mine. I raised my hands above his head, allowing him to wrap his arms around my waist and hold me tightly as he began to kiss. I moaned softly, kissing back to the best of my ability. Moments later, I felt his wet tongue slide between my lips. We kissed passionately, holding each other in their warm embrace, expressing their unspoken love. After what felt like eons to me, our mouths finally parted, and our eyes finally met. We continued to hold each other, silently staring into each other’s eyes. The beating of his heart was audible, an indication that he felt the same way I did. He stroked my hair gently, planting a loving kiss on the head and then nuzzling his nose against it.
And today, there was nothing left between us. Nothing but the pain to kill me with every step I took and every breath I managed to catch. Tears were soon in my eyes, streaming down my cheeks. The image of the both of them holding each other’s hand, kissing and hugging each other at the book fair was a heart wrenching.
No matter what anyone said or I tried convincing myself, in a sense, I would always feel as though it was my fault. I didn’t smile enough. I didn’t look at him the right way. I wasn’t… right. I couldn’t begin to process in my mind what had occurred, although I had been at this point hundreds, maybe thousands of times before. May be if I had spoken earlier, I wouldn’t be sitting on this bench alone. If I had held him tighter, for a bit longer, maybe he had been giving me his enchanting smile at this exact moment. I clutched at my ribs, trying to calm myself. But how could I? Somewhere he was perfectly happy with. Whoever she was, in his arms. And me? It was becoming habitual to fit sobbing and lamenting in my schedule. It was all I had left to do with myself.
I could not understand any of it. Why it was only me dying on the inside.
Why was it only me?
I was no longer a part of it, you know, a part of my own life. Everything and everyone moved around me freely. They reacted when I felt alive enough to participate. But this thing called my life was broken now, in a way I felt could not be repaired. No matter how tall I would try to stand or how much I had tried to smile. My eyes would never look the same; my walk would never be the same. And yet, I was expected to keep moving, like a slave. No matter what, keep going. It made no sense. But life is cruel in that sense.
Biting into my lip, I tried to separate everything one at a time. I didn’t feel anger towards him, just a deep sense of sorrow and disappointment. If it were anyone else in my place, it would make sense to be angry at the bastard who put someone I cared for through this. It’s something that seemed unbearable. And yet, I couldn’t get angry. I could bring myself to hate him. No… never. But that made no sense again. At least for some brief moment, I should have given myself that: the chance to scream yell, curse and so on. But no; thinking about him and doing such things… it couldn’t be done at the same time.
And then it hit me.
Although I couldn’t define exactly what this feeling was, it was here for a reason. It was because I loved everything about him. In a way, he still belongs to me. It was a connection that would always be there. He is the special one for me and will always be. I hoped nothing but the best for him. But, whatever would happen with what he had going on, I would always be here. It wasn’t as though I was expecting something. However, just knowing that I had been able to look at him and everything between us would be okay. That was an idea I had to hold onto to keep my lungs functioning.
Sure, eventually, I’d heal. I’d been able to look in those eyes and I came to look forward to, me and smile with sincerity. I’d be able to hold his hand and the strong sensations would not overpower me. Yes, everything felt wrong now. But I would always look back and smile. The thought of having someone who could do such things to a person was… amazing. In a few times, we’d be face to face, he managed to sweep me off my feet and let me crash. I smiled at the thought of it, like I was insane. I had to be. But everything was illogical enough, so why not? There was no room for logic, sense, or reason in this twisted part of life. I had begun to accept it as I stood up from my seat and walked towards the metro station.
When the day comes to see him for the next time, I’d be ready. I’d be ready to look into his eyes, say sorry for everything that happened, ask him to forget the past and start a new life altogether. The next time we meet, I will be ready.