Finally I said it – said it out loud. I thought about it for quite awhile, brooded over it for long, and fought with and within myself over and over again – and finally I did decide to do it.
But then as now all is over and I can clearly see the outcome – I guess, the time was not right. But then again, it’s for you to decide – to have an opinion about all of these. It does not matter what I have come to think of it. I am just the storyteller – not the interpreter.
The time was carefully chosen – it indeed was a special day. It was a romantic day. The air outside was fresh. And charming. I don’t know how and why – but I saw people around me were pretty happy – more than average – on that day. Everything – every aspect of the nature – seemed to confirm that I had decided to go for it just on the right day.
I was happy, too.
And I was anxious and tensed.
And then I saw her. She was waiting for me just where we had decided to wait for the other who would come late. Impeccably dressed – as always (strange – generally it’s a description attributed to guys, and not girls – but somehow it was exactly what came to my mind). She was wearing that salwar-kameez she bought the other day. I was there with her while she was shopping and – well, a man never forgets – it was my choice, that dress. Many things circled up inside my head, but I comforted and restrained them. Time was not ripe yet.
I addressed her in the most formal of the ways. Her eyes were sparkling. It was difficult for me to take off mine from hers. But then I thought, why should I? We went in into the restaurant. My head was almost bursting up with excitement, tension, odd thoughts and memories of strange coincidences. But on the surface I kept my cool as much I could muster.
It was a cosy little candle-lit table which we got inside. I had a look around. The ambience was purrrfect. (Who blurted like that? You remember?) I thought I could show off a little maybe. I brought out a small piece of paper from the pocket and handed it over to her.
She opened it and started reading…
Listen to me, sweetheart
Listen to me clearly…
Maybe I didn’t say it,
But I always loved you dearly
It has always been your smiles,
And your voice, and your looks
They’ve always been so sweet
That I just gave what they took
I loved your eyes,
Even the anger, and your frown
I loved your every bit
You were the best in the town
But I couldn’t cry out loud
Couldn’t say out of what I thought
She stopped in the mid-way and looked up at me. In the dim light of the candles, the sparkles in her eyes were now almost dazzling. I realised that there were tears there. They were almost on the verge of dropping off. And then I saw that her hands fisted around the piece of paper crumpling it up into a small ball. To me, it felt like someone was crushing my heart like that. I was confused. I looked up at her with questions in my eyes.
Did I see a hint of a painful smile on her lips – her trembling lips…? I don’t know what compelled me to do this and how on the big flat earth I could do it, but without a pause or hindrance, I whispered to her…
I love you in such a way… like
That is the last thing in the world that I shall do
I love you in such a way… like
That is the first thing in the world that I shall do
I love you in such a way… like
That is the only thing in the world that I shall do
She motioned me stop… and I stopped abruptly. I could clearly see that the pain was becoming too much for her to bear… it was visible in her eyes – and in all over her face. I was puzzled. What could have gone wrong? What could have gone wrong between when I saw her in that afternoon day before yesterday and now? That afternoon, day before yesterday, she was all very jovial about “taking the relationship a step further” and all. And now, this? What was the matter… what did I miss?
I dared to ask her that. And that did it. The sparkles became pearls and rolled down her cheeks – making me absolutely speechless. Nothing around me did not matter for sometimes. It was like my mind was shouting at me – asking me to do something about the whole situation. But the body couldn’t move. The reluctance towards anything and everything was overwhelming. Guess, the question that should have been there on my face was also gone. And even she noticed it. There was a frown from her – just for one second. And then she regained her composure. I don’t know what she thought of my expression – if there was any. And I am sure whatever she thought of it was not something that I would have wanted. I kept on looking as she wiped her tears and got up. I kept on looking as she slowly made her way out of the crowded front hall of the restaurant and never did turn back, even for a glance. And I kept on looking at the dark of the night through the stained glass walls long after the faintest sign of her reflection got vanished.
The story ended here. Unfortunately, but really. It was not meant to be a love story, but it had some essence of the same. It was not meant to be a tragic story, but it had some essence of that as well. But then, even the tragedy was not completely qualifying. It was not like that the guy never saw the girl again – that would have been too romantic and too dramatic an epilogue. They used to cross each other in the streets – in the lives – quite often. But anything about that night or anything about their ‘could have been’ relationship was never discussed. That’s a tragedy, alright. But that was not a tragedy that we would be content with, I guess.
They say that even the God does not know what goes on inside a woman’s mind. Somewhat true. And, in effect, the story was just another incident demonstrating the same. An explanation was required, heck! an explanation was demanded of her – no, not by the person involved, but by her very self. But she was unable to provide any. And she did not know why. She lacked the strength to let go of her leash – the leash that held her emotions back. Maybe she was too fearful of the world, the world that had an image of cruelty and deceit embedded in her mind. Maybe she was not too sure about the person. Or maybe she was not too sure about herself – the girl that was inside her fought with the woman that was yet to mature fully, and the conclusion of which was never reached. Basically, the objectivism of the relationship was eluding her – she couldn’t find any point in all of these.
But there was a mind and there was pain. The tears were shed for Love – they were not shed for a tragedy or upon the death of a cosy future. They meant something far more than what was temporal.
And the man… what was his place in all of these? Did he have any place? Did he lose it? These were the questions that he asked himself. And he could not find answers – answer to any of those. He thought that he had something, but maybe he didn’t. He thought that he meant something, but afterwards he was not so sure. He was never sure whether the tragedy was because of any of his doings or not – and that was one question that burned him through the rest of his life. But he never did ask her about it. He could not. A man’s pride is a strange thing. At times, it does not prevent one from doing something extremely… well, jerkish, if I may say so. But then at times, that pride prevents so many things from happening that could have turned direction of life from hither to thither.
I wonder whether it is possible to have an “ever after” incident in today’s world. For all that we know, all “ever after” incidents happened “once upon a time”. There were good and bad struggling with each other – and the most important thing: the bad always knew that it was bad. But the intellectual development of, maybe, the last two or three centuries made people think – somehow – that (s)he was never bad. I don’t mean “never” as in “Never”… but “never” as in “not when taking action”. Everyone had a justification of actions done. And that made the good categorizable – which, perhaps, should not have been the case. But then, that’s change. And changes shall keep on coming in into our lives.
And I would now take your leave until the next change affects the world. You all – take care.