Wednesday, 26 September 2018

part 1 : Never let go!(ss)

"Hey!" The moment I heard his deep voice, my heart started beating faster.

I don't understand how it happens, but it does. His mere voice sends a tinge down my spine. It makes me nervous and stammer. I feel as if my stomach is in innumerable knots. For this reason, I tend to be extremely conscious when I am talking to him, when I am around him. And for the same reason, he tries to create some room for me, tries to make me feel comfortable. And that is the very first reason, I fell for him.

But he doesn't understand my feelings, can he? The reason being simple and straight forward: I never told him. In fact, it took me almost six months to realize my feelings for him; and another six months to come to terms that I am in love with him. And another couple of months later, when I amassed all my courage to tell him what I feel for him, it came as an unbearable blow when he announced that he is in a relationship with one of my colleagues. Now, I can't tell him that I love him, can I? I will be risking two most important relationships of mine: one with him and the other with my friend who is his girlfriend.



However, whenever there is a party involving all of us, it breaks my heart to see him with her. It might be dramatic, but I feel suffocated. Neither could I breathe when I look at them, nor could I stop my eyes from searching for him. All the parties end in the same way for me. I end up alone in my bed, crying myself to sleep. I couldn't help the tears when I am alone.

I convinced myself that I could let go of him, that I could forget him and that I could move on. But whom was I kidding? If there was anything I learnt over the last couple of months it was to keep my emotions to myself and put on a mask of serene smile on my face. But it hurts. Every time I come across him, my cheeks hurt when I have to smile at him, my eyes sting when I have to look at him.

And so, after an year and half struggling with myself, hovering in self-pity, I decided to go for my masters. I cannot force my feelings on him, can I? Neither can I force him to love me back. But I can force myself to get away from him. For, I am scared that I would cry out my love for him if I have to endure the pain more.

And now I am sitting in my room, after the farewell party given by my colleagues and friends, trying to talk to him. As much as I wanted to stay away from him, I couldn't help but miss him when he couldn't make it to the party. It took all my control to not cry for his absence. It was the last day I could spend with him. But God had some other plans for me. He told me that he had to meet his girlfriend's parents. He didn't tell me the reason for it, but I could understand.

And just like that my heart was completely broken.

"Hie," I said softly, blinking back the tears in my eyes. "How did your meeting go?" I asked.

"Perfect. Her parents are impressed with me. I guess the line is clear." He said, his voice cheerful. "After all, I am a charmer." He chuckled.

I swallowed the sob that threatened to make its way out of my throat. A charmer he is. "No one can resist your charm." I whispered.

He laughed. "So done with your packing?" He asked. "When is your flight?"

"It's at 9.15pm tomorrow." I mumbled.

"Great. I am sure Texas will suit you. You won't forget me, will you?"

This time, I couldn't help the tears that ran down my cheeks. I wish I could forget him, but I know the truth. "I will miss you." I whispered, in a broken voice.

"Aww! I will miss you too. You have been a great friend." He said. I could feel that he said the truth.

But why did it hurt me? I know that I was his friend. Nothing more, nothing less. But somewhere, deep down in my heart, there had always been a hope that he would feel something for me. Something special!

"Thank you." I said, in short of words.

"Okay, see you next summer then. Good luck with your studies and new life." He said.

And I knew this was it. But I didn't want to let go. I want some more time. To do what? I don't know. May be a minute or two, with him. Maybe to imprint his face in my heart forever for the last time. May be to see his dimples when he smiles. May be to see the sparkle in his eyes when he teases me. May be to meet him for one last time. May be to say final good bye.

"Can you meet me tomorrow?" I asked, before I could stop myself.

"Tomorrow?" He sounded skeptical.

"One last time, please." I pleaded holding my breath. I knew I would die if he hesitated.

"Okay sure." He said and I breathed. "During lunch break?"

"Sure." I quickly tried to search for a place near my place. "Ohris?"

"See ya!" He said and cut the call.

I held the phone close to my heart and did what I always do. I cried.

-------------------------

As I waited for him at his favourtite cornet table on the terrace, I couldn't help but feel jittery. In a matter of ten minutes my entire time with him flashed before my eyes- our training together, our projects together, out trips together, our fights together and our parties together. He was everywhere. I swallowed another lump in my throat and pushed them aside.

"Hey! Sorry I am late." I saw him rushing to me and smiled at him. He seemed to be in a hurry.

While I ordered two coffees, he pulled out a small bag and gave it to me.

"I bought it for you. I thought to give it to you yesterday but I couldn't. I thought of sending it to you later but now that we planned to meet, I brought it with me." He said.

I unwrapped it slowly and my breath caught struck in my lungs when I looked at his gift. It was a beautiful diary I had seen in the mall last month. I wanted to buy it but couldn't as it was specially ordered by someone. I desperately wanted to buy it but there wasn't any other piece available. I forgot about it later.

He smiled at me when I looked at him with tears filling my eyes fast. He was the only person who knew about my habit of writing diary. But I didn't expect him to remember about that incident at the mall. He held my hand and squeezed it when tears rolled down. I quickly wiped them and smiled back at him.

"This will make sure that you will never forget me." He said and winked.

Little did he know that I would never be able to forget him even if I wanted to! Once more, I felt my chest tighten at the thought that he can never be mine. For the first time, I felt envious of my friend who had captured him. For the first time, I realized what I had lost. And for the very first time, I didn't want to lose him.

I sat silently sipping my coffee while he rambled about our last trekking trip together. He then talked about our time in the office, emphasizing on very minute details that even I didn't remember. Listening to his talk, for the every first time, I felt that may be he treats me little more than a friend. May be we could have a chance if I tell him that I love him. May be…

"Okay then, I have to leave." He said, breaking my thoughts. When I stood, he gave me tight hug and whispered, "Take care."

When he turned back to leave, I felt as if a part of mine is leaving me. As I watched him leave, I felt a desperation in me that told me not to let go of him.

"Armaan?" I shouted for him, running towards him.

He stopped and turned back to me surprised.

"I…" I gulped looking at him, trying to force the words out of my mouth. "I-I have something to say to you."

"Yeah?" He smiled and waited for me to speak.

I was tongue tied. I was nervous. I know I will be risking our friendship if I say those three words to him. At the same time, I didn't want to give up without trying. I wasn't even sure if he would believe me. But I wanted him to realize the depth of my feelings.

I took a step closer to him. I looked into his eyes. His gaze was tender, filled with warmth. I took a deep breath while he raised his brow at me. And I did the unthinkable.

I rose to my toes and put my hands around his neck. I watched as his eyes widened but I didn't give him any time to retreat. "I love you." I closed my eyes and whispered against his lips before placing my lips on his.

My head swam at the sensation of his warm lips against mine. A contrast to his hard and taut body, his lips were wonderfully soft. I had imagined this many times in my dreams, but I wasn't prepared for the feelings that the touch gave rise to. They were beyond my imagination. My body came alive in the way I never knew. I felt dizzy and lightheaded and I suddenly wanted more. I tugged at his lower lip and that's when realization dawned upon me like a thunder.

Lost in my feelings, I never realized that his lips were tight and closed against mine. His neck was stiff under my palms and his arms never held me. It was my body that was pressed against his but there was absolutely no reaction from him. As the final rejection penetrated the fog in my brain, the already broken heart of mine broke even more. But I didn't let go of his lips, for I didn't want to see the rejection in his eyes. I desperately tried for his response moving my lips against his frantically. But there was none. I broke into cold sweat. That only meant one thing.

With tears filling my eyes, I drew back from him with my arms sill around his neck. I slowly opened my eyes and looked at him. That was the biggest mistake I had ever done. I shouldn't have looked at him. My heart stopped breathing when I noticed his face expressionless and completely red. His jaw was clenched tight and I could notice the tick of his muscle against his skin. I staggered back when I looked into his eyes. There was neither the tenderness nor the warmth. There was absolutely nothing.

Unable to stand his gaze and ashamed of myself, I grabbed my purse from the table and ran away from him.

But my stupid heart, it never lost its hope. Even while running towards the exit of the restaurant, I hoped that he might be looking in my direction. That even though he might not love me, he might still want to have me as his friend. May be he will forgive me for my stupidity. May be…..

I stopped running and slowly turned around, holding my heart in my fist. He stood at the same spot, his back turned to me, his right hand in his hair. And finally, I accepted my defeat.

I lost not only his love, but also his friendship. I truly lost him. Forever.

As another sob escaped my lips, I quickly drove back to home. My parents were already waiting for me, with my two huge suitcases in the living room. I swallowed another sob, wiped my tears frantically and put on a serene smile on my face. I didn't know if they noticed my distressed state. But even if they did, they didn't speak of it. And for that I can only love them more.

We had a quick lunch, put my entire luggage in the car, bid my byes to my neighbors and sat in the car. I took deep breaths during the drive to the airport. I knew that if I break down now, there would be no end to my tears.

I waited patiently during the checking and boarding. The moment I got into the plane, I ran to the washroom and sank to the floor. I closed my mouth with my hand to stop the noise from escaping my sobs and I cried. Cried for the loss of a friend. Cried for the loss of my love. Cried for the loss of a beautiful future I could have with him. Cried for the loss of myself.

When my sobs turned to hiccups, I washed my face, patted it dry and went back to my seat. I fastened my seat belt when I heard the announcement and closed my eyes. I knew that I have to let go of him. He belonged to someone else. But I knew that even if I was able to let go of him, I would never be able to let go of my love for him.

I love him. Now and forever.

Sushmita 

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