Saturday, 1 June 2019

Final Part : Dancing Days

I looked up from the ground to meet his eyes and didn't see a single hint of deception… did he really love me? Why did my heart want to return those words but my mind kept drifting back to all those hurtful things people said? "Could this possibly be true? Did he really mean any of those things?" I whispered more to myself then anyone else. How I wished it were all true, but then why did I have a dreadful feeling that this would all be one horrible twists of fate, a sick joke where any second now the cameras would jump out from behind the curtains and an audience will just be waiting to pounce on my moment of weakness and laugh at me, and then there I'd be stuck in a fish tank looking out at the world while they just prodded me and laughed then walked away not caring what their prods did to me.



Armaan must have seen the mixed bag of emotions playing on my face, he approached extending his right hand wanting to offer me some form of comfort? How ironic, the very person who is the cause of this turmoil now wanted to offer me comfort, could he be any more artificial. I wasn't falling for his rehearsed dialogues… I wouldn't let myself be crushed anymore. Tears had no space in my life anymore, and if that meant bringing tears to someone else then so be it. "I meant every word I said, I can't possibly imagine life without you, I… I don't want to feel life without you" he mumbled barely above a whisper.



Stepping back from his reach I refused to let him any closer… a single speech wasn't going to take away all the pain he had caused me, whether it was caused knowingly or unknowingly… sorry just wasn't enough, not now, not ever. Why should I believe anything he says, its all probably just some script his memorised!



If Armaan could read my face, well it seemed I must have learnt to read his too, imagining him almost every other moment of the day must have been the key to that… he almost looked crushed at my dismissal, but then that was quickly replaced by something which almost reflected he was expecting me to be this difficult.



He took a step back, giving me back some of my personal space, but didn't he realise he had invaded so much more then just my personal space! Deep down something in me understood what this action meant… he was giving me back my space but he wasn't done talking… what could there possibly be left to say? As if his words hadn't confused me enough… his acting hadn't already played havoc with my mind and heart, his mere presence wasn't making me wage a war with myself, his voice wasn't sending tingles of pleasure through every nerve in my body! Grr why am I going back into what effect he has on me! For goodness sake I need to deal with what's on hand… not go and complicate things further by dwelling on how he makes me feel every time he looks at me, when his gazing at me with those longing eyes that just make me feel Argh STOP!



Shaking my head I try to pull out all the random thoughts in my head, this had to be done with a level head, I had to be clear about what I wanted if I was to avoid embarrassment… but what was I wanted. The whole purpose of this talk seemed lost to me for a moment until Armaan opened his mouth again…



"I have no explanation to neither offer you nor comfort you Ridz"



"Riddhima"



My cold tone had the desired affect; he gulped down what seemed to be a lump of emotion I think? Was he really going to act this entire thing out of caring about me? I wonder how long he rehearsed this scene… could he possibly have anticipated what I was throwing at him? Why did his expression still not make me happy? I wanted to make him cry right… make him feel my pain, then why do I feel he already knows how I feel… like his in this pain with me



Undeterred by my efforts to make him feel as unwelcome as possible Armaan slowly walked back over to the couch and took a conscious seat, silently beckoning me to take a seat as well… this was going to be a long talk.



Still adamant to make him feel uncomfortable I turned my back to him again and stared out at the dockland landscape; the cold emanating from glass felt like ice against my skin. I wrapped my arms around myself tightly, slightly shivering under my bathrobe… I wanted to be as cold as this glass towards Armaan… make him shiver from the mere thought of me.



Standing there for what seemed like an eternity I could feel the room close around me, his cologne lingering in the air was slowly suffocating me… this silence was killing me, it was a mere few moments from when I turned my back to him but every second with him felt like an eternity as I tried to contemplate what was going through his mind, what would I say? What did he expect me to say? How I would be able to stay cold towards him? Where was this heading… finally giving up on playing the guessing game I crumbled



"Why have you come here Armaan?" as much as I tried I couldn't hold back the emotion in my voice, I never was one for being ice queen… my forte was dancing and I excelled in that field, but acting… as Jimbo said, acting was one of my weak points. I could never keep a secret, never stay silent, hardly ever keep things bottled up… and the effort of restraining my feelings in the past couple of months just bottled up too many things and now every thing was going to come out.



"When I found out you were back in the country I couldn't keep myself away for you"



"Of course you couldn't, how could you possibly miss a chance to ridicule me further and make my life more miserable then you already have", the bitterness evident in my voice seemed to surprise him.



"I would never… how can you possibly even think that" his voice quivered as the level of my hate started sinking into him



He crossed the length of the room within seconds and before I knew it he had jerked my arm back, turning me in the process so I was know facing him, both my shoulders in his palms as he held me there a bit too firmly. Even the slight pain his grip caused me was by no means the pain I saw in his eyes. They were blood shot red, the anger and pain evident. I looked startled from one eye to the other, trying to figure if this was still an act… trying to look into his soul as I tried to understand what was going on. Perhaps my words were a bit too harsh and now he was angry that his act had been caught… that's why he seemed so upset, but no… as I looked deeper into those eyes I found myself drowning in them, the pain, the loneliness, the need for me, the passion that burned in those eyes consumed me within a matter of seconds and I was swirling into a black hole. Closing my eyes to get away from this invisible pull I managed to whisper through gritted teeth "you're hurting me Armaan". It wasn't the physical pain I was referring to, more the pain his eyes were causing me… I couldn't look into them anymore. To know I was the cause of all that just plain scared me… it scared me of what he could do with eyes like that and what I'd end up doing if I let myself get lost in them.



Immediately I felt his arms move off me, I stood there frozen with my eyes still squeezed shut. I have to get out of here I kept repeating in my head, I was wrong I wasn't ready to face him yet, wasn't ready to face up to my problems… I wasn't ready! 



"Ridz I…"



Before he could finish his sentence I bolted towards the bedroom door and slammed it shut tight behind me, locking it from the inside. Shivering I stood with my back pressed firmly against the door. I don't care what he says, he is not coming in! I don't want to see him, I don't want to talk to him, and I don't love him!



I stood dumbstruck… I just said love… where did that come from?



"Ridz open the door honey! I'm sorry I don't know what happened! For the love of god Ridz I'm sorry! Please open the door" he pounded on the door from the other side trying to get in. I slid down the door to end up hugging my knees cradled on the floor. Sobbing quietly I let the realisation wash over me… I love Armaan. Whimpering and scared I rocked back and forth. What was I scared of? He couldn't harm me… this was Armaan… but how much do I really know about him? What if everything his ever told me about him was a lie? What if this was all a plan from the beginning… and he was really a crazed serial killer or something… and now he was after me.



Your being silly now! This Armaan… he couldn't hurt a fly, he is nicest and most gentle person you've ever met and would never intentionally hurt anyone. But if that were true then why has he caused me so much grief…



"Ridz please open the door, we really need to talk. I can't take this anymore… please"



A part of me cried for him hearing him beg like that, but there was still a huge part which was now frightened for a new reason completely, how do I turn around and say your forgiven I love you, when it should be me asking for forgiveness for causing him so much pain.



"Ridz I never meant to hurt you… I didn't mean to hurt you ever, I would never hurt you honey… please believe me"



Oh my god! He thinks I'm hiding in here because he hurt me outside! What a mess, a fresh flow of fiery tears now cascaded down my cheeks… I need to tell him I never thought he could physically hurt me! My heart bled as I heard him sobbing outside the door while he continued to apologise for hurting me.



This man truly loves me I realised and here I was sitting and crying because he was crying! Coming to my senses I opened the door slowly and peered out. Armaan sat there leaning against the wall next to my door with his head in his hands as he sobbed and kept repeating "I'm sorry, I would never hurt you… please believe me" it was as though his whole existence was sitting depended on whether I believed him or not.



Sitting next to him it was now my turn to not how to comfort him with my words… this was a first, me and stuck with words. I gently placed my hand on his arm, he looked up immediately with his tear stained face, the angry eyes now completely gone to be replaced by remorseful eyes, those eyes didn't belong on that face, his eyes which I would imagine as glittering stars, full of zest and energy, always cheery now just seemed lost somewhere.





He placed his other hand on top of mine, not bothering to wipe his tears away as they continued to flow he started apologising again. I just couldn't bring myself to say anything… I wanted to scream to him its not your fault, I'm sorry… but it seemed the more I said the more he ignored me. 



"After that evening you stopped talking to me, you refused to take my calls, work with me, even acknowledge my existence… I hated myself for ever opening my mouth and letting you know how I felt… if I hadn't been so impulsive then maybe we could have still been friends and you wouldn't be crying here today" wiping my tears he went



"Every second away from you was like a thousand deaths to me… I wanted to come and talk to you, but then seeing how my presence only caused you more pain I had to force myself to keep away from you, I resorted to following you around to keep my sanity. I knew I could never speak to you again, but I couldn't bear being away from you so I always kept a distance and made sure you never saw me. The number of times I stopped myself from speaking to you… scared I may say something that might upset you further. And then when you stopped coming to classes… I completely lost it; I went to every place you ever visited looking for you, I went by your flat several times and even drew up the courage to knock on your door one day because I needed to see you, and it was then that your neighbour told me you had left for good. I didn't know what to do… I stopped going to classes… every time I'd walk into class I expected to see you there… like the first day when you were standing near the window and the breeze was playing with your hair, making you look magical…and when I knew that would never happen again I just couldn't go back… I…"



"I'm sorry" I placed my hand on his shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze to bring him back to reality… he was completely flipping out, even more than me.



Either I was on mute before or he finally got his hearing back because he heard me. Closing his eyes he let the words sink in… my voice no longer held any bitterness, that's because I was truly sorry for what I had done.



"I realised today Armaan that… I don't know what to say to you, what I can do to rid you of the pain I caused..."



"Please just do me a favour…" he opened his eyes and gazed at me hopefully… "I know that you may not feel the same as I do… but do you think… would there be a possibility we could be friends again?"



"Armaan I don't think that's going be possible now… I'm sorry but…"



"Oh erm…no probs" the disappointment could be seen clearly, you would have had to be blind not to catch it. He removed his fingers which were now entwined in mine.



"Will you let me finish? I don't think we can be friends anymore, because… Armaan I think I've fallen in love with you… I don't know when it happened or how…"



Before I could finish my sentence I found my words silenced with Armaans' lips on mine. His lips were surprising soft and hot against my cold skin, letting the warmth of them spread from my lips to every corner of my soul; offering me a sense of security I once felt when I was in his arms during our dance. Breaking away from the gentle kiss with my eyes still closed, our foreheads still touching I caught my breath. The tears which were of pain all these days now flowed from the new found joy in my life.



"Ahem guys" Jimbo's voice broke the silence

Oh brother did he have to come back so soon grrr.



"Sorry to interrupt guys, but erm do you think I can come back to my flat now? Its getting a bit chilly outside and I'm seriously tired from the flight"



"Hey we're sorry James, we didn't mean to take so long" getting off the floor Armaan offered me his hand



"Take so long? What do you mean by take so long?"  The anger was back in my voice now, unfortunately for Armaan he didn't pick up it was a fake



"Hey Ridz I didn't mean anything like that…" he stuttered



"Oh quit it, I was just messing with you" laughing I hi-fived Jimbo who was now side hugging me laughing along with me



The times for crying were now truly gone… it was smiles and nothing else hear on end.


 lubna

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