He playfully ruffles my hair, leans in closer to kiss my forehead but suddenly stops short. I hold his gaze and watch as the ghost of the laugh we just shared gets eclipsed by intense thoughts. I know what he is thinking…and maybe he is right.
Maybe meeting “just for coffee” wasn’t a good idea after all. I mean who were we even kidding… hadn’t we tried hard to move on and fall out of love? Didn’t we try everything from being just friends to suggesting possible dating options to each other, to deliberately trying to avoid each other. When nothing seemed to have worked we had even forcibly stopped all sorts of contact.
The whole experiment did succeed for two whole years. Two Years! Wow that’s long…or maybe not that long after all I think as I let my eyes drop. *Sigh*
We should have moved on by now. I mean two years is a time good enough to get over each other and maybe find new people too…We did manage to find dates and all that. But had we moved on? Seems we have not!
I look up to see him frown. I know him enough to understand that he was deeply pleased by the inexplicable comfort between us right now. It was almost as if our souls had wandered back home.
I’m suddenly aware of my person. I realise I’m leaning in towards him. In spite of having the coffee table between us, we are sitting quite close. I can feel his legs lazily rest against mine. I don’t remember reaching out for his hand but here I’m staring down at my fingers entwined in his.
He too seems to have noticed our closeness coz I feel his hand twitch but continue to hold mine firmly. I place my other hand over his. His hands were always warmer than mine…Oh, how I miss this.
And suddenly it’s all too much to bear and I struggle to keep calm. I avoid looking at him because I know if I looked at him right now I would start crying…He squeezes my hands and tugs at them. I know he wants me to look at him but I really can’t. I’m scared of what I might see.
His deep brown eyes clearly reflect his emotions. And I can always tell what he’s thinking by just looking into them. Right now I don’t know whether I’m ready for seeing the truth in them.
What if I don’t see that old love and concern reflected in them anymore. What if he has really moved on after all…I can’t look at him and find a stranger there. I don’t have the strength for that. I deny to except that truth. I would never come to terms with that.
Or what if I still see the same love and concern there…That would somehow be worse than the prior. Coz twisted as it sounds, he doesn’t have the liberty to be in love with me anymore. But if he still is….oh god, I don’t have the strength to face that truth too. I can’t or rather don’t want to imagine what it must be like for him to normally carry on with his life when in all probabilities he’s hurting. I can’t live with that too!
He tugs at my hands again and softly whispers my name. His voice caresses my ears as a wave of calmelness engulfs me. I realise it was for the first time that he said my name out loud today. As I ready myself for the truth, I take a deep breath and open my eyes……
Later today, still too numb and lost, I wander into the railway station. I stare off into the oblivion for what seems to be an eternity. A train lumbers onto the station and sluggishly comes to a halt.
I’m supposed to board it I think. I’m expected to get going with my life. Just like a train, I shouldn’t linger back longer than necessary. It would disrupt my life. But what if my life was already disrupted…what then?
Defeated, I look around and notice the sky. It’s painted red today. Red. It’s not just me, the heavens are bleeding too….
Image Courtesy: My dear friend, Jasraj. Thank you Jassi for this click. It’s truly breathtaking!
You can check his amazing photography here: A Knotty Mathematician
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