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He was mysteriously warm. Everything that was his, radiated warmth. His fingers on my bare skin felt like sunrays. My sun had arrived out of the clouds.
“How can anyone be so warm even in this chilly weather?”
“It is easy. I am hot, you see.” Even his smile hugged me.
My heart felt tingly and high in my chest. For a second I felt like a baby in a womb. Nothing mattered. I held him close to me with my eyes closed, my hand in his hair, wondering if anything in my life had ever been this perfect and knowing at the same time that it hadn’t. I was in love, and the feeling was even more wonderful than I ever imagined it could be.
“I love you.” I took a deep breath.“ I am astonished at this intimacy. Who would have imagined, we of all people, to fall in love.”
“I always knew this would happen. This is the place I have dreamt with you. This is where we belong.” He looped his arm around me and kissed me, his mouth lingering on mine, teeth grazing my lower lip, making me shiver. He tasted of honey. I couldn’t remember how long it lasted but when I let go off him, I missed it already.
“It is written on your face in bold letters. You are in love. ”
Cups of tea and coffee had arrived. Two pairs of eyes looked at me intently.
“No. Sherlock says that love is a sentiment of the losing side. But.”
“In front of him, I am powerless. His smile,it is like a drug.He has a heart of gold beneath all those layers of toughness and “I don’t care attitude”.
And there we go again. I was lost in his thoughts again. Was I doing the right thing? Yes, I was. I had to make a choice.
Two pairs of eyes were smirking at me now.
“Why do you want him to leave you then? Pagalladki.”
“ Because he has got to the place in my life where he has the power to affect me, hurt me. He rules my head. How will I be able to follow my ambition? I have to choose one. Love or success. Anyone who has some goal must expect someday to suffer vertigo.”
“What is vertigo? Fear of falling?”
“ No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves. He is my vertigo. I am just trying to defend myself. ”
“That means you accept that you love him?”
“No. But I’m terrified that I will never be able to put him from my mind. I don’t love him but I’m afraid that he will make it impossible for me ever to love anyone else.”
“You are confused to the core. When is he coming?”
I had no idea what I had to say. Whenever I have to take an emotional decision, I tend to feel absolutely nothing. Not sorrow. Not happiness. Just a void. As if my mind and heart get drained out of the blood and only vacuum remains, asking me to keep the status quo. Today it was begging me to keep the status quo. Why is it so difficult letting go? I was always practical. Love but don’t get attached. It shouldn’t hurt today. Leaving him.
“Ask me how many hearts do I have?” He had drunk dialed me once.
“How many?” I had laughed.
“One. But I have only half of it left. You carry the rest.”
“Oye! He is here. Where are you lost?”
He came and sat in front of me. Does it happen to anybody else too? No. Absolutely not. I am the only one piece on the planet who starts laughing when sad. I have defective hormones. Hence Proved.
He always made me feel unnerving and secure at the same time. I wanted a refuge in his arms and race away at the same time. The ultimate case of dichotomy.
I saw fire in his eyes today. It was unsettling. Was he distressed too? Not possible. He is Indian Army. Tough to the core.
“Let’s go for a walk around the campus.”
It was chilly today. Wind cut across our bodies as if we were hollow. He was still warm. I drew close to him just like Icarus to the Sun, wanting to be burnt.
“You are seeing things from a wrong perspective. You don’t even need to choose.I won’t be standing in your way. I’ll be behind you keeping your back. Shielding you from disappointments, guarding you from the hurt, watching over when you would be tired, defending you and your dreams. But still if you choose to leave, I will support your decision. ”
He left me at the parking. Rain had started falling out as if the sky had finally decided to weep with shame for what I had done to us.
“I will not call you. But I will wait for your call. And every single time I will reply. I will not meet you. But every time you ask, I will come. ”
And suddenly everything grew still except for the raindrops still falling. Nothing was said for a while. Almost nothing need be said when you have eyes.
But I had to tell him. I had to utter those words.
“You know I think it should be a privilege to be able to say “I love you” to someone. It shouldn’t be something people say just because they feel like it. A privilege that is earned. They say you have to earn the right to be loved; no, love is unconditional, if you love someone, they don’t have to earn it. But. The right to tell someone that you love them? That has to be earned. You have to earn the right to be believed. Today I seek to earn your belief to be able to say “I love you ” to you.” I paused for a breath. “I love you. Do you believe me?”
“Yes. But could you say that all again?”
True to his style!
Winston Churchill once said on the radio after the World War II encouraging the dispirited souls of the Englanders: “It is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But yes. It is the end of the beginning.”
Harmonized with us. The beginning of our story had just ended.