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Friday, November 11, 2011

The long conversation.

I meet him and his roommate in delhi and we sit for hours and talk. We kid around and pretend like nothing ever happened. That we're two friends catching up on old memories. He's supposed to help me catch my bus to Jaipur but I miss it. Intentionally? Through the blur, I think yes, because my subconscious makes me want to stay with him, a little while longer, always. We come back to the room where just hours earlier he was telling me how studious he's become. 


I sit with the two of you, what was his name again? What was his face? Were you the only thing I noticed? I casually pick up a notebook and see your messy cursives and read some math scribbled in it.

Her - Any good at math yet?
Him - Always.

I scoff. 'Did I miss something?' You laugh and pour me a drink. Your friend fades away. I tell you to not make it strong.

Him - Now that's a first.
Her - I kind of want to stay in my senses.

Him - Relax, I wouldn't be touching you.

He pours me the usual. Our glasses click. What are we drinking to, I wonder even then. Drinking together is a bad idea, I know somewhere in my head.

Her - So I should call Anirudh. Tell him I stayed back.
Him - Let him call.
Her - Why? I'm the one who always calls.
Him - Well then, that's kind of the problem still, isn't it?

I choke down my retort. I don't want us to rip each other's head off, just yet. We've had such a normal, fun day till now. I gulp down the shot and pour myself another drink. 'He doesn't know shit', I think to myself.

Him - We're all the same Shiromi.
Her - No, you're not.
Him - Trust me?
Her - I did, remember?

The tones are changing and I don't like where this is going. Maybe I should have left. What is the point to this. The outcome will be.. Well. I decide to browse through his notebook and see the doodles instead.

Her - What's this?
Him - Forgotten your name have you?
Her - But.. Since when do you trace my name?
Him - You know everything right? Work this one out on your own too.

There's no rage in the words. Just hurt. I've hurt him again. I hit myself in my head for not knowing better.

Her - I'm sorry.
Him - Me too.
Her - You? What are you sorry for?
Him - Everything? For all those tears. When all you did was cry, all I did was let you. For all those fights. For treating you like property. But most of all for letting you go. For not believing in the love that you never gave up on.


I need more alcohol. I don't want these words. Not anymore. I keep the notebook away.

Her - It had to end. It would have been no other way.
Him - No, I used to think that too. But it didn't. If I wasn't such a jerk, it wouldn't have.
Her - But you were.
Him - Yes I was.
Her - Stop it man. I love him now.
Him - I know. That's the sucky bit.
Her - Excuse me?

I get up. Walk-outs come naturally to me. But he knows me well. He holds my hand, trying to calm me down and make me sit. We fight and somehow I have a lot more power than I usually would. I want to get out of this room, out of his face. He blocks the door.

Her - Let me go.
Him - Again?
Her - Yeah.
Him - No. You suck at walking away you know.

I put up a fight. I think I scratch his face for there's blood when I look at it. 'Oh shit', I mutter and grab inside my bag for cotton. I seat him down and clean the cut with alcohol gently. 'It stings a little', he says. I reply, "I know it's the damn alcohol.' He shakes his head in disagreement, 'No, this stings a little. Your touch which won't last a second longer than it needs to.'



The only thing I notice as he says that are the eyes. There's no glint in them, no light even. What happened? I stop for them, nothing else.

Her - You had beautiful eyes.
Him - You still do.
Her - You're noticing them now?
Him - Yeah..

We sit on the same bed. I'm tired. Of fighting it. Of fighting him. I drown another drink and he looks at me like he can't comprehend something. Like I'm a puzzle he can't solve.

Him - Are you happy?
Her - Yeah. I really am.
Him - Does he know what actually makes you happy? Does he even know you'll never really be happy?
Her - Huh? He knows everything.
Him - You believe in fairytales. You hate it but you do. You want a happily ever after. You like it when someone holds you back, you walk away just to be stopped. You like it when someone whispers to you, so only you can hear it. You like presents, it makes you feel like someone remembered and cared enough to go through the entire ordeal of buying you something you'd mentioned you like. You like surprises because you like being blown away. You expect only the best from the people you love, which kind of raises the bar enormously and the person inevitably always falls short. You like being quoted to, sung for and put to bed. You whine about chic flicks but somewhere you want one of them for yourself. You're not a pessimist, you're actually the secret romanticist. At the end of the day, you're just a scared, little girl.
Her - What bullshit.
Him - You're saying you don't want to be someone's princess forever?
Her - I..
Him - Don't.
Her - Don't, what?
Him - Don't lie to yourself.

I fall back on the bed and stare at the ceiling. As I close my eyes, my head is resting on his arm. I open them, then close them shut again.

Him - What are you thinking about?
Her - Him...
Him - Oh. You really love him?
Her - You disregard everything anyway so why should I answer that?
Him - He's lucky then.
Her - I sense the sarcasm.
Him - There is none. I've never known a girl who loves like you. Honestly. You're.. Mad. 

Her - Heh, five years you know me now and that's the word you use?

I've smiled finally. There's relief in those empty eyes. He takes my hand and I don't resist. Not until he starts to trace somethings on the palm and takes it up to my shoulder and then the collar-bone.

Her - Don't.
Him - Why? He won't like it?
Her - I don't like it.
Him - And so you lie to me now?
Her - Well, you always thought I did.
Him - Stop it.
Her - What? 
Him - Stop fooling yourself. You know how this ends.
Her - Enlighten me please?
Him - It ends with you in tears. Haven't you learnt by now? This isn't a fairytale. You're not a princess. You're emotionally damaged and he's not going to be the one to save you.

I jerk myself up. I've had enough. I start screaming now.

Her - Why the fuck do you always do this huh? Everytime I'm happy. Why do you come and haunt me? I'm his princess. I don't want a happily ever after. Just a happy right now! I don't live in the future. You'd know that if you knew shit about me. I live in the past.

Him - I'm your past.
Her - Don't flatter yourself. A lot of things may change but the fact that he loves me will not change. You don't even know HIM!
Him - I know enough. You were my world too right. Where did that leave you?
Her - No where.
Him - Exactly. If that could end, why will this not?
Her - Because..
Him - Because?

I'm crying now. As he inches closer, I push him away. I switch off the phone that refuses to ring. 

Him - It's true. We weren't supposed to end..
Her 
(interjecting) We were. What did you think we'd end up married or what?

Him - Well, I wanted to.
Her - You're.. Impossible.

Him - But you loved me first.
Her - It matters not who I loved first. I care about who I loved last.

He's trying to soothe me now because I don't stop crying. I'm weeping like never before. Sadly, it's his shirt I'm ruining in the process.

Him - Why're you crying?
Her - Why're you doing this? I believe in him. Why are you shaking the belief it took so long to build? Do you even know what you did to me? 
Him - Shh. I didn't do anything. I'm not doing anything. It's all in your head. Come here. You know you're the only one I've ever loved.

He pulls me close, takes my glass and keeps my spectacles away. He puts me on his friend's bed and pulls the covers. Then turns off the light. I don't let him get into bed with me even for a reassuring hug. He reluctantly sits by the edge of my headstand.

Him - I'm just in your head baby..
Her - I'm not your baby. I'm not your girl.
Him - That's the thing. You're nobody's girl.

He kisses my forehead and shuts the door, his words still vibrating in my ears, telling me I'm nobody's girl. 



*


I wake up and the bright white light blinds me. These pale blue walls seem familiar. I reach for my bottle of water and realize I'm in my own bed. Then why do all his words stand so still in my mind? Why's the pillowcase wet and stained with my tears? Why did he come back with all the insecurities and fears?

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