To say that that Sunday was the best day of my life would have been no understatement…
You were with me, like ‘with’ me, we had exchanged numbers, looks, moments and other details, and I had this warm fuzzy feeling in my belly like a lazy cat gets when it’s had a tummy-full of warm milk on a cold, wintry night.
I was on cloud nine and you were the wind under my wings.
The only damper that day was the call you received shortly after we finished breakfast and how abruptly you whisked yourself away on your Activa (not before you gave me a chaste peck on the cheek though. Yay!). But you gave me your number and moments after you had left, I had received a text from you –
Let’s do this again soon. Like, real soon. Will wait for your call 😉
Gurl, you stole the words from my mouth… fingers…whatever!
I may have skipped and danced my way back to my place and may have kissed my bewildered and clueless roomie. Ha! I was that happy…
What followed after that first meeting was what you witness in most romances – we met often, almost everyday, we played silly jokes and pranks on each other, because you loved them, we found excuses to touch each other, we caught ourselves staring at each other on numerous occasions, we indulged each other’s little stupidities and forgave each other readily for any foibles. We were in love and we had no qualms wearing our loves on our sleeves.
I think in every love story comes a time of trial when the love goes through a strenuous time, like a test, to see if its made of sterner stuff. Ours came after 3 weeks of our beginning, and it never ended…
I had finally got you to agree to come along with me to my place for a few drinks and a movie. You had reservations about how late it would get and how drunk you might get. I had it all covered. I told you I’d drop you home myself and I wouldn’t let you drink more than a pint. You finally relinquished, thankfully.
There’s something about spending time with your girl alone in a closed space that gets us guys so happy and excited. No, it’s not about getting laid. It’s about the physical proximity without the disturbance of everyday life, so she can concentrate just on the ‘us’. It’s about the trust she shows in you in being alone with you. It’s about making moments… memories. And in the process if I got lucky, that would be a bonus, but Pihu wasn’t about to give in on that count so easily, I could feel it.
So we headed to my place after I got done from work. And there, right on the stairs before my Apartment door, was sprawled test number 1, with bags and odd knick-knacks – Suhana.
How long had she been waiting like this? She looked bedraggled, drained and worn out, her usually prim hair was disheveled, and her makeup-less face looked peaky. When she saw me with Pihu, its as if whatever life she had in her, bled out to leave a paper white face that was all eyes… enormous, teary eyes. I was aghast and instantly lowered myself onto the step next to her to cup her face in my hands. “Suhana, What are you doing here? What happened to you?”
I don’t think my move went down too well with Pihu, because out of the corner of my eye I noticed her distancing herself from us and looking daggers at Suhana. I couldn’t have helped it. I had to see what was wrong with Suhana… if only for old times’ sake.
“Suhana, what’s wrong? Tell me!” But she just couldn’t stop staring at Pihu, and the girls were locked in a war of stares. I had to break this up or it could get ugly. I could feel it.
“Suhana look at me. What are you doing here?” Finally she looked back, and the shock of it all was wrecking havoc on the planes of her face, “It’s only been a month since that night and you already found yourself someone else? Ha, way to go! Way to go!” She got up shakily and I quickly rose up too because I feared she may fall or stumble, she looked so weak.
She continued, “I gave up everything for you, left them all behind, and I find you with someone else…”
Oh God! No! That explained the bags.
“Suhana, why did you do that? I didn’t ask you to leave them!” Dare I admit that for a fraction of a second I was happy that she had done that just for me. But no sooner had the thought appeared, than it disappeared. Now I was with Pihu and there was no room left for Suhana.
“Yes, but I had to. My parents would have never let us be, and I loved you too much… So I left… “
“But we got over! I told you we were done. We can never be happy like this Suhana…”
“I’m leaving”, Pihu’s small voice came from below the stairs.
“No Pihu, please wait…” I saw anger and dejection writ large on her face. Dammit!
“No, it’s okay. Clearly you two need to sort things out. So I’m just gonna leave you two to talk it out. Call me when you’re…. not so busy.” And with that, she walked out of the building. I was torn between running after her and staying behind to help Suhana out.
“Charming girl, isn’t she?” Suhana started sarcastically, “And young too! Wow, you’re a babe magnet. Didn’t take you long to jump from one bed to another…”
That was it!
“Shut up, Suhana! Don’t you dare talk about her like that… She’s got nothing to do with what’s between us…. Look, I didn’t ask you to leave your parents and come to me. I told you we were over. So I am not going to take responsibility for what you’ve done. You have to leave, I’m sorry but you have to.”
“My God, you didn’t even give us a chance to get back…”
“How many more chances do you want? How many times have we broken up for the same reason only to patch up and fight over it again? It had to stop someday”, I ran a frustrated hand over my face, “It’s over! Deal with it Suhana. We got over a long time back. You have to go!”
She only stared at me, maybe trying to find the me she knew, “There was a time when you’d do anything just to make me smile”, she lay it on me, her accusation.
“Yeah, well, times change…”
“Ohhhh, they certainly do! And while times for me are bad, I can see you’re having a ball… and I’m only the miserable bump in the road…”
“Get out!” I said it slowly, in a bid to control my anger.
“And just where am I supposed to go…”
“That’s not my problem anymore. I didn’t ask you to leave. I’m with someone else now and I’ve promised myself to her. I won’t betray her trust…”
“Really?! And what about my trust that you betrayed?”, she shouted at me, clearly enraged now.
I didn’t match her tone. I didn’t need to. Anyone who’s facing a loss is entitled to their meltdown. I let her have hers. But I wasn’t going to let it go unanswered, “I didn’t betray you… you betrayed me… every time you tried to change me to suit their fancies… every time you made excuses for my supposed incapabilities and every time you tried to clothe our relationship as ‘friendship’ so your wannabe friends wouldn’t ‘tsk tsk’ you for your choice of a boyfriend… I’m surprised I waited this long, but I’m glad I’m done”, I gestured to the exit to the building, “Now leave.”
Her jaw fell open and in her eyes was another deluge waiting to be shed. I hoped she wouldn’t cry before me. She knew my weakness well. I hoped she wouldn’t use it against me. And miraculously she didn’t!
“This is going to come back and haunt you. You’ll regret leaving me”, she spoke prophetically. Then squaring her shoulders she took her bags and descended the stairs, never looking back, not once. That was a thing with her… making me feel as if I was the one who wanted her, as if she was too good for me and she was letting me chase her. I always felt like a pauper around her, never an equal.
She left me staring at that proud set of shoulders, admiring her for her courage in the face of defeat, and, dare I admit, wishing I could turn back time to make it all alright between us.
But a phrase in Latin came to mind that night –
Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis.
Times change, and we change with them. It was time I changed too…
To be continued…
©Pradita Kapahi, 2017
Picture Credits – http://www.pixabay.com