That’s the thing about this city, it’s chaos everywhere and you just feel you are no exception. She said with a smile on her face.
I nodded not in agreement but awkwardness. Our food arrived at the table— the hotness of the food gazed at me looking into my eyes like it always does. The hot fumes from the food formed the word useless on my face laughing at my helplessness. I shifted my gaze towards Priya to comfort myself. While she is busy tasting the food.
Why aren’t you eating she questioned while scooping into her dessert. One of her weird habits I never was never able to comprehend.
Nay, I am good I replied while hiding everything that’s being going on and trying to look normal to her. But my body decided otherwise and my eyes gazed at my gut involuntarily. She noticed and queried “does it still hurt?” advancing her hand over mine.
Let’s not go there I said slowly sliding my hand.
“Stubborn” she muttered.
I moon is so beautiful isn’t it she said. And when I turned to glance at it “Just say it” the moonlight shrieked in my ears.
But I wasn’t ready I don’t think I will ever be. I never said those phrases before in my life and when I introspect I found the reason— I was born into a rich family and rich people don’t say these phrases(the only language they speak is money) though I don’t have that kind of ego in me I felt like my genetics is holding me back from speaking that phrase and even I try my hardest the words always stuck at the glottis. I feel like my body is holding the glottis together to ensure no sound comes from my mouth.
Do you remember that one night you took me out for the long drive: it was a full moon day too. My hostel warden didn’t have a clue that I have been out that day. But the second time we tried to do the same thing it didn’t go well isn’t it? she put the same question I don’t want to answer.
Didn’t I just tell you to not talk about that? I banged the table so hard that one of the plates broke into two sections. My awkwardness till now suddenly took the form of rage. This transformation took no time to happen.
Why shouldn’t I? She ragged as well.
Because I made a mi…. I am s…. The words were more stubborn than I am.
I am leaving she cried and stood up her setting the black scarf she looked at me. And started walking away. I didn’t utter a single word and I felt like someone is choking me. When she is about to leave Priya I cried. She stopped but she didn’t look back.
She was five steps away from me I counted and each step towards her took me back to a memory of hers when we visited a church(or as she would like to call Querencia) far from our city of chaos. The second step took me to the first time we spoke with each other and I almost stammered through the whole conversation but somehow found my way out. The third step took me to the time we kissed there was no proposal none of us spoke the three magical words but we knew that we are together and that’s what mattered. We both believed that our affection and admiration towards each other can’t be explained in those three words. The fourth step took me to a day on which we randomly explored parts of the city because we just had a bad argument and by the end of the day the city bonded us together even stronger before. The fifth step took me to the night that left a scar on me both mentally and physically and I just ignored the thought and realised I have reached her — she is still haven’t turned back towards me.
How did you feel when you got to know I left? She said turning towards me. Suddenly the moonlight became darkness and the air became stagnant there was pin-drop silence around us and all I can hear is my heart beating rapidly.
Answer me Anand she said her eyes slowly turning red as cotton dipped into red ink. That’s the last thing I want to see and I am trying hard but it’s just not happening.
Tears rolled from her eyes wind started blowing in all directions flapping her scarf and hair. The wind brought a couple of tear drops from her eyes and thrown them on my face and was laughing at my incapability. When the dust settled and I could see her face. Her eyes are wet as if they were just being watered like a dead plant and this broke my voyage with vulnerability.
She started moving away from me— her head bent down. I have let her down once and I don’t want to make the same mistake this time.
I woke up four months later I said my voice still not fully back but I didn’t stop I continued with the cracked voice. They said about you I denied them went to your house which was locked. That image is all I could see everywhere and my anger was directed at all the non-living things that cannot respond this went for about eight weeks on the first day of the ninth week I started listening voices the glass that I broke, the wall that faced my wrath and each and everything I abused till then revolted on me and I was forced to see a therapist after a forty days of bargaining with the therapist. I moved out travelled everywhere trying to find something that I don’t for four years and I am standing right here. The pain in my gut is back right now and it is vigorous than ever. With the pain tearing me from inside I said “I am sorry I shouldn’t have…”my pain was killing me from inside and I was on my knees without me even realising it.
She looked at me holding her tears and smiling at the same time she came to her knees took my face in her hands and kissed me on the forehead and then looking into my eyes she said “ it’s not your mistake”. The moonlight shined on us again accompanied by the cool breeze and took my pain away.
Tears rolled down my eyes and I sat down on the floor. I lifted my shirt and the mark left by that night was gone.
She sat just beside me holding my hand her head leaned on my shoulder. The floor below us disappeared and we are now on a mountain cliff right before our house made out of wood: gazing at the beauty of the night.
Why don’t you stay here with me I proposed to her and with a gentle smile she said close your eyes I did without hesitation. She whispered in my ear I cannot stay with you but you can find me here.
I opened my eyes and she is gone. I am alone back on the floor but I found a photograph of us together in my hand taken at her Querencia and I started my voyage but this time I know what I am looking for.