I didn’t pick her call up.
I could have. I was waiting for the signal to turn green on my way to the office. I could have said hi, and made a short conversation. I could have asked her how she is. What she has been up to. And is she alright now, for she told me she wasn’t feeling good. That was a week back. We haven’t talked since then.
This has been the history of our relationship. We always felt we needed each other at different times. The cycle for our yearning for each other materialising not together. It was always one of us who was doing the chasing. The other running away. Farther and farther. Until the first one realised from whom we are running is the one we wanted. But by the time we turned and looked back, the first one had moved on. Gone away.
When I first met her I fell for her innocent ways. The childlike innocence that oozed out of her whenever she laughed that infectious laugh. The hairpinsmile that would lit up every atom of my body. The way she made faces at my silly jokes. All those little things that made me fall for her again and again and again.
But all this while it was I who was falling for her. She was unaffected.
She had her mind on her career. She wanted to fly high, unrestrained, unobstructed. The relationships felt to her like heavy chains that would drag her down. She couldn’t do with both, she told me. She asked me to understand. That us would obstruct her plans for the future. Please understand, she pleaded.
I do, I said. And I did. For her sake.
But how can love be obstructing? How it can shackle someone when the very premise of love is liberating oneself from everything. In love, people forget and forgive and fly high. Unshackled and unobstructed. They hold hands and choose their destiny together and in each other company chart their own skies. Reach the farthest of the stars. Beyond the very shackles that she was mentioning.
It was hard getting over her.
There were nights when I didn’t sleep remembering her embrace. There were days when I daydreamed about us bumping into each other. In some different world. In the world of my fantasy. Where nothing mattered but the fact that we two were together. When the whole world drowned out and became merely a detail. Where everything was said in the way we looked at each other. No words ever needed. No explanation ever required.
I understood. I realized. And I moved on.
I learned to live without her. Learned to accept the reality in which she doesn’t exist. Not everyone is lucky, I would tell myself. Not everyone can have what they wanted. Only a few lucky ones are privileged to get the love they desire. I’m not one of them. Period.
But then, when my existence found the ground (however flimsy), found the will to carry on, she came back again.
‘I made a mistake,’ she pleaded, ‘I wasn’t looking for the right thing. I was naive and stupid to look elsewhere. And now I have understood that we are perfect. That we complement each other. And we make sense. Let’s get together.’
She said it with the conviction of an honest person. The way she had said before.
I have stopped trusting. Stopped believing. Stopped having faith on things like this. One year back I would have jumped like a child, danced like there is no tomorrow, sung songs and recited poems. I would have done all this and more.
But no more. I have changed. I have stopped believing. I don’t trust her anymore.