Monday, December 06, 2004
A short story. Fiction. Now, why on earth did I have to say that? Maybe a warning - it IS long. Perhaps all love stories should be.
I remember how it used to be, at one point of time. You would send me messages on my phone, and I would suddenly stop, paw at my phone like an excited child with an unexpected Christmas gift that was not there under the tree earlier, and i click on the arrow keys to see your message. It would be something silly, as a rule. Some silly joke, some silly comment, and I would love it all the same, and send back hastily composed poetry to you.
Poetry. God, you made me into a poet for those split second-moments when I was trying to tell you how much you meant to me.
When I was on the bus during those days, and the road rolled ahead of me, ochre and green and burnished, and the sky yawned loud overhead, shots of purple and gold and angry grey, I could almost feel the tiny sting of the raindrops, and put my hands out, as far as they could go, to receive them. I think it's true, what they say. You get creative when you're in love, or when you think you're in love. Which one was I? I thought I knew, I thought I knew.
The cell phone was my hotline to you. I never imagined it could be so potent a device. I never imagined that my first conversation with you, over the phone, could be as electrifying as it was. Sparks, here and there, as you asked me little things. What I liked, who I liked, when I liked them. We talked about sundews and past lovers, and deserted fields ripe with corn and sunshine. We talked about walking in empty avenues and eating cold, wet, creamy ice cream till our noses turned blue. I swore I'd take you out and feed you rich, dark, chocolate mousse, but somehow, somewhere, that promise got lost, and I never did do that.
God, you made me a poet. You made me feel happy.
Silly little trips made swiftly back home from work, where I would see you waiting on the curb. We would take that last twenty-minute walk down the avenue, to my doorstep, and discover ten thousand things each day as we strolled. How the roach arched, how the fabric shimmered, how the rickshaw swayed, how my lips creased, how your eye brows twitched, how painfully long that road seemed to get, as we got closer and closer to our destination. So was it about sex then? Was it about that instant attraction that we knew was there, the first time we met? But if it was, how on earth did we spend six-seven-eight hours that time sitting on the abandoned car at one end of the galli, and talking...? We never even held hands that time, but it was so clear in my mind, the longing, the despair - maybe, the two should not have been there together - maybe it should only have been longing (less complicated), maybe it was too personal... how many more maybes can I add to that?
God, you made me a poet. I can never get over that one.
I can remember your little gestures as if you were still here. I can remember the subtle nuances of your voice as they ranged from mild disapproval to utter annoyance. I bled you to death - you worried for me ever so much, and yet, somehow, none of that mattered to me. What mattered to me was the now, the present, and I guess I never worried about the future, like you did. For me, it was enough to run my finger down your arm, to kiss you softly behind your ear, to brush your hair back, as I licked your lips. Was that my problem, the fact that I was too much involved in pleasuring you, I wonder, but if sex was all there was to it, would sex compel me to write a sordid tale of an affair to remember? Would sex alone make me remember you tenderly, and hate you vehemently when you told me never to call you again?
More importantly, how on earth, would sex make me a poet?
But you broke your promise to yourself the other day, when you called me. You said, you came here, only for me, to speak to me, to hear my voice. I felt angry at you then - why on earth would you do this to me now, why on earth couldn't you let this snarling dog lie asleep, and let me just go as I was… But I said hello, and I asked you how you were, how your job was getting along, the usual kind of crap that nobody ever cares for, but say nonetheless, and you answered in that quiet tone of yours, slightly hesitant, and I could actually picture you jerking your head slightly, voice slightly cracked... did you have a cold, I asked, suddenly concerned, and when you said no, all my hostilities returned - how was HE? I asked, and I heard the much-hated and much-expected reply: he's well, I'm well, we're good together, we're happy together.
Fuck off, I roared. How nice, I said. I kept on staring ahead at the computer screen, the words I had been writing. They were opaque, and all I could see was you, you, you, wringing your wrists, talking about yourself, about how you were 'happy' with him, but called all the way from your city - our city - to tell me that you missed me. To tell me that you had broken your promise.
So you spoke, and I listened, and I remembered that night in Delhi, when you called unexpectedly and heard music in the background, and asked, where it was coming from since I had told you I was going home early. So I lied, and said there was nobody there, that I wasn't going to cheat on you and that you should trust me - if you love me, then trust me, don't put me through this because I can't handle it, I roared then - and you believed me. I won. I won. I lost. I won. So, no - you stay there, where you are - in our city - away from me - you stay with him, and you stay happy, but please, please, please... miss me, I thought. Miss me, please. That was when you said goodbye, and I said that too, and you said you'd call me later.
That was when I swore I'd never call you again, though you made me a poet for some fleeting moments, though you made me think about you, hate you, love you, possess you, cheat on you. Now why on earth did I do that? Poets do funny things, even though it's momentary.
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