en route

Flying, home bound. Nothing quite like it. Above the earth for three hours or so. Changing cabs, dragging her knapsack, she caught her flight after almost missing it. Home bound, after a long tiring Friday. For a marginally extended weekend, she couldn't make it on diwali and had goa plans with the girlfriends in December, so this time was just about right, to relish home.

Just after the seatbelt sign was no more, she headed for the washroom. In the mirror, she looked at herself, she didn't feel a thing. Couldn't decide whether to wash her face or not. Engaging in silly immaterial questions, she thought kept the serious scathing ones away. Ambivalence took over her and she stood there, staring at her own face, not feeling a thing.

Later, she saw him in the aisle. And lost half of her sanity in just about a second. Was it him? She saw him walk closer towards her, her seat i.e. Why hadn't she met him in the airport, she could've met him in the lounge at least, she could have abandoned the flight, headed back to her dingy apartment. But she hadn't, she bit her tongue. What would she do for these long hours now? She was suddenly getting tempted to hide her face with the newspaper or something. But that would keep her from noticing how he'd changed, in the last couple months. Undecided, she breathed in large gulps, blood rushed into her head and heart and she wasn't sure if she would break down into tears in the next minute or the one after that or was she crying already?

He was a mere two seats ahead of her, she could stretch her hand and touch his hair. That proximity scared her. All the self imposed stability, those no-i-am-just-fine's had just abandoned her. Behind her copy of the Economic Times, she was shivering. Her mind strayed to his goatee again that wasn't there anymore, she had so adored it. To displace people from your mind, you get rid of the things about you that they loved the most. Wasn't that why she never baby-talked ever, after him. 

She was struggling with facts, the next thing. Wasn't he in Delhi the last time she'd checked on Facebook? What was he doing here? And why did he have to go home the same time she chose to? Why did they have to share the same hometown? Why does life ridicule you after breaking your heart, she thought. It never just gets enough, does it. Call it a day now; now at least, she told the forces conspiring against her. Hadn't she been through too much? Thankfully they turned the lights off, and she sighed in short-lived relief.

Had he noticed her yet? Did he remember her? Of course, he did. They'd broken off just about when they were absolutely comfortably settled. Just about when they'd begun shedding their defenses, opening up, sharing nothings, getting used to having each other. They chose that opportune moment to call it off, suddenly, heartbreakingly. She wasn't sure why. She hoped, he didn't know either. It had just happened, and hence the reluctance to look at each other ever again.

When she turned back after picking her luggage, switching on her two cell phones, wondering whether to call up Mom, wondering if she'd arrived already, or was she stuck in traffic, he said Hi. In one go, she realized that her T was pathetically loose, hair shabbily clutched, half of it falling on her face, kohl smudged. And she smiled back at him.

How're you? 

Good, she said between that smile. Dragged the straps of knapsack on her shoulders and left, abruptly, just when he was about to say the next word.

Outside, she picked up a mauve gerbera for Mom. Only if gerberas could buy happyness!


nOt anyone you know said...


Amrita Sabat said...

hw sad......:(....she's skittling away while d guy's talkin.....sad indeed. nice post newez...:)

Anonymous said...

Ur post shows d guy also misses her...Whn both of them love each other so much, then arrange a meeting n further a wedding for them...What is the point of being sad :P --Abha

Elise said...

She could have given herself a chance to listen to what he has to say next... But then, I did the same in real life... And I regret it. Now there's no more chance for our paths to meet.

I wish the lady in this story would have a chance to meet him again. Longing for a happy ending.

As always, great post!

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

and she wondered but never cared to know or ask 'why' even when an opportunity had shown itself?

Surya Prakash V said...

If ever there is a regret I will ever carry to my grave, it is that I could not share her pain, I could have, but didn't. Even that I didnt have a chance to does not matter, I should simply have found a way. isnt it?

wildflower said...

This story stretched unnecessarily long, but I wouldn't cut it short for it's very close to my heart. The thought occurred to me that no one would read it, people never read long posts. But thanks, now that you're here, you must really love me to have read this whole, you're here at last!

Hmm..I'm reading those dots right

The guy didn't talk when he was expected to, now it's too late and too little, better walk away

Absolutely :P You arrange the meeting/wedding.. I will make sure both of you are there!

You did the same, she did the same.
There wasn't another viable alternative. And I as a maker of stories have totally banned happy endings..from stories, from life

Oh, you've no idea how scary that is, a lot is at stake

Reads good though I can't sense the meaning!

The Sage said...

reminds me of some lyrics..
never I asked of you, and never I gave
but you gave me your emptiness that I'll take to my grave..

both of them had a choice... ego or happiness... their choice at their moments of power dictates their future...

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

and when did people who learn to love learn to hold anything back, don't they just put everything at stake?

wildflower said...

Loving & losing, teaches you to protect yourself