Rain lashed the huge banyan tree where I stood huddled. Wind howled in my ears and drowned out his words. I could not hear them, though I could see them coming...A single tear that had threatened to trickle down the long eyelashes had now turned into a free and steady stream. Hiding my face from him, I ran. So fast as my legs could carry, to the confines of my room. He took a few steps towards me, then chose wisely not to.
The last two days had been so confusing. He had been elusive, the first I had seen him so, all these years. He kept smiling at me in the training classes, passed on curd at the hotel during lunch hour and everything else had been normal about him, or so it seemed. I noticed he was much withdrawn and aloof. I smiled at the little Jesus motif on his pen. He was never religious, I knew that. May be that was one of the reasons why I tried to remain distant from him. He talked less to everyone and maintained a careful silence whenever I was around. And i was dying to talk to him. To listen to his 'da' and watch his smile light up his eyes. To ruffle his hair and laugh at his crazy jokes. To watch the nimble fingers hold the cigarette stub. To tell him finally that i made up my mind. To tell him that our Love-Hate relationship was over. To bare my heart out in the open...
Few years back...
First day, first college, first classroom. Everything was new and fresh..the college, the class rooms. For a small town girl entering a college, i was pretty nervous, but maintained steady. The whole class turned around to watch me, the girl with a boy cut, the short stature, reed-thin frame. Feeling probing eyes, i turned my head to look straight into the most expressive eyes i had ever seen. A big friendly smile ensued and i was surrounded with warmth. By the break time, i gathered he was friendly with everyone. He came to me in long strides, his six foot frame towering over a midget like me. "Any help, you can ask me", he smiled. His smile- not just a smile, it is a flower that blooms...slowly. His small lips that open wide, revealing white teeth in contrast to the deep brown cigarette kissed lips and the smile tinkling along the little eyes with long eyelashes drooping.
As days passed, i moved out of my shell. It was tough, fighting out for the marks, recognition from professors and participating in everything under the sun- debates, essay writing, poetry, football, athletics, quizzes. Fighting for recognition does strange things to you- you never try to perceive others around you. I was almost insane, mad for 'more'. How much ever I achieved, i was thirsty for more. It was this craze that hid something precious from me. Him!
He waited patiently every evening for the classes to end, to walk with me till the terminus, buying me ice creams and happily chatting away about the day. He bought me roses, cared for me, followed me everywhere i went. Annoyed and irritated...that is how i felt initially. My name was not to be sullied. I was a great student, someone who was going to be the 'best'. He was a hindrance. Noting my indifference, he proposed...not once, a million times and hundreds of ways- subtly, openly, strongly. I understood, but feigned indifference. I had to complete the course, settle down in a job. Love could always wait.
So i started pretending. Pretending to hate him. To yell at him. To make him look a fool. To alienate him from his friends. How much ever i hated him, his love simply kept growing. A single day's absence from college brought him to my home. With feverish lips and burning eyes, i could feel his love as he barged in demanding why i was not at college. His eyes changed a vivid pool of concern looking at my tired face and care spilled in his words. As he left, all i could feel was hate- i hated me for not loving him.
Years flew fast and he remained the same, we openly showed hatred, I was fighting him at the flimsiest excuses and hiding all the love within. Nothing could move me. Not his day- long wait on a Valentine's Day, not his cards and roses. I was fighting a different battle of proving myself. Not loving someone...The last i ever saw him was on the journey back home, the last day in college. Clutching a bunch of postal envelopes that he gave me with a long sermon on writing to him, I stood smiling. Nothing registered. I had completed graduation. All i was waiting was for a job. That stood between me and him...I shall tell him my love someday and till then, let him hate me...as much as he can.
Two years is a long time. People change. Cities change. Everything changes. Love too...I never wrote back to him. I never called him. I believed he could never hate me and his love would never change. I was naive, back then...Love can change. Hate can change. People evolve. He too had evolved. That rainy day, he had evolved...into something beautiful. A butterfly...He had found love. Someone caring for him was waiting for him back home. He had chased love amid all the hate and discovered it. I was so happy for him, elated...yet sad for me. Years have flown by, he had married his sweet heart, i had married someone real nice, landed in a job, have kids and everything in life. As i note my first grey hair, i cannot help but smile, thinking of him...All that is left of him are a bunch of postal envelopes concealed in my box a few fond memories... and this-
This post is a part of Wrote Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.