I tell him he is like a sponge, absorbing me into his very core. He breathes in my thoughts, impulses, tears, reflections, intuitions, desires. I paint weird graffiti on the walls of his mind, and he tells me I fascinate him. He wants to be closer to me. He wants to possess my mind. But I do not know what I am more fearful of relinquishing – my sanity or my insanity?
We talk of love and emotions, and the moon, the stars, the wind. He believes me when I tell him I love him, because I believe it too. Every moment is our moment, isolated from the rest of the world. But then the moment passes, and suddenly I am nothing and I am everywhere.
He tries to paint the insides of my mind, but it keeps wandering and slips from his grasp. And then I hate myself with a fierceness which he can only match with his anger.
Perhaps love does exist only within our minds, and what we should be saying is, “I want to love you. So much…”
As simply beautiful strangers to each other, we embraced love with open arms. We loved with all our heart then, and happiness only meant loving someone. We did not expect love. We did not even speak of it; but it was there in the very act of making love.
Love between strangers is beautiful. But we are not strangers any more.
We are in a ‘relationship’, without wanting to be, or knowing how. It expects us to have certain expectations from each other. In a relationship, love is not just to be given; it should be received in equal measure. Attention must be given and received. Help must be offered, sympathy should be all-encompassing, and empathy is expected to overcome any hint at anger. Jealousy is to be expected, but in just the right proportion so as not to turn into possessiveness.
Every feeling needs to be analysed and talked about in depth. Every fear must be known to each other. Not mentioning a fleeting thought is forgivable, unless you happen to mention it to anyone else. A decision, especially one involving the future, should be taken together.
A relationship is a comforting reality of a long-lasting companionship. It is a lot more than love.
But perhaps, we were better as beautiful strangers. Perhaps strangers understand love better. It remains undiluted by expectations and fears and hopes of the future. It stays within a moment which is pure, however fleeting.
It’s the question that eternally haunts me: What should I believe? The words that form on his lips or everything else that he left unspoken? When our very connection was the silence of our conversations, did he say the few things he truly meant, or did he simply trust I understood everything he omitted saying?
People always want to feel special. Simply knowing themselves that they were part of something big is never enough. They want others to know it, and acknowledge it. They want to be treated like a conquering hero returning with the world on their backs. Sure, they’ve achieved something the rest of us probably never will. But it’s also true that while they’ve been away (spiraling up into the clouds) we haven’t exactly been tuned in to their frequency, listening in with bated breath as they make their dream come true. For us, life went on.
They say even a taste of fame changes you. It leaves you a different person, unable to fit in among the nobodies. They are all grounded when they start off, resolute in thinking they won’t change. And then it hits them, their first taste of the salty spray of fame. They are intoxicated, overwhelmed by greatness, pulled in deeper by the ever-changing tide and the waves. And they adapt to the ebb and flow, knowing their place will always be by the bay. ‘Mumbai meri jaan’…
“It’s not working out”, he says.
“I don’t understand. I thought you liked her. So what’s wrong?” I asked him.
“She doesn’t like me. We were only fooling around, just a physical relationship between friends. We’d always made that clear between us”, he says, trying to sound matter-of-factly.
“Did you tell her you like her?”
“Why would I tell her that?”
“Cause you like her”.
“I don’t give a shit about her.”
Rejection. It’s a hard blow to the face that knocks out half your teeth and breaks your nose. It was with difficulty that you’d let yourself fall for someone without the thought of getting too serious. Barely a day gone by and you’d begun to miss them more than you’d like to admit. The concepts of ‘love’ and ‘dating’ were beginning to make sense again. Who’d have thought you were to fall, only to fall harder, alone.
Two people getting together and falling in love is a beautiful thing. You see that happiness in their eyes and in their smiles. You see the affection in every word, a hint of a blush from a text /mail. They just want to keep their new-found love a secret and at the same time they wish to tell everyone about it. They are oblivious to the world around, and much more aware of each other. They float in their own bubble, some feet above the rest of us. They dissolve into a world of their own, a different world of music and laughter and fun and touching and kissing and caressing. Their conversations are now all about the other, the sparkle in her eye, his mischievous dimples, their unspoken understanding, the little romantic gestures, the perfection of a moment.
You may be talking to them and they could be nodding back, but their eyes unfocus and you can’t be sure if they’re listening, or if their thoughts have wandered back into his arms. You try and make plans with them, and they are reluctant. Because you know, “He just loves this band, he’s a big fan” and “You don’t mind if she goes with us, do you?” “Of course not. The more the merrier. It’ll be fun!”, you say brightly.
And you tag along like a third wheel. It’s not uncomfortable at all, not even when each time you wish to say something to your friend and snicker like old times, he sticks his head right around and stares stone-faced as you laugh holding your stomach. Then you haultingly explain the joke, but since he’s so new to the slang you and your friends use, he doesn’t get it, and the laughter subsides. It’s not uncomfortable, even when you want to hug your friend, but he’s brought his new girlfriend along, and you don’t know really know her and you don’t want to make things more awkward than they already are.
They’ll ask you questions, such as “What about you, are you seeing someone?” And you shrug it off saying something like, “Naah, I guess it’s just not for me, the whole dating game. Not now, anyways.” And they nod understandingly at this insight they’ve gotten into your struggle with relationships. Then they are back into their snug little bubble of two, just him and her. And you watch them from the outside, truly happy for them but your feet firmly touching the ground.
It’s a beautiful thing, falling in love. There’s no shame in being in love, and there’s no denying that one can’t really stay away from it, no matter how badly it tore you apart. You may fuck around all you want, and say things like, “I don’t give a shit about him”, and “I’m just fucking her, I’m not in love”. You try with all your might to run from love and the tangle of emotions that is now just too hard for you to overcome once again. You mock the bubble, but you’ve been on the inside once or twice and you know how blissfully the bubble wraps around you, above the staring and mocking eyes of people, and teaches you not to care. And your feet suddenly get the urge to be lifted, lost in just one other pair of staring eyes.
She was no stranger to the pangs of love, and her body was attuned to the torments of passion and lust. But this was neither love nor lust. And yet it was a little of both.
It wasn’t love that made butterflies scatter deep inside her stomach, or filled her ears with violins playing hauntingly beautiful music while he kissed her. He wasn’t the warm fuzzy feeling of being wrapped within a blanket when it’s cold outside, only to realise too late that one can’t live inside a blanket forever; just until it’s warm again.
It wasn’t even lust, making her skin long for his touch and his touch arousing that fire within. His touch was gentle and questioning, and her understanding smile sheltered his inexperience and guided him into the depths and folds of her womanhood.
Long after he was gone, she’d lie in her bed thinking of him, inhaling his scent, and trying to relive their moments. She would think of the way he kissed her, how he’d let her sleep with her head on his chest, and how he held her close. She decided that this is how she’d remember him always.
She knew very well that need to feel close to someone, and she knew he needed it too. She was aware that in his heart there was place for only one, and she was not the one for him. She had never known what it was she wanted in life, but she knew this little thing wasn’t going to last. So she would hold on to it for as long as she could.
It wasn’t love, it wasn’t lust. She couldn’t define what it was, but it seemed a little of both. Or a lot like it.
It was not the universe in play, straying signs in her path regarding true love and soul mates. It was the flippant nature residing in her that made these decisions, Marisa was convinced of it. The spontaneous, impulsive side that everyone saw, and which she could not bear to change. She could count the boulevards that had led her to nowhere. The one that had gotten away, the one who had married her best friend, the one who let her go believing she loved someone else. The one who paid her no heed, the one who taught her lust without love, and the one who had given her his heart when she was too young to care.
She saw her friends who walked carefully through life, taking each decision after a great deal of thought, conservative to the core. They imagined themselves to have wrapped a security blanket all around their happiness, shielding it from irrationality, from life’s less pleasant surprises. As if being careful and calculated was going to save them from any kind of trouble that could befall them. Continue reading A feeling of love… again→