It was a warm winter month on the sidewalk that love met me. I walked into this space of unknown strangers. Sometimes some strangers just seem familiar. And in this unfamiliarity, I noticed him walking up and down. As ever unsure of myself; forever trying to not get too close to anyone, the fear of my gaping vulnerability is my self-defence. I remain politely formal. But he insisted on meeting my eyes. I was drawn into that warmth. I too looked into him, at him. Little knowing there would be much more than what would meet the eye, this time.
What followed was a trip into the unknown spaces of my life. He was more handsome than most others. He offered me coffee and biscuits. I told him I would get fat if I ate those cookies. He smiled and with that mop of so much hair on his head, he shook it and said don’t worry. Just eat it.
I smiled at him and took one biscuit and he insisted for at least two. We both laughed and I agreed. I had not been more comfortable in my skin in real long. Not seen so much honest decency in very long.
After my meeting got over. He insisted on dropping me to my car. To my utter horror I wanted this unspoken familiarity to end. He complimented my white kurta. I again thought why? Also told me his mother loves Pakistani serials. I thought thank god another mother fixated man. Just not my type for sure.
As we walked down. He spoke animatedly about his life that I must hear from him someday. He was also staring sharply into my eye with each sentence. He opened my car door and with all the chivalry that I so notice in men, he waved bye. We had exchanged phone numbers quite unashamedly. I was slightly taken aback at myself. As the car turned into the curb, I turned around to look and he turned around too. It was embarrassing.
I had worn my hair in a bun and secured the bun with a filigree hair design – only seen in the temple sculptures of Orissa and West Bengal. Strangely he noticed the little details. I fastened my hair tighter. Because suddenly I was aware that this meeting may turn into something that would prod me into myself & I wasn’t willing to meet myself, just now!
I thought I must share my work details and without a hitch we exchanged contact details. I kept reiterating that this is just another work contact. He got in touch too. But just like a game of cards I was constantly cancelling and he constantly agreed to my changed days.
I can’t narrow it down to the why and where and what made me choose this journey. But my universe above was smiling. I dialled his phone number and prayed he won’t answer and all will be well. But he answered and said he wanted to meet me. I cancelled once and yet he agreed to meet another day too.
The day came and I was casual as hell. It was an evening under the warm winter fading evening. We sat and he spoke. I only listened. He asked me what’s my story. I lied saying I have none. He prodded next day. I again lied.
It was a winter evening, the moon shining on my face with the candle between us. As a gush of wind blew the hair against my face, his long strong hands were on my face and he moved the strands from my face. I didn’t protest. It seemed just the right way for the evening to progress.
It’s been years since then. We don’t keep in touch any longer. But every moonlit dusk as the light kisses my face, I tie my hair with the filigree hair clip he gave. It’s hidden under the letters and whenever the unspoken grief of some lost moments arise, I look back at those moments of us. That never ever became us and remained forever you and I.