The Road To Ithaca – 20

I’m sure you’ve heard that expression dozens of times, that of your worst fears coming true. Well, I can’t really claim that my worst fears were coming true at that moment. That’s because I had never imagined such a moment arriving in my life. But I can tell you, that with each word she said, I became more and more certain that things were going in a direction that I definitely did not want them to go in, and with each passing moment, my chances of recovering things were getting more and more slim.

I wildly asked myself what I should do. Should I stop her and tell her that she’s wrong? Should I tell her that she’s wrong and that I wanted this as much as she did, more than she did? Should I tell her that I’d be honored? happy?

“And then what? Pray tell.” A voice in my head seemed to mock me. “Do you really think, for even a second, that you are actually capable of this?”

“I can do this. I can, I will do whatever it takes.” I protested.

“Really? How sweet.” The voice again. “Like what, exactly? Tell me one thing, just one thing that you plan to do.”

“Shut up!” I said.

“Excuse me?” It wasn’t the voice in my head, it was her. I realised I had spoken the two words aloud. Shit.

“Er..sorry, I wasn’t speaking to you.” I mumbled.

With exaggarated slowness, she looked around the room, and then fixed her eyes back on me.

“Would you mind telling me” She said in that dangerous honeyed voice, “who exactly you were asking to shut up? Because unless you were speaking to Roopsa, who’s asleep anyway, I’m the only one who’s been speaking.”

“I was talking to myself.” I offered.

“You were speaking to yourself.” She pronounced slowly, with a distinct pause between each word, looking at me that typical way people look at madmen.

“Yes, I..uh..” I tried to explain, “I..I was thinking that this wouldn’t be a good idea, and I wanted to stop…”

“I think you’ve already made that perfectly clear.” She said in a tone of finality, each word dripping with scorn and contempt. Without a glance at me, she stood up and stormed towards the door.

“Wait! Please..” I begged, “just listen to me for a second.” She didn’t even bother to pretend that she heard. In my desperation, I almost jumped down from the bed, and grabbed her arm.

She whirled around to face me, and I involuntarily took a step back. I had never seen someone so angry. She was literally trembling with anger, with a face that had a turned a beautiful shade of red, and eyes blazing.

“Listen to you?” She almost spat out the words. “Listen to what? Same of your shit? That you love me but you don’t want me? That you’ve always loved me, but you’ve never thought of the two of us being in a relation? You expect me to believe that shit?”

“It’s true, I…”

“Well, congratulations.” She interrupted. “You didn’t want a relation? Well, guess what, you ain’t getting into one. In fact, you’ll never see me again, not in this life. Now let go of my arm.” With that declaration, she turned to leave.

I didn’t let go of her arm. In fact, I can’t really explain why, or from where I got the nerve, but I roughly turned her around, pushed her against the wall, and kissed her.

Her lips were cold and soft and moist, and they tasted of butterscotch.

I don’t know for how long we stayed like that. However, after a while, with my eyes still closed and my lips still pressed against hers, I kinda visualised what I was doing. I jumped back, terrified.

She didn’t seem to be perturbed by my indecency. She still leaned against the wall, with her eyes closed and an odd half-smile playing on her lips. I, on the other hand, was scared out of my wits.

“I’m so sorry.” I begged. “Forgive me, I..I’m not like that.”

“Do it again.” She ordered softly, not moving an inch, not opening her eyes.

“What? Listen, I’m really sorry. I’ll never do it again, I swear.”

“Do it, or I’ll scream.”

So I did it again, tentatively, expecting to be slapped any second. When I finally pulled back after what seemed a long, long time, her lips didn’t want to let go of mine.

“So that’s how it feels to be kissed.” She said aloud to no one in particular, smiling, as if at some personal joke. She appeared to be savoring the moment for a while, smiling to herself.

“Sit.” She told me, and sat down herself.

“Let me get this straight,” She smiled, “You love me, you don’t want a relation with me, and you just pushed me against a wall and kissed me?”

“What do you want me to say?” I asked.

“Tell me what you’re so afraid of.” She said, taking my hand in her own.

So I told her. I told her how I had always looked up to her,  how I had put her up on a pedestal and worshipped her. I told her that she was the only girl that I had remembered in the 7 years of boarding school. I told her about the snapshot in my head, that of her running away from me in the playground of our nursery school. I told her that I had always known she was too good for me. And I told her, very honestly, that I had absolutely no clue what I’m supposed to do if I’m in a so called relationship. I had no idea what would be expected of me, what would not be acceptable. I didn’t know how I would keep her happy, and not knowing that made me feel that I’d surely end up disappointing her, and I really, really didn’t want it to come to that. Also, I told her, I didn’t think I had anything to offer her.

When I was finished, she didn’t look like she was about to cry, like they show in the movies. She looked at me like I was stark raving mad.

“Tell me,” She said incredulously, “what do you think you are, my 17th boyfriend??”

“What?” I was flabbergasted. “I don’t know. Wait. Am I?”

“Don’t you think I would’ve mentioned it to you beforehand if I had a boyfriend?” She asked, exasparated.

“Well, yes, i suppose.” I had to agree.

“Well then, did it ever to occur to you that I might not have a set of predetermined expectations in my mind? Did it never occur to you that just like you, I might also be happy just to love you, and not ask something in return?”

“But that doesn’t make any sense.” I protested. “Why the hell would someone like you love someone like me?”

“Well, guess what lover-boy, I am just crazy as you are.” She said as she drew closer. “You see, ” She went on, ” in all these years, I never thought about anyone else either. Now then,” She put her hands on my shoulders, “do you want this or not?”

“I do.” I said with all the sincerity I had.

“Good, that’s good.” She smiled sweetly. “I would have killed you otherwise.”

A quick peck on my lips, and she was gone.

I slowly looked around, trying to convince myself that I hadn’t been dreaming. Proof was a couple of feet away, in the form of my beloved German Shepherd. Believe it or not, she had slept soundly through the entire conversation.

I petted her affectionately, as I started mentally replaying every second of the previous two hours.

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