I told her I had decided to go home in the evening of the same very day I begged her to meet me. I remember waking up late in the dark room, the light barely managing to trickle in. Half my face sunk into the pillow and the other half facing away from the light, I looked blankly at the idols of some of the Hindu Gods that were placed symmetrically at one corner of the room. They looked like a team. I had an entire day ahead of me and I knew it would mean nothing if I did not get to see her.
I decided to go home because I realized I needed to turn my back on her. Her family was preparing to get her married and our clandestine love affair had to stop, sooner or later. Not only because it felt right, but because years of being in a relationship with her had made me realize that she was better than any of those girls who could sneak into a guy’s room while contemplating another relationship, with aplomb. Actually she is so much better than anyone else that I have known thus far that I couldn’t allow her this hush affair with me, even though she wasn’t going to get married anytime soon. She is pure, without the slightest blemish. And that is exactly what I told her, punctuated by the blubbering, on either side of the phone. But she would continue to meet me if it wasn’t for this conversation, because she knew she was all I had. So I had decided I’d go home, far away from the city that she had made me fall in love with, and spare her the misdeeds that would ensue.
It was almost noon and my stomach felt sick. It was either from the food I had at Jama Masjid late last night or the conversation I had with her later. She said she had moved on, though not entirely. That she had had her share of grief and crying in order to get over me, all this while crying some more. I lift my head to check the phone with one hand as the other gently stroked my groin imagining what would happen when she came over. Things get hotter manifolds when slipping out of our hands. She was no different. There have been day and months I have not so much as spoken to her, expecting her to stay regardless. I disrespected time maybe and I was not spared.
I told her, among many things, that I did not feel as strongly about the idea of living any more, in that conversation first thing I woke up. That visibly left her shaken. She did everything she could to stop what looked like the imminent. And few messages that ensued from my end reinforced my feelings and that led her to add everybody who knew me on facebook and messenger to stop me. She has always been like that, a mother to me, doing all that she possibly can to get me in line, only to love me some more. I wasn’t going for a ‘sweet release’ maybe, but a little attention doesn’t hurt.
On Sunday evening she said she would meet me on Monday after work and spend all of Tuesday with me instead. But that wasn’t to be. I picked up the phone, braved the surge of emotions to tell her parting ways was the best thing to do. That I believe in miracles, but yet if nothing transpired that I will meet her on the other side with as much love in my chest. If she was standing near me, I would have hugged her tight and kissed her in the warm region between the nose and her right eye. But I could only pretend she was not crying as much as she really was and tell her it was alright. I wish I could kiss her forehead and tell her, on the contrary to what she felt, we would keep talking to each other. But the water was turbulent under the bridge and I either wouldn’t be able to heal if I spoke to her or relapse if I had healed. She meant too much. It wasn’t long before I disconnected the call and all the crying had dissipated into a lull.
Calcutta gives me hope. The soupy air and cool summer breeze makes me melancholic and nostalgic. I turned by back on Delhi because her memories linger there in every corner. But I turned my back to Delhi for a city simmering with similar emotions, though maybe less. The restaurants where we have eaten, the streets we have trawled and the rooms we surrendered ourselves unto each other, they are all still here, probably with similar people, doing similar things, destined to meet the same fate.