A Love Story from Another Time
A Love Story from Another Time
“Long time Han! I wonder how is she doing?”
“She is doing fine without you. You don’t have to pretend as if you worry about her. You never did before.”
I was speechless. I couldn’t say anything in my defense. Sid was right in a way. I shouldn’t have treated her the way I did. All she asked of me was a little time and a little love. And I was perhaps too busy in my own world, my so-called ambitions and those big dreams. And look where I am today- The same old miserable person, worse than ever, with no accomplishments made.
“So,” interrupting my train of thoughts, Sid asked me, “Why are you here anyway? You didn’t come in the last 5 years. You didn’t attend my wedding. You didn’t even ask me how it is going with us. Why now?”
I raised my eyes to look at my old friend. He looked dashing in his suit and a well-trimmed beard.
‘That beard looks cool on your face!’ I wanted to say to him. But I couldn’t. I could see the hurt on his face and I could feel the weight in his voice.
“I know I shouldn’t have come here, Sid,” I said, “I just wanted to apologize for what I did to you, and to her. Perhaps I wanted to see you guys once again before it is too late. I am really sorry for whatever happened, Sid. But ever since that time I have been running. I couldn’t find a moment of peace. And I really missed you both so much. Please let me see her just for once, Sid. I want to say sorry until I have time.”
“What do you mean by ’until you have time’?” Sid retorted, “Oh wait! Don’t bother telling. I know you are a busy person. And you sure must be having a lot of things to worry about. Of course, you don’t have much time for us. Why don’t you stop pretending now! Rajesh? Look at you!” He raised his hands to my chest and pushed me back. “You think you can hurt anyone and then come back anytime and say few sentimental lies. And we will forget everything that happened, and you can live happily ever after… until the time you decide to leave us once again. How can you be so selfish, Rajesh? Whatever happened to that old Rajesh that you were once? Or it was all just a myth since the beginning?”
His cell phone rang…Sid looked at his phone and after a moment’s hesitation he picked up the call. I knew it was Preeti.
Once he hung up, Sid looked up at me.
“Listen to me very carefully, Rajesh,” He said, “We don’t want anything to do with you now or ever. We don’t want your sorry either. We have moved on.”
I knew what he was going to say next.
“I am going to meet Preeti here in 5 minutes. AND I WANT YOU TO LEAVE NOW. I can’t allow you to meet her again. If you have the slightest of decency left in you, then please leave us. And don’t come back ever.”
I stood there quiet for a while. I couldn’t decide what to do.
“I understand,” I said. “I am going to leave. Thanks for meeting me, Sid.”
“Yeah! Thanks for leaving,” Sid retorted back.
I gave my hand to shake. But he refused.
I turned away from Sid, and went out of his office door straight inside the lift, and headed out of the building. But I stopped at the entrance for a while, as I saw a car stopping by the road and Preeti stepping out of the car. I lowered my cap and put on my goggles, as I didn’t want her to see me. She was wearing a simple blue dress, a black sling bag on her left shoulder, open hair, and she was wearing goggles. And she looked as beautiful as ever. Then my eyes fell on her neck and I noticed her necklace.
I was stunned to see that it was the same necklace I gave her on her last birthday we celebrated together. I looked at her face once again. I noticed the wrinkles now. Also, I could see the blackheads around her eyes through her goggles. I could feel the pain dripping through her eyes down to her heart. And I wanted to collapse beneath the ground at that moment.
I wanted to run towards her and hold her tight in my arms, and whisper in her ears that ‘I am here. And I will not leave you again ever.’ But I knew I couldn’t do that. I knew I can’t promise her a forever now. Even if I wanted to. And I felt so helpless. A teardrop rolled down my eyes. She turned her head in my direction for an instant and looked straight at my face. For an instant, I thought, she was looking straight into my eyes. But then she turned around and moved away from me inside the building.