Was It Love?
Was It Love?8 mins 472 8 mins 472
Swetha pressed the silent button for the seventh time. She sighed and looked at the number again. She just needed to compose her thoughts before answering the call. When the phone rang again, she clicked the auto message button. The reasons that were listed did not match her emotions. Everything was bland and general. She laughed to herself about the irony about how it matched her relationship. How did it get here? She wondered. Swetha, Swetha, Nisha’s voice broke her thoughts. Which world are you? She tugged her roughly. She looked at her friend without giving a reply. They were not in that kind of a relationship. They were office colleagues who worked together, had fun and yet did not share any personal information. Swetha wondered if she could put words to her emotions. She sensed something was wrong but did not know how to explain it. They walked to the canteen for their dose of caffeine. Coffee had the power to break the monotony of the day. They filled their glasses and moved to the favourite corner. Somehow, this place felt safe even without the walls or curtains.
This was also the time to catch up on the happening about the day and complain about the work stress. Nisha started speaking about a project, and somewhere in the first five minutes, Swetha's mind drifted. Swetha kept thinking of a single day repeatedly. She could not believe the events of that day. She was not a believer in fate, but that day changed her life. She was at an unusually low point in her life. Though she could not remember the reason, she was depressed and lonely. This was not new for her or anyone she knew. Anyone can become sad for no standard reason. This has happened to her before, and she knew that it would happen again. She knew Rahul for quite some time now. They met an event and became acquaintances soon after. They did not become best friends or even close friends immediately. They just grew to respect each other. They went out as a group and said the few courtesy words. She never expected that it would grow into anything else. She just assumed that they would grow apart after some time.
As usual, life had other plans and did the unimaginable. One that day, it was quite late when she finished work. Her phone rang, and she should have ignored it like always. For some reason, she answered the phone, Hey Rahul, she said. Can we meet? He asked. It was an odd request. They never meet before or at least alone. Their meeting was always in a group for a get-together or business meeting. Did I forget any meeting? she wondered. She thought about how to refuse without hurting him. She knew that they would probably meet again, so she was considering the perfect excuse. Hello, Are you there? It won’t take long, he said softly. Against her best judgement, she said yes. I am in my office; she said as if it would stop the meeting somehow. I am just behind you, he countered. Are you stalking me, she wanted to ask. But held herself back and just sighed. It is very late. How long have you been waiting? She asked. It does not really matter, he said. I have to be home soon, she said. Can I drop you? He asked. We can talk on the way, they decided. She got into his car, and the journey started. She did not realise then; it would not be over even after two years.
She did not remember who proposed first or even if she accepted it. They went out for a couple of times, and suddenly they were in a relationship. He was attentive, compassionate and a good listener. She began seeing him in a different light. He was always there for her even though she was not fully committed to it. She began feeling guilty after a point of time. She began reciprocating the affection, and that’s when the real issue began. She knew it was common in all relationships. This was not her first rodeo, and she knew the game as well as the next person. There were various stages in a relationship. Whether we wish it or not, most people undergo all these steps. Very few blessed people escape this vicious cycle and manage to survive it. This does not mean that the others are not happy. They are forced to live through various emotions and drama throughout their lives. There is no happily ever after like promised in books and movies. There is certain desperation before the start of any relationship. People tend to do everything and anything to make the other person say yes. The beginning of any relationship is the happiest period, where they see only the positive traits of the loved ones.
In a few months, reality begins to kick in. The complete character of the person comes to light and arguments began to arise. The difficult phase begins, so does the drama. We question the decision and find it hard to accept the person. All the promises and sweet words become history. Some people even end their relationship at this point. They cannot handle the pressure of accepting the quirks of the other person. The next phase begins when the storm settles down, and the calmness begins. Things become boring, and there is a familiarity in all aspects. This familiarity can have two sides. It means that the other person knows you better than others. The downside is that there is nothing interesting to keep the relationship happening. There is very little to discuss at this point, and everything can move slowly. Swetha was in a similar kind of situation. She was questioning everything about her decision. She repeatedly wondered if she made the wrong choice. There was nothing really to complain about. But she was not excited anymore. She wondered if she ever was excited about it. They had some good times, and even she could not deny it. They had their share of fights and tears. They were different people and struggled to find a middle ground. Sometimes they spoke and made an optimal decision. There were times when they both pretended for the sake of the other. There were also times when they erupted and made a mess. This time, she did not know how to communicate her feeling.
She was worried that the wrong approach would trigger the next round of the fight. She did not have the energy or interest to get into the ring. She thought that the best option that would avoid direct conflict. She began to avoid him and spent minimal time with him. She always blamed the job or her family for the lack of time. He was not a bad person, and there was no real reason to break up. She wondered if he noticed the changes in her. And he did.
Somewhere in the city, Rahul pushed in the chair behind and stared at the phone again. He took the phone and began to type a message. He knew that she would not read it immediately. Even if she did, the response would be curt and late. He knew something was bothering Swetha. He tried talking to her about it, but she was not willing to open up. He knew he had to do something, or he will lose her for good. He remembered the first time he met her. He never had the opportunity to tell her about the moment he fell in love. Somehow, he did want to hold on to the moment forever for himself. There was no doubt that Swetha loved him, but she always held a part back. She was always cautious and never opened up. He did not know how to break the ice. There were times when she was charming and caring. She looked at him just like the way he wanted and it made him feel that he was the luckiest person in the world. Sometimes, she treated him like a stranger and did not show much emotion.
He knew that he was not perfect, but he loved her more than anything. The affection has not changed even a little from that every moment. He saw Swetha 30 months ago. She was pretty and professional. He could not figure out what attracted him to her. But he fell in love at first sight and has not wavered soon. What should I do, he wondered aloud. Should I keep pushing or should I give her space, his inner voice threatened. He wished that they were some divine guidance. He saw the time and knew that her work would be over soon. He picked up the telephone to call the love of his life.
Swetha was working on an important file, and she wanted to complete it before the end of the day. Somehow the thoughts about Rahul kept popping in her head. What should I do? She asked herself for the 1000th time. Was it love? She asked again. She pondered if she mistook his affection and her loneliness to be a relationship. She took a deep breath and made the same decision again. She was not completely happy but did not want to let it go either. She decided to take time and maybe try talking to him. Her phone rang at that very moment, making her wonder if he heard her thoughts. Hey baby, she whispered, attending the call. Sorry long day, she justified. She listened to his voice and paused to make a decision. Sure, Let’s meet. I have something to say to you; she disconnected the call. She just knew the next move.