I reached the airport by 5 am in the chilly morning to receive my childhood friend Noor who was on a visit to my city. She had called me a day before, requesting me to come over. Her call was a total surprise to me. We had parted ways after graduation. I could not turn down her request as she still was very close to my heart. She had turned down my proposal of marriage on flimsy grounds. I was deeply hurt and the wounds were fresh till today, time couldn’t heal the same.
I spotted Noor at once amidst the crowd; she was still the same, no change in her looks. She was as beautiful as her name, Noor. She waved her hand at me, I stood awestruck. I could hear my heart beat racing and a feeling of owning Noor seemed to grip me. The sun had risen and the orange streaks of sunshine enveloped the sky. I was amazed by the beauty of the early morning and beautiful Noor stirred my emotions from within.
“Hi Noor. A very good morning dear” I greeted her enthusiastically
“Hello, Pravin. Good morning.” Noor greeted, but something was missing in her tone. I did take a note of it.
I helped her with the baggage settled in the back of my car.
“Come Noor.” I opened the front door of my car.
“No Thanks Pravin. I will be comfortable at back seat. Please don’t mind.” She slid herself in the back seat.
I knew she was not an easy girl to get along & her decisions were her sole; none could influence or change her hasty decisions. I say hasty because she never thought twice while taking decisions. I had a better experience of that. Even though I did mind, but there was no option. I did not want to spoil the little time that I had got after wait of several years to spend with the girl I craved the most, who was still in the back of my head, who is still the only love of my life.
The sky was getting sunny and the fog was clearing, night lamps had turned off on the road. I ignited my car & took off accelerating in speed on the highway which parted the city from the airport. The glimpse of Noor had heightened my spirits and I could sense my adrenaline gushing. Suddenly, I saw Noor in the rear mirror of my car, her beauty, it reflected. Noor's sharpen eyebrows & eyes conveyed some intense feeling, they were screaming as if asking for help yet calm. It appeared as if she was lost in her thoughts. However, the spark in her eyes which use to melt my heart down once was now missing. She looked blank and detached. I slowed down.
“Hey Noor, are you okay?”
“Pravin, I’m sorry, very sorry to have hurt you.” Her eyes filled with tears ready to trickle down any moment to touch her soft cheeks.
“Noor, don’t act childish. I’m not hurt. Do I appear to be a fool to be hurt for not accepting the seat in the front? Oh lady, cheer up. See how beautiful the morning is & the sun rays are soothing the mists around. I rarely get up early and now I feel how much I miss the morning glory.” I pacified well though I knew there was some other reason.
It was a rare sight to see tears in her eyes, as she had been a strong personality throughout.
It was a mystery. I could not stop the car on the highway, it was not allowed to stop mid-way, so I continued driving, but my mood dampened.
“No Pravin, I’m not referring anything of today. Sorry to have hurt you by turning down your proposal & marrying a rich man in an impulse that he would provide me with all the luxuries and comforts of life & certainly he did.” Tears flowed down wetting her beautiful face.
My vision blurred with tears, but I managed.
“Noor, be cool. I’m happy that you married a man of your dreams & he fulfilled your desires. He is a nice guy. Don’t feel bad for me. I’m happy for you.” I tried to explain her.
“No, no…I’m not happy. God has redeemed my doings. I’m in a fix. I’m in your city not for any work but I have fled away from my house due to undue pressure of by my so-called husband to indulge in wrong doings…to attending physical favors of his clients & he saw it was an easy way to reach the heights of success. He is a rustic & to achieve he can do anything” She was crying loudly with hiccups.
Unknowingly, my leg touched the brakes & car came to a halt with a screeching noise on the highway.
Cars lined up and a traffic policeman came running to my side invading the reason of halt.
I did not have any explanation, anyhow I tried to explain that I felt giddiness and hazy to get out of it. I was lucky that I was released with least questioning.
I tried to retain my cool and started driving again. An eerie silence stretched in the car. I begged Noor to be at ease and ensured her that I would be readily available for her. I spoke the truth which I had concealed from her for years. I stayed a bachelor only because of Noor, my love and she can stay with me if she wishes to and I will help her by hook or crook to get out of the messy situation and will take care that her so called husband, the notorious industrialist is booked under law.
My eyes fell on the rear mirror. Tears had dried up. Her face was red and eyes swollen, but calmness sailed on her face. She was comfortable. There was trust in her eyes.
I was overwhelmed. God had been kind to me giving back my love. Tears welled up in my eyes but the feeling of hurt that Noor underwent pierced my heart. I regained control on my emotions with a firm belief that I will help her out to get out of the mess and havoc that she is surrounded with and adorn her life with my love. I promised to myself.
“I Love You Pravin. I love you” Noor whispered in my ears resting her on my shoulders.
"I love you too, I said snuggling beside her.