The Last Meeting
A careless strand of hair was wandering aimlessly on her face as she leaned dangerously close to the edge of the terrace. An air of sadness had surrounded her which was noticeable from a distance. Her round black eyes looked so silent, dull. It was as if someone had dried the emotions in them. She closed her eyes to release some droplets of water. She let open the bun and allowed the breeze to play with her hair. She wanted to grasp a lot of air to breathe in that moment.
I went to her and held her hand. She never grasped mine, though. She half smiled as she took another drag. That was his cigarette and I remember that smile, that’s the saddest smile I have ever seen.
I dint know what to say, so I chose silence.
A li’l while later, I gathered the courage to speak something up.
“You want to share something?”
She turned towards me and stared blankly at me. Her stare sedated me to numbness. It was like a drug that tranquilized my soul and scared me to death. Her eye contact felt like a conversation of centuries had just come to an end. The tears resting on her cheeks conveyed that they had traveled through her eyes only after tearing her heart apart. Till date, I have never found enough words to convey what her face showed that day but somewhere deep down in my heart, that image has always stayed. That face is one of the reasons I am afraid of love.
After a couple of hours, she started walking towards the stairs.
“Are you sure you’ll be okay?” I asked.
“No. I am never gonna be fucking okay.” She replied with a straight face.
“You do know it wasn’t your fault, right? He was a difficult thing from the very start.” I tried calming her down.
“And who said love was gonna be easy?” She smiled as another tear made way through her eyes.
“Atleast tell me what happened, Garima.” I pleaded.
“No, Vineet. Aarav kept his stories to himself.” She sighed. “And I will always be his story. Always!”
I was rendered speechless. She walked down the stairs towards her house.
I couldn’t find Aarav for a couple of months thereafter. He was hibernating somewhere no one knew about. I never got to know much about their last meeting even after I met him though. But I read the last page of his diary once which read.
‘Abandoning her, he walked away silently but his silence was loud enough to turn her deaf towards life, perhaps forever.’
And that I think was enough to understand the whole scenario.
Somehow, in my heart, I knew he was in love with Garima, too. He was just unaware of this fact.
On the other hand, she never spoke about him but she thought of him every night because somewhere in the dark alleys of her heart, he was very much alive. The memories where they had shared a laugh, or when he granted her a long beary hug, or even a soft peck on her forehead was still very much fresh in her mind. His voice still echoed in the deep crevices of her mind. His favourite cigarette and alcohol was hers now, every night. She could never let him go.
I could see all this in the way she behaved, the way she led her life. She had Aarav written all over her.
Although, she had a sparkling smile put on her lips but her eyes always carried a bleak shadow of suffering. Pain. And those eyes always made me wonder whether it was a wrong decision to let her go on that path of loving Aarav, the writer friend. Had I been a good friend? But I whenever I met Aarav, I saw similar scars beneath his mask. Trust me; they were no different than Garima’s.
Aarav stopped meeting any new person from that day. He immersed himself in his office work and alcohol thereafter. He went non-existent to the world around him.
Whenever I saw them, I knew they had to be together. Garima had always been Aarav’s but off late Aarav was all about Garima, too. They were the only ones who could complete each other.
But, sadly, life has its own ways and they never met thereafter…,
Until one day.…