I lay there on the terrace with the starry sky above me. And he lay just beside me. We both were looking at the stars, though quite visibly, neither of us were aware of anything else around us, other than ourselves. He avoided looking at me, while I was constantly checking his face for a smile or any other sign that he’s thinking about me. But somehow, I didn’t need that to realize that he, in fact, is! And that makes me the happiest girl in the world tonight. Not just that. But also, he was the only one who came looking for me. While I chose to lose myself in the wilderness of a disregarded life, to subject myself to the monotony of soulless living, he came looking for me. And if that can’t make me the happiest person on earth, I don’t deserve to be alive on it at all!
I don’t remember why I was living a sad life. Right from the first day that I can trace back to, I’ve been a person who have always been thinking about ways to jazz up my sad old life. I have tried a lot and cried a lot too. It is probably because I let small things affect my life. Tired of being unwanted all the time, I decided to run away. And I did. I came to this place, got a job, got a place to live in, and has been, sort of, surviving life’s cruelty day after day. I was alone. I became a loner. And I don’t know whether anyone I know ever tried to reach me. They must have. They ‘needed’ a few things from me, so I think they might have. It just disgusts me how relationships started becoming so meaningless and materialistic. What happened to loyalty all of a sudden? How come there are so many relationships that are only seemingly strong and genuine? These questions never ceased to drill through my mind every night. There came a day when I didn’t cry pondering over these questions. And I haven’t, ever since that day. But those questions still continue to scavenge my idle time whenever it can.
The day came when he came into the city, purposefully, for finding me. He made a few enquiries(probably rung up at my home and convinced my parents into bringing me back, which should have been easy!) and found the place, the room, the shack sort of thing, that I’m living in. He was looking at my shelter on the terrace in horror and disbelief and then at me with relief because I had survived all this without getting into any harm. The crude single-roomed shelter on the terrace had a bed, a small table, a chair and a cupboard. There was hardly any space to move about with all this taking up all the space. I had a small stove, a bathroom and a bench outside my room, on the terrace. All this was enough for me. I still don’t know from where I gathered up the courage to live alone in a place like this! The ground floor was occupied by a family and they had a dog, a rottweiler named Becky, which was probably the reason why I didn’t find it so scary to live there alone. Becky comes up sometimes for a treat or for simply lying down beside my feet. The family downstairs is a quiet one, a married couple, just married I guess, and the guy’s parents. I was occasionally invited for dinner downstairs, and sometimes sent up food.
Unable to believe the way that my life had transformed, he stood there, gazing at me. And I pinched myself for the third time to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming. No, I wasn’t. It hurt a bit, my hand, that is. I hadn’t expected this. I wasn’t prepared to confront him or his questions, if there’ll be any. I didn’t know whether I should have gone and hugged him and I didn’t know whether I was allowed to do that. But anything would have been better than the awkward silence that had spread around us. Breaking it, he said, “Hey….”. ‘Hey’?? How do I respond to ‘hey’? “Hi”, I said, moving my fingers to feebly imitate a wave. “Do you mind if I stay with you tonight?” he asked. Does it matter if I say ‘no’? How would he react if I say ‘no’? Did I want to say ‘no’? No!! Then why am I asking these questions to myself! I said, “No.. No.. Not..Not at all…(shaking my head) umm.. The..The thing is.. You’ll.. have to sleep outside.. I have only… one bed.. And.. But I’ve got extra sheets.. And.. umm.. So if you don’t mind that… then…” “Nope. That’s ok with me. Thanks a lot”, he said and smiled at me. I smiled back, a faint one though.
I thanked the family downstairs for sending that sumptuous meal to me, seeing that I have a friend too, probably because they had seen me spent half a year without bringing back any guys(or even girls) with me. While having dinner, he asked me why I chose to live here instead of staying in some good hostel or as a paying guest somewhere. For this, I had an answer. I simply wanted to be not ‘disturbed’ by people, not be dependent on people, not be influenced by people and not to rely on people. Not even the family living downstairs. They do not expect anything back from me when they invite me for dinner, except, I don’t wanna say ‘the pleasure’ of my company, but maybe just my company! Night had set in. We washed our plates in the small sink beside the stove, where the small CFL lamp threw a decent amount of light on the “kitchen” area and the door to my room. He asked me several other questions regarding my job, my mode of transport, my current hobbies, friends, etc etc.. I didn’t know what he was up to either, so I asked him to fill me in too. His eyes gleamed like I had asked him the much expected question! When he started telling me about how he traced me, I listened to it with a smile inside me!
“It is a very starry night”, he said, rolling out the mat which the girl from downstairs had given. I was sitting on the parapet wall, gazing at the sky. “I don’t sleep inside all days. It’s much better to sleep outside. Becky will guard me too!”, I grinned on the last line, thinking why I hadn’t seen Becky all evening. “Who is Becky?”, he asked. “Their dog, a rottweiler, a real sweet-heart!”, I said, pointing downstairs, “It’s a bit cold, isn’t it? Are you gonna be ok out here all night?”. “Actually, no”, he said. Huh?? What? But there’s only… “I feel like talking to you. Can you do that?”, he asked. Glad that I didn’t ask it out loud, I said, “hmm.. Ok.. I would have spent this night out anyway I guess”. “Then grab a sheet, coz you’re gonna be cold”, he said, covering his feet. I smiled as I walked inside, since he always wanted his feet to be covered more than any other part of his body when he’s cold!
I lay there on the terrace with the starry sky above me. And he lay just beside me. We both were looking at the stars, though quite visibly, neither of us were aware of anything else around us, other than ourselves. He avoided looking at me, while I was constantly checking his face for a smile or any other sign that he’s thinking about me. But somehow, I didn’t need that to realize that he, in fact, is! We were talking for the last two hours, about common friends, about places that changed in our hometown, about cousins who got married, about everything.. except us. I didn’t ask him why he came. I didn’t ask him whether he intended to take back anything with him. And now, I am a bit confused. All that confusion when I had him, it’s coming back to me! Did he come all this way to talk for two hours under a starry sky?
I calmed myself down saying what I’ve been saying to myself everyday for 6 months. To never expect anything from anyone. To stay happy and calm. To not be dependent on people. To not be influenced by people. To not to rely on people. The sky looked awesome! I remembered a scene from ‘Wall-E’!
I wasn’t looking at him anymore, or thinking about him. Neither was my heart beating so hard. Just then, I remembered! And just then I felt his breath. And saw his eyes looking into mine. Yes, there he is, as I thought! With the same old “You think I let you down?” expression on his face! The same old person I craved for! The same old person who loved me like no one could. Always making my heart skip a beat and then sweeping me off my feet! And while his lips met mine, I delved deep into that familiar sea of happiness.