He twitched a little as he shifted to third gear. The road was empty and he felt the need to overdrive. It was 11:55 and a cruel clock driven by the need to find a way back into love began ticking within him. It was close to a year since they parted ways and every second that ticked seemed like a nail on his coffined life. He felt the need to stop the car and take a walk but then he had, seated next to him this colleague to whom he promised a lift back home. Jassi (the colleague here) was silent as he tried to listen intently to the loud blaring music. He seemed so unfamiliar to Creed. “Loud music gives me the yips” he said without looking at him. He ignored the comment and switched to fifth gear. The sooner I drop him the better it’d be for me, he thought.
14th of February 2008 came rushing in and it seemed to drown him in a sea of sorrow, regret and hopelessness. That was their last day together. She looked beautiful (he thought) in a white dress with red flowers on it and matching flat shoes to go along. He had no gift, but bought a card and some flowers cause they had agreed upon getting no gifts. He caught her by surprise when he came up with the card cause she assumed that he’d follow himself since it was he who cracked the deal. “No gifts this time! You wanna break up anyway, right? So lets not waste our hard earned money” he said the other night in a voice that seemed to crack over the phone telling her of how much it pained him but he chose to fight anyway. “Alright” she said and slid back into bed. She dialed his number and burst into tears.
She: I can’t take this anymore. I want all this to end.
Him: What happened? Why are you crying? Are you ok? I’m worried…
She: (muffling her sobs) I’m worried. I don’t want to be with him anymore.
Him: I know. Its alright, we’ll sort this out. You talk to him tomorrow.
She: But its Valentines and you know how he can be?
Him: Yes. But you have to tell him someday about how you feel. You’ve dragged this for 2 long years.
She: (still sobbing) But I wanted to be with you. I never thought he’d come. We broke up before he left to join work at Bangalore.
Him: *sigh* don’t worry, just talk to him. Happy Valentines day – I love you.
She: I love you too. Call you tomorrow.
“So you bought me a card and flowers even though we weren’t supposed to get gifts?” she questioned. He knew that was coming. “I know, just wanted to get you closer to reality. You’re a shallow person, you know? Don’t you know me? I would never turn up without a gift” She had the smudged but unwilling to accept embarrassment kinda look on her face as she hopped into the car. She sat down and stared at the mirror adjusting her make up. “You look gorgeous” he said. “Care for a picture?” and he notioned her to get down from the car. She got out and he went all clickety. Pictures always made her happy.
“And whats our POA for the day?” she asked, as if trying to estimate when she’d get free. She had other appointments. “POA? I’m not sure… err, what?” “Plan of action, I mean” she said, continuing to play with her maskara. “Ohhh, movie? I heard P.S: I love you is playing at E-square, lunch and then a drive maybe?” He seemed unsure if she really had the entire day. He knew she had other plans. It was like he always knew. This was the dreaded day. “Sounds like a plan, lets make a dash” and she smiled for the first time. Well, thats what kills a man, doesn’t it? Her tears and her smile. They drove off and she seemed to be lost for most part of the drive to the movie hall. She fiddled with her phone, tried to concentrate on the music blaring out of the radio (she had this turned high on volume, reasons unknown) and finally feigned some sleep. They entered the hall and bought movie tickets. They still had an hour to the start of the movie. “Hey, I’d like to grab a sketch if possible. Guess we’d never get to do that again” it was like the bite of a venomous snake. The pain of the bite and the venom seeping into his bloodstream. The pain was ineffable. “What do you mean? Nothings wrong! you’re crazy…” she lied. She held his hand (for the first time that day) and dragged him to the sketch counter. They stood in front of the web-cam and it clicked a picture and began sketching. Both of them wore a cemented smile and waited for the sketch. The silence grew on them and he broke the dead air…
He: What plans for tomorrow then? I’m leaving day after.
She: Anything you say. Just don’t ask me to bunk work. I hate doing that.
He: I didn’t ask for anything. It’s alright if you’re busy. Its just that, we both know whats to proceed. I thought you’d want to spend some time with me.
She: Yes, I’d like that. Work begins at 4. Jodha Akbar? Tomorrow? I heard its funny (and she guffawed)
He: Alright, good, you get the tickets. I’m sure you’d have saved up truckloads of money on all the gifts you avoid buying. (he winked)
She: Arghhhhhh!! I knew you’d come up with that. I was just doing what you said.
He: Hey! I was just kidding, whats with you? Weren’t you the one who suggested I take jokes?
She: No! I don’t want you to curse me with this later. I want to get you a gift like right now!!
(She dragged him into Archie’s)
He: Listen, please? Forget about it? I was just messing with your head.
She: Yes, you’re a pro at that, you know?
(She has a toy figure of olive oyl in pink in her hand and seems appreciative about its cost)
She: Could you parcel this up for me?
Shopguy: Sure (and he goes on with gift wrapping it)
He: Uncalled for. Suit yourself though.
Shopguy: 220 Rs ma’am.
She: Hey, can you lend me 200? (after shuffling in her bag and purse for a while)
He: Hey, sure thing! Here you go…
(She hands his gift over)
He: Hey, thanks so much! I love the gift I bought myself. (and he winked again)
She: You come up with new ways of killing me every day. How do you manage?
He: I don’t need to try luvey, you are the artist in me!
She: Hey! I thought we were out together on Valentines day? Lets try to be happy?
He: Sure thing. You try. I’m happy that I get to be with you. Its difficult handling all the call waits anyway. You have been a busy bee off late.
(A quite lunch and an amazing movie later)
“You should consider untying your hair I think” he said and gave her a worried look. “Do you really want to show all that bare back to the crowd?” and he got into the car trying to avoid eye contact. He knew she’d give him the “stfu-low-life” kinda look. “Uhm, I thought you said I looked beautiful” she said carelessly and got in. They didn’t speak for a while. The traffic kept him busy. “So where to? same old?” he asked. “Ohhh yes, lets go there!! I still remember…” she began. “Please! don’t fuck it up with uncalled nostalgia. You know things wont end well if we got nostalgic” he said as he tuned up the player. He drove on until they reached the spot. This was where they used to come when they were madly in love which seemed as though it was all a mirage. For him it was as real as could be. Love slipping away; he had been living with it for a long time now and he wanted to gut it down. They got out of the car and walked slowly towards the tree which stood on a small plateau. They sat down and spoke… for the very last time. The drive from there back home was washed off by the countless tear drops which hit his soul.
He: Why all this?
She: What do you mean?
He: Why did it take you two years to know who you really wanna be with?
(She hits the mute mode)
He: We have to talk, ok? For me and for you!
She: I used to love you.
He: When and why?
She: What do you mean?
He: Just cause you never managed to get his attention? Wasn’t that why you signed up for me? Ohh and add to that, FREE GIFTS!!!
She: Calm down!
He: I’m sorry. I just wanted to finish this dialog and be done with.
She: I’m sorry. I didn’t know things would turn up like this.
He: Common!! think about it. You didn’t know? Is that the best you could come up with?
She: (sobbing) I’m sorry…
He: DOWN with those tears girl!!! We aren’t discussing the probability of us getting married here. Thats long over. All I want to know is about why you put me through this pyre?
She: What do you want me to tell you?
He: The truth. Whatever it is…
She: You sound as though you know it all.
He: I do. But I’d want you to tell me so that its itched onto me and I get rid of your torturous thoughts.
She: I don’t love you anymore.
He: I know that. Crystal. Since forever now. Tell me why. Thats what I want to hear.
She: I’m sorry.
He: Please!!!!!!!!! stop with the apologies. (he broke down) Why apologize when there is no forgiving? I’ve got nothing against you. You just want to be happy and I’m not good enough.
She: No… its not that, its my fault, not yours.
He: God, thats the worst cliche in the book luvey.
She: I’m sorry… I…
He: Lets leave. Thanks for your company thus far. It has been 2 and a half years of bliss hidden deviously behind the illusion you created. I can’t thank you enough for all the times you’ve heard me out. I don’t think I’ll ever love anyone as madly as I’ve loved you. I’m letting go and I know thats what you want. I don’t quite know how I’m going to do without you.
She: I’ll miss you too…
He: Shhhhhhhhhhh…. don’t say that.
He: No, you have no say in this. Lastly, all I have to say is that you look just as beautiful as you looked today even when you’re in your sweats. I can’t promise about going away without the final struggle. There’ll be tears and phone calls. Deal with it. You know me better than I know myself. Please be patient with me. Now, give me a hug…
(They hug and walk towards the car)
“Hey! Happy Valentines day dude, its 12:02 and you’re the first one I wished!!” he shifted back to 2nd gear and then to first as he slowed down. “Turn left and stop, thanks for dropping me home” Jassi said as he watched tears well up in his eyes. “You have a good one man…” he waved as he sped off. “Happy Valentines day luvey…” he muttered and then there was light! He twitched again,
P.S: All the charecters in the plot above are REAL! Sue me.