Diya opened her eyes , squinting , as the brilliance of the afternoon sun hits her glowing face turning it a pink shade that Albert so loved. She smiled, as he brought the book forward to block the rays that threatened to disturb her afternoon siesta. It was their favorite weekend routine. The garden bench, Albert reading out her favorite books as she rested in the warm comfort of his lap, her hands wrapped around her beautifully pregnant belly. A few feet away, Jiya bubbly and all of eight played soft ball with her friends.
She loved hearing him tell her stories. He loved narrating stories from movies and reading it out books to her. During their courtship days he could spend hours well past midnight telling her stories from movies. She loved movies and books. Back then it provided her the escape she wanted from the reality of her life. Back then she hadn't imagined the road of her life would take all those curves and bends and rough roads and even speed through hairpin turns without crashing over. Back then she had reconciled to a life that was centred around her blessing , her daughter , her life. Back then it was just the two of them and they were as happy as they thought they could ever be. Back then she didn't know there could be life happier than that.
She looked up at his face. He looked at her quizically. And then smiled before raising his thighs slowly towards his chest, her head moving closer to his. He bent over and kissed her. She closed her eyes. She was grateful, so grateful. Al was someone who was comfortable with her silences. She had fallen in love with someone who didn't need her words to know it was time to kiss her.
Jiya came running towards them at that moment. She quickly came and placed her little hand on her mama's tummy , her baby's home and asked " Did baby call for me , Mama ? " Diya slowly lowered her feet and straightened herself. She caught Jiya's hand and moved it over her bump , "Let's see if that happened baby. " And together they explored, anticipation rising up in both their eyes. Al joined in and just then the baby did twitch. Diya's tummy skewered to a side deviating from its perfect round mound. They all squeeled with happiness. Diya closed her eyes, resting her head on Al's shoulders - a precious moment, a blessing that had sought her out.
A year ago .......................
Al had asked her out for a beach date. They had met so many times there. Everyone had their place of escape. A place they went to escape the chaos of life. That one place that could give them the perspective they needed and untie all the knots in their mind or soothe all their problems for a while atleast. The beach was that place for her. She loved the feel of the smooth sand beneath her feet. She loved absorbing the rays of the sun and believe it transformed into energy in each and every cell of her body. The sounds of the ocean she believed could restrained all her worries. She knew today was going to be decisive. It had been a year since she had seen Al. It had been a year since she retraced her steps. She hadn't wanted to prolong the agony of indecisiveness. She didn't want to be in his way of a life he so deserved, dreams that he had carried in his heart. The past year she had been trying to find her peace in the fact that as much as she wanted him to be happy and content more than anything in the world , it might just be that she would never be a part of it.
Diya had always loved sunsets. She walked down the beach , climbed up the rocks. She jumped from one rock to another till she came upon the biggest rock and sat down. She decided to enjoy the view of the bright orange sun just as it was about to hit the water on the horizon. Those few moments as the ball of fire rushed to oblivion and the moments after that when the sky was coloured with an intense assortment of orange, yellow, red and pink quietened her palpitations. The ocean water now mirrored the colours of the sky. There was a small boat in the distance in the exact same path as the sun. She smiled for it did look like the sun was sitting on top of it like a cup on a saucer , even if for a brief moment. "Beautiful isn't it ? " , the voice that could calm her as well cause a storm in her jolted her out of her reverie. He sat down beside her. " Hey ", she said her eyes still on the horizon.
" I missed you ", he replied as he reached out for her hand. All storm broke out inside of her. The longing, the love she had tried to keep under covers, the tears, the confusions, the feeling of loss, the gap between them - the age, pressures from his family, stress of the separation from her marriage, the overwhelming feeling of being passionately desired for a few years but not being good enough to last a lifetime. She didn't want it to happen, but the tears flooded out as soon as he said those words. The words that echoed her emotions for the last one year. She kept looking at her hands as she fumbled with them. He came and sat in front of her and cupped her face in his palms. She closed her eyes. " Look at me ". he said softly.
" I love you. A lot. I realised that I love you enough to fight for you.. compromise for you and sacrifice myself for you if need be. I love you enough to miss you incredibly when we are apart, no matter what length of time it is for and regardless of the distance. I love you enough to believe in our relationship , to stand by it through the worst times, to have faith in our strength as a couple and to never give up on us. I love you enough to want to spend the rest of my life with you, be there for you whe you need or want me, and never ever want to leave you or live without you. I love you that much. " Diya shivered as she opened her eyes slowly letting the words sink into each and every cell of her body and taking in the face she loved so much and had yearned for in the past one year. A tear rushed down her cheek at that very moment. His eyes conveyed his truth.
" I promise to love you at 6 am when you wake up in the morning, when your hair is messy and your eyes are sleepy and yet to greet me with a good morning smile . I promise to love you at 8 am when we say good bye to each other for the day and you are rushing out the door with your lipstick, hair brush and car key in one hand, three files in the other , your laptop bag and hand bag dangling on both shoulders each , yet stopping at the door for a moment to tell me you love me. I promise to love you at 6 pm when you are exhausted from the day, and people have worn you out and you feel like giving up and yet your eyes light up as soon as you see me and ask me how my day was. I promise to kiss your forehead then and wrap you in my arms. I promise to love you at 8 pm when we have finished dinner, whether it is one of those exotic dishes you cook from those innumerable recipes on the net or whether it is the pizza delivered home, and you look at me with those big eyes of yours letting me know what is to follow. I promise to love you at 10 pm when we are in bed , a human knot wrapped up in sheets and kisses. I promise to love you at 3 am when you are consumed by unexplained sadness, doubts or confusion, when you want to weep for reasons unknown to you. I will kiss your lips slowly and tell you you are the absolute best and that everything will be fine. " Diya had wanted to hear these words so much. " I will love you when you grow old and I will love you after that. I will love you if I am no longer here too. " he continued. She put her head on his chest and wrapped her arms around him. She had missed this so much. Her Home.
He moved away and looked at her. She found strength to look at him too.
" Diya Rao ...
Marry me. Let's have the church wedding you always wanted.
Marry me. Let's spend our week nights eating chapatis on the floor even though there is a perfectly fine table with chairs behind us. Give me the chance to take you out for movies , every single one , where we sit in the back row and laugh our heads off or cry our hearts out.
Marry me. We will build our tree house as you visioned it. We will paint our walls and get more paint on us than on the walls. I will help you in the kitchen as you attempt those exotic dishes and I taste the delicacy you are and always will be. We can hold hands in public and I will proudly show you off to world. We can go to parties or we can end up drinking wine in the bathtub.
Marry me. Slow dance with me intou our bedroom, with an unmade bed and candles on the nightstand. Give me the chance to wonder at your blah blah after you have had a glass or two of wine or beer and let me love the innocence that is you. Let me satiate my never ending hunger for you with music in the background.
Marry me. Let me love you forever. "
365 days before that day ...
" I can't do this anymore Al. I love you too much. You are the second most important person in my life, second only to Jiya. Do you even know how it used to feel when I am with you ? It used to feel like I am safe. Like no one can hurt me. Your warm enbrace was all I needed to be relaxed. Your muscles around my waist, my body pulled close to yours. The feeling is indescribable. When people say its the best feeling ever, they arent kidding. Because in every moment ,when I am with you when we are sharing body heat, there is no other place I would rather be and no thought crosses my mind that doesn't involve you. When you held me close you , so close I could hear your heart pounding against your form chest, I believed it was beating for me. I believed that heart was mine ... for always forever "
" I feel the same way Diya. " , he countered.
" No you don't Al. If you did, how can you even think of moving away from me and settling with someone your family choses. How can you tell me you will cut off all ties with me, all the memories of the last 2-3 years when you commit to someone you just met briefly before everyone decides you have to marry her. " Diya was hysterical and incosolable. " I know I am wrong for you in so many ways. Society approval is never going to be on our side. But for some time you led me to believe we could have a world of our own. I believed you didn't care what people thought and said. I believed age is just a number when you kept telling me it was so. I believed I could have a happier life.", she whispered.
" We can still have it Diya. Nothing in life is permanent. We do not know how long anything in our life will last. My marriage as decided by the family might or might not happen in the future. I cannot let go of my responsibilities to fulfill my parents dreams and desires. But that doesn't mean we have to give up what we have now. It is beautiful and rare. Let us be together for as long as we can. Don't give up on me now Diya. I love you damn it. ", he explained.
" I am sorry Al. Do you know how it feels when I am with you now ? Everytime I see you I do not see the Al that is mine. I see someone who belongs to someone else and someone I have borrowed. Well not even borrowed, someone I am stealing. I see someone who cannot chose me. I see someone who wants me till he finds someone else. I see myself as a temporary filling in a temporary gap. When I see young girls on the road, in shops, my mind goes haywire thinking one of these young girls could be the one for you. One of these girls will have your ring on their fingers. One of these girls will be your documented partner. You will raise a family with lots of children as you always wanted with one of these girls. You will make love as we made, with one of these girls. You will care for one of these girls as you cared for me. You will build your life and grow old with one of these girls. And do you know what hurts most ... you will do all this without remembering me. You are ready to forget me , erase me off from your life , a chapter not to be revisited when you meet this girl. "
" Don't say such things. ", Al reached out to her.
" It is true Al. I was in wonderland for the last 2-3 years. I refused to look at reality and practicality as what I had with you was what I had wanted all my life. Parts of me have died now ... knowing that inspite of me giving you the best of me, you will still chose someone else. The reasons may be many and genuine. But they do not cover for what I will go through. You have to chose between all your responsibilities, family, your parents, sisters ... Five members on one side and me and the love we have for each other on the other. You have to decide what you will give up and I know what your choice is. I know what you are willing to give up and put in the line of the speeding trolley.", she said sadly.
" I have been planning my escape from my marriage for ever since I can remember. There were times when I thought I was making a mistake. The time I separated friends and family shut me out. I was isolated. I had always been told that women are responsible for holding the family's honour . A woman living alone is a sin. A woman travelling alone is a sin. A woman who gives up on the sacred ness of her marriage in search of her happiness is devil incarnated. When every one around you says you are wrong , that your dreams aren't valid , you start to believe that. When you skateboarded into my life I was in one of those sinkholes. You put out your hand and pulled me up. You didn't have to, yet you did. For a very long time, I didn't understand what your role in my life was. And then gradually your words and actions led me to firmly believe you were my life itself. I believed everything in my life led to you. All my pain, my choices, my regrets. And when we are together nothing mattered anymore, it was all worth it. Because I realised that if I had done one thing differently I would never have met you. "
" Al, I have put you up on a very high pedestal. The last 2-3 years have been the best in my life. I can live with the memories of those years for the rest of my life. I can accept that you changed, life happened to you while I made plans for us in wonderland. I can crash land back to Earth now. But what I cannot bear is the thought that you kept me with you only because I was available. I was convenient. I wasn't going to hold you to any commitment. It kills to know I can never be your choice for life. I do not want to have any sort of negative feelings about you or us at any point of time. Right now I feel like I am on that out of control trolley. I know it is going to crash land somehwere and I have to chose between staying in the trolley and crashing or hurt myself trying to jump out of it. Its a no win situation either way. I lose either way. I have to chose ... and I chose to jump now rather than prolong the agony."
" Sometimes Al , Love just isn't enough " , Diya slowly let go of the hand that held her and walked away.
( This is my entry for Week 9 of LJ Idol. The prompt given to us " Trolley Trouble" As always concrits and comments are always appreciated )