Tuesday, December 19, 2006

First Love

She was on the Executive from Trivandrum to Ernakulam. It was raining when the train pulled in at the Kollam station. She rubbed the glass of her window pane in an effort to see the outside better. She stared at the dirt on her palms and felt the return of innocence. The innocence of the love they once shared. "It's been so many years now and I can still feel that strange tug at my heart."

The train would leave in a few minutes and take her from the place that had known them and their love. She got out. Looking around, she saw the shuttle on the other platform. A scene from the past flashed into her mind. He was running towards the shuttle with a bag in each hand; she was leaning out of the door; the train had started moving. She urged him on with all her will; she panted from the strain when he finally threw the bags in and climbed in next to her. They laughed a lot that day. They couldn’t unlock their eyes from each other's during that whole journey and her heart beat faster now thinking about it, just as it had then.

It was he who knew it first; that it existed. She was afraid to love. But she trusted him with all her heart and when he asked her to love him, she simply did.

One morning they came early to the station and she wanted to walk on the tracks. She held his hand and walked as one would on a tight rope. He kept looking around and saying "Enough! Someone might see us." He had a macho image to protect and couldn’t be seen with a giggling girl walking on the tracks. She almost laughed out loud thinking about that. And when she reached under the railway bridge, he told her about the night he and his friends had pissed on the tracks from the bridge overhead. She had found it so brave and boyish. How she loved him… for everything!

She saw the graffiti on the walls. It was the same! It hurt to see that the wall could stay the same after all these years while he was so beyond reach.

He never bought her any gifts. He never sent her cards or love letters. He said he was afraid of what would happen if their forever wasn't really forever. She, on the other hand, showered him with surprises; she planned till the end of her life with him; French windows for their living room and names for their babies. But ultimately, he turned out to be right.

Her room mate had told her one day that she was tossing her head and saying his name in her sleep. That was the night after she saw him talking to Soumya for a long time. He loves me, she was sure; but why did he have to talk to her for so long… He laughed when she asked him if he would ever have extra-marital affairs after their marriage. He told her she was being silly. He looked at the bow-tied front of her dress and told her to go in and change into something less revealing. She could still feel the mortification. Oh! the love!

Even now, when she talked to herself when she was agitated or angry, she would go "Bala, I wish I didn’t leave things for the last minute always." It was a habit from the days of their love; from the days she believed in dreams and in the immortality of youth.

The railway speakers announced the departure of the train. She got back in. After so many years she had allowed herself to think about him. Her eyes looked around for some comfort. But she knew it now; the loss and how much it mattered. She didn’t want to forget. And she did not cry.

- Aval


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, this is so wow.. This post is like your peach churidar. No major jazz, but so cool

19 December, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very good flow, nicely written, makes you feel nostalgic. as good as watching gone with the wind. good work

19 December, 2006  

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