There was something overwhelmingly disappointing about the movement of the sun that day, or perhaps it was the movement of the clouds, enshrouding the sun like a mother protecting her son from evil eyes. He stayed atop his bed, struggling with his breaths, taking turns between his sides, and this continued for long, for almost an hour, and then he finally made his way towards the balcony. It was supposed to be a balmy day, but then the things in his life, especially this year, were not particularly going the way they should have.
The balcony towards the left of his building opened to the vast stretches of naked land except for a few trees that seemed to adorn it. A rarity in the city that he lived in, where naked lands were soon claimed upon, dug, and transformed into multi-storied buildings. From the distance, and till where his vision permitted him to, he scanned the land, like a beacon, and saw a couple beneath one of the trees, their bike parked at some distance. A tryst. His younger self would have been, perhaps, curious about their hands, but romantic rendezvous like this no longer entertained him now, neither did anything belonging to his body moved at the mere anticipation of amorous actions that happened during such meets. His room-partner, who was movie buff and had thought that apartments facing each other had a lot more to offer the residents of the opposite building than the mere dumps of garbage, had bought a binocular, which after a few futile attempts at the opposite buildings was never used again and was still hanging inside the room by the window. But he had never used it in the past, and not even now when he lived alone after the room partner had moved out. And it was not out of the feeling of iniquity, but simply because it no longer interested him. He had had his share of stories. Stories, which were all alike in the beginnings and the endings, and only differed in what befell in between. Stories that were his life.
He stood there on the balcony for some more time, now looking in a direction different from that of the couple’s, and stared at a bird circumambulating a tree, and in what might have been a few minutes his thoughts shifted to her. Last he had checked with his heart, both he and his heart hated her. But still the thoughts, about the time when they were together, would surface in the ocean of memories his brain had hoarded, and whenever he thought about her, his thoughts, after some time, would invariably move on to the other girl from his college, and then the two girls became one, convincing him that looking back at ones failed relationships, a man sees only silhouettes – of the girls he had been with, of their ghosts, and in some more time his thoughts strayed on to someone else in general, and soon he was thinking about the black hole, and then about the apocalypse that would bring an end to all of this torment, but his brain always returned back on to her thoughts and stayed like that. Leaving him numb. Like a person in love. Notwithstanding his heartbrokenness, and the fact that he wasn’t in Love, not with any other living person at least.
He had learned everything about Love and Loss in those three months. Yes, everything. And yes, for him, it was that quick. And when it had all happened, starting with the ‘NOs’, followed by the first ‘YES’, which were followed by a few reluctant ‘NOs’ to his amorous requests, and then the ‘YESes’ for everything and anything he had wanted, followed by a brief period of togetherness, that followed by a sudden ‘BYE’, and finally the loneliness that ultimately befalls everyone at one point in their lives or the other. And when all of this had happened, especially so quickly, it all felt like a dream. A dream of betrayal that slaughtered all the love he had in his heart, incapacitating him of loving anyone anymore.
The first month was full of chasings. Of hopes and lusts alike. He had wanted to be with her in the public as much as he had wanted to hold her in private and rip everything between them off.
The sex. The ultimate expression of a human being’s love to another. Yes, the sex was just as important as her hairs, to tell her that she belonged to him alone, to show her that he had everything in him to satiate her, to tell her that he had bared before her not just his body but his soul, and to tell her that…. well, forget about it.
Her hairs. He loved her hairs and the shapes she used to make with them, like an artist of a rare genius. He’d watch her play with the strands. At times asking her if she’d let them lose when they were tied, and whenever she yielded, those moments marked his victory and turned him ecstatic.
Now. She was gone, and off with her had gone her hairs. And he missed her. Of course, he missed having sex too. But this was all long back when he used to believe in Love and believed in all what their togetherness implied. He was somewhere around 28 then.
The second month was more like the time during which every relationship takes to build what the world calls the trust. He doesn’t like to think of that phase now. This phase, in every relationship, he thinks, is the most bullshit part of any relationship, for if you give it some thought it’d come to you that there is, in fact, no such phase. Either a person is bound to stay with you forever, without promises and without this buffer period, or they are bound to falter, sooner or later. You can just wait. And keep on loving them. You can just hope. And keep on living with them.
The third month taught him the hardest lesson of his life. Loneliness. Sitting alone in the room, he’d remember the smell of her hairs, visualise her knotting them above her head, and listen to her voices.
The voice. The soothing voice that over the late night calls used to sing songs for him that the recorded and the paid voices could never match, and that when pronounced his name made such a strong urge in him to cross every damn border between them and reach out to her, hug her, kiss her, remove every last thing between them. And for a few months after she left, he used to shiver at these thoughts. He began walking on random streets at odd hours. There was no end to his walking just like there was no end to the thoughts.
Now. At 34. Though he is still sceptical about people in general, he is sure of one thing. He is convinced of the fact that the people might be of many kinds but the days were of only two types, the first type included the days on which a person can tidy his table and the second were the ones on which he keeps lying in his bed, staring at the table from some distance, and just keeps thinking about cleaning it.
He makes his way back into the room now and makes his way towards the table. Can’t these types be changed as per one’s will? Can’t a table be cleaned at one’s own volition? These questions, which had once been there, have also been clarified and answered now, and both screamed in negation, in big ‘NOs’. It was also established, like a matter of fact, that there was no control of man on himself when it comes to cleaning his table, and that tidying one’s table was related as much to a person’s state of mind as it did on his state of heart and being. All cleaned tables reflected happy souls. Each messy table provided with some food for thought on its owner’s predicament.
And he knew that he was in deep shit when he started confusing bad relationships with dirty tables.
PS: The picture has been downloaded from google.com.