If Only


I am not sure I fully comprehend the reason for penning this. While I’m still trying to mend my way through this webbed cornucopia, I think it’s best I (help you) trace the source that started this mess inside my head, in the first place. You see, I was talking to one of my friends a few days back. I had lost touch with him, as I have with many others. But then, commitment and keeping up is not really my thing, for I belong to the out-of-sight-out-of-mind genre. I know I don’t need to reiterate this to someone who, once upon a time, could fathom me like an X-ray without much of an effort from my side. Anyhow, this friend and I managed to strike a chord despite the gap that seemed like another lifetime. I really believe there are two kinds of people, friends rather. The first set are the bygones where touch once lost is grim to redeem. No matter how hard either side tries, the minimal babbling is usually followed with an unsettling silence. Clearly, the slate of spark between the two is wiped clean; this could also be an indication of their progressively ceasing equation. Threads that can be picked up at a moment’s notice from the point it was left last at, is the other set. The last conversation between the two may seem like the one that happened only yesterday, when in reality, their worlds may have turned upside down in the span they were separated. This friend whom I spoke with, fell into the latter of the categories as we landed up bantering for more than two hours! Now I’m only too well aware about how uncomfortable this can make you feel, but relax. He is a great friend, never more.

As much as it felt good reliving memories of our companionship, what also came alive with it was the city I once resided in. The city where I had met some of the best people I know exist on this planet. The city that has been ever so warm and friendly to me. The city that accepted me for what I was, without me having to don a mask. The city where I felt the first pangs of something more than an infatuation. The city where I met you. When I left, I intently decided to leave my memories to it as a homage. May be I wanted to forget all about it in time. To chase it back voluntarily is one, but not in the least did it occur to me that the nostalgia would hit when I least expected. For this conversation with my friend reeled alive the workplace where I first saw you. And I could only wonder, how is it that I hadn’t met you earlier? Those eyes that literally reduced to slits when you held that ear-to-ear grin of yours. How do you think that wasn’t enough to make me go weak in my knees? I had to stand on my tippy toes to reach your chest. How I would whine for you to grab a chair to sit and speak (while I stood), or complain of that neck pain because I had to look so far up to see you! How do you think I could resist myself from not swooping on you every time I knew those arms could encase me at a second’s notice? Remember that piggyback when I sprung up on you by surprise? Did you really take that long figure it out? Did you really not realize that you had me at that first ever, signature, ear-crackling smile of yours? May be you did. May be that’s why you took to showing me around the city through your eyes.

Had it not been for you, I would have never believed that such spots exist in the city I had called home for a couple of years. I remember of the constant stream of information you kept flowing, of the places we visited – a park, a hillside viewpoint, and I think even a dome-lit structure of some sorts. I could hold your arms and walk alongside you amidst those blissfully-absent premonitions of mine. Did you think I really registered any of your unwavering pep talks, when at that very moment I was fighting long and hard with my id to not kiss you? Do you know which outing of ours is my favorite? The day you wore your khakis with that jade blue t-shirt – oh, you looked so good! I cannot forget the time we spent at the seaside. The frown that creased your forehead, every time you thought I was going to talk about someone not treating me nicely. Those unreservedly round, skeptical eyes you had, every time I told you about my friends that I caught up with. That little flare on your face, when you wanted to feel slightly more secured about me. Those reduced slits of your wide eyes, every time I spoke to you, about you. How you told me once that with your so-called ‘savings scheme’, a daily burger at McDonald’s was a costly affair. How you preferred to keep things simple. The time when you picked me forty kilometers outside the city, when my pre-booked transport failed to turn up. The times you had postponed a client appointment, just to extend our little rendezvous by five more minutes. The times your hands itched to punch someone just because they were an inch too close to me – did you know which, by the way, was all right by me? If I knew how to get you pissed, I also knew of ways to bring back my favorite smile.

If only, we could have made this happen. If only, we could have made us happen. The walk towards and away from you was factor enough to decide the amount of control I possessed. While the walk towards was the sugar to my pudding, the walk away was no less than the soot at the pit of the bowl. Even if we stood two feet away. I had to bring in every ounce of self-restrain to stop my heart from pounding, from rushing on to you, or from holding myself in time from gripping your hand. Just because you belonged somewhere else already.

It’s only unfortunate that we didn’t get to meet earlier. For I would never have once let you out of sight, or out of mind.