Nob had come back from his weekend trip in Manali with Magic mushrooms. That, the whiskey, and after wiping off Nob’s remaining vodka, I lay on the bare floor, staring at the dim green bulb in Sammy’s room. Sammy- D and Nob’s best friend, who had become an integral part of the classic rock resounding dark evenings, and had been a silent spectator to Jahan and Nob’s torrential love story and its catastrophic ending, to D and my unconventional match, our growing into each other until when someone saw either one of us they instantly asked about the other. And he was also the first one to notice us growing out of each other, “It’s really easy to tell when D and Trina are fighting. Watch them closely, if you see them talking to each other, it means they’re fighting!” Sammy had joked, but it wasn’t really untrue.
Surrounded by that green light, my eyes were too fuzzy to focus on anything, my head was weighing down on me, my body was heavy as lead and refused to move. I closed my eyes and felt that familiar feeling of falling into a black hole.
A few weeks after we started going out I was leaving for a month to go back-packing across South-East Asia. “You should give me something to remember you by,” I had jokingly said, trying to make him jealous with the thought of all the cute Thai men I would meet on my trip.
The night before I was to leave we were sitting in St. Paul’s Cathedral, silently staring at the sun setting through the painted glass arches, holding hands under the pews. When we were walking out through the avenue of birch trees leading out of the church, he held me back by my wrist, asked me to close my eyes, and there with the moonlight streaming in through the bowing birch branches, in front of the white church with its ruby and emerald and sapphire tinted windows, he kissed me for the first time, and whispered, “Will that be something you’ll remember me for?” Always, forever always.
“Achhoo! Achhoo! Achhoo!
My baby’s got a bout of the flu?
Get better soon and don’t you cry,
Because if anything happens to you I will die.”
Pope and Blake would’ve killed themselves if they saw that described as poetry. But it cured me! I had smiled like an idiot for so long that I forgot to cough and sneeze.
He wanted to buy a silver Ford. He had had it as a child in Bahrain when he was still living the dream. His father wouldn’t let him drive it because he was only 15 at the time. It had always remained his dream car.
“When I get my silver Ford, I want you to be the one sitting next to me on the passenger seat, driving into a dark desert highway,” he said.
“You’ll be married by the time you get your silver Ford,” I observed. “Won’t your wife mind if I’m the one sitting in your passenger seat on that long drive?”
“Why would my wife mind sitting next to me and driving into the distance? I don’t make for that bad company!”
That’s how it had come- the proposal. He had never exactly asked, there was no ring or down-on-the-knees profession, but I never doubted my answer. Yes! Yes! Yes!
As I lay there stoned and drunk, I wondered when the magic of the kiss became a formality before saying good-bye, when the excitement of meeting each other died and he didn’t even feel like getting out of bed to catch the matinee with me. When did our 5 hour long conversations get reduced to monosyllabic answers to mundane questions? Dunno. Fine. Yeah. Somewhere, sometime in the 3 years, our poetry had become prose run mad. I couldn’t remember when. I didn’t realise it at all. It passed me by and I never saw it.