I had convinced my heart that there will never be heartache again. I am well beyond the point in life where I will let another person hurt me deeply and affect my solitude. I find good people, make great friends and keep my heart stowed away safely. I have deep meaningful conversations with amazing people, work with brilliant minds, play with innocent hands and hold the frail ones. My life is beautiful and complete. I do not need an amiable stranger ruining the calm I have finally managed to bring to my ocean. I work long hours, volunteer to humanistic causes, pay my debt to God, family and society and sleep like a baby at night. I write poetry as well and keep the passionate pieces in my little pink book and share the less crazy ones with friends and my followers, get good compliments, some very thought provoking dialogues and I am satiated. I have everything I love with me, with the reins of my life in the hands I trust would never let me down, who have my best interest at heart; my own hands. I am a very wise girl now. Or so I thought.
Then I met you. The well balanced, soft spoken, private man with a beautiful life of your own. The first time we met, I felt a ripple in my soul. I looked at you and found nothing out of the ordinary. You could be any guy next door. Excellent physician, good person and a random chance acquaintance. I was not looking and you were not the one if even I started looking. Looks are deceiving; had you been like anyone else I had known in my life, I would have had my guard up. I would have been more cautious and less trusting. I guess since there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, I didn’t see the storm coming. That makes the two of us. We met socially once and forgot about each other for months. I made some major changes in my life and moved closer to you. I dropped by as a social curtesy at work. And that was it. Nothing happened. You were nice and I was thankful for your civility. I kept a graceful distance with a senior colleague whom I will not be seeing at all. Maybe say hello when we pass by each other in the corridors of the hospital or a random chance encounter in the parking lot. My head was still not turned. I was the way I like to be, safe and stable. My head in control of my very irrational heart. All I want from life is a reasonable life partner and have kids whom I can love with all of my heart.
Several months went by with a few occasional meetings and random conversations about work and people we know. I was touched by your thoughtfulness on multiple occasions and I thought that was part of your caring, paternalistic mannerism. You are a sensible and sensitive person. I had been socially isolated for a little while and one day we talked more than usual. I found deeper wisdom and kindness than I am used to finding in people and I thought you would be a good friend. A safe person to trust and be with while life goes on as usual. We started talking about more personal experiences and texting more than routine social niceties. I liked your company and found the conversations very intelligent and entertaining. We had the capacity to change gears from professional matters to politics, religion and international affairs without any discomfort. Our communication was impeccable from day one but with the reservations removed and this new comfort zone, there was no bounds to our benevolence. I was still having trouble asking for any favors at all with the fear of tainting the possibility of a good friendship with mundane needs. I did not want to be viewed as a damsel in distress and jeopardize our equal footing as friends and colleagues. Social graces aside, in a platonic relationship, my being a girl should not get me any additional favors than one would expect from a same gender friend. Needless to say, your chivalry and gentleman’s mannerisms did not go unnoticed. We talked, we texted but the meetings were still few and far between. Often, as I walked past your office I felt the urge to drop by but would reprimand myself and keep a safe perimeter where your social curtesy is not taxed by my need of good company. I refused lunches and meet ups for the same reason. I believe fools rush in where angels fear to tread. If you like what you have, never rush towards it, you may lose it all together. I knew my head is always right!
And then we come to the last couple months. We started swaying a little. Maybe it was the euphoria of a new found friendship where one feels free and boundless. You can be who you are without fear of being judged or embarrassed. You feel safe with someone and just forget that swimmers drown more frequently because they feel safe in the water more often. You went through a major loss in life and I found myself consoling you. Moved by your kindness, I felt I owed you the support to grieve at such a hard time. I communicated more often knowing it is harder for strong men to grieve with their families as they have this façade of strength they are shackled with. You were yielding and craving for that consolation. I am a mother goose at heart and if I’m needed I stay to nurture. Our verbiage changed and we started texting more informally than before. My head started wagging a warning finger at me long before my heart realized where this was going. I continued texting but refused to meet for a while always with a perfectly valid excuse at hand. I had started paying more attention to little details about you in our last few encounters and was shocked when one night I woke from a vivid dream. I told you I had a dream about you but did not share the details saying it was classified. We were together in a very passionate moment and I woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat; ecstatic and terrified at the same time. I stayed up that night and had a long chat with my heart. Somewhere in all the commonplace conversations we had opened a Pandora’s box of chemistry that we both had buried deeply long ago. It needed to be put to rest again, neither of us afford a roller coaster ride at this point in life.
I was still under the impression that you were completely unaware of my newfound feelings. I wanted it to stay that way. You were more thoughtful and communicative every day and I thought it was because you appreciated my support. Then one day you invited me to your home for dinner. I was petrified and almost declined the offer. I know my heart and when it is about to go on a wild goose chase I usually run as fast as I can in the opposite direction. I wanted to run away that day. I took extra time dressing up worrying I had nothing to wear among an infinite collection of clothes that I usually love. I drove around your home for a while thinking of some excuse to not show up but then I realized I wasn’t the only guest and my fear dissipated. I was one guest in a large dinner gathering and that meant no one would notice my agony. We barely saw each other that night, but when I did I averted my eyes and tried very hard to not have more than a civil conversation. It was only later that I realized you were going through the same dilemma. I could sense being watched and I saw you wander in and out of view several times. Later you said I was looking beautiful in black and my heart stopped. There were so many people there, we never sat down to a conversation and you remembered what I was wearing. You had to be watching. The rest was downhill for my heart and uphill for my head.
I found some pictures of you online, and tried to convince myself how your life is perfect without me and I need to disappear before this turns into something we both might regret. Every time I had a moment to myself, I ended up wanting to see your face just one more time. I love your eyes, they are kind and wise. I love your smile, it is so endearing. I know I am not a teenager, I don’t get smitten by anybody and you are no prince charming. But then, there was my heart being an idiot on its own time with no hope of paying any heed to my desperate calls for sanity. I thought okay, the giddiness and euphoria of love is back. It’s all right as long as everything remains between my heart and my head; no one will be hurt and I will smile a little bit more until this phase passes and we are just friends again. Your texts with suggestive jokes and affectionate nuances was adding fuel to fire. I knew we are both sensible and there will never be anything more than a little playfulness. As long as you are unaware of what is going on in my head and heart we will be fine. But then, you were always available, always checking on me, thoughtful in the smallest ways, so willing to drop by, go places, stay and talk for long conversations in the middle of very busy days. I needed that company and attention, we have excellent chemistry and deep understanding of each other’s needs. I let my senses ravish in the flood of feelings. You were a long awaited rain shower in the middle of the desert. I could not have welcomed or appreciated anything more than this. I loved every moment of it. My head disagreed only to the part where there was no future for us except an imminent heart ache. I was jumping off a cliff and the view was spectacular!
Then one day you came to meet me at my home. My heart was beating like a locomotive. I felt like a child out of her mind with joy and agony. I could not breathe, could not think or function at that level of stress. I had earlier cut myself in my jitteriness. But when you entered my abode, I composed myself and entertained you like any other friend. I switched on the news on television so that you could not hear the thunder of my heartbeat. I thought this will be catharsis for my soul and I will overcome this insane infatuation. Everything went well except you would not look at me at all. You kept watching the news. I looked at your silhouette against my living room window and smiled. The love, chemistry and intense emotions were all in my over active imagination, there is nothing here. When I told you I had hurt myself I saw immense worry and pain on your face. I loved that concern and thanked God you did not know how or why I was hurt. You were a priceless friend whose trust I cannot afford to jeopardize. We talked like two strangers forced to socialize and I wondered if the person who texts me all day is someone else. I was relieved as my own heartbeat stabilized and I finally shook my head at my very silly heart. I am a silly poet at the end of the day, daydreaming over every breeze, flower and butterfly. I am a fool at heart. After you left, I turned on some light music, washed the dishes and talked my heart out of these insane musings. We are good friends who will become very obnoxious and clumsy if we ever dare to stumble onto romance. This was the end of it. My heart agreed.
And then your messages began to change. More endearing, romantic and suggestive. Talking of love and romance, teasing, flirting and playing. Talking of dreams, longings and yearnings. I was completely confused. Unsure if you sensed my feelings and were teasing me or were the sentiments mutual. I played along; sometimes cautious, sometimes candid, laughing over small anecdotes, sharing jokes, just enjoying the ride, with the hope that this euphoria will last forever. I still had the mental resilience to let go and walk away as one would of any game no matter how entertaining. One day we decided to go out for lunch, as usual I was unable to enjoy a meal, my natural shyness overriding every time I have gone out with you to eat. We decided to drive around for a bit, listening to music. I found out we loved the same songs and vocalist. The drive was transformed in a strange bonding where I remembered old songs I had not listened to for a long time and ravishing in the moments of shared silence, companionship and laughter. Neither of us wanted to turn back but then you took me back to work saying, welcome to reality and drove away. I spent the rest of the day in a daze. My head was numb, unable to process what just happened. Did we just connect and realize that there was a possibility of us being together? I know that was not possible, but then did I really know what was going on in your life? I was confused but elated. My heart was ecstatic. I was on cloud nine floating in immeasurable happiness. Every time I had a doubt in my head, you sent an endearing message and my heart would smile. We were both playing with fire and loving it.
And then the day before yesterday. I was missing you so much. We had talked about what we loved and wanted to do and how we will share everything we loved one by one. We still hadn’t enjoyed rain together and we both love it. I tried to focus my mind on something else but I could not. I kept wanting to meet you but the fear of the unknown was exponential. It was raining hard and after hours of walking alone in the rain you asked if I wanted you to come and see me. I said yes and I thought you would decline. My clothes were drenched from the rain and my hair was wet. You said you’ll be there in twenty minutes and I rushed back home to change my dress and dry my hair. I barely switched on the television and you were there. We talked and laughed for a while. You came at the slightest suggestion but started watching tv again. I reprimanded you this time and said why can’t we have conversations that we have on text face to face. We started talking and I said I don’t understand our chemistry. You leaned over me with your face next to mine, eyes almost touching my lashes and lips so close I could feel your breath. You said, ‘you understand our chemistry”. I melted at that moment, I had no strength of mind, heart or body left as I heard your words. You love me too, you feel it too. I could not have cared less if I walked off the cliff at that moment and my life ended. It was music to my ears. I thought you were going to kiss me, I badly wanted you to. My hands were aching to hold you. That moment lasted forever but then you slid away from me. I could not hear your words over the thunder of my heart beat, I could not find my voice. It was a fleeting moment that passed and then fear gripped me as you went on to say how nothing was possible between us.
Emotional lability is a force to be reckoned with. I did not sum up the situation at all, it seemed like you wanted to be with me, primed me to that moment, only to walk away. This time I came closer, held your hand and tried to make myself understand what just happened. That was when I realized that you have been facing the same trial and tribulation that I have been tortured with ever since we came closer. We have this immense priceless chemistry that our life has no room for. We sat there holding hands, knowing that one misstep will take away the only chance we have of being with each other as friends. We were both burning with desire, trying to rationalize our feelings. Finally you had the strength to leave and I let you go. You said if I asked you to stay you will no longer be able to hold back and then there will be nothing left to salvage. As you walked out of my door my heart shattered at my feet, you turned back and asked if you should go. I said I am at the last straw, hugged you and asked you to leave, knowing that if we stay together tonight, we will never be friends again and there is no hope of anything else as well.
I felt like every goodbye I had ever heard was being said at the same time. My heart was ripped in my chest. It hurt so unbelievably badly that I spent the next few hours sitting by the door unable to process a single thought, tears streaming down my face and neck till my dress was soaked. Heartache took on a new meaning. It was not the raw, sore, achy feeling in the chest that made you sad. It was physical pain that did not let you breathe. I did not know love was capable of hurting so badly. I did not know I was in love. We have been texting again, more wisely, less frequently. But now I am not telling you how I feel. I’m hiding my pain and feelings. I feel like I have made a complete fool of myself with the only saving grace that you do not know the depth of my sorrow. It’s been two days since, I have not had a full meal or a good night’s sleep. My eyes are sore and blood shot from incessant crying. I have not been able to think through anything that has happened since we met. I’ve been trying to mimic normalcy as I come to work, nibble some food and dose off for a bit at night. I am still mourning you deeply, I’m still trying to understand the loss of something I never thought I had. There should have been a transition between knowing I was loved and losing that love. There was none. For the first time in my life I feel repulsed at my heart’s imprudence. Right now I need a shoulder to cry on and you are my only friend in town. So I have no one to console me in this hard time. It has been raining tonight and I have been sitting in the rain at night, letting my tears be washed away as I watch the night sky, looking for an omnipotent who sent this misery for me. I spent my entire life searching the universe for someone who shares my wisdom, passion, strength and vulnerability; I found that chemistry and compatibility in you. All that faith, endurance and commitment ended in a flame that flickered for a fleeting moment but never burnt before it was extinguished. And yet my heart is scorched.