Having chanced upon that inevitable question, that every morning ‘what do I wear’ crisis, she kept on staring at her wardrobe of a zillion ‘I’ll wear it when I slim down’ dresses. As she was digging for gold in her nose, she came across a white cotton noodle strap dress. The only obstacle that stood between her and that pretty dress was the dense underarms hair she’s been affectionately growing. So she decided against it and settled for her usual checkered shirt and hydrophobic jeans. She’s meeting him today. After almost 4 years. Despite his relentless insistence, she chose a restaurant for their meeting, not his or her apartment. And when it’s a restaurant, a restaurant in Kerala in particular, chances are, a smoochin-woochin session is highly unlikely to trigger. So that’s taken care of. For some reason unknown, she was not feeling up to it. And seeing herself in the mirror, she was certain even he wouldn’t feel like doing it. Her kohl has lost its charm, her boobs started sagging and her curves were getting straightened. She remembered those times when she wished if he had just fondled her hair rather than fiddling with her round, delicate boobs. Not that she never liked the latter. She was under the wrong impression that at 19, she’s too young for it. But she knew if he had to choose between her and her boobs, on any given day he would go for her boobs. What better could she expect from a man 12 years elder? It was either that tiny brown mole on her left boob, just below the armpit or the green veins that were distinctly visible through her wheatish skin, like skeleton fork ferns through water, under the yellowish light in his bedroom, which got him obsessed. She also remembered that moist April night she spent wondering, while traces of him dripping down through her thighs, if the ‘I love you’ he whispered as he entered her for the first and last time was just booze talk or the fact.
She’s been told that she tastes like revolution, told who, she doesn’t remember. Was it him?
I, the author would like to intervene here. It was him, undoubtedly. She remembers it too. She clearly doesn’t seem like a girl who fools around with various men; I think she’s just trying to be hep. Thanks to the onslaught of Cosmopolitan and MTV, these days, girls think it’s sooow cooohl to make out with random guys and be this loose, I-can-get-whatever-I-want kinda girl. Wish they knew what they’re doing.
And he, he was the guy every mom warned their daughters about while seconds later, they would be seen shamelessly flirting with him. She wanted to know if it was love or sex. She was young and thought it was alcohol, weeds & Enrique Iglesias. Surprisingly it wasn’t any of them. Neither was it the secrecy of their relationship nor the you-and-me-against-the-whole-world feeling. Not even the pleasure of snatching away someone else’s belonging or the pride of winning over a ladies’ man. It was pure, unadulterated love for she loved his wife and kid too and wanted them to have the happily ever after end. Moreover, it was that pic of him on his laptop, anxiously waiting outside Labour Room, being the typical family man, which got her addicted to him. It should’ve been that hazy evening when he stormed out of the conference room after a meeting, only to return 5 seconds later to tell her “I’m flirting with you, if you don’t like it temme, I wouldn’t then” in front of their G.M & every staff present there, leaving her pale and frozen. But strange, it wasn’t. Perhaps,
Perhaps is a word too posh for her, but I’m still using it.
Perhaps, it is just the fact that apart from the men in her family, he is the only man she’s seen without salt-rimmed patches of dried-up perspiration in the underarm regions of his shirts & t-shirts. Perhaps.
Yea, that is it. It can’t be love for all I know. Duh! Pure unadulterated love it seems!
The fact that in 6 months old relationship, they’ve gotten physical only thrice, left her even more confused. They frequented coffee shops, restaurants and pubs but never bed.
And all the 3 times, it was ‘talk more, do less’ making out. He would make her laugh with ‘It’s too hot in here or is it you’ kinda corny pickup lines. They would sit in his balcony, with a pint of vodka, her head leaning softly on his chest, his left arm wrapped close around that 24 inch waist of hers. The second night was spent mostly watching India vs. Australia Cricket Live, sitting on his couch, coochie cooing and canoodling during commercials.
Yep, heard me right. Only during commercials! Talk about well charted out lovemaking.
She vividly remembers the next morning, when he was feeling lazy to wake up and made her curl up with him, pulling her close and tugging her, girly chocolate hand in ruggedly masculine hand. Never had she felt so contented, so happy before as she stroked those short hair strands on his hand, her eyes wide open. His wife and son were away for months and still just 3 nights? Maybe it’s because she wasn’t particularly pretty or hot to turn him on so much. Hadn’t it been for her multi-ethnic looks, she could’ve been easily mistaken for just another face in the crowd, which she isn’t anyway. Heck, she wasn’t even half as beautiful as his wife. And on one occasion, having spotted his wife’s stilettos and expensive lingerie she could tell how pretty she is.
FYI, she has an acquired skill to determine one’s beauty from their intimate belongings.
And the photographs of his wife only stood testimony to this skill. If at all anything turned him on, it was her petite body. On the first two nights, she remembered, he had to go to loo to jack off, since she din’t want to do it and he din’t want to force her. But on the third night, when she decided after a lot of thinking, she’ll do it for they’ve decided it’s their last meeting, nothing could stop him. A lot of things would’ve stopped her, but fortunately or unfortunately she was high from a few pegs of vodka. Her constant gut feeling that he’s just using her for one, thanks to all the assholes from her past who mistreated her. Another was her strong suspicion that he’s dating multiple women. With all those women throwing themselves at him, chances were more and she din’t want to be just one among many. She wanted to be the only one. Well, apart from his wife. And every time she confronted him with her doubts, he laughed it off saying “I can have any girl I want, but you, you are different, I like you a lot” and for some reason she din’t find it satisfactory. She was looking for signs. Signs that are self-explanatory, but never found any. However none of these stopped her. Partly because he she was high, predominantly because she loved him. She thought it would be an extreme loss, if she din’t know him entirely, if they din’t become one entity, at least once.
I think I might throw up. Yuck. She was too Harlequin or Mills & Boons that way. But thankfully, not Yash Raj.
Later that night before hitting bed, they talked a lot. He patted her flat tummy and told her to eat well. At that moment, she hated herself for calling him continuously when he was at the railway station to see off his wife and son, and for making him pick the call and plead “Please, I’m with my wife”. And when he slid off to deep sleep, she had mixed feelings, of happiness, of loss, of things she couldn’t identify. She felt void. Something that was there in her tight grip was slipping away. To an unreachable distance. She wanted to be away from this plastic surface she keeps on scratching without ever finding anything underneath. Her thoughts went 3 hours back. His eyes widened upon seeing her bare, up close, as if he couldn’t believe behind that boyish exterior she was hiding so much, so much of curves and turns and so much of femininity. Oven hot kisses were planted all over her, leaving no inch unkissed. And it was still burning all over. At that instant, she slowly took off his left hand resting on her bare belly. And noticed that a few lucky charms on her copper hip chain were missing, along with the black thread anklet worn on her right leg which has oxidized silver coffee bean shaped beads with tiny multicolored glass beads intertwined. She panicked, what if his wife finds them when she comes back. She wanted to search, but since he’s sleeping, din’t want to turn on the light.
*Yawn yawn* She did find her anklet next morning, but couldn’t find those lucky charms. And his wife never found them. Enough? Now can we get back to the present?
If her smell-sensing abilities served her right, he used to smell of Calvin Klein Escape. He smells different now, a Hugo Boss sorta fragrance. It reminded her that, early in the morning when she took shower with shea butter shower gel and vanilla bathing salt and carefully applied cocoa butter moisturizer allover her body after shower she wanted him to remember her for that smell, forever. Except for the smell, he hasn’t changed one bit in 4 years. His eyes dazzling the shit out of her. Nose up in the air. His moves, oozing confidence, full-on-attitude with a hunky-dory aura, shouting style and hotness written all over him. The right juxtaposition of sophistication and ease. Never at a loss of words, never watching his words. Just that his unmistakable Hindi was making its way into the conversation unconsciously at indefinite intervals. Well dressed to the core, as always. The picture of his wardrobe of tweed jackets, plaid shirts, Jack Spade chinos, textured & striped ties, grey sport coats, GAP t-shirts, silver tie clips, jumpers, suede shoes and designer cufflinks came to her mind. It was his years in different continents and countries that inherited him such a drool-worthy wardrobe. She would’ve stood for at least an hour in awe at the sight of it.
P.S: She is more into stripes and checks than polka dots and florals. As a child, unlike others, the first thing she donned was her dad’s blazer, not her mom’s saree. So you can imagine.
As he greeted her with a hug, she din’t experience the much expected chill. No heartbeats marathon either. Neither butterflies in the stomach nor weakness at the knees. She was happy to see that he still ogles women and stops his car every now and then for people waiting to cross the road. When they sat down for lunch he told her she hasn’t changed much. His exact words were “ I was expecting worse. Why can’t you take care of your skin. You are a girl. Girls are supposed to dress up….yada yada…” To which she replied “I’ve put on Kohl” accompanied by a sheepish grin. He had a wide smile and remarked “ You still sound like a little girl”. She likes it when he talks like this. When he sounds concerned and she being his little girl. She even considered the possibility of her dressing down being a deliberate attempt to hear him talking this way. At times, she’s naughty like that. Once, when she was having Cornetto, in her usual self-absorbed, savaged way, eyes closed, chocolate cream smeared around her lips, watching her, he had a hard time
Pardon the pun.
holding himself back from kissing her. Knowing what’s happening to him, she transformed her Cornetto-consuming to an undeniably suggestive art making ‘uuuhmmm’ ‘aaah’ sounds.
Why am I even talking about this???* Shrugging shoulders*
Her biggest fear was seeing the strongest, manliest and coolest of men being vulnerable because she might lose herself to them. Irrecoverably. She’s seen them being vulnerable for cars, bikes, games, gadgets, new books and mostly for love. And this guy, to put it in her way, wasn’t even the ‘V’ of vulnerable. Probably that’s what made her fall for him lickety split.
Don’t mind. I’m just showing off a new word I learnt.
He was talking about his plans to set up a new business and how, despite living under one roof, he and his wife used to act like total strangers and how they’re living in two different cities abroad now to save their marriage. That left her wondering if happy family is the funniest of all paradoxes. He was humming to a Bollywood song the restaurant played, which she can’t recollect now. She has never seen the walls, the décor or the people of the places they’ve hung out. Because love had made her so weak, even to lift her gaze and look beyond him. Her eyes locked with his, her gaze froze on him and her soul lost to him, this is how it was.
Jesus H. Christ. Please pass me the gun. I’d rather shoot myself than putting up with all these mush.
But now, after years she could look through him, look beyond him. She saw the floral wallpaper, the pregnant woman lunching with her in laws sitting behind them, vibrant plastic plates and a Quentin Tarantino movie
Again, showing off my extensive movie knowledge.
being telecasted by HBO on the LED TV in the corner. Before long, he confessed “I like you a lot”. She just looked at him; saddened by the fact that she couldn’t say the same. He insisted “If there’s anything you don’t like about me, tell it frankly”, “Yea, I don’t like you sextalking to me” blurted out she, as if she would’ve choked to death if she hadn’t said that. “There she goes again”, he had his infamous lopsided smile when he said this and added ‘”You can’t stop me from having sexual thoughts about you”.
Actually I added it, not him. Lifted this dialogue from my favourite movie ‘Holy Smoke’. Thought it will suit the character. Let him keep it, the dialogue, ohkhay?
Maybe it was him talking about his divorce plans, about abandoning his wife and 7 year old son. Or in spite of his years in Cochin, asking if there is a Zara Store in Cochin,
Zara Store in Cochin. My ass!
for he wanted to get something like the black Zara shirt he was wearing. Or it can even be his different fragrance. But as she submerged her teeth in the cheddar cheese, engrossed in the taste of the burger, out of hunger or disinterest, while not listening to him, she realized, much to her relief or disappointment, she is yet to figure out which, that she’s gotten over him. That’s when she looked down on every microsecond she battled when he crossed her mind. On every sad, break up song she listened to. On every sip of alcohol she difficultly gulped. On every bite of Lays and every grain of rice she hogged on with zero appetite. On every cigarette she smoked in the hopes of looking like a post modern Pareekutty aka lovelorn Romeo. Unsuccessfully of course. And all other movie clichés she hated but happened to do unwillingly in order to get over him. Who would’ve known it was this easy? That was so fast. Phew!
I repeat. Belch. Phew!