Every relationship is not meant to be lifelong. There are some unnamed relationships that even after detaching, their memories cause lots of waves in the calm sea; they leave unforgettable stretch marks.
I was in an undefined relationship with him. We were not lovers, yet we loved each other. Time just changed everything. We became friends from neighbors. From friends to best friends, and more than friends, but less than lovers. Now time has made us strangers.
"I was looking at the one of your paintings, the one in which a long yellow leaf is falling. The leaf falls and falls but never touches the ground. I feel like the same leaf. You have made me that yellow leaf, which falls continuously, never finding a place to rest. I want to stop falling. I want to stand up and fight my inner battles on solid ground."
Palpasa writes to Drisya in Palpasa Café by Narayan Wagle, one of my favorite novels. I read it over and over again. I do not even get bored reading it frequently. The best part for me of this novel is the letter Palpasa writes to her writer, Drishya. These are my favorite lines. Whenever I read the novel, I feel like these lines resemble my story and me. I sense as if I bear a resemblance to Palpasa and her feeling of being a yellow leaf, falling, trying to touch the ground yet unsuccessful. Similar to her, I feel I am hanging onto past memories, waiting for a new chapter of life to begin. I want to stand on my own ground again and fight with my inner battles. Since he left, I have been like that yellow leaf still floating in the air waiting for ground to rest on. Still not over with past memories haunting me.
We were the best friends even more than best friends but not lovers. He was the encourager, my teacher, my guiding light, my painkiller, the cause of my happiness, and the reason who made me write. He was the one who made me feel complete. He was my soul mate. He was there every time I needed in my happiness as well as my sadness. He was even the one who would bear my anger and madness. He was the comfortable pillow on which I would lean on. I would even rest on his shoulders for hours talking and even fall asleep. Whenever I felt tired and need to talk, I would lean on to his shoulder and share anything. I felt free to share him about anything even menstrual cramp pains. He would make me feel warm from the heart just by holding my hands. He felt like home in his warm embrace.
His smile was the world's best medicine I would ever get. A slight glimpse of his smile and I would forget every pain and anger. I could become who I really was from the inside with him, a childish being who still refuses to grow up. I was the happiest being with him. We shared promises to stand beside each other for whole life. We vowed to remain together even if we stayed miles apart. I could not imagine even a single day without meeting or talking to him. In short, he meant the world to me.
It was year of 2070 B S Magh. We had almost been two years together as best friends becoming part of our everyday life. He was leaving for Chitwan for a month for training. We wanted to be together before his departure. We walked through Bhaktapur Taumadhi Square and Durbar Square, our favorite place during evenings like every day holding hands. That day it was bit different, my heart was heavy. I wished time would halt for us. We were walking slowly as if time would also slow down its pace with us. Though the cold evening made us shiver, our company made us feel warm. He was holding my hands tightly in his jacket's pocket. I wished we always remained together like that. We sat down in front of the National Art Museum at Bhaktapur Durbar Square to talk.
It was Purnima, the full moon day. The moon was shining so brightly in its new avatar. I always loved to view the full moon with him from our favorite place; however, that day I was more interested in staring at my own moon next to me. I kept on gazing at him. He seemed so lovely on that day. He had deep brown dark beautiful eyes in his oval face. His face always had smile. I was thinking, “how would I spend my coming days without him?”. I would miss him badly. I would miss his lovely smile. Suddenly, he faced towards me and gave a smile and I smile back too.
"What are you thinking?", he asked. " Nothing." I lied. He could smell what I was thinking just watching my face. Then he wrapped me around his arms and held me tight. His warm embrace made me muse, ‘I am going to miss his hug for a month. He will not be near me for a month’. Tears fell apart from my eyes. I begged my tears not to come near him, but they would not stop. Even my heart was aching with pain. I felt his warm hands on my cheeks. "Don’t cry its just matter of a month. I will be back soon." He consoled me. Though he was three years junior than me he was so understanding and caring than me. He would even understand my silence. I always loved to be myself before him than to act as grown up at age of twenty whom I was not. Rather I would be the craziest person with him.
After staying half an hour talking, we moved towards home together silently, slowly. I was playing with a letter in my jacket's pocket in one hand. I was waiting for the right time to give that letter. That evening I went to drop him to his home. Finally, the moment to separate came. I told him to call me whenever he gets time and placed that letter on his hands. He was happy to receive that. He liked to read letters from me. I had even gifted him a diary in which I had written my feelings for him.
Parting with him that evening was the most difficult thing I had to do till then with him. I felt as if a part of me was tearing apart from me. I felt incomplete in his absence. He kept me whole all the time. If I had a wish to be granted, I would surely ask god to fasten away the painful time. It was going to be hard me for me to be without him as he had become part of my daily life and me. But I hoped this distance would not create emotional distance between us, rather we would grow even closer to each other though we would stay far from each other for a month. Though we had started from friendship, we had grown to be more than friends and we both felt that. Although, we never agreed that we were in love.
Though, he was in Chitwan, he managed to call me every day. We talked, laughed and shared our everyday happenings. Sometimes I even cried. We messaged each other and expressed how much we missed each other. Days passed by. We were waiting to meet soon. However, his training was lengthened one more month. I could not help but cry. So, he sent me an email for the first time and called me to check that email. I was always the one to write. I could not wait longer to check that email. I was out of home for whole day. Waiting to see the email for few hours became like a period of a year. Finally, I reached home and opened my laptop. I opened my mail.
Those were the mesmerizing days that seem like a dream today. We both dreamt together to travel together far far away. Now we have become so much far like strangers that we may travel in same bus together but act like strangers. Time has transfigured us in strangers. We are no longer the same dears we used to be. I still remember the day he was back two days before the planned date. He came to my house to surprise me. I could not believe my eyes. It seemed like a dream. I could not believe him that he came two days earlier for me. I was so eager to meet him that I would cry on calling him. We reunited like we had been years apart from each other I could wait no longer to share him how happy and surprised I was on meeting him. We spent hours talking. He kept sharing about his training, friends, about the place, and of course, the Narayani river. It was the best part of his stay at Chitwan. I imagined myself reaching there, together holding hands and walking on the sand at the riverbank with him. I kept on gazing at his face. How much I missed his presence I could not tell [even] me. Even my head want to rest on his shoulder. I guess he felt the same and slowly lay down on my lap. I was happy to see him back. Emptiness in my heart was filled up with his presence.
Time has brought lots of change since then. He and I; we are no longer us. Years have passed. Still his memory haunts me. Whenever I think of the best period of my life, he comes into my mind. The times spent with him were the most memorable days of my life. I still feel blessed to have had his presence in my life. Someone said to me “In love, if you are happy due to some incident then at the same time you can be sad too. Moreover, at one moment if you are happy then it is not sure that you would be able to persist in the same state and could jump to another extreme.” The same event in your life can be a cause of happiness and excitement and the same event can make you sad another time. You never know what can make you sad or happy depending upon the time.
I still remember the last time we had our last conversation like before. We had been really far till that time. I was to go out of city for study and wanted to meet him. I wasn’t sure if he would want to meet me or not. Yet I went to his house early at 7am in a cool morning. He was still on his bed. It was my habit to disturb his sleep. We started from formal talks like how are days going on and all. This wasn’t the real me with him. I felt really awkward like that before him. I wanted us to be real and lively with before I leave having regrets. But things, once left, are very hard to bring on track again. I had an intense look at his lovely face. He seemed to have lost weight and grown a moustache. He seemed so mature than before. His eyes were still same lovely dark and deep. I got lost in his eyes. Floods of memories came through heart and mind letting it pass through the eyes. I couldn’t control myself. I started lamenting, “Why do you always ignore me nowadays? Why don’t you pick up my call? Nor reply you my messages”. I asked him with tears floating in my eyes. He gave me back that familiar pain-relieving smile. My half pain was gone with that smile. Spreading his arms, he came closer to me and embraced me in his tight hug. I wished to stop the lakes trying to overflow through my eyes but they were meant to fall with happiness. I felt home in his warm embrace. I could speak no further. The remaining pain in my heart rained with the tears and disappeared. I couldn’t remain angry or sad. I melted as ice and got lost in our small world.
Time waits for no one and it’s necessary to move along. With time, he had moved along; with time, I still waited for him - standing in middle of the road where I was left. I was lost in his absence. I lost my light in the darkness. I wished to move on, but it was hard. Yet I had to. The next day, I moved to the next city and never looked back for a long time. Even after a few years gap, today I miss him and fill up my pages of diary. I go through the letters I had written to him. His smile still brings a lot of solace in my heart. Though I have crossed miles of grasslands without him, I remember our dream to travel and walk through the Narayani River. Now we have become the two banks of river which are not meant to be together. Though the riverbanks do not meet, they are sure than they will be standing by each other’s side until the river’s end.
I see him sometimes when I’m back home. We have casual talks too, but we are not as we used to be. Sometimes I avoid meeting him. I am afraid that I may not [be able to stop] myself from getting weak, bringing back all those beautiful memories on the surface. Those memories are pleasant if they just rest in past. I cannot let them overpower me to haunt me like ghosts. Those were the beautiful spring memories which still bring joy in my heart; the happiness we shared together is incomparable to any other thing. Being with him made me feel complete, and even his memories, though we are miles apart, they seem to keep me whole. I am thankful to him for coming into my life and bringing me immeasurable delight.
When I think of the way he used to look at me, I am filled with inexplicable feeling of happiness; my heart feels like it is going to run out of my chest. I can still feel the warmth of blush spreading through my face with his hands on my cheeks. He still makes me feel special - nothing would make me happier than being by his side. He still inspires me to write. The letters and diaries I wrote for him have strengthened my passion for writing even more. He was my first reader and the person who gave me feelings to write. Whatever it was and still is, I love this feeling and want to grow old with this feeling. We were sure from beginning that will not be together for our whole lives from the beginning. It was impossible. Nevertheless, we traveled some distance together and created the best remembrances. The times we spent together are enough for my life to be with. I don’t know what kind of relationship I shared with him those days. People often called that love. Maybe that was.
Whatever it was, I can still feel it, warm in my heart.