“Why do we meet at this same place every day?” there was a sense of complaint in her voice.
He tried to dissolve the situation a bit, “It’s because you stay near this place. It’s easier for you to meet me here.” There was his warm smile glowing his face.
“Yes, but why always in this graveyard? I don’t like this place at all. Why can’t we meet at someplace else? This has been going on for so many years.” she replied back.
“See, we are meeting after so many days and all you go to do is fight and argue. This is why I did not visit you the last 3 days,” there was some discontent in his voice. He continued, “We’re two old people and this world has moved way ahead than the both of us. It’s so hectic and loud and narrowness at any other place you want to go. People will laugh if they see that two old people romancing. The young kids can do anything at a public place but we oldies, even holding our hands, people raise their eye brows. And I don’t like attention unless it comes from you. This is the only place where we can sit a talk peacefully. But look there, someone at a distance is staring at us. Does not he have any other work or any other place to be?”
“Really, you feel this for me? Then where were you when I got married? Where was your love when my father forced me to marry that bastard? Suddenly after all these years, you confess your love for me?” She shed a tear from her milky white eyes.
“Have we not discussed this repeatedly? We’re free now to meet. Why ruin them over our past sadness? We can discuss our college days, the times were together; they were filled with so much fun and dreams. The dreams which we saw together.”
“How many of them could we fulfil? Not even one. You left me for your career, for your dream; you never even asked what I wanted. It was always what you thought. How many times did I try to stop you to go abroad, but you did not listen to me once.” She was in no mood to stop.
“Are you doing this because I did not come to see you for 3 days? I am sorry,” he again tried to make the situation light.
“No I want the answers. I really do want.” She retorted.
He paused for a moment. He knew what he had done and what he could have done. But he was helpless, poor. He had to be the man to show this world that he is successful, capable. Most of all, he had to show her family that they were equal. That was the criterion which he had to fulfil to get married to her.
The silence was unbearable. He broke it. But he was calm and reassuring.
“Do you really think it was easy for me to leave you, to leave our dreams? Do you really think I was happy when I turned blind towards your teary eyes? What else could I have done? I had to prove to your father that I was perfect for you, that I was equal to his family? He gave me 2 years to prove it, how would I know that he would trick me? He was supposed to keep his words. How would I know that his grand scheme to make me prove to him was a way to throw me away from your life so that he can get you married to someone else?” He slowly said in his defence.
“I know, I know. But it’s just that I could never forgive you. Or maybe I was and am still trying to vent my frustration on the only one person who I know genuinely cares about me. You knew my dad, did not you for once think that you should have listened to me? Did you really not understand that it was all his big scheme?” Her voice had more of sadness than anger.
“Tell me, please tell me, what would have I done? Run with you? With your father’s clout, have you ever thought what he would have done to my family just to show his power and rage? He would have somehow found us and destroyed my whole family. I tried to fight for you in the most peaceful way possible and I had no other option back then other than to trust him and my luck. Well both stabbed me in the back for which I am still hurt. I could never love any other woman. I found staying a bachelor was better than to destroy another woman’s life whom I could never keep happy.”
She slowly kept her head on his shoulders. That was all that she always wanted.
“Remember the 1st day we met at college. You were my senior in the Arts section. You pretty much kept staring at me till your friends made fun of you. How you waited outside my class and tried to talk with me after the period was over! How I tried to act smart and brave in front of you! I was frightened inside as I was scared that seniors would rag me.” She finally smiled a bit.
“Ours story just rocketed. We knew there was a connection the moment we first had a decent conversation. Within a month we were dating and it felt like we were inseparable. Those days were awesome, we had so much fun, we had so much to share, our conversations went from one topic to another but they hardly ever ended. We had our share of fights but even the fights were cute. The memories are still fresh and there’re so many of them. Those 5-6 years were the most priceless years of my life.”
He continued as she started to weave their dreamland, “I still remember our first date, it was another of those rainy evenings. You looked like an angel in that white dress. I fumbled to talk as I was bowled over by your beauty. I never ever felt that you were so beautiful, neither before, neither after. The movie we watched, how our lips met, how shy we both were before they met. The walk towards your home with the cool breeze making the moment so very romantic. It was an amazing evening.” Then he added, “the only other time I found you prettier was when our souls met, when we became one. And I still remember; it was another of those rainy evenings”
There was another pause as both were far away from their realities. At some distance, that person was still staring at them.
“You met with my family about a month ago before you left with your job. From the very next day my dad started preparing his plan to get me married to the one he chose. He started blackmailing me emotionally, threatening me about destroying you and your family. He can be pretty ruthless when he wants to. I needed your support to fight against him but you were nowhere there. In a fit of anger and fear I said yes to his proposal of marrying that bustard. I know I married her and I was also angry with you for not being there when I really needed you. So, I wanted to make peace with the situation and tried to keep him happy. But he was never the right one for me and none of us could be happy with each other. His pride was everything for him and that I loved someone before him hurt his pride which brought out the devil in him. He basically used me to satisfy his physical needs, to suspect and abuse me all the time.” She started sobbing profusely.
“I told my father about all this but his repute was more important to him that his daughter. In all the 10 years that I spent with that prick, not one single went by where I did not had to cry. I begged to my father to take me away from him but he became deaf to my words. I sobbed, I screamed silently, I started hiding my pain under the layer of fake happiness till I just could not take it anymore. So many times I thought I would ask for your help but my hurt ego never allowed me to do that. Finally, I left all of them.”
There was a sense of relief in her voice. It was like she was still living those days of horror. She had not been able to completely get rid of them even after so many years.
“When I came back to this city, I was so happy that I could be with the love of my life. Nobody ever told me that you had already gotten married. Imagine the shock I got when I came to know about you and your husband and kid! So many time I wanted to meet with you but I did not have the courage and or the mentality to stand in front of you. I could never think of you as someone else’s. I had a stack of letter which I wrote but could never post them as I did not want to disrupt your family’s peace. And see how these ifs and buts have taken us. You escaped all of them and did not notify me either. Thank God that I came to know about it from your friends. We can finally meet now freely. I tried to marry you but you did not give me a chance.”
The warm embrace of each other made them feel safe and complete. These people were from times when love was sacred and real, when people could sacrifice their happiness, their dreams just to be true to their partner. Their love story never got the true meaning it required and had more pain than pleasure. But does not all the famous love stories are marked with agony and loneliness? They were finally together and as they say all’s well that ends well.
“Hey I brought you these flowers, your favourite, bunch of red roses. Be careful there might be thorns. How time passes when we’re together. I must leave now as I should visit the engagement of my nephew. We will meet again tomorrow. Bye, my love. Take care”
She left without saying a word.
At some distance, the undertaker kept staring at the old man talking to himself all along. He was about to leave as he placed the roses over the grave. He had seen this for more than 2 decades now. He smiled to himself, “Can love be this pure!”