She asked me where was I going. Somewhere, I said, because I didn’t know, and even if I knew I wouldn’t have said anything else, because my voice reached her like a quack of a duck or bark of dog or hiss of a serpent; all the words were same to her. Anything I said didn’t make any sense to her. She had accepted, or rather made to accept, that I couldn’t be right, ever. I wasn’t leaving her, nor I intended to hurt her but I could no more remain fragmented. I was vaporizing-parts of me were flying in every direction, and inspite of all my efforts I couldn’t bring them together. Everytime I tried to put my pieces together I landed, or rather spread, painfully, on the floor, flat on my face, and it took me eons to rise because all my rigidity of past has converted into a gooey liquid that had no shape, and even the hope of getting one was receding. I had even forgotten if I ever had a shape. As I slithered out of the house, she asked me, indifferently, sitting comfortably on her chair, her eyes on her laptop, without looking at me, if I was ever coming back. I said nothing, neither she bothered to ask, again. I slipped out of the house, but not before stealing one last glance at her, hoping against all the hopes to see few drops of tears, but her eyes were fixed on the screen. I knew she was thinking that it was one of my regular bouts of unjustified frustration, and I would be back in the evening to give her that one thing she needed from me before she went back to her work. She could have got anyone-she was as beautiful as anyone I had ever seen- to give her that one thing-I was no more good at it with my withered body and soul-but it proved she still had a heart somewhere, hidden underneath the layers, even if I couldn’t see it; it was a favor she was casting on me, like a mistress who cares for her slave and never lets him die. It’s irrelevant to her, if he has feelings; he is just a slave after all.The heat outside burnt my skin; I could smell the burning flesh but I couldn’t turn back to the dungeon we had been calling home, for some inexplicable reason. I dragged myself to the nearest bus stop, hoping it was the last time I was experiencing pain. It wasn’t a very selfish decision, I thought, or perhaps justified it to myself, as I waited for the bus, as I couldn’t take any more blames. I had become a burden, a leech, a parasite; something everyone wants to get rid of, and I knew it. Even she might have thought of it, but her soft heart would have never let it surface and her innocence would have never let her known that they were her own thoughts. She kept on believing that I was forcing these thoughts on her. Anyway, our lives had split in two direction long way back, so I thought I would make it easier for both of us, or rather, being honest, for me. She could travel her new path, unburdened by me, and I was hoping to find something that would make my life worthwhile.
There comes a time in every relation, when one forgets why they are together, and have to be reminded of by someone. We had no one, and our relation suffered the ugly, inevitable fate of millions- slow, painful death of love, after raising expectations beyond reason and understanding. As I saw the bus approach, my heart beamed, and I smiled inspite of the heat and the pain; it looked like my vehicle of liberation. I had left the luxury buses that had come earlier, because it reminded me of her, knowing most of the females inside reeked of richness and hungry for status like her. I dragged myself to a seat at the rear of the bus.
It was a pleasing sight to see simple, poor, happy, empathetic people instead of complex, rich, sad, self-obsessed whiners she had around her all the time, but if you told her she wouldn’t believe, because she and her group thought of themselves to be great philanthropists. I wouldn’t say she was exactly like them, but was trying her best to be one of them. The bus began with a rumble, and I felt my heart beat after a long time, and even if my body and soul was still deformed I could sense some activity within, pointing towards a freedom from stagnancy and fraility.
As the bus drove across the city, I saw memories. In spite of trying to remember the old ones, before we had met, I could only see her beside me; they weren’t happy ones-we had had happy, really happy times, but events of last few years had clouded the good old ones. I wasn’t even looking for those good old times, like I had tried earlier. This time around, I found happiness in being able to leave it behind. The bus drove faster and I felt that those sad memories were going behind me, like the roads and the trees and the buildings whizzing past the window. Once out of the city, feeling surreal, comfortable, tired, amidst the greenery that signalled freedom, I closed my eyes, with my head resting on the window glass. The rumble and vibration of the bus sounded like choplin to my ears, and soon I fell off to deep slumber, unlike anything I had experienced in years.
It was almost sunset when the bus stopped for refreshments; I wouldn’t have woken up if it was not for an old man who wanted to know if I wanted something. I thanked and smiled at his simplicity; in return he requested me to eat and pee, because the next stop was our destination, that was scheduled to reach by almost middle of the night, and the buses didn’t stop anywhere in middle. I asked him to get me a bottle of water and a packet of chips; he went out pleased. Languidly, I stared out of the windows; it had become pleasent and windy. Behind those hills was my destination, though I didn’t know why I was going there. On a second thought, the very next moment, I realized why I was going to that particular place. It was one of the places I had wanted to visit with her, for a long time, but it never interested her. Of course, it was my fault because even before the planning begun with her I would leave the room, because I wanted her to be spontaneous, and not detailed about the trip, and when she was spontaneous, my wallet was empty. Looking at the hill I felt our love was ill-fated since the beginning. I had no energy to blame her or myself; we had been through it hundreds of times, and I didn’t feel like wasting the sight I was beholding; it was easier to call it a bad luck. I didn’t hate her or wanted to spoil her life or cheat her or was jealous of her progress or anything, and I know even she knew those allegations were baseless, so it felt stupid that most of the times we fought over the topic. She blamed me and my parents; I blamed her and her family and her friends, and both of us believed we were right, as it happens in unsuccessful relations. I felt no anger against her, and suddenly, to my joy, felt my body was beginning to take the shape, I remember, once I had, but had forgotten. Perhaps, this was the journey both of us had been waiting for long, and finally I had taken, and for the first time I was not seing the rearview, because I knew it had always been empty. Finally, the delusion was fading, and the reality unfolding, and the life that had come to standstill was moving, even if slowly, giving me a faint hope-all I needed- that there is a life ahead, and it’s never over till it’s over.
The bus screeched and rumbled and got back on the highway, and on my face I had the faintest of the smile, only known to me, as the wind caressed my face. Only the present was relevant. Everything else was only a delusion, I had finally understood.