(Image source: From the last pages of my notebook)
She had met Tathagata one October evening when the leaves were starting to curl at its ends, submitting itself to the fall. The horoscope of that day very conveniently had said that she was going to meet the love of her life that day itself. She had laughed it off on the face of it thinking how there is no particular love in one's life but only manifestations of it. In spite of not believing in stars and planets having to do something with the day to day life of a person, she did subconsciously/consciously check the horoscope almost every day.
She was 20 and miserable, he 23 and accustomed to the misery now, did not click a spark the first time they met. However, now when she thinks about it, it was always there, even from before they had met. It was beneath their skins, waiting to come up on the surface, it was under the warm blankets that they had started to share now, under the tables of the restaurants that they went to now and then, beneath the bridge that they sat under while smoking a joint and star gazing. The feeling was omnipresent but the self had reduced it owing to the circumstances. They had looked at each other several times and always had something to blame on :
"If only his eyes were blue"
" If only she did not have the bangs covering her glowing forehead."
They had parted ways on a rainy day in June. The soreness of the weather had jetlagged their emotions for quite some time now. The rain indicated new harvest of emotions and thus old and dead ends had to be let go off. They had good memories together. They swore they would hold on to the memories.
" It is like I love someone one moment and in the next, a breeze just carries the feeling away. It fades away in oblivion.Thus I don't commit myself to the feeling"; Tathagata had told this to her in his deep voice while they were sitting in a broken, unattended bus stand while the city moved in its monotonous motion. It had seemed like the time had stopped just for them.Tathagatha had a weird attraction to old abandoned places. They reminded him of his childhood. He had learned to do life the hard way.
She had never expected to put a tag on what they had.Even when her mother had asked her about Tatha, she had told her how he was just a friend and nothing else. She had explained to her friend how there was always a missing piece between them and how sometimes sex couldn't be a consolation that was good enough. They were like the emotion of an author who always keeps open end in his novels. Their paths were never meant to be the same.
It was a sunny morning in April. She was taking a flight to her Chicago dreams the next week. She was gathering her 20 year old settlement in a few suitcases. She knew she would not be coming back. While she was building an infrastructure of her future in her head, she stumbled across something, a memory card. Curiosity plugged the device to her laptop. She decided to take one last virtual ride to the past. There was Tathagatha all over the albums, the songs that they used to listen to, the movies, the pdf they used to read together. There were also short clips which she had recorded of Tatha sleeping, the sun falling on his face, contouring the freckles, highlighting the moles and it was just this moment that she realized how beautiful he was, how his voice used to churn her stomach and give her goosebumps, how his goodbye had somewhere pained her like the twisted ankle which takes it time to act up. Only for her, it was a few years before she realized the existence of the pain. There was indeed, some kind of emptiness but aren't we all empty in some unorthodox places. Empty where we shouldn't be, empty when we shouldn't be.
It was still April when she took the flight to her Chicago dreams. She couldn't afford to look back now. While on her journey to the airport which was an hour and a half from her place, she crossed the roads of nostalgia. The campus, the restaurants, the bridge, the abandoned houses, the bus stand, all were still standing there, almost as if they were waiting for her and Tatha but she only gave them a passerby glimpse since of all the things she had let go off in her life, Chicago dreams could not be one of them.