When I saw your car at a distance and started walking towards it, I felt like a teenager going out on her first date. I had an urge to run to you, but I didn’t. It would’ve looked like a scene copy-pasted from that stupid movie which gave a bad headache to both of us. You looked serious and the ‘seriousness’ on your face intensified when you started driving. I accidentally glimpsed at my face in the rearview mirror and I wanted to laugh. That’s what I have always done at people (irrespective of their sex) who dress-up for dates. My idea of dressing up has always been ‘not looking shabby’ and nothing more. That’s what you like about me, probably. You have told me once that not many people can carry the shabbiness with the kind of grace and confidence I do. But here I was, wearing properly ironed clothes, had actually shampooed, conditioned and combed my hair…for you.
“You look good.” You told me, your eyes still fixed on the road. And if I had to judge it from only the tone, I’d have believed you had said that the traffic was horrible. Nobody can compete with you in being ‘unromantic’! I’m never going to tell you this. Like a lot of other things. How was I supposed to react to that? With a “Thank you so much!”? Or, should I have just blushed?
Hardly an hour later, you were looking at books, and you looked like a curious little kid. How can someone wear and shed expressions like clothes? Only you can. When I was busy looking scrutinizing the poetry section, you were busy photographing me. Yes, I know you were doing it. I didn’t look at you because I knew you wanted the photos to look natural. And you looked adorable then. You look really adorable when you are busy clicking photos. That’s why I often tell you that you are made for photography. And then, as the book-hunt continued for another two hours, I couldn’t help but thank my destiny for bringing you into my life. Who else is going to stand with me for hours as I look for books? If it was somebody else, I would have to pause every half an hour and ask, “Are you bored?” Or he/she will probably tell me to hurry up. With you, I don’t have to worry about that. I can take as long as I want, because you will also take that long, and to you, I don’t have to explain why. You were pointing at the Malayalam translations of a few Mills and Boons books (are they novelettes?), reading out the (translated) title and laughed. I wanted to laugh too. Not at the funny titles, but at the way you were laughing. Like a child who is witnessing his elder sibling being fired at by the mother. You were irresistible then. I put my arm around your neck and gave a peck on your cheek. You smiled. That’s another thing I like about you. You don’t get scandalized by such public display of affection.
When we reluctantly ended our book-hunt, and got into the car, I knew where we’ll be going next. I don’t know how. I just knew. That’s why there was no sign of surprise on my face when we reached there. I love the sea. Not many people know that. It is strange thing for an aqua phobic to love the sea. But then, I am strange. If I could swim, I would just jump into it and try to swim against the waves. It is one of those many unrealistic and impractical dreams of mine. Suddenly, I had the urge to tell you that. But, you had already taken out your camera and were busy clicking away. And I forgot what I was about to tell and got busy admiring you. I know you also the love the sea. Of course, I don’t know the reason. I would’ve loved to stay there till the sunset. I wanted to see you photographing it. But I had to be home before that…
Two years ago, if somebody had told me that some day, I will lie to my parents and come out to meet a guy, that I’ll dress-up for him, that I’d want to look pretty for him, that I’d enjoy envious glances from other women, that I’d hold his hand and walk on wet sand, looking at the rising waves, that I’ll actually enjoy ‘long drives’…I’d have laughed at their face. You see, these are very ordinary things that very ordinary people do. All my life I have always struggled to be ‘different’. And being different wasn’t enough. I wanted others to know it as well. In the process, I missed out on a lot of pleasures that only ordinary things can give. If I had never met you, I don’t think I’d have allowed myself enjoy the little things that ‘everybody else does’. I don’t know for how long I’m going to be happy, because I don’t know for how long we are going to be together. But that is not going to change the fact that I am happy now. May be, someday, I’ll be crying over you, inside a bathroom, as silently as I can. But then, I’ll be content to know that I’m crying over a guy who’s worth crying for. I can never thank you enough for giving me the courage to be happy. The memory of the day spent looking for books and looking at the sea, is going to be etched in my memory…something to be opened and relived in times when there is no hope. My gratitude for the love and the memories cannot be expressed with a ‘Thank you.’ It can also be added in the list of things I’m never going to tell you.