In the morning when I wake
And the sun is coming through,
Oh, you fill my lungs with sweetness,
And you fill my head with you.
When Arnav was on the edge of seventeen, he had fallen in love – well, as much of love as you could be, when you were seventeen, anyway. It made his heart beat faster, pulse jerk and, the chemistry had been pure dynamite. It went as teen love inevitably and often does, by the way of time and tide. However, that brief pocket of time he had with the Sri Lankan girl, stolen away, on heather-strewn Scottish hills had been as close to perfect as it could have been, in those days. When they had graduated, Tharushi had gone back to Kandy, where she had been originally from. Arnav had come back to Delhi for a brief period, and neither had put too much stock by it. Summer love, after all. Life had gone on at its own pace, but Arnav had thought about Tharushi – time and again. It hadn’t been with that burning passion you associate with a deep, passionate and abiding love. Arnav had been well and truly certain by then, that he had passed that stage of his life. Rather, he thought of her like you did when you missed out an opportunity you didn’t quite know if you wanted or not – with a wistfulness. He thought of her time, and again. It was that odd, sweet feeling of remembering, at the strangest of moments. Arnav hadn’t put too much by it, at first. He had grown up with her, since they were seven – that created a bond like no other, even if you didn’t like a person all that much, he had reasoned. She had been the first girl he had slept with and you didn’t forget your first, either. Then her wedding invitation had come, as it had gone out, all over the world to old friends. Arnav hadn’t been precisely heartbroken – as one would think he would have been, but there had been this tiny prick of a bittersweet pain of what-ifs. Nevertheless, he had gone to the wedding, attended it for the whole four days and watched as her eyes twinkled as his had, as old memories collided and, then, became absorbed by friendship older than it all. Arnav had a grand time meeting old friends – reliving memories and incidents. When he had gone back home, the memories stayed, as did the hollowness, although there had been no pain to go along with it. It had been as if he had stood at the edge of something big, and then, at the last moment, had taken a step back, instead of leaping in. The dissatisfaction of it dogged him in the strangest, loneliest moments.
Shall I write it in a letter?
Shall I try to get it down?
Oh, you fill my head with pieces
Of a song I can’t get out.
That feeling had nagged him, while he had been in relationships – some with women he had liked, some with women he couldn’t quite recall later on. It had even been present at the beginning of his most serious relationship that even rolled into a promise of marriage (even if it had been, for all the wrong reasons). It had been another thing he had felt he should be sorry for. Lavanya had deserved so much better than him. That feeling at that point had evolved beyond Tharushi. The memories of the sweet first love, stayed in the gold tipped shoebox one stored their treasured memories in, but, that feeling of emptiness, of missing out on something big had haunted him, steadily getting a little stronger as time went on. He had even met Tharushi multiple times during those times, and he had always been happy to see his old friend but he had realized, this feeling of urgency had very little to do with her. It had been a state of mind he couldn’t escape even if had tried. It was as if, he was waiting for something wonderful. Arnav had felt frustrated, and short of temper all around and those in his vicinity had felt the full lash of his temper, with the smallest things – then, somehow, through twists and turns of fate, he had ended up with an appealing armful of woman, and once he had looked into her eyes, it had happened. He had been thrown off the cliff he had stood on once before, back when he had been seventeen. The only difference was, he had been able to step back when he was seventeen, but at the age of twenty-seven, he had fallen before he could catch himself. It had been like a rollercoaster – Arnav had once read once; a great rollercoaster made you find God when you ride it. He still wasn’t sure he found his, but he had discovered an array of emotions he hadn’t known he could even feel – all because of an eighteen years old with eyes that stared into forever.
Can I take you to a moment
Where the fields are painted gold
And the trees are filled with memories
Of the feelings never told?
Someday, he would tell her about Tharushi and the almost love he had felt for her at the edge of seventeen among purple heathers, and the smoky fogs of the highlands. It was a love that didn’t compare to what he felt for the woman in whom his heart slipped into, the moment she fell in his arms the first time, but it was what had prepared him for her. Arnav was reasonably sure Khushi wouldn’t mind as much – she was, for all her dramatics, a very reasonable person. Would Arnav be able to be as reasonable, if she told him about her own edge of seventeen story? Perhaps not. Then again, when had Khushi had that opportunity to enjoy those little pleasures he had taken for granted? Her’s would be the story of the year she turned nineteen that spanned so much; both good and bad, for them to end up together. Arnav, in his weakest moments, wished she had memories like his too. Sweet ones, instead of the difficult ones that he had started her off on. Then, he had to remind himself – there was just now. That’s all he could give her, and so he would. He had gently run his fingers over his sleeping wife’s face. Wasn’t she lovely? Wasn’t she wonderful? No wonder, he hadn’t been able to leap off that metaphorical cliff before. He had been waiting for her.
When the evening pulls the sun down,
And the day is almost through,
Oh, the whole world it is sleeping,
But my world is you.
Those hazels eyes had opened, twinkling with a laughter that seemed to be at the core of who she was. “I can hear you thinking, you know, Arnavji?” her lips her stretched into the sweetest smile. “Shouldn’t you turn it off when you are home, at least? It’s 1 in the morning and sane people often sleep during this time” she had smiled more, cheeks flushed with laughter. Arnav had been dazzled, again. He didn’t see it stopping anytime in their lives together. He wasn’t sure he wanted it to. “I had lost whatever sanity I had left, after my third anniversary,” he had quipped. Her eyes had sparkled some more, anticipating a verbal sparring. “Let Aarav grow up a little, Arnavji. I will tell him these horrible blames you saddle me with, every day. At least he would understand his poor old mother’s sufferings,” Arnav had burst out laughing. Pulling his something wonderful, close to him, he had snuggled in. “Maybe he would agree with me too,” she had opened her mouth, outraged at the suggestion. Arnav had taken full advantage of it, to their mutual satisfaction. Then, her eyes had twinkled and lips had been rosy, and those cheeks flushed some more. “It’s not fair how you always win these arguments, Arnavji,” she had complained, cuddling to his side. “Who said I win?” he had smiled, and closed his eyes, content.
Can I be close to you?
Author’s note: I am back! Literally. I just came back couple of hours ago. I’m exhausted but the song kept playing on my mind so I knew it was time for a short OS. Isn’t it surprising how some people prepare us for the future? I know your first love shape how you look at your future partner – but surprisingly, they have nothing to do with your one and only 🙂 Little odd thoughts. Forgive me if they sound like ramblings. I am pretty exhausted, too. Hope you liked it.
NB: Bloom by The Paper Kites