Have you ever, even for once, thought that teaching little kids is an easy job? It’s not. I am telling you from my own experience.
Late at night, when all my best friends were probably snuggling cosily with their husbands or boyfriends, I was evaluating the answer sheets of twelve year olds. Quite a life, I have.
You know what I do when I get stressed out? I read poetry. I am that awful writer who always wished that one day I might write something which I wouldn’t regret later on in life. That never happened. I still write like a lovesick teenage girl. Yes, you got it right. I wouldn’t do well as a feminist.
I ran my fingers through my bookshelf and randomly picked up a poetry book and surprise, surprise! It was Blake’s lucky night. As I imagined a fiery, ever powerful man, pouring the flame of his candlelight into the sockets of a tiger which he just sculpted out of thin air, I stood awed. The tiger’s physique and the description were truly sensuous, to the point of hyperventilation even; that is if you know what I mean. The only relief I had after this quick escape to the realms of the imaginary was that ‘Twilight’ was not the first or only book in which people romanticized animals to the point of eccentricity.
I rushed to the kitchen to ease my restlessness by finding something to munch. I quickly made some salad, so that my hunger could find its salvation. Quietly gobbling down the vegetables, I switched on my laptop to find someone online to chat with. Apart from few random friends, nobody was online. At least, not the people I wanted to pour my heart out to. I was getting more restless with each passing second. What can I do?
I woke up the next morning to realize I got only two weeks of vacation left. Two weeks from now, the school will reopen and by then I’ll have to evaluate all the papers and make progress reports too. Surprisingly, I finished all that yesterday night. The perks of having nothing much to do, I should tell you.
I started packing after breakfast. I’ll have to reach the old farmhouse by the evening and set up the ambience for the meeting that was going to take place on the 13th of June. My best friends and I had decided to meet after 10 years and it was day after tomorrow. Even though we were in touch, thanks to technology, we never really got a chance to meet up not even once in these ten years. Five of them were married, two engaged and the one left has been in a steady relationship for 8 years now. I’ve always been the black sheep. An excellent example for the after effects of “playing with the fire”, I was. Some of them call me “commitment-phobic” and the others think I am too proud to be in a relationship with a man. Truth to be told, I got heartbroken once and then I promised myself that I’d never get to that position ever again. And I believe in keeping promises.
When I got to the old farmhouse, it was as quiet and beautiful as ever; like a loving mother, waiting for her children to come back. Look at her; she will forgive us all for our every sin. I asked the housekeeper to clean the place up and decorate the place with red and blue lights: fire and ice would be the theme. I set out to the town to order some flowers for day after. The florist’s place was literally “heaven on earth” with a hundred varieties of flowers and leaves adorning its every nook and corner. I smiled melancholically and they smiled back at me as if they knew my secrets; my pain.
There is this view of the lake on the way back to the farmhouse. There are these wooden benches and a boulevard of cherry trees. I always wished to live in a place like this. Never really liked the din and frenzy of city life, I should add. I sat down on one of those benches and conversed with the water and air about their own beauty. “How come you never age?” I asked them. They laughed and told me that they change with every rain and every drought; “It is you who don’t change”, they told me. “You can die, we can’t and therefore, you are luckier than us; we are cursed”. They looked sad when they engrossed themselves in their melancholic ramblings. I sighed and looked at the sky. She acknowledged my sorrow and sighed with me and the winds roared across the cherry trees.
With my eyes fixed at the distant nothingness, I failed to realize a dark, tall and lonely figure approaching me. It came and sat next to me. The wind brushed past our faces. The long lost fragrance of memories burned my nostrils. “I prayed much that you wouldn’t come”, I said. “I am cursed with a remarkable memory. Even though the optimist in me was made a martyr of love 10 years ago, I never stopped believing in myself”, he said. “Well done, Ry. You’ve managed to keep yourself as insane as you were”, I told him. I stood up and started walking. He followed me.
We walked into the realms of our past. There stood the younger version of us, holding hands and looking at each other with eyes that spoke of profound sadness. That was the first time he broke a promise: let’s part, he told me then. The Us from the present walked further down the memory lane and reached the college gates. Sports day, it was. Sitting in those stands with friends and watching the finale of the intercollegiate football match where Ry was a midfielder, I was waiting for them to win and to end the long awaited suspense. In twenty minutes, I did break it to Ry.
He proposed in the first year and me, being the haughty New Girl, rejected him and stuck to the Lets-Be-Friends theme. And on that last football match, I proposed to him. He accepted with a cheeky smile that said “You are stuck with me forever, girl”. One more month and college would end. But we were waiting for the end as we planned to make it all known to our parents. We were the craziest couple you could set your eyes on. Our wordplay was quite famous in the whole friend circle. Even more famous were our weird fights – yes, we used to fight for fun. We were that couple who enjoyed being at each other’s throat at every given opportunity; but our love was evident even in those cat-eats-rat games of ours.
The excitement and the adrenaline rush kept on increasing with each kiss and every slap. On the eve of the very last day, he proposed to marriage – the only thing left to do. As always, the coward in me rejected the notion. What was my excuse? We are too young to be married. He was furious. We got into a fierce cold war which resulted in a physical fight and eventually, in sweet lovemaking. I was leaving the next day and we won’t be able to meet up for years. Neither of us liked the idea. So we went for a therapeutic walk. Under the cherry trees, we sat reminiscing the past for a long time. A mad tripe of our insane days together flashed before our eyes. We were meant to be together, said our friends’ adoring eyes. You’ll be remembered, chanted the college walls. So we decided to part and meet in 10 years if we were really meant to be. It was then that he broke our promise. He cried. I never wanted our last meeting to end with tears. But he had to cry. That was how it was supposed to be. So much so that the poetry in his tears rung in my ears even after a decade.
My eyes found its destination and it was reciprocating the gaze. Ryan. How much I missed you! My eyes told him thus. You can read my eyes but I can read your sighs, said his eyes. I have been reading them for 10 years, give me some credit! – He added. I passionately gazed at those windows that showed me my dream. It came true.
“Can we walk into the future together?” he asked earnestly. I thought for a while. “Yes”, I said.
The sky split open to shower us with heavenly fireworks. Invisible crystalline flowers kept tickling us as it fell on our bodies. The Night conquered us with a majestic sweep of her arms. We stepped forward to enter into that wild dance with which the wind was engaged. It swept us off our feet and threw us into the crescent where we landed, giggling wildly. The laughter transgressed the boundaries of inflaming lust. And in that ecstatic moment, did we close our eyes to open it in the split of a second.
I found myself alone, waiting for the night to wake me up. I stood up and followed the quiet path to the old farmhouse. The grassy path whispered an occult chant into my weary ears. But I was too engrossed with the rhythm of my footsteps. An eternity awaits me. Not many get a chance to go back and change the past. My firm footsteps annoyed my tiny grassy friends but I marched on. My heart and foot marched hand in hand to go back to that day, to Ry and to a future that never existed before.