Hope (5)

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

On Raj’s second death anniversary, the wall had cracked a little. Aakash could feel it. She had allowed him furthermore in her life. She wanted to walk away from everyone that day and Aakash had offered to give her company. She could have said no but she agreed. She allowed him to keep her company. They went to her favorite hideout. A place she and Raj frequented when Raj was home. That was their personal space and Sudha had allowed him to be there and that was a major decision on her part. Aakash sat next to her, giving her the silent company she needed. Seeing the tears in her eyes, Aakash was tempted to embrace her, wipe her tears away but he did not move. He wanted to hold her hand, make her feel his presence but he did not do that either. He sat there, next to her, giving silent company. In his heart, he knew Sudha appreciated it and she was very much aware of his presence. It was enough for him that Sudha had given him access to this part of her life. She trusted him.
A few days later, Sudha called him up and decided to meet. She told him she would come home to talk. Although he had given up drinking a long ago, he had a few shots at a friend’s party and when he was home he drank a few more glasses of whisky because he was feeling lonely. The thoughts in his mind were torturing him and he wanted to get rid of them. He called up Sudha to tell her not to come home. But he was told that she was already on her way. That was the point he decided not to drink further. All of a sudden, it was very much essential for him to remain conscious and in control. She came home, saw him drunk and was about to leave. Aakash should have allowed that. He knew it. That was what he had wanted in first place. He wanted Sudha to stay away from him but when she turned around to go, fear gripped his mind, his heart ached beyond tolerance and he had almost shouted requesting her to stay back. She could have said no. She should have said no but she agreed to stay. She stayed with him, holding his hand as he cried for a long time. He remembered placing his head on her shoulder and she had wrapped an arm around him. When he woke up the next morning with a hangover, he was alone in his bedroom.
He called her residence. The call went unanswered. He called up at her parent’s house and was told by her father she had left a message for them that she was left town. He questioned Aakash whether they had a fight, whether he had said or done something. Aakash had no answers. He did not know it himself. What had he done? Had he done something wrong? Had he crossed his limits? He was confident about his self-control. He loved her; he could not possibly do anything to hurt her. But then, why had she left town like this, without even telling him? When the confusion in his mind was too much to bear he force – believed he must have done something wrong. He gave an advertisement in newspaper. Openly apologizing for whatever wrong he had done. It was too difficult, almost impossible to survive like this. The pain was too much to bear. It was tearing him apart, everyday. He wanted her to contact him at least once and tell him she had forgiven him for whatever wrong he had done and after that he was ready to walk out of her life forever. He started spending hours at her favorite hideout, hoping that someday she would show up there and that is what happened.

She came back one day. When he realized he was not hallucinating and she was really there, he ran towards her. He wanted to throw his arms around her, wanted to hold her tight against his body, wanted to kiss her but he stopped a few feet away and stared at her, hoping she would say something. She stared back at him, not saying a word.
Finally, surprising him, she moved and hugged him. When that happened, he lost all his self-control. He wrapped his arms around her, not allowing any distance between them as if that would be life-taking. Aakash had almost believed it was the first and the last happy moment of his life but Sudha surprised him again. She moved back and before he could react she proposed marriage to him. Not waiting for his answer, she placed her lips on his and kissed him. Aakash thought, if he was ever asked when was it that he would happily die, this moment was the answer. He found his body reacting to her touch. But, it was different than how it had reacted to all the women of his life. He kissed her, putting all his emotions into the kiss. He also felt her emotions flowing into him, he felt something breaking inside her and she was happy with it. The wall, it had finally collapsed, he realized. He kissed her until they were out of breath. He liked how her mouth moved with his, the unique dance of their lips was meant to be. He continued kissing her, but she stopped after a while moved back and then without turning to look at him, she walked away.
He knew what she was going through. He decided to give her the time. After two days, however, he got a little worried. He called her. She attended the call, despite the caller – id flashing his name. That was a good sign he told himself.
He started the conversation with an “I love you”. Both of them agreed it was crucial they met. When she ended the call after whispering “I love you, too” into the phone, Aakash could clearly see his future shaping in front of his eyes.

Part Six