I was told a great many years ago that I'd find two great loves in my life. One was to help me find my passions and the other, to destroy my purpose. As a little girl of twelve, these words made no sense to me. I scoffed at the idea of love. After all, I'd already found my passions, as far as I was concerned. I loved writing and dancing and most of all, I loved being passionate about something. Anything. To become my whim would equal an obsession and an unequivocal adoration on my part. Anything, anybody that experienced it at the receiving end would have had to be strong to let my passion tear them apart till they were nothing but their core, their essential being.
I was sixteen when I first found love. More like, I first found myself in love. I think there is a huge lot of difference between the two, as many people before me have described it in great gusto, and the point was, I was in love. It was that sweet kind. The kind of sweetness that had a buttery feel to it and the warmth of it tugged at all places from within.
I remember realising the feeling at that one particular instant- the day I was sick, he’d huddled me up in his sweater, sung me to sleep, brought me hot chocolate and taken me back home while my cheeks had burned with the fever of being loved. We’d kissed that day. I’d been worried that he’d fall sick, too, although he assured me that he wouldn’t, just to be there to look after me.
He called me Tarsier, like the animal. It had more to do with my eyes and his quirky liking for them more than anything else. I called him by his name, Iraiv.
Iraiv was the sort of boy who got into trouble at school for being too charming. He'd charm his way out of punishments, charm his way into forbidden rooms- that sort of a thing. He was tall, more lean than muscular and had deep golden eyes. His eyes, they were honey like and it was an odd colour to be found in his otherwise milky face. His fingers were slender and looked as graceful as the grace with which they moved on my body.
It had been a rainy night and I don't know how, but the entire weather made it seem all the more enticing than what it probably was. Our class was on a tour to the nearest hill top, and we'd all been expected to be zipped up inside our tents. And of course that was not what we did.
I'd sneaked out at half past twelve only to find Iraiv already out and waiting.
"How did you know I'd come out now? " I'd asked
"I never went away just in case you came." He'd smiled.
Those were the sort of lines that would get me all mushy in my knees back then. We'd stayed up the entire night, silent and comfortable in our silence. Star gazing, gazing at each other's faces and smiling. We snuck back in before our teachers found out, although I firmly believe that they'd known all along.
When we were seventeen, I’d walked into our classroom to find another girl in his arms. And his fingers, the ones that had been a part of me almost, on her cheeks. Tracing out squiggly lines the way I liked them. Ferocious was an understatement to what I was that day. He’d sworn that it was only because she’d needed someone to support her, be there for her.
"Don't you think you'd do the same if it had been Rev?" He'd asked. So oblivious, it seemed.
I never spoke to him again, that year.
The next time we did speak to each other was yet another rainy night. But this time I was back home, and he, at his. There’s nothing like two people wanting to meet each other on a rainy night to get the mood set right. I was four months away from turning eighteen. He had eight months to go. The things of the past were put to rest as we lunged forward, biting into our delicious togetherness that we saw coming. I hadn’t realized that nothing had changed in me about him and that realisation thawed me.
That summer, I turned eighteen and we had some of the best escapades of my life.
I still remember the impression of that period of life on me- a bright pink, a pale pink, lots of green and blue and aquamarine with a dash of golden shimmer. At one point, the bright pink I'd say, it felt like nothing could get better. It was the zenith.
At the beginning he'd said that it didn't feel resolute. We didn't feel resolute. But that summer, things flipped for the better. RESOLUTE his every look screamed and he admitted that being committed was the biggest bite he'd taken so far. And boy, did we find it yum.
One can get used to being in love, you know. Like, you just wake up knowing you have had the best dream ever, but it only gets better because you’re going to meet that dream in real life that day. One can randomly gaze outside the car while travelling and suddenly find their eyes focus on a particular tree that stands out from the fuzzy background due to reasons all well known.
And just like that, one can also get used to being out of it.
"It’s easy for me to unlove." He’d said.
I believe him.
That summer had been coming to an end and all that we'd built between us seemed to slowly become a monument. A souvenir to look at and cherish, to become nostalgic and smile. That built a whole new layer of dust on it and we gradually saw us crumbling and blamed it on the distance. On the timing. On anything but what it actually was- the two of us.
I had put the past to rest, never killed it. It had slowly risen, only to grow fully awake and conscious. And that, was the end of it, I'd thought.
I scribbled my heart away as any good girl who wishes to get it done with would do. And man, was it beautiful. It brought tears into my eyes and it seemed fit for the world to take a look at my first love- my word baby.
The response had been moving and I knew he'd loved it, too.
Ten years later, I fell in love. Again. This time, his fingers were sturdy and skin, tough. He had the smile of a seraph and I was taken by his words. The words he carelessly flung around and got me trapped bit by bit. It all sounds cheesy, but almost everything is when you're a turophile. This boy, or must I say, man, called me by my name. We drank coffee together almost every evening. Went for walks in the woods. Made dinner with nothing but spinach and curd. It was sweet, what we had. The kind of sweetness that clears your head on a dizzy day and makes you full at night.
What happened to Iraiv, I often wondered. What happened to that beautiful boy of my teenage dreams and his graceful fingers?
My curiosity only increased with the number of years I lived with my second love. And slowly, I found Iraiv's milky skin on him. When he held my hand, I could swear they were gentle and soft. And his eyes even turned mellowy and honey like when he looked at me.
I hadn't realized that age had gotten to him much earlier than it had of him in my mind.
I kissed his forehead, his wrinkled forehead and he reeked of life. Of life slipping away, yet I could not bring myself to hear him call me by my name.
"Call me Tarsier" I’d said, my voice breaking.
"Tarsier" He’d smiled, the same voice. The same warmth. "You remember." It was a confirmation. He’d nodded his head in satisfaction after having made that observation and he slept.
It would have been an ideal story if he'd passed away that night. But he didn't. Because it was reality and so much better than an ideal story. He lived on for four more years and now, he's at my bedside.
He kisses my forehead and I'm sure I reek of life, this time. I see a bottle of sleeping pills in his hands and I understand what he wants to do. He's going to let himself go first. Or being the dramatic being he is, he probably will time it so that we leave together.
I can slowly feel the water rise in my eyes. It's time to go. He nods and does it. All in one gulp. It must have taken guts.
I've been in love, twice, with the same boy, man. But I'm not sure which one found me and which destroyed it all.