One night only


Yesterday. He had spoken with her on the phone as I listened to snippets of care and love. The suburban traffic whooshed past as I tried to rein in jealousy and anger. As I listened to Hyderabadi voices trying to offer comfort, hope slowly dissipated. Perhaps it wasn’t my night at all as I looked at his tall, proud figure, and heard that beautiful smiling voice. Talking to someone else. It changed me. That voice. It brought me comfort and peace.

Over dinner, I mulled over my feelings and reactions. I could not meet his eyes as I munched carefully on lettuce pieces swimming in mayonnaise sauce. One night only I had decided. The night which was slipping away. He might have known I was jealous. It was apparent. We parted in rude silence, me with overwhelming feelings and forgotten chances. Him with future promises of her.

The next day, I apologized for my rude behaviour. He did not care really. Ho hum. We shall watch some rather good theatre tonight along with some tea. The only way I could make it up to someone who didn’t really care. As I sipped some Earl Grey, I knew this would be our final night. Our final bow together. I may never see him again the way I’d like. One night only. Together. Feeding on our hearts, then run. There would be no one else. My destiny was unwinding itself from his.

As I watched the play, obnoxious old friends on stage, his satiny skin teased me as his elbow moved against mine. No stealing of glances, just a frank gaze and then look away. One night only. Where in the morning, I would lose it all. Something this right has really no chance to survive.

As we walked through the imposing, stone buildings of the NCPA, my one night only was ending quickly. Stop being such a baby, I intoned as he paused, wondering if I could walk through rubble and stone. If only I had this courage when I had to tell you how I really felt. We walked. Through the stone, on the rubble, by the ocean, in the dark, velvet night and narrowly missed being run over by horses and BEST buses. The ugly INOX structure winked at me, mocked me. For I was alone, even if he was right there beside me. Move to the right, away from the traffic. That beautiful voice. I have no doubt I can love you forever. I thought and thought. If only I could will him to me.

As he looked at his phone, my one night was over. He was no longer the only one. He had stopped pretending to care and there was nothing more to be said. I was only left with the smell of tea leaves and the sounds of a piano playing somewhere in Churchgate.


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