The days were black these days for both. No matter how desperately they tried, every initiation always turned into an argument, an argument whose heat melted the joy of every next initiation by any. There was no subjective quantification of their issues. Both, Keith and Shikha, were always right in their interpretations of their actions. But even before they get to hear the other side, the damage was done, triggered by their own understanding of the situation. The always merry couple now questioned their every intent to even be together, leave trying and understanding.
No doubt the physical distance of cities played the wicked card every time. But it was nothing new, distance has always been there with them since the start. And it was now that this physical distance has crawled up into forming a mental distance between the two, a distance whose bridging became impossible for both.
In spite of all this, somehow every time when they fell short, memories of memories would try creating a patch in their collapsing bridge, only to create a new fight a new day. Shikha’s smile, Keith’s cuddling, the anxiousness to talk and share, the provocations of the calm nights, the tranquility of the delightful evenings, the loneliness of soul, the feel of being next to each other, were now narrowed to being just the triggering elements to just try, try once again. The sun, the moon, the stars, the trees…………everything………almost everything, changed their course n definitions of beautification by the pair. The vision was altered; they were failing, failing miserably.
Eventually, the day came when Keith thought, it’s time, it’s time to either restore or to move on. They both knew that out of the two, Keith was more strong headed and clear, which gave Keith the unwanted responsibility to deduce an ultimate clarity of situation and take chances to either refine or end this collapsing relationship.
In the night, he mustered all his courage and maturity and dialed. Post the initial exchanges, Keith, avoiding the slur said, “Ok, so I accept. I don’t know how to reach you. Every time, as in almost always, whenever I try to build, we end up fighting. I know I sometimes don’t understand what you express and feel. I admit it and I feel sorry for that. Maybe its coz of which you feel am an idiot, insensitive or whatnot. But you also try n understand that even you too don’t understand what I say, and I seriously don’t know how to fix this, and no I don’t feel that you are an idiot coz of this. I feel this happens coz we are two different individuals with a different set of mentalities, ideologies, goals and functionalities. I don’t know whether you’ll like it or not but this is what I am trying to tell you for past few days.”
“Shikha, baby, please don’t get mad. Try and understand that this is not the right thing to do, this is not what will take us further.”
The mechanical voice of phone prompted back with a pause, “I understand this but you never appreciate the efforts made by me. Your approach towards my family, my friends, and my lifestyle is so narrowed and entangled. What you are saying is what we both feel now.”
“Exactly, it’s cause of which I felt that we should make a fresh start……..”
“Look, this is what irritates me. Why can’t you let me finish? I was saying something to you. I was sharing myself and look at you ya.”
“Shikha, I know what you’ll say. I have heard this a billion times before. I just wanted to scrap the rhetoric, as today I want us to just talk sensibly and develop the understanding which we have been lacking for days now.”
“But how is this possible, if you’ll interrupt me and not let me speak.”
“Shikha, I’ve just now told you that I wanted to……ahhhh ok fine, say what you want to say.”
“No, now you carry on. I don’t want to say anything now.”
There came an awkward pause for both, giving time to Keith to suppress his irritation and Shikha to console her helplessness.
Breaking the silence, Shikha tried pacifying again “I know what am doing might not be enough for you. But even you need to understand that am not doing anything wrong intentionally. It’s just that I am lacking, just lacking. I know I haven’t done anything wrong. Sometimes I feel that you want me to be just silent till the time you make a mistake and then call for a talk when actually there is nothing left to talk. And what all I am saying, is with full respect n sincerity, try not feeling bad. My ways can be different from yours, maybe my ways are universally wrong also [as you feel so] but this is what constitutes me. My wrongs in your opinion are my rights, in my opinion, exactly as the way your rights in your opinion and your wrongs in my opinion. I hope you get this. You’re doing this and not even letting me even to speak on issues is not good. Don’t you feel so?”
There was silence.
And this time, the ego asked none to move ahead and pacify. But Shikha ended in a question, she needed an answer, more to get the answer as the logical tradition than to seek the answer for the real meaning of it.
The silence continued for 1-2 minutes, resulting in an eventual mood shift of Shikha, “Keith, you awake?”
A very calm “YES”, came as a reply.
“Look, you are awake. Brilliant!! And you can’t even answer me. God, I am so irritated with you sometimes, I can’t even say. Is this your new resentment tactic? Am so fed up ya. Do you intentionally do this? Keith, do you seriously…………..”
“Shikha, there’s someone in my room” a feeble whisper came from the other end.
“Ask him to leave, or buy some time from him. Cause today I need to talk. Even I don’t want to continue like this.”
“Shikha, he’s not someone I know”
“What do you mean he’s not someone you know? Switch on the light and check. What’s the big deal? Please don’t play this mystery joke with me now. It’s not the right time Keith.”
Keith still holding the calmness in his voice, said, “I am not kidding. Shikha there’s seriously a man in the darkness of the room, sitting exactly in front of me, on the white chair near the garden door of my room, exactly the way you used to sit on the chair, with legs folded and up.”
Shikha didn’t know what to respond to such confidently detailed response from Keith.
“What are you saying? Did he break in and came? Switch on the light and ask. Where are your rest of the housemates?”
“I am unable to move Shikha. It’s like I am fixed to my bed. I can’t move, I can’t shout, I can’t confront him, I can’t even call anyone. He is sitting right in front of me, but still I am unable to see his face. I can’t get up, I can’t disconnect the line. I can do nothing except just informing you.”
Shikha giggled from the other end. “Too much ok!!”
“Hahaha… If you accept that you lost, we can talk something else.”
Keith tried convincing her on the mysterious man’s presence in the room. It was after some 15 minutes of constant informing of details of his helplessness that Shikha’s laughs, shifted to giggles to slowly making way for the awkward silence to worrying to finally panicking on understanding the whole scenario.
While Shikha’s panic gave Keith options like, “Should I call Police, or wait I’ll call your roommates. How can someone just emerge from nowhere in your room? You relax, I’ll help.”
To which Keith again very calmly murmured
“Shikha, the shadow just spoke to me.”
‘Please don’t panic’, he said to me. He said I am not here to harm you. ‘You’ll feel profound once you’ll familiarize with me and know my real purpose of arriving. I am nothing but a help. Take me as a friend and ignore me and just talk’. And baby the weird part is, the man didn’t speak. He just somehow telepathically told me to be normal and talk to you.” Keith said.
Initially, Keith struggled but with every move the shadow prompted repetitively, “Don’t panic Keith, Don’t panic. Just show some compassion towards me and love towards her.”
And then with these words, something unusual happened to Keith. He felt as if the shadow, somehow, has cast a spell on him taking Keith into his complete confidence. He with time went numb regarding his presence and generated a sort of trust on his emergence. He amidst all this mystery got the clear reckoning of one ultimate thing that the shadow doesn’t want to hurt him.
“I don’t know why Shikha but I somehow confide trust in him now. What all is happening, if at all this is real, it’s not something natural. If the intentions were to hurt, then he might have already done that as of now and even if he is waiting for the right time, then also my only hope is you, baby, as you are the only person aware of this. And if it’s not real then there’s no point resisting as then nothing is in our hands.”
The girl still was perplexed, but the conviction and solitude with which Keith said all this, relaxed her a little. She thought to be in the moment and found following Keith to be a more logical move for a confused state like hers, anyways Keith was the most mature one out of the two.
They both started chatting, talking in the presence of that man in their space.
Initially, they both faced slight awkwardness in talking. But then suddenly something hit Keith from within. He talked and shared, exactly the way he wanted this conversation to happen. This abnormal set up had magic flowing in the air, turning every wrong into right. Keith talked brilliantly to Shikha today. Even she didn’t crib or fight on issues with Keith. The weirdness of everything just vanished letting them both to experience the oneness of their soul. They both talked, talked of the sun, the moon, the stars, the life, about themselves, issues surrounding themselves, the families, friends, everything. They talked and the brilliance of the situation was that in spite of the presence of a stranger, the two lovebirds talked like the two love birds should talk. Infact the fear Bourne out of the situation and the concern to support and rely on each other at a time like this helped in avoiding the nonsense and focus on the concern. The man occasionally prompted Keith on where to stop or what to say and what not to say or joke or go mute and ignore. And the promptings were so smooth that for Keith they resembled his mind’s insightful thoughts. Keith and Shikha just complimented each other with the sheer brilliance of compatibility tonight. But in moments like this, the only thing which the love lacks is………..TIME.
The time flew, marking the arrival of the cyclic new dawn of a new day. The light was just about to break in, ready to unmask the identity of this mysterious man. Even Keith’s concentration was now shifted onto the revelation of the light by the light, keeping Shikha, waiting eagerly to hear a response from him.
With still some time left for the visible light to illuminate, the man rose up. He rose up and took a step forward towards Keith and while still in the dark, he whispered huskily, “Try not to fight ever again. I am usually very weak, but there are times when being strong enough to stand up by myself for the cause becomes the only resort.”
“Keith” He prompted in his baritone voice, “I don’t want to die. I want to live.”
The boy gazed at the man, more puzzled than before.
“Don’t fail her, don’t fail yourself, don’t fail me. Don’t let me die. I want to be immortal, I want to see your essence to be immortal, cause there is no you and no her. There is just US.”
“And I am that US. I am your love. Please make me Divine!!”
And with this, he just disappeared with a puff of smoke.