“love all”, resounded the room.
We stood face to face across the table. Something was wrong. Something was always wrong, but this time it felt really wrong. I quickly turned my gaze privileging my eye with the beauty reflected on the window.
A few minutes later, the water in my eyes focused my gaze off her reflection and sailed me into the past.
Wintry nights are hard. Actuated by restrained love. The cold biting night embraced me hard when I saw you chain the love monster that I had instilled in you. I could see a love restrained.
“love - one”
With the last bit of strength in me, I let go of my letter in your care. “Win her I would”, I said to myself as I trudged back a loser.
“Take another shot of courage…” ran the Eagles lyrics in my mind.
“one – all”
Weeks sailed by and the magic of love withstood the inclement weather and was beginning to blossom. You were so carefree. I was part of your happiness! The jokes, the long hours of silence staring at the mares frolic. All was bliss. But in your absence I was insecure. Afraid of the future. Our future. Fear besieged me and pushed me to do things I never imagined I would be doing. Work which I thought would please you. Please us.
“seven - one”
The bad old winter was approaching. The same fretful place where I left you with the care of my letter began looking gloomier by the day. The place felt colder every time I walked by.
“Wonderful!! You are getting married! Why are you sad. You should be Haa-py”, I said.
“seven - all”
But you read my inner discomfort. “Of course I am sad!” I cried back. “I wanted to win you. Once my work is achieved I’d meet your folks and court you. I am sad because I have failed. Time has failed me. You have failed me. Please don’t leave me alone here. Everyone is teasing me. Please”
“seven – point”
My optimism grew two fold. I wanted to win. I needed to win. I was scared. Fear of failure made be believe I could achieve the impossible. I had a goal. It was crystal clear. You were bigger in my inner eye. I worked hard. I prayed even harder.
When you want something with the bottom of you heart, the whole world conspires to help you achieve it. Divine Intervention it is called. You laughed when I spoke to you of it. But I still had faith.
“eight - point”
…. you lead me to a corner. The feeling was not good. You then twirled with a mixture of happiness and sorrow. I did not understand the expression until I noticed the left hand stretched out. On the fair hand, neatly placed by some lucky man was a ring.
“eight – game!”
What a wonderful smash to end the game. I am amazed by the way you smash. I completely lost sight of the ball.
“But the years went by and the rock just died
Suzie went and left us for some foreign guy”
my mind sang.
A ring unlocking the fortunes for one, sealing the fate of a lonely fighter.
A ring binding two souls, drifting apart two spirits.
A ring …
“What did I do wrong?”, echoed my inner mind. Hence began the introspection. WHy? Why? why?....
Maybe I should have played more carefully. I should have served better.
…. how can someone sow the seeds of love and chop it almost instantaneously? How could I have been fighting for a cause that was lost even before I started.
“eight- twenty three”
Was I cheated? No! You never told me your feelings. It was always I who made the first move. You are a lovely person and I misread your actions.
“eight – twenty five”
But then all those actions are not done to just anybody! You did feel for me in the same way as I did towards you! You bloody did!
“eight – twenty six”
“Move on with your life. I have moved on. I am very happy and you should be too”. It was so easy for you to say.
“move on. I have moved on ….”
How can I explain to you that when you have shaped your life to achieve something, something which you really desire with the truest of convictions, failing to achieve that is the biggest setback in life. And it is by far most difficult trying to “move on”
I only hope you achieve whatever you set your heart on lest you should suffer the pain of “moving on”.
“eight – thirty one”
Was I cheated ? Now I am alone with thoughts and my stupidity. Everyone is laughing. How could I be so helpless?
Why didn’t I make things work? Why didn’t it happen?
“eight – thirty five”
My thoughts are so opposite yours. “It is all fate and your fate is bad. We were never meant to be together”, you spat out, while I held on to the letter you returned.
The smudge from my tear when I wrote it was still visible. You had taken good care of the letter. The ink dissolved in my sweaty palms.
The lines were changed.
“we have to make things work out. We write our own destinies”, I retorted.
“If things don’t work out between you and your husband, don’t blame it on fate and accept it. You need to work towards making things normal”, was the only advice I could give to her.
“eight – thirty nine”
“What are you still playing for??? The game was over long back at twenty one. You are only losing more miserably”, she shouted from across the table.
“huh”, I said coming back to my senses.
“I beat you”, she shouted with joy. “I beat you hollow!” and threw the racket in the air.
“Maybe next time you can try harder”, she laughed out.
“I am a bad loser”, I said, still shocked at the miserable defeat. “and I don’t have the courage to play with you again. You are a wonderful player”
She left doing the silly carefree dance that she always does, as I gazed out of the window staring into the hazy darkness; my present getting entwined with my past, leaving the cold evening mist tease me.