Their hearts didn’t even stop beating out of their chests but Abhi’s second attempt at making Aisha breathless again had started; it was not quite often that they’d have a marathon throughout the afternoon; sometimes work didn’t allow them and sometimes strength. Wasn’t too long till Bruno started scratching on the door, perhaps Mom and Dad had spent a little too much time inside that closed room; Bruno wanted his treat for the afternoon. It was one of those romantic rainy days of Mumbai as they show on Bollywood movies however Abhishek and Aisha’s life was perhaps one untold Bollywood script; they had met during a flight to Delhi; Abhishek was going to attend a friend’s wedding and Aisha was on a trip to visit family. Her phone had rang during the unbearable twenty-five minutes before take-off; although it was an unwanted call but that call got Aisha someone whom she had wanted since she was a teenager,
“Ikimono Gakari? Seriously dude? You listen to them?”
Aisha first didn’t know how to reciprocate to this simple question as she turned her head towards the next seat where a young and charming man was sitting, “Yeah, I love them, they’re amazing”…and so it began; and it didn’t stop eversince.
They’d find similarities in between each other every now and then; it was like they were two sides of the same coin. From the passionate love making as soon as they got off the flight in Delhi to getting an apartment for the two of them in Mumbai; their story was going way too well.
“I’m gonna go for a smoke; I’ll join you in the shower”, as Abhi tried to leave the room and approach the Balcony, Aisha stopped him by putting her legs across his shoulders “I don’t think we’re quite done here yet Mister”…as he pulled her across the edge of the bed, poor Bruno had to wait another twenty minutes for his treat.
Aisha wasn’t really expecting anyone at that time of the day; it was her weekday off and nobody visited them during the weekdays; even if they had friends coming over it was usually during the weekends. Abhishek had just left for work, “who could it be?”, She murmured while walking upto the door.
“Pooja, it’s you? Why are you here?”
“Well, how’re you two?”
“It’s just me, you missed Abhi, he just left in case it’s him you wanted to meet.”
“Oh! No it’s fine, I meet Abhi plenty, I’m here to talk to you. Can I come in? Have a seat ‘cause gal you need to sit down to listen to this.”
As they both sat on the couch Aisha asked if Pooja wanted anything to drink but she denied; they were both quiet for a few minutes as if words weren’t a thing in between them but soon Pooja pulled something out of her purse and gave it to Aisha.
“You see he left it at my apartment on Sunday night”, it was Abhi’s charm that he used to wear around his neck. Before Aisha could take Pooja’s words in, she opened up once again “Look, don’t be mad at him, he was drunk, he didn’t know what he was doing…I don’t want you guys to fight because of me”
“Get out”, that’s all Aisha could say at that moment and it seemed like the perfect reaction Pooja was hoping for, she said nothing in reply; after keeping the charm on the table in front of them she left their apartment quietly.
Abhishek was trying hard to open the door with one bouquet in his arm and a huge teddy on the other; he didn’t want to drop any of those two on the floor; somehow he managed to open up anyway. He snuck up on Aisha sitting on the couch looking lifelessly towards outside. He kissed her neck and forwarded the bouquet of white orchids. Aisha seemed startled by the sudden gesture and instead of her “awww, so sweet of you” reaction, she seemed annoyed”, she moved away from Abhishek the way she does after seeing a lizard as if she was disgusted by him.
“What happened Baby, it’s for you.”
“Abhi I’ve packed your stuff, please leave as soon as possible and take the charm with you, I found it under the mattress, I know you were looking for it”, she pointed towards the table.
“What? Why? Baby what happened? Talk to me”, he tried to hold her close, calm her down but she wouldn’t listen so he picked her up and made her lie down on the couch and started kissing her with so much love and affection in his eyes but Aisha wasn’t herself, she just wouldn’t give in.
“STOP!!! I said LEAVE”, Bruno had come to Papa’s rescue, poor thing didn’t understand why Mommy was so mad at papa, he tried to lick Abhi’s pain away. Before Abhi could say a word more, Aisha stormed out the apartment; Abhi wanted to run behind her but he was standing there as a solid rock as if he had just found out that he lost the gal he loved; he couldn’t move. He waited for her to come back, called her, texted her, even texted her friends to check if she was with them. He even texted her ex-boyfriend to check if she had gone back to him who seemed to be laughing at his situation. “I guess Karma is a bitch”, Abhi smirked. Around midnight he received a text from Aisha “I’m not going in as long as you’re there, now if you want me to spend the night in the streets then please be my guest.” He couldn’t do that now could he? Bruno was sound asleep, he had to pat him one last time without waking him up because if he did, Bruno wouldn’t let him go…he left with his bags leaving the bouquet and teddy on the bed.
“Thanks for seeing me again though; I had not thought you would because I hurt your little girlfriend and I heard she kicked you out”, Pooja said sarcastically.
“Oh! Pooja you sound so stupid, I see why I like that jaw closed and hands tied, you’re a stupid chick and perhaps with all these words I’m turning you on but bitch I know why you did what you did, I called you by her name that night? Didn’t I? I was calling you Aisha? What were you thinking I was drunk so I’d forget the one I love and enjoy having sex with you? You dumb bitch..you hid my charm that night, so that you can take revenge; you knew I’d look for it, she gifted me that once I had lost my own, you knew how much it meant to me. You’re so fucking jealous of her and yes you should be, you come nowhere near her; you’re only good for a night and that too when I’m drunk and she’s my everything”
“She’ll never take you back, your everything now thinks nothing of you”, Pooja tried to pretend that Abhi’s words didn’t hurt her at all; as she rested her back on the couch blowing the smoke in the air she said “Abhi, don’t you see, you and I, we’re a team.”
“Your place or mine?” Pooja smirked.
Abhi left the coffee shop with utter disgust on his face throwing a five-hundred bill on the table.
Aisha saw Abhi sitting outside the door coming back home after a long day,
“You changed the locks.”
“What are you doing here?” Aisha seemed annoyed with his presence.
“Let me in, please, I don’t want to have this conversation in front of our neighbours.”
Aisha opened the door, pulled a bottle out of the refrigerator and gave it to Abhi, “You seem thirsty.”
Abhi put the bottle aside and held Aisha in his arms, “Baby I’m sorry, I know you didn’t want to find out like that, I should have told you but ..”
“It doesn’t matter Abhi. We’re done.”
“So you don’t love me anymore? Just like that?”
“Abhi I really cannot remember a moment where I actually loved you, I was more of, infatuated by you. I’m glad that you did what you did and I’m not mad at you because of that.”
“You know what, we’ll leave, let’s go to Texas, I’ll set everything up, we’ll be away from this bullshit”
Aisha said while freeing herself from Abhi’s embrace “But I like this bullshit, I love this city, you can leave and please do.”
“Why are you doing like this? For a mistake that I made while not even being myself? How can you treat me like this”…little Bruno was only hearing their conversation but as Abhi’s voice escalated he thought it was the perfect time to cuddle and calm them down but Abhi saw another version of Aisha that he never knew existed. She picked Bruno up and locked him inside the bedroom. The sound of scratching door made the ambience crueler than it already was.
“Let him out, why are you punishing him?”
“I’m teaching him how to resist, it’s good for him”
“Aisha you’ve changed”
“So have you Abhi…you’re twenty-four now. Not a kid anymore. I’m glad that it’s over, see I’m only making things easier for you. Now you can smoke on the bed after having sex, you don’t need to go out in the balcony, you can get drunk as much as you like and nobody will scold you. You can do whatever you want to because you’re a grown man. There shouldn’t be anyone telling you what to do and what not to do anymore.”
“But it never bothered me, you never bothered me. I did what I did because I love you and I didn’t mind doing all that for you.”
“That’s the sad part Abhi, I don’t love you. You know I was actually relieved the time you weren’t here. I got so tired of you. Tired of your stupid, insensitive comments, tired of your bad singing and tired of your cooking and I was tired of looking at myself every day in the mirror thinking now what’s wrong with me. I’m so tired of your tales of being perfect and this and that and yes I loved the sex, you made me feel good but dear it’s nothing I cannot get for one night, you know what I cannot get? Being loved for who I am…someone who’ll love all my imperfections and will still think that I’m perfect. Have you ever complimented me on anything Abhi? Do you even know what it feels like to love a woman? I’m not a girl, I’m a woman and I want to be loved like one. I’m tired of trying to look good for you but still not being appreciated. You say you love me which perhaps you do but sweetheart I don’t need that kind of love. I’m glad you moved out. I don’t miss you anymore. I don’t think about you anymore and the sex? Yeah it was good but I’ve been hit by you so many times now that I don’t even feel you anymore. You’re a boy with needs who can just get drunk and make a mistake just like that; I’m looking for something that is so much more than you are Abhi.”
Abhi was speechless like a stone-cold statue; he couldn’t even look at Aisha. Aisha smiled and kissed his cheeks and said “take care’ while hugging him.
It was the first time for Aisha walking by the Marine-drive without holding hands of someone or having someone by her side; mild rain and high tides; old Aisha would hold the arm more passionately and perhaps they’ll share a kiss or two but Aisha felt contained that night being alone and all by herself. She was enjoying her freedom, finally she had learnt what it feels to be alone and satisfied, no she didn’t need a man.
“…I can’t give it up, with someone else as such ‘cause I care too much, care too much….” Aisha was humming in her own head as the white BMW pulled up on the side of the road; Aisha couldn’t care any less, she kept walking by the side of the shore until she heard the familiar voice calling out her name,
“Aisha? Is that you? God you’ve changed since I saw you the last time, how long ago was that? It has been ten years….”