He Said Yes - (Final) Part 3

The Third Yes

( Here are the links to Part 1 & Part 2 )

It had been a month. An amazingly perfect month. She could have sworn that she heard the click in her head, indicating perfect harmony in life again.

After he had replied, they had got talking. He, for very understandable reasons, had been very angry at her. Her e-mail a long time ago had left him speechless. He had taken a long time to even digest that she didn’t want to talk to him anymore. Out of the blue. It had been so enraging even as a thought, that he had decided to stay quiet just to spite her – certain that she would get back and say the idea was stupid, and they should just be friends again.

He had been waiting for her to come back, so he could go “HA”. The timing of him being able to get back to her was lost. He had slipped into sadness, and back to anger.

But she hadn’t gotten back …days, weeks and months.

Till that day, three years later.

He had seen the message and had to check thrice to ensure that the name displayed was indeed her, and not google messing with him.

After the initial excitement of actually being connected to her, he quickly remembered that he was supposed to be furious at her. So they had spent almost a day arguing and fighting. But millions of miles away they were, the words exchanged were heated and apologetic, but the smiles stuck on each of their faces was as true and bright as day!

She had apologized, he had accepted and they had gone right back to being friends.

It had been two whole years, which all but gently faded away.

He was now working at Malaysia. She hadn’t moved.

The internet and reduced time difference made being in touch very simple and easy. And that they were. One would think two full time professionals would have a lot less time to talk to each other, but no, not them. They were comfortable multitasking, well keeping in touch never felt like a task anyway.

Soon to be twenty six, and having seen and rejected numerous photos of “eligible bachelors” she was well aware of how perfect he had been for her. She knew that he was still single. She didn’t know two things. One: Becoming friends again, even after that huge hurdle is one thing, but would they be able to do so for something beyond friendship? And two: will either of them find it in them to let go of the ego and ask the question?

Her birthday came and went. The questions had never surfaced. Hints had been given, vague remarks made, but that’s as fas as either of them got.

Things were just chugging alone, both for the most part content to have their best friends back. The only drawback was that the distance and the countries between them made meeting pretty much impossible. One fine day, she asked him – no not one of those two questions!

You know… we’re planning a vacation at Indonesia right?

He, being well aware of it, thanks to her having spazzed about it for quite a while, “Mm Hmm”

"You know how close Indonesia is to Malaysia?" she remarked

"Pretty close yeah"

"Very close!"

"True" he confirmed

"But…well, I’m coming with friends, and I don’t think they’re going to accept adding another country to the agenda"

"You could extend a day…" 

"But I don’t think they would be comfortable with me going to a different country alone. That would be mean."

"Agreed"

"Right. Anyway … what’s for lunch?"

"I don’t know, I think I have to skip lunch."

"Why? Dude don’t be skipping meals! You know being healthy is important, especially when staying alone in a foreign country! If you want to skip a meal, skip dinner."

"I know I know. I’ll probably pick something up when returning from the Visa Office." he remarked

She (Trying her best to contain her excitement) : "Oh please please tell me you’re going to be applying for an Indonesian Visa! Please! Otherwise this will be very sad."

"I’m going to pick up my Indonesian Tourist Visa, it’s been approved."

I leave it to you to imagine her reaction. They spent the month planning the one day that she would be spending with him. She was almost embarrassed to admit that she was more excited about the one day, than the 4 others in the trip. Luckily, she hid her excitement well!

On the day they were meeting, with whatsapp as the only means of communications, as both were on international roaming – it was irony that she was delayed by almost an hour.

They had planned the exact spot that they were going to meet at. Her friend’s flights were delayed, and with the craziness of vacating 2 rooms she was delayed completely. She tried texting him and calling him, but his phone was out of reach. By the time she left the place, she was completely certain that he would have left and she would have to wander alone on the last day of what had been a fabulous and relaxing vacation.

After finally packing them off, she hailed the next cab and rushed. Her heart beat like a V12 engine, equal parts anticipation and fear. Fear that he won’t be there, and fear that he might have waited for an hour right there.

She crossed the road, and went to the point where they were to meet. He wasn’t there. It felt like the clutch was slowly being engaged… her heart rate slowed down gradually. She was part relieved that he didn’t wait for an hour out there in the heat, and disappointed that he hadn’t.

She found a wall to lean on, to get water out of her bag to gurgle it down – with her head slightly tilted, she saw it. It was a miracle that the water did not choke her. He was standing on a nearby walkway bridge, overlooking the road, facing away to the opposite direction. He must’ve have missed her crossing. Her heart that had all but stopped and shut down, revved into full speed again.
She deliberately forced herself to drink some more water, then walked over slowly. Since he was still facing the road, he didn’t notice her walking up behind him. She imagined fumes coming out of his nostril like an angry dragon, or a lion – a leo that he prided himself for being.

One tap on the shoulder was all it took. He turned to look slowly. Their eyes met.

Apology, unsure smile, anger irritation – all conveyed effectively without a word spoken.
In the month leading up to this day, she had wondered how this moment would go. Hugging like long lost friends was always the most prominent scenario.

“DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG I’VE BEEN WAITING HERE? HOW HOT IT IS? HOW I STOOD HERE DESPITE HOW THIRSTY I WAS, SO YOU WOULDN’T MISS ME HERE?”

She wanted to go “Aaaaawwww” , but good sense prevailed.

“So sorry…I’m so sorry … I called you….”

“CHECK YOUR PHONE! See how many times I called you back.!”

In all the hurry, she had completely forgotten about that device since she’s gotten in that cab about 45 minutes ago!

“I’m so sorry” , she repeated “I’ll get you water…juice…please come”

He went along seething. Well given their history, anything less dramatic would have felt wrong she supposed.

As they made their way through the busy street to KFC in the far end (only recognizable place for a quick cold drink) she remembered the day long ago when they had first met. It was near a library, he had arrived first then too, and her first words then had been “I’m so sorry I’m late”. Tradition she supposed.

She bought him the cold drink, got herself one too, and walked quietly beside him. She knew he would calm down, he always did. Just needed a bit of time. He eventually did, and she knew that when he held out his hand to offer to throw out her cup in the dustbin as well. A cheeky smile she gave him. He frowned, but she could tell that he was forcing it – and all was right in the world again.
They immediately fell into the old rhythm where they could both talk a mile a minute on completely different topics – keep track of each other’s conversation, respond appropriately and have something to add. They’ve had as much as three to four threads of conversation happening at the same time without losing track of any of it.

They walked a while in the busy bazaar, and then walked more than a mile to a museum nearby. It had been her idea – so they could see more of the city, and witness a bit of the local culture! But they just ended up walking a lot in the heat, and he made her carry his much heavier bag for a bit of it. All was fun however.

As the evening drew near, they were both aware that their day in the sun was coming to an end. It had been an amazing day, but nothing special had been said. There had been moments when both had caught the other staring at them … like when they were walking, or at the museum, but the meaning behind those looks were left open to interpretation, and one did NOT want to misread in these situations, and take the wrong premature step forward.

Eventually they ended up at the station, and he insisted that he would come with her till her stop  - which was farther away, before heading back to his hotel. She wondered if the moment had finally come, it definitely felt like it … the climate was cooler, the sun was setting gorgeously. They reached her point, both got off – and they both stood facing each other. Moment of truth. The heartbeat race had restarted apparently. She smiled sweetly. He looked unsure. Then … he held out his hand – for a handshake. “Okay then! Bye.” He said. “Bye. Get back safe!” an alien replied through her mouth. The sweet smile was now more plastic, but plastered on her face. He turned and left. She walked him walk away.

She ended up losing her way back to the hotel, but the roads were empty and no one need see the angry tears. The walk helped. She got a lot of thoughts straightened out … and finally, alone in her room with an hour or so before she had to leave, she texted him.

“Hey, back safe?”

“Yeah. Just checked in. I’ve got this fancy room all to myself. Pity”

“Pity? Because you’re alone ;)?” she ventured

“Huh? No … because I’m here only for the night, and am too tired, so will be falling asleep”

“Right … anyway, today was a good day!”

“It really was wasn’t it!! I’m so glad I made it. I’m awesome!”

“Well since you did come all the way for me, you are”

“I know”

“Sheesh”

“What?! True story!”

“Fine! Umm… Did you feel like… didn’t everything felt just right today?”

“Yeah, the one hour wait in the sun was perfect!”

“I’m sorry about that! For the hundredth time! I meant between us”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean us … US”

“No… I get what you mean. But no. Isn’t it almost time you started to the airport?”

“Oh yeah …I got carried away. I’m off now. Bye!”

“Bye”

She left. He left a day after. She would have given a million dollars to have known if he was sad when he said those final words, or relieved or was it plain indifference.

-

They did stay in touch, and pretended that conversation never happened. As beautiful a tryst that it had been, at many levels it felt like a delicate bubble that they might burst if they spoke about it to each other.

For the first few weeks after the return, their conversation was very polite. Formal even. Eventually they did fall back into the old rhythm. And then the fights happened. There was one… just one that mattered. Where they had been talking about joint families versus nuclear families, and he had said he would always prefer joint families and she had said the idea of a nuclear family made more sense to her. Simple discussion on individual preferences it must have been right? No. He claimed he felt offended by her choice. She tried arguing that her preference had no bearing on his, and when the argument got dirty, she even mentioned that it was him who ensured that their preference on this needn’t matter. This logic didn’t seem to affect it. At least that’s what she thought then.

What she realized much after the fight had led to a cold war was that her preference had probably mattered to him. Not in the present argument, not this particular preference, but in general. His answer that evening in Indonesia hadn’t been given with sadness or indifference or relief – it had been given with anger. Anger for her having left him alone years ago. Anger that he had had to get over her.

One might argue how she could know that. But him, she knew – enough to know that this was right. She understood where he was coming from. Understood the rationale behind his reactions, because at one point she had understood him all too well.


They tried to patch things up, but this time they both sadly accepted that they had moved on for the people they used to be. And there was too much hurt in the river separating them, that crossing it was probably not an option. She knew that even he understood her motives behind some of her decisions she had taken now and earlier – like she understood his. But understanding it didn’t make it okay for one person to make the decisions without involving the other, and leaving them alone in it.


Eventually, they just softly stopped talking to each other. It had been beautiful… but it was now over. Just the gentle wind after the storm.

Neither of them had deleted each other’s number. It was childish, but they both sometimes had complementary status messages on whatsapp – a form of expressing their solidarity from where they stood.

-

She was twenty seven, he was thirty one.

Almost a year had passed since all that.

One day, out of the blue, a classmate of his whom she had helped out once a long time ago reached out to her on facebook. She gave him the information asked for, and consciously avoided any mention of him. But that doesn’t stop people from sharing things now, does it? “Hey! Did you know that he is hitched now?” the classmate asked cheerily. “Oh really…”

Can a mended heart crack just a bit for a memory of the past?

Apparently it could.

She tried for a week, and could hold it in no more. She needed to know if it’s true, and needed to hear it from him.

She texted him:

“Hey! Are you engaged?”

-Message seen. No response.-

One day later:

“Yes”

She responded with heartfelt congratulations. Consoling herself that it hadn’t been easy for him to answer. And relieved that her expressions don’t get revealed over text.

-
Yours truly
Someday's Dreamer

Comments

wow!!!! and that is honestly all i could muster up with the tears flowing...

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