-Rewind about 8 and a half months-
It’s November. Semester III has just ended, the 3rd internship is underway. I spend more time at hospitals than I do at work and home. I meet my friends from home on the weekends, read more books than I have in the past year, and try my best to get better. Things were not good, but things were definitely getting better.
It seemed almost accidental that I should receive a text from you. I hadn’t saved your number. You sent me a picture of two of my friends, drunkenly posing. I decided to indulge you, just about. I had never liked you. You were loud, crass, and offensive just to seek some attention. But I decided to do just enough to keep the conversation flowing.
I’m not sure how we went from my once in 12 hours replies to under a few seconds replies late into the night. That entire month was a blur to me. I grew fond of you. I enjoyed our conversations, as random as they were. Everything happened so quickly. I didn’t even realise how attached I was getting to you, until I was. Looking back, I remember how eager I was to get back to Pune. Just for you. And I felt uneasy then; by how much you’d come to mean to me. But I thought I had some semblance of control over the situation. Maybe if I did, we wouldn’t be here today.
In retrospect (especially the way things played out), I should have realised that maybe things were not okay. Your effusive declarations, the intensity of our affection, my 180′ flip on how I perceived you. Maybe I should have paid more heed to your best friend. ‘He’s not okay, the last semester was terrible for him. He’s not in a good place, he’s not ready for a relationship. He just maybe needs someone to listen to him. Be careful.”
But I didn’t.
I remember crying the night before your surgery. You were so scared for so long. All our conversations came back to it. So of course, I was terrified. The prospect of losing you at that point, seemed very real.
I remember praying for you. I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve prayed in my life. When my baby brother was in the ICU, when my dad got into a train accident, when my best friend’s family was stranded on their rooftop during the Kashmir floods. When you told me that you might possibly die.
You wrote me something I thought at that time, was heartfelt. I don’t anymore.
-First Day back in Pune-
I got back the night before, you would be here in time for lunch. I remember how much you apologised because your bus got delayed. I remember my roommates trying to give you a hard time. I remember the sheepish smile on your face when you handed over the scarf you got me from Kasol.
Lunch was in a cosy restaurant tucked away from Viman. You ate really fast. And apologised for it. I remember you telling me how it annoys your mother because you’re always the first to finish at the table. We came back to my room and talked for a bit, tried playing uno, and listened to music. We spent the next 7 hours together. You went for dinner with your roommates and came back to crash with me (I remember one of them bringing you your pyjamas).
That was the first night (of the innumerable ones to follow) we slept together. I remember us adjusting on my single (but arguably very comfortable) bed. I had my doubts about whether we’d fit. I had back up mattresses for us to sleep on the floor.
But we adjusted; my head on your arm, tucked into your chest, and you held me close. We’d waited for over a month for this moment. And I remember your exact words in that moment right before we fell asleep,
“Nivi, we’re going to have our ups and downs in this relationship. But this feeling- the comfort of falling asleep in each others arms- we’ve got to hold on to this. Remember this if you ever doubt this. And we’ll be fine.”
Maybe it’s my fault. I attached too much value to your words that you used so freely.