She rested her head on his shoulder, held his arm and continued tapping her foot to the music. Her eyes sparkled and her face seemed to glow even as the light continued to flicker in the lounge. He looked at her and was mesmerized.
It could have been a few seconds or eternity, he couldn’t tell. All words abandoned him when he was with her. He fumbled with his fork and in a desperate move to make up for his silence asked her feebly “Do you like your drink?”
She looked up from the glass she was holding and shrugged. “Too sweet”.
He offered her his own glass and she took a sip, but wasn’t interested in the substitute either.
There was always this unknown energy that she exuded that he could never put a finger on. She could be radiant and calm one second and be fierce and defensive the next. At times, she refused to talk and sat quietly by herself for hours but could still manage to rule a conversation, any time she wanted. She was one of the strongest women he had known and perhaps the most vulnerable too at the same time.
They sat listening to the music for a while, before she broke the silence and asked “Do you want me?”
He looked at her for a moment, hoping to get another clue at what she wanted to ask but she repeated herself “Do you want me?”
“Define what does ‘want’ mean?” he asked.
She was perhaps hoping for a direct answer and was perplexed at being questioned in return. “Rehne do, let it be.” she dismissed the conversation, took another sip of the sugary syrup she was drinking and grimaced at the rush of sugar on her tongue.
It was him who broke the silence this time. “Why do you think the moon changes its shape?” he asked.
“Changes shape?” she was amused at his question.
“Well, you know how it is crescent one night and full on the other and likewise…” his voice trailed off.
“Hmm, you mean the lunar phase?” She thought he was trying to change the topic and indulged him. “The moon doesn’t change its shape. It is just the shape of the sunlit portion of the moon that you can see from Earth. Just the area or the part that is visible makes it look different on different days.”
“Just the way you are, right?” he smiled.
He waited a moment before adding, “There are days when you are beaming with sunlight and I see a brighter side of you and then there are times when you go completely dark. There will always be that part of you that I will never be sure of, when I will not know if you would ever come home to me or just drag your body someplace else and leave your spirit elsewhere. You are impartial in your ways, just like that cloud that passes over a roof not knowing whose soul it will soak and who it will leave parched. You have set goals for your entire life and yet you are never sure where the next day will lead you to.”
She sat up straight and was now listening to him intently.
He continued. “It is strange how we are entwined at this stage of our lives. I have dreamt of us together and in my head have had this conversation with you a hundred times before but have always fallen short of words when it mattered. There is a tinge of sadness enveloping this whole thing which makes it gripping and beautiful at the same time. You are a cauldron of your unfinished thoughts and they spurt out like lava from a dormant volcano time and again. I wish to shower in this burning spray of fire, as and when I can, and be burnt and stripped down to the bone and in the process, hope to rise as a phoenix again.”
He waited for her to say something. She just sat there, looking at him, smiling. He smiled back and added “And if you think, this is what the ‘want’ means, then I want you.”
She flipped her hair back from her face, rose a little from where she sat and gave a little peck on his cheek. “You know, you could have just said a simple Yes to what I asked?”
“I know” he replied and clasped her fingers in his hand.
The music played on, but they weren’t listening to it anymore.