It requires certain boldness for a married man to reveal his teenage love. It would raise more eyebrows when I talk about meeting her again and feeling the same love embroiling my heart. Some may call it risky, to open the ‘chamber of destructive secrets,’ for a happily married man.
That’s what I am going to do exactly.
I may be wrong or right. You can judge me as you wish. Society cannot decide whom I should love or how I should live. Every individual has his own way of life and society cannot live it for him or her.
I am writing this to unburden my heart of that secret.
I met her again during a relative’s marriage. It was after a long gap of 19 years. Nineteen! I can even tell you the number of days we were apart. It’s not that I was counting. But, somehow my inner clock knew it.
She was chatting with some women. I saw a tint of grey in her hair, some darkness beneath her eyes and her charm fading away. Her abundant and long hair was reduced to a thin bundle. Yet, she was beautiful. At least to me.
I stood there relishing her beauty, breathing the fragrance of each moment. She turned her head and looked straight at me, as if pulled by an unseen cord. A glint of recognition, or love, passed through her eyes. She walked towards me.
We both stood silent, looking into each other’s life.
“It’s my niece’s marriage,” she said, breaking the invisible wall of silence between us.
“I am a distant relative of the groom.” I gulped. I turned into the same teenager who was afraid of proposing to her. It was that fear that had divided us forever, I knew. “How are you?”
“Fine.” She fell silent and twisted her wedding ring.
There was something in her eyes and I knew what it was. She had the same feeling as I did. Neither of us were bold enough then, or now, to open our hearts.
“We are in the US,” she said.
“I am here.”
It was the first time ever we were standing that close. I never had the courage to go closer to her. I admired her beauty from a distance, as did many other teenagers.
We talked enthusiastically about our college, friends, our life, and everything we could speak of. I was not bored even for a second. I could feel the pain seeping through my soul.
“Your phone number?” I asked, as she was about to leave.
“Huh.” She stood thinking.
“Leave it,” I said, with a wave of my hand. “These moments are enough.” I didn’t know how I got the courage to say that sentence. We both have our own lives, as precious as this relationship. We cannot have one relationship at the cost of another.
“Moments.” Her eyes welled up. She turned around, without wiping her eyes, and walked away.
I may or may not see her or talk to her again. But those moments will be enough to cherish for my entire life.
These moments are life. Aren’t they?