I stood in front of the mirror and tucked in my brand new red shirt loosely. My messy hair half-combed, rimless spectacles sitting snug on the tip of my nose; I practiced the art in the mirror: much like those tacky movie heroes trying to propose to their girlfriends. I knew I could never do all that. Yet I planned.
A perfect date, with the perfect girl of my dreams. I was tying my shoelace; a teardrop fell on my socks. I checked my pockets, took my mobile with a screensaver that saved the first poem she had penned for me; and went out, kicking off the world with glee.
A perfect café it was, chandeliers half-lit, jute dining sets adorned with terracotta richness, Madhubani art caressing the walls. I just needed to buckle up and speak, for once, looking into her eyes without being lost in them. Parthivi was unusually playful, frolicking, and jovial, gracefully decked in a beige one-piece teamed with stilettos and diamond ear-pins; I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
I finally spoke. For the first time in life I was stammering. Pre-exam tension, stage-fright, adrenaline rush, which never affected me before, all galloped like the escaping horse of Lochinvar, to my dismay. I had to say this. “Listen Parthivi, we can’t give it any more time. It’s not about the wait; it’s about the land that waits. Not that I have greener pastures, not that I think or feel any differently; but I cannot keep ploughing barrenness within. I accept defeat for the first time; I accept that what I took for love was your kindness of not refusing my adoration for you. I accept that the pedestal on which I enshrined you made it difficult for you to chuck me off like a discarded vegetable. But I can’t be pitied anymore. I can’t live with this uncertainty; neither do I want you to fumble with your choices. I never wanted to make life difficult for you, but unfortunately I did. I can’t see you fluctuating in compulsion; I give you the choice of free will. You wanted that? You wanted to live a secure life of monotony, where you might not have your freedom to choose but neither will you need to make a choice. You wanted certainty, decided destiny, nemesis. I had been a fool to extract the truth of happiness from within you; I failed to realise that you lack the courage to fight for it. It’s difficult to be smart and brave together! We will surely keep in touch, the bond we share is ethereal, fortunate; but probably not what something that would give you peace. About me, I know not.”
I stood up, I was already late, and my train was due in an hour.
Parthivi knew I was leaving for a vacation. What she didn’t know was that I had changed my mind, the vacation spot had now become the seat of my new job.
I knew I had to leave. She had to lose me now. She had to move on. Parthivi finally spoke, her eyes sparkling more than her ear-pins, I knew I could not save this drop; I had to let it fall.
Parthivi just said, “Come back soon.” I knew I could never lie to her. I kept quiet. Bade her goodbye, hiding my desires to kiss her lips as always.
Running out of the café, I threw away the pouch where I had treasured the ring since school life. I knew nobody else would be the right choice. Nobody could be. I had to leave.
A perfect date indeed… I still live with its memories. My first and last date; till date.