Watching the light slowly fade away outside, it suddenly dawns on me I have not moved in about two hours. As a child I used to be petrified of the dark, however tonight I can feel myself being engulfed within the warmth of the darkness.
My phone still in my hand, with the last message screaming out to me over and over again. How can one simple "I am Sorry" shatter a million invisible glasses around me? Have you ever realised, that when you rock bottom - the first person to start attacking you is your own mind! When I was a teenager, I named my inner voice Pusha (seemed easier to have conversations with a named character). And in times like this Pusha starts to act like a bitchy Indian aunty "what were you thinking" "Did you really think you would be happy" "Your first gut feeling was right, and you still did not listen" "this is why you do not take chances on stupid boys".
It is dinner time, I should get up and put on some lights, I should get dinner started, I should ...I should ..I should ..but maybe I can just lie on the cold floor and continue watching the darkness outside. It is not the end of the world I am aware of that, I will survive (however cliche it is to say) but for today ..just for today the darkness is what I need.
Viduth came into my life about 2 years ago, and left as quickly as he came. Rohan a mutual friend to both thought we would be perfect for each other, and set us up. Walking into a noisy bar, filled with overly exited twenty something's, I could not help but think, who on earth picks a place so noisy and crowded for a first date? Scanning the bar, I am trying to locate the table at the back, next to the "Single Ladies" neon sign where he was meant to be sitting. As I am walking towards the back, trying to avoid getting stepped on or worse sticky drinks poured over me, Pusha keeps blaring at me "Dia, why are you here? Just go home ..it is definitely going to be a horrible date ..go home..Dia go home".
When I finally do get to the table, I notice he has already ordered his drink.
" Oh, I was not sure how long you would be, so I ordered myself a drink, what shall I get you"
"Umm, don't worry I will order something myself"
Even through the blaring music, Pusha is shouting at me "Dia, just fake an emergency and go home, just say you got your period or something - that should limit follow up questions, and remind me to kill Rohan" The date did not get any better after that, firstly I couldn't hear half the things he was saying and secondly his phone kept beeping nonstop, he would just look at the message and put the phone down. Needless to say the date ended fairly early.
On the drive back home, I rolled the window down to let the cold air hit my face. As if I was mentally cleansing myself from something I did not want to carry forward into the next day, making a mental note to pour myself a bottle of wine when I get home. And that should have been the end of Viduth's role in my life, but I guess the Universe had other plans.
A year or so later, I am very comfortably sitting in a corner at Starbucks sipping away my Flat white attempting to read " Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" and getting stuck on the 3rd chapter for the 10th time, when suddenly someone spoke over me
"Are you actually that smart, or just trying to show people you are with reading this book"
I looked up, and without even realising I roll my eyes at him.
"Oh Wow! I knew the date was bad, but was not expecting that reaction"
And I burst out laughing. He sat down while the sun was still shinning, and before I knew it, the sun had set and it was dark outside. We talked, we laughed, we concluded that we both were not our best when we first met. Viduth went on to tell me how he was dealing with a breakup than, and he was distracted because she kept texting him, and how I walked in annoyed so we were doomed from the start.
Thereafter Viduth did not make any attempt to hide how he felt, the double meaning messages along with the constant flirting banter, it was like he was testing the waters before taking the plunge. I think that was the first time I broke his heart when I told him I started dating Yug. In hindsight I should have mentioned it the first time over coffee, and till date I wonder why it took me so long to tell him about it.
I meet Yug a little after my first meeting with Viduth. We happened to be paired together for a game of charades at a house party, despite being strangers we were in complete sync, so much so that we got accused of cheating. It was an instant connection, an instant attraction, and for the first time in a long time Pusha was not going frantic and telling me to run away. When he asked me to have dinner with him the next night, along with butterflies in my stomach I sensed Pusha doing the happy dance! It was the perfect setting, soft light music playing the background, fairy lights sparkling in every corner, a gentle breeze, it was like a "meet cute" right out of a movie
After that it was a rollercoaster ride with Yug, while we were totally in sync, we were also two poles apart in certain aspects of life. As quickly as I went up in the relationship and love, that is how low I fell when shit hit the roof. It was barely a year, and I felt I was dealing with the after affects of a hurricane.
Through my relationship, my friendship with Viduth took a backseat. I know he wasn't very trilled about me dating Yug, and he even voiced his concerns a number of times, but when you horse blinders on, there is very little you see outside your bubble. Regardless once my heart broke he was by my side, holding me while I cried, constantly reassuring me and doing everything in his power to make me laugh. It took a while but soon enough I was my old clumsy carefree self again.
I have been told by a number of people that I have commitment issues! My overly cyclical mind questions everything, every action and reaction. I took a huge leap of faith in dating Yug, that when it ended, Pusha turned back into the bitchy little aunty in my head questioning why would I change and have faith. Even if I am living in a glass bubble, baring myself from getting hurt - what is so wrong in it?
Slowly and steadily Viduth started to drop hints about his feelings towards to me. We would be watching a movie, and he would put his hand around my shoulder. At dinners and cafes he would pay for me stating "I would never let a girl pay on a date". He would randomly show up at my door step at odd hours "Just felt like seeing your face, and a video call was not enough". When I was working late, would wait around my office so he could drop me home
I was in a state of denial and brushed away all his advances with a joke. He was my friend, and at some point in life you want just a friend and not a lover. He was patient but everyone eventually has a breaking point, and when he blew a fuse for trivial matter I realised it was time to have the talk.
"Hey, let's meet for dinner tonight, you free around 9ish"
"Sounds good, where do you want me to take you" he says with flirty tone
"Why don't you just come home I will order something and we just chill here"
I sense the hesitation in his voice "You want me to come home? Just the two of us?"
It dawns on me this has never happened before, he has shown up at my door uninvited, but this way never.
"Umm, yeah. Don't be weird about it. Just tell me what do you want to eat and I will order"
Now I sense the excitement and happiness in his voice " No No do not order, I will pick up something and be there 9 on the dot"
Maybe I should have mentioned this is not a date? Pusha is hammering on about how I might be giving him the wrong idea. So to quiet her down I attempt to make the house to a most un date like environment , and I feel Pusha nodding her head in disapproval. I switch on all the lights, the brighter the better, put on some random dance music to avoid the awkward silences that may follow, and dress as simple as I could with a jeans and a slightly worn out t-shirt.
What started as something fairly awkward with small talk lead into reasons about why I was not ready to date now, which then lead to into hours about where my trust issues originate from to how I am drowning within my own insecurities. It was one of those conversations that display all your vulnerabilities and you are not sure if your liberated or need to hide away in shame. I was liberated! That is when I realised it was past midnight, I am suddenly aware the music has stopped playing and the lights are starting to hurt my eyes. Viduth had slowly moved closer and closer to me through the course of the night, he slowly took my hand in his and softly said
"When you are ready, I will be ready"
And that was enough for now, enough for today. This night was the turning point for us, over the span of the next few weeks we got better we got stronger. I was not ready to label us as yet, I was content with living in this present moment than stressing what may be. However the Universe is known for its weird sense of humour, so right when you think you are in the sweet spot it throws you a curve-ball.
In hindsight we were not dating, if he got drunk and messed up could that be considered as cheating? The messages and calls started at about 9 am, and in that span since then we went through all the 5 stages of grief. Denial- You are being lied to, people are spreading rumours because they do not want us to be happy! Anger- You have not fully accepted me as yet and still have not labelled us, this is why it happened. Bargaining - let us talk about it, I am sure we can figure out a way to sort this out. Depression - I have been in love with you forever, and it has taken years for us to get here. You cannot leave me. Acceptance - I am sorry.
All I can hear in the background is the clock ticking, a constant reminder that time is passing me by. My thoughts are interrupted by a loud banging, I am guessing Pusha is losing her marbles by now? I realise the noise is coming from outside, I pull myself off the cold floor and look for my phone to add light into the room. The last message flashes across "I am outside and will not leave till you open the door"