Valentine’s Day ! Huh, to her, all the days were the same. The radio was playing love songs and every movie channel was either showing “Pretty Woman” or “Sleepless in Seattle”, just like every other Valentine’s Day. They were so nauseating. Yet she would sit through the whole movie and cry every fucking time Richard Gere came for Julia Roberts in his shiny black limo with a bunch of the most freshest roses every seen. Whores in movies always had it good. Limousines, red roses, Gucci and diamonds. What more could any girl want?
She snapped back to reality as she heard a loud burp from her side. He was sitting on the couch too, she remembered. Oh yeah, she had a husband. At times she would forget she had one. She just couldn’t help it.
He reached for her hand and she came closer to him like an automaton, resting her head on his shoulders. “The Biryani you made was really good.”
“I know, I smelled it just now, “she said, making a face.
Laughing, he gathered her in his arms and said, “Have I ever told you I love you?”
“Everyday, on an average, usually three times.”
She enjoyed the silence as he grew still except for his hands that caressed her hair. She was lucky, unlike others. She would never be alone on Valentine’s Day. Too bad, loneliness had different meanings for different people. Her eyes grew sleepy and sleep soon overcame everything that was going on in her mind.
He looked at her sleeping in his lap. She slept like a child, with her mouth open. “I love you,” he whispered, “even though you don’t and I always will.”
He picked up all of her 60 kilos and moved towards the bedroom. Dropping her gently on the bed, he stared at her wistfully for several minutes and then proceeded to his side of the bed. After switching off the table lamp, he covered both of them with a blanket. The nights were still cold. He proceeded to go to sleep but it remained elusive as he pondered over the way of things. Why didn’t she laugh when she was with him? Why did she never look happy? Not the successfully-pretending-to-be-smiling-just-for-the-sake-of-it kinda happy but that happy when everything seemed bright and sunny and yellow. That happy when you just can’t help laughing and smiling at every stupid thing and the smiles reach your eyes. But her eyes were always clouded, even if she smiled sincerely. Why couldn’t she be happy with him? Hope was one thing. Blind hope was another. Maybe she would never love him like he did. Maybe, one day, she would. All he cared about was getting up each morning, and feel her breathing as she lay next to him. She chose him and nobody else. Maybe that was what mattered. He turned towards her sleeping form. He kissed her on the forehead and whispered, “Happy Valentines’ Day, my love.”
He loved her but she didn’t. Did she? She always wondered. What was love anyway? That rush that you feel everyday when you are in love was missing from her life. Once, she had felt it. For someone who had fleeted into her life for a moment and then left everything changed. The grass didn’t seem anymore greener. Roses felt faded. All the flowers in the world looked dull. She failed to appreciate all the gifts of nature, unlike before, when even a dewdrop on a petal made her high.
She had seen him in Vaishali’s family videos the first time. He had been playing that guitar and singing a song she had heard before but never really liked. Why did she like it so much now? She still thought of him sometimes. How could she stop? Can anyone ever stop loving? She would dream because dreams where the only place she could be with him. Sometimes, she dreamt they were quarrelling over the darnest thing. Other times, they would be sitting on a quiet secluded spot somewhere. Away from the rush of life. Of course it would be a beach. It had to be a beach. There was nothing more soothing than that gurgling swishing sound of water, or whatever sound it was that they made. They would be sitting on the soft sand, her hand in his.
And then he would play the same song she had heard him sing the first time. It had actually been a ghazal. She always felt that sad ghazals and guitar chords make a good combination.
Too bad, it had ended before it even started. Her brief brush with romance. Too bad he married someone else. Too bad, she couldn’t love her husband after him. Too bad, she had lost something of herself. Too bad, she just couldn’t make herself reach out for it again. Too too too baad.
She had lived and loved that guy with the guitar. Now, she was done with love. She had settled for life long comfort instead. She felt his gentle snores beside her. She turned towards him and stared long at his face. Then she kissed him on his forehead and snuggled comfortably into his arms as he instinctively moved in his sleep.
Lucky lucky guitar, it got to be in his arm, she thought and sighed.