” I don’t understand how can you let yourself get so tightly ensnared in the grip of this hopeless romance.” Rahul shook his head while titling a bottle of beer to his mouth.
” I am recapturing my fading youth through my memories of her and escaping from the dullness of my present mechanical existence.” No sooner than this statement escaped from Ashok’s mouth did he realized it to be true.
” Ah my friend.” Rahul exclaimed with satisfaction. ” I am glad to know you can still see things for what they truly are. I thought I had totally lost my friend to this sentimental sap sitting before me.”
Ashok drank his beer silently.
” My college days were awesome. Best times of my life. Man. Who does not what to experience all that again. And the girls. ” Rahul laughed throatily. He was half drunk already.
Several empty bottles of beer littered the floor near their feet. Rahul’ s wife and daughter were already fast asleep. Alone in the balcony both men felt free at last to talk about things they kept hidden in their hearts during day as they fulfill the roles of loving husband, father and hardworking CEOs.
“I had one or two affairs after marriage.” Rahul whispered. ” Nothing as passionate as yours of course. Just with some young girls at the office. You know how it is. Those naive wide eyes eager to please.”
Ashok smiled dryly. ” The youth of the young is truly contagious. Some of the vigor do rubs on you for sure.”
” Ah, yes. Nothing like a beautiful tight ass to get my motor running. They are just so full of unsoiled dream–”
” So you make sure they don’t remain unsoiled for long.” Ashok interrupted and both burst out in boisterous laughter.
” It was kind of sweet really,” Ashok said, his voice more somber now. Rahul looked at him with sympathy this time sobering a little himself.
” How did you meet her anyway? I don’t remember you telling me the whole story. You came back here after four years of college so flustered with love and then that whole business with your parents and you getting married all of a sudden. I don’t remember us really talking in detail about what happened between the two of you.”
Ashok smiled remembering. ” She was a little crazy even then I think. Can you imagine me approaching a girl just like that and from that foreign country.”
Rahul laughed. ” I was wondering about that. You were never the type to chase after girls. So serious and brooding all the time. I was not even sure if you like girls. Ha haha. But of course you had that girlfriend in school.”
” Oh Mina, she was the one who courted me. ” Ashok laughed remembering the young awkward girl who followed him around everywhere all the time leaving everybody assuming they were going out together. She was a nice girl. He remembered liking her eventually and falling in love with her.
” It was the same with her. Do you remember how much I complained being lonely abroad and not having any friends? ” Rahul nodded. Smoke coming out from his mouth swirled around his head.
” Well on my first year over there it was like that. I was having a hard time adjusting. They made fun of my accent, of my clothes and my hairy arms. After my shift at the burger place I worked for to augment my allowance I usually skulk off to the nearby beach during the evening to blow off steam. She was there too almost every evening. Walking by herself. Listening to her iPod, plugs in both ears lost in thoughts. She was also a part time barista in one of the cafe’s around there.
Rahul remained quiet, listening to him while looking dreamily up the dark star studded sky, smoking a cigarette and drinking beer alternately.
” It went on for about a month just like that. I, sitting on the rock facing the sea, she, walking along the shore by herself. I was somewhat interested but never had the courage to say hello. There were days when she did not come. Then it caught me by surprise when suddenly I realized I was missing her silent presence there.” Ashok paused to put the bottle of beer on his lips. After gulping a fair amount of alcohol he took a puff from his cigarette and continued.
” Then one day out of the blue she walked towards where I was sitting and sat by my side. She started talking to me as if picking up from a middle of a conversation we had before. She said, ‘ So I told dad I am going with a couple of friends to Mexico and we will go backpacking for sometime. Like for a month of two. Of course he went ballistic.’
I was caught off guard with this information which was suddenly unloaded upon me. But I found myself responding, ‘Well I can understand your father. Who are you going with anyway? You might get into trouble you know. It might not be safe to go without an experience guide with you.’
She stood up suddenly. Irritated. ‘You sound like my father! That’s exactly what he said.’ Then she laughed and walked away from me without saying another word. I told you. I thought she was nuts. I thought are women from this country like this? Of course that was not true. She was quite, ” Ashok paused looking for an appropriate word. ” unique. Nuts but unique. Well I was intrigued after that. I could not stop thinking about her. I reviewed that little incident a million times over in my head. Putting different meanings on those statements she made. My heart was beating with anticipation the next evening I walked down the beach. I waited for her but she did not come nor the next day after that. When it stretched into a month I concluded she must have gone to take that trip after all. How I agonized over her return! But two months passed I stopped going to the beach and made new friends. I also started dating another girl and I have forgotten about her for while.”
Rahul sighed. ” Ah young love. Sweet indeed. I find myself envying you my friend.”