Apple And Abigail: Books And Romantic Relationships

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Apple had very few relationships compared to Abigail. Most of the lessons she learned about relationship were from Abigail’s many failed ones. Since the day they met, Abigail has been claiming of finally finding the one”. Apple attributed this to Abigail fondness of reading romance novels during her teen age years, books she stumbled upon on her mother’s shelf. Those Mills and Booms and Harlequin Romances have filled Abigail’s head with skewed ideas about love. While she on the other hand had been fond of reading English classic novels and had grown a little bit cynical about love especially after reading Wuthering Heights where she decided Cathy, the heroine of the book was a little too neurotic for her liking. Abigail absolutely loved Cathy’s character when she told her about the book. After reading it she went on for days as if she was Cathy’s reincarnation.

“I am a Cathy. I am so her. Oh my God, Apple. Thanks for lending me this book.”

Apple had always preferred Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennet among the heroines in classic English novels when it comes to love. Jane Eyre and Elizabeth were subdued and dignified unlike the overtly passionate Cathy, although she still slightly disapproved of their weakness for charming aristocrats.

Apple and Abigail were sitting in a cafe late that night. Apple was consoling her distraught friend who recently found out through Facebook that her boyfriend Oliver was cheating on her. She saw him kissing another woman in bar on one of her friend’s photo in Facebook. A snapshot caught the moment while a group of Abigail’s female friends were posing for the photo. Although his face was not recognizable, Abigail could tell it was him.

“Maybe he was just drunk.” Apple said earlier when Abigail lamented what happened.

“So what! That’s not an excuse besides I am sure he did plan on cheating on me. He lied to me where he was going that night. He said he’s having dinner with his dad. “

“Why did Anna post that photo before telling you Oliver was in it?” Apple asked, frowning.

“I guess Anna did not notice that it was him making out with someone or she wouldn’t have posted it. Anna did not remember seeing him that night. But I recognize the t-shirt he was wearing instantly. I gave it to him”. Abigail wailed.

“Did he admit it was him? “

“Yes! He said he wants to start seeing other women.” Abigail wiped her tears.

“You’ll get over him soon, I am sure.” Apple said, patting Abigail’s hand.

“I won’t! I really, really loved him. He is my soul mate. “

“You said the same thing about Bryan. Yet, you started going out with Oliver only after a few days of breaking up with him.” Bryan was Abigail’s last boyfriend before Oliver.

“ I know. But I totally misread Bryan. He keeps giving me mixed signals. I thought Oliver was not a player.”

“Of course everyone’s a player. Consciously or subconsciously. You know that.”

“ I know but sometimes, I still believe there is someone out there who just loves. Like Heatcliff . Someone who will love me absolutely, maddeningly.”

Apple rolled her eyes. “ Heathcliff is a fictional man. Written by a woman. A woman’s wishful thinking. I’ve always told you that men are more like Tomaz from that book Unbearable Lightness of being. In the novel, Tomaz made love to everyone women he met. ”

“Oh how dreadful. Why do you keep reading books like those.”

“Unlike you, I don’t look at the world in rose tinted glasses.” Apple retorted, losing patience with Abigail who seemed to have learned less from her own failed relationships.

“What’s wrong with rose tinted glasses? That makes the world bearable to look at. “

“Well don’t complain when you get disillusioned.”

Abigail sighed. Feeling defeated. “I suppose you are tired of hearing about my heartaches. “

Feeling guilty for being harsh, Apple took Abigail’s hand. “ Not at all. I am here aren’t I?”

“ Thank you for meeting me at such a short notice. I really appreciate it. You are the only one among my friends who have the patience to listen to me. Most of my other friends are so self obsessed. They have no time for listen to my problems. Their problems are always more important. Ugh.” Abigail paused.” I’m sorry I’m doing the same thing. Tell me what’s happening with you. What have you been up to? “

Apple blushed unexpectedly. “ Well, I met someone.”

Heart Away From Home

 

In the silence of the night next to the even rhythm of my husband’s breathing I lay awake with a pain clamped heavily around my heart. Eyes closed but mind alert riddled with thoughts darting to and pro in different directions. From the mundane to a constant anxiety I was unaware how it led to the image of my aging parents. Just the two of them, living away from all their children.

How could it happen when childhood attachments a precious cord too painful to sever bound the family so tightly? How could sons and daughters fled so far away from them? Could it be that too much love and closeness hinder independence? A suffocation from parental influence?

Flight for freedom away from the homely bubble sent us traipsing around the globe. Never did they complain nor prevented us from doing what we wanted. Which is worse because an argument would have ease the unspoken guilt. A chance to justify this selfish need to gratify the itching feet.

Remorse aggravated the pinch in my heart. It was so sudden it brought tears brimming in my eyes. I stifled a sob. I felt a hand touched my hair gently, sending the tears falling freely. I found myself enveloped in a warm embrace and felt a kiss on my forehead. My husband inquired if I was alright. And in between hiccups I murmured on his chest what’s ailing me. He is always very understanding and tender whenever homesickness hits me. He would be quiet and listening. Squeezing my arms every now and then. Until the storm within me wanes.

With his sleep laden voice he cracked a joke. I laughed heartily, tears all spent, heart unburdened. I snuggled close. Comforted in his arms. Sleepiness overtaking me.

” Honey, call them first thing in the morning.” I heard him whispered in my ears as I was just entering the gates of dreams.

©JMKhapra

A Dish Best Served Cold

Illustration by Harry Clarke

That day I saw you. Damn! The sun was hot. But you were hotter. A mirage, I thought you were. Your face. My brain had memorized. From childhood days when my eyes were permanently glued to the television. OMG! I bit my lips to stop myself from screaming. Are you that actor or are you the perfect doppelgänger? Then I realized you were the former. I walked towards my office. Pretending not to care. But my insides were shaking. Your rayban-ned countenance, in my head kept on popping. I had to stopped what I was doing. Funny, red, the color of your polo shirt how vividly I remembered.

Later we were introduced. I learned that we were assigned to work together. I stifled a shiver. Sandra, the office slut already hanging around your ankle. I feigned indifference. But really my heart was racing. You smiled. Oh boy. Was that a cruel joke of fate. A dream granted. A dream taken away.

You pursued me and we were like a cat and a mouse in chase. I was scared. Some dreams don’t come true I knew for sure. Besides I was committed to another. But you were relentless and we were ever constantly thrown together. How much can my heart resists? You were funny. You were kind. I should have know better. I’ve fallen hard. I feared of hurting another.

One night I asked you if we could meet. Something important, I have to tell you. It was dark and it was raining. On a bench in a park we held hand as we were sitting. Our clothes were wet but we did not care. Our emotions we laid bare. ” I’m getting married soon.” I told you. A sad smile you gave me. You leaned forward. Our lips touched briefly. I drew a long sigh. My heart twisting inside. “Is there nothing you can do?” you asked. I shook my head. “The wedding’s been planned much before I have met you.”

You took me to your house and led me to your room. You peeled my wet clothes and touched me as if I was a bride and you the groom. I sink deeper into love as you plung me in ecstasy. Then you whisperd ‘ You are so beautiful, my honey.’ I shivered in your arms. And you pulled me close to you. The sky continued to weep. So we held each other until we fell asleep. I woke up when the rain abated. ” I love you.” Three fatal words from my lips escaped. You stirred. And reached for me. A passionate kiss and a tight embrace we shared. In my memory I could not erased. Though now I can recall. I love you too, I thought you said but never did. How foolish was I. So enthralled. So mystified. You made me fall. And fell I did. But that was just your game. You did not feel the same.

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