And the person I loved the most.
The only goal of love is to satiate the desire to be with the person you love, forever and anon. The cliché — Happily Ever After, which is but an impossible ambition.
And, so, the only constant of love is this mounting fear of losing the object of your affection. The more you love the more this fear of lose grows, until at one point this fear and this love become synonymous.
There was nothing common between us. I was young, the other person was old. I was rustic, the other person sophisticated, I poor, the other rich, I restless, the other rooted. We spoke different languages.
The only thing that bound us was this mysterious, absurd thing called love. I was the happiest when I had the company of the person. To hear the other person’s heartbeat was music to my ears. Now I know it was love, when 10 years later, I still miss that heartbeat. If I close my eyes and listen carefully, I can still hear it.
I cannot endure it.
There was nothing common between us. As our love longed to be together happily ever after, we were painfully aware that it wasn’t going to happen. One day I will sprout wings and fly away from this City of the Blessed. One day the other person’s heart will finally burst into thousand tiny pieces.
The other person had a hole in his heart. It was a childhood condition. It was life on borrowed time. It was a relationship build on the road. The other person was hungry to live to the fullest for one last time. I was the last drink, one for the road.
To ease the parting, perhaps, we talked about the stranger between us often — the Grim Ripper. Since Ever After wasn’t the possibility, we talked about the other thing that defined our love, our eventual breakup. I had come to a determined decision: Since the parting was imminent, I would be with the other persons till the very end — like a Christian wedding vow: Till death do us apart. I will tell him: “If nothing else, I can promise you that I will be there for your burial.” The other person said it must be a cremation. I would say: “Then I will light your face with fire.”
This was the extent of my love. I was no Savitri to follow my Satyavan to the gates of hell. But I was ready to go with him till the extent I could.
That did not happen.
The other person loved me too much to make me see the person I love wither away. I wasn’t allowed the hospital visits. All I could do was to make a call at 11 am. I would live to make that call. I would start counting the hours for the next call the next day after I had hung up. Then the calls ceased. The other person was serious. I was promised that I will get a call as soon as the other person was out of the hospital. The call never came.
Three months later, I came to know that the other person, the love of my life, had been dead for more than two months.
I did not cry.
This had to happen one day. But what I miss most is this — I couldn’t attend the last rites. I couldn’t see the other person depart. He just vanished — no goodbyes, no last smokes. I wanted a goodbye. I longed for a goodbye.
Now, even 10 years later, sometimes when I am drunk or I am alone in the open, I hear the breeze whisper and I hear the voice of the other person. It’s a mumble. I cannot quite understand. I imagine the other person say to me that he too loved me the way I did. Even in death. Despite death.