Thanks for all the love!! Read Part 1 here.
Seeing him is like seeing my own ghost! I can see the same surprise in his eyes. I can feel my heart skipping a beat or two and my stomach crunch. I can feel his presence near. ‘How come he is here? How did he know I was here?’
As I ponder over the whys and hows, he extends his hand to say a Hi! There is a lump in my throat when I manage to greet him back.
“You look good. How are you? How is your husband? Is he here? Could I meet?”
I have a shiver down my spine but manages to smile. “I am good. I’m here with my friends.”
“Oh, great! I thought since it’s Valentine’s you are with..him.”
I simply smile again.
I try to find where my friends are. I don’t know whether I like what’s going on. As I try to relax my fast beating heart, I realize my friends are nowhere to be seen.
“Are you searching for your friends? They should be….”
“…They should be here somewhere. I will have to search for them.” I stuttered and added before he could complete his say.
“It is pretty difficult to spot them in this crowd. Seems you are stuck here with me, at least for now.”
“I guess so.” I reluctantly nodded.
I look anywhere and everywhere but him. I am somehow unable to meet his eyes and I wonder why.
“Would you dance with me?”
“What??” That question has taken me off-guard. How much I wanted to….how much I..
I could feel tears welling up on my eyes and before he could see that I said, “No. Thankyou. Maybe some other time.” And I turn back to leave. He holds my wrist and turns me towards him. “Please, Shalu…”, he whispered.
My name…from his lips! It sounded heaven. He grabs my waist and pulls me closer to him- so close that I could feel his thumping heart and his hot breath flushing my cheeks.
“Shh…don’t say anything..” and the music began. At least to me, it began then! Much to my surprise it is the most popular Tango beat. He wraps his right arm around me, placing his hand on my back, slightly below my shoulder blades. His grip is light but firm and poised. As he moves slowly, he looks straight into my eyes, as if searching my soul. I shiver and he smiles- that quirky smile which….took my heart away once.
“Are you challenging me? Do you think I can’t dance?”, I asked.
“Oh sweetheart, if you are that confident, match my steps then!!”, he teased.
And then we dance. As they say, like no one’s watching. There is an intense connection between us, as if there is a silent language speaking between our dancing shoes. And as he leads me, it’s like an addiction, something you can’t get rid of, something which is passionate and beautiful. He dances like a dream, making me feel alive…as if the world disappears around me… as if I’m his woman. But..
‘We had never met before. Call it the new-age virtual world, we were friends of a mutual friend at college. And it all began with an FB friend request. We had hit it off immediately as in the initial stages of ‘getting-to-know-each-other’ or ‘making-a-first-impression’, we shared You Tube links of our dance shows from the college days. I thought he danced spectacular and the feeling was mutual. We even decided then and there that maybe one day, someday, we would dance together just to see if we are the perfect dancing partners. And thus we hit the right note, the right way.
We became the best of friends in a matter of days. We had an agreeable belief that soul-mates needn’t be your life partner or your spouse. I could tell him anything under the sun without feeling the slightest of guilt or shame. There was no question of embarrassment or offending each other. I could be my true self when with him and I loved that feeling. Till then, I could never agree with the concept of having that one person in your life where there are no secrets. But with him, it was just that. He even told me once he is my bitchy girl friend with whom I can share all the gossips in the world. And we giggled like two little girls.
But where did things go wrong? Why did he decide to leave my hand all of a sudden? Was he done with the friendship which we shared? Or was I a mere distraction in his life? Another adventure, maybe?’
Reality strikes as he says “Wow, you dance beautiful!”
Still in the warmth of his arms, I look at him. Though he smiles, I can see sadness dwelling in his eyes.
“Why did you not say a goodbye? Why did you go silent all of a sudden Why did you..” My voice trails off.
I don’t want to ask him the zillion questions I have in my head. I’m too proud to show him my tears, too proud to let him know the sadness in my heart.
“It’s okay. You don’t owe me an explanation. And what audacity do I have to demand you of one. It was nice meeting you, Tareeq. I got to go”.
And I did the one thing that I always did best in my life- Walk away!
.. to be contd