A Night to Remember (Short Story)


She was confused and irritated; so many feelings raging through her and some she couldn’t even comprehend. There was a time when she hated that she was single, a loner and yet today, she wanted that back. The weight of having to decide between the two; a clock ticking, was too much for her to handle right now.

One, she fancied; felt butterflies in her stomach each time she was with him, despite knowing each other for weeks; artistic by nature and treated her well. Handsome and charismatic, he was the cherry of every girl's eye in any room he walked into and yet he had caught his fancy. Kept coming back to her for a reason even she could not figure out. He could have had any girl he wanted and yet he had chosen to be with her, every chance he could get.

The second, on the other hand, an average looking guy, but loved her like no other. His every action, every reaction, every word he spoke to her showed how much he cared for her and willing to sacrifice anything for the sake of her happiness. Innocent and sweet, he was not the bad boy every girl desired for a boyfriend, and yet, somehow, he felt like the boy that every girl prayed to God to find for marriage. 

All her life she had heard and read sagas of love and how one would know when they meet the 'one'. When real life hit, it was something radically different. She had feelings for both of them; was happy in both their company and completely clueless which one she actually loved. 

Maybe she loved both of them, but then, was that normal? can a person love more than one? 

At times, her conscience did gnaw at her, as if she was cheating on both of them, but she always convinced herself, that neither one had ever confessed to loving, she wasn't in a romantic relationship with either one of them 'yet' and that they were still 'friends'… so this did not qualify as cheating. Deep down inside, however, she knew it was a ruse and one day that bubble would surely burst.

So far everything had been perfect, spending time with both of them. She was finally happy to be rid of her loneliness since her emotionally traumatic break-up a couple of years ago. But today, everything had changed. The one she fancied; the handsome artist, had finally professed his love for her. She had managed to buy time but was lost on how to decide. Saying yes to one would mean breaking the other's heart and knowing what that felt like, she did not want to be the reason for it, for someone.

"Should I be with the one I like or should I be with the one that loves me? Isn't that the universal question? I love them both! Why? Why? Why did he have to propose and ruin it all !!!"

And yet she knew; her heart was just searching for excuses; for this was only a matter of time. She had been sitting on a ticking bomb all this time and the moment of truth was finally here. Love demanded sacrifice, it isn't completely fair and yet made complete sense. The pain of loss is what truly gives you a sense of what it meant to you. We tend to take our happiness for granted; only sacrifices make you value what you have or what you could have had.

"Ok… relax! My heart's clearly not in the mood to choose. I hope my mind does not let me down"

Moments spent with both of them flashing through her mind. Random images, the smiles, pangs of laughter, the walks, the shoulder when she needed to cry on, the fights… All flipping through her head… all at once.

"One I like and he's told me he loves me, which makes him the practical choice… I like his company. He makes me feel beautiful and makes me feel happy. He has been open about his life and trusts me entirely. What more could I want?"

"The other… he is the sweetest person I know. A very good friend and always there when I needed him. But he hasn't told me yet whether he loves me or not. Which means if I wait for him and he doesn't, I lose even the one that does…"

Her head buzzing with more questions than answers…

"Though the way he behaves with me around, there is no doubt he loves me, just scared to talk about it. What if he is scared to stand up for me when the time comes? But then, he always has stood by and for me. Damn, how does one decide?"

It was never going to be easy and after spending a couple of sleepless nights, she knew it was time to pick one. She finally chose to go for the obvious one, the practical one. He was handsome, financially stable, loved her and she liked him too. And probably, she would have felt regret in the future if she turned him down.

Now came the hard part. Having chosen one, she could not be around the other, if she wanted any chances of the relationship to work. The confusion, the temptation… the guilt would be too much to handle. The decision would become heavier and moving on would get worse. Both guys could not co-exist in her life anymore. 

As much as she hated it, it had to be done. Like ripping off a bandage; it would hurt for a while, but eventually, the pain settles and is needed to be done.

"Hey… What's up?", having finally mustered up the courage to call him.

"Hey. Was just thinking about you. Want to meet up for a couple of beers in the evening? I found this cool place and they have retro tonight!"

He had no clue that a hammer was about to fall on him tonight.

"Actually… not tonight. I need to talk to you about something", she hesitated.

"Whoa… that sounded serious! Everything ok? What's wrong?"

Everything is wrong! Her mind was screaming right now. Her heart sinking…

"Can we meet? I'm not sure I can on the phone…", her voice shaky and meek.

"Ok. Now you are scaring me. It will take me more than 2 hours to get there. Don't worry no one is around, you can talk. What's wrong?"

Maybe it was better on the phone. She wouldn't have to face his sad eyes…

"I know you have feelings for me. I've known it for a while now…", trying to get her voice out.

"That obvious eh? I'm not really good at hiding my feelings. I'm sorry if I'm making you uncomfortable"

"No.. No.. It's not really easy for me to say this…"

"Oh come on… out with it! I can handle anything. You know that. We can fix anything!"

"That's the thing! We can't… I like you… really and I don’t blame or judge you for feeling this way, to be honest. It's just that… I am in love with someone else. He wants us to be together… I want us to be together and somehow I felt like cheating on both of you by keeping this conversation pending…"

"I…"

"Don't say anything. I know what I am doing to you, but, isn't it better than wondering all the time if I will ever say yes? The question always hanging in the air! And I couldn't possibly live with knowing and doing nothing about it. I would be guilty all the time"

"You don't have to... I understand... really... Hope and reality are spaces that you need to be really lucky to have overlap. I know what you are saying..."

"I'm so sorry..."

"What are you sorry for? I am the one who put you in this position, isn't it? Don't blame yourself. It is your life and your decision. I also get that we would need to put some space between us or it will harm your relationship. Don't worry, I won't be pinging you anymore. You are and will always be my best and closest friend…'

"And you... mine. I don't regret the time we had together. In fact, they are some of my best memories. But then, life happened..."

"Goodbye then… someday you feel like talking… I'll always be around…", he was breathing heavily now.

"I know that… Bye"

As relieved as she was to have finally done it; the pain was not going to be easy to get over. She had cried through most of the evening that day. By the time darkness hit, she had moved on to brooding; evaluating, if she had made the right choice today.

That is when the bell rang. She wasn't expecting anyone home tonight. Wary, she opened the door… and there he was.

"You were right… this could not be done on the phone. I had to see you… one last time"

Her eyes fixed on his. The pain, the sadness, clearly visible in his light brown eyes. He held her hands as he came in, not shifting his gaze.

"I have loved you from the moment I met you. Everything about you has a charm in it for me. I know I sound cheesy but that’s the truth"

She said nothing… just holding on to his hands as he spoke and edged closer.

"In you, I found a friend… a purpose to be a good person, to care and to finally understand something I was wrong about all my life… The true meaning of love"

She could not control herself anymore… she hugged him… hugged him tight, as she closed her eyes and placed her head on his shoulder. He put his arms around her and held her close. Praying for time to freeze at this very moment... where he doesn’t have to let her go, where she's with him forever, in his arms… holding on to each other, taking from this moment as much as they could, to move on.

How long they stood like that on that night, in each other's arms, neither of them realized… nor did they care.

Finally, she lifted her head as she looked into his deep eyes and held his face in her palms as she kissed him…

It has been a few years to that night. She was now seemingly happily married, with a kid. He had left that night, never to return and yet the memory, that moment, that kiss etched deep into her soul. His face; impossible to forget. That moment had taught her what love really meant; to let go; to sacrifice everything… for the one you love.

2 comments:

Powered by Blogger.