Chapter 1 : I
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He was a boy. Tall, dark, handsome, the works. He was intelligent, respected, and the person everyone tried to impress. People stopped to listen to what he said. He would never be the boy on the deck, he was always the captain. He was confident, with a sharp mind and equally sharp wit. He made people laugh, he entertained crowds, he was a leader. He had ideas that were revolutionary. He was a people’s person. He had deficits, but no flaws. The world was his. He was destined for greatness.
Neither was sure how it happened. Perhaps it happened over night. Perhaps it was because she was unlike most others. She was strong, with a mind of her own, and unafraid to voice her own thoughts. Perhaps it was because he was different. That he was intelligent, invigorating and confident. Rooms overflowing with banter, till ones hearts and throats are chafed. Words like knives, but eyes gazing deep, enduring with sick pleasure every jeer.
Both outspoken, both loud and raucous, and neither afraid to tell the world the truth. Yet not a word spoken, not a single skipped heartbeat spoken of. Pride, perhaps. She never knew. She wondered if it was because he deemed that she wasn’t good enough for him. That he deserved someone more substantial. But she never asked. When she asked him “How can you be so glib?” she wondered if she should have asked “Do you feel the way I do?”
They were a sunken ship. Both struggling to captain it, but lost in a turbulent storm of infatuation, misguiding glances and bound by the past. Things said, things heard, things hoped. Lost without each other, in the ravenous waves of time and rumour. Separated by people, momentarily, but not forever. Tucked into a corner locked by a key. A key, missing for years now. She banged the door and tried to pick the lock, but it tightened with every attempt; memories grew more vivid with every waking day. Questions, innumerable ones. None with any answers. She was patient, but every passing day ate up her heart.
It was December. The days were longer, the nights colder. When she woke, she knew what she had to do. Regret rose in piles, the disappointment of hope weighing her down. She walked through the corridors of her mind. Her mind was made. Yet that second thought – it pulled her back every second step. It threw questions, questions that made her hope. But she didn’t trust hope. She didn’t trust trust, she didn’t trust love, she didn’t trust fate. She strode through, her mind a mess. Coffee tasting of tears, eyes blurred by want. Hope! She wished it would leave her. She loathed it. It made her wonder, it made her dream. It made her fall on her face and feel like a fool, nothing but repent to keep her company.
“This is the end,” she said.
She light a match and watched the non-luminous part grow and shrink. Like her love for him. Growing, shrinking, but never fully gone. She no longer believed that she was not good enough for him. No, he was not good enough for her. With his vanity and perfection, he would be last person she would choose to ride the waves of eternity with. He could find somebody else to challenge. He would never find a fair fight, not after her.
She pushed it under the door and waited. Nothing happened at first. Two minutes, four, ten. It seemed like an eternity. Her heart burst with the flames that crept out from under the door. It was like saying goodbye to an old friend. An old friend who had caused you pain, made you laugh, made you love like nothing else. And old friend who had to go. Perhaps she would look back and wonder if she was right. But she promised that she would stop waiting. They were separated by time and space, but a string of memories and thoughts wound their hearts together.
She could never let go.