It all started with an earthquake. She remembers it clearly. It was a lazy Saturday. She didn’t have much to do apart from flipping pages of the book she was reading, browsing through Facebook and tossing between half-asleep and half-awake stages in bouts. By mid-morning she was so bored, she felt a strong urge to do something to save the evening at least. Then she got the call, his call. He was free in the evening and wondered if she would mind spending some time with him. She was stupefied. It was his first call outside work. And he wanted to spend the evening with her. Is this a date? She asked herself. Without thinking anything, she said yes. All her laziness vanished into thin air. She was so excited from inside, that she changed the cushion covers in her living room thrice. Then he called again, to say that he might be delayed. She calmed her voice, told him he could drop by even if late and have some tequila that she had left in her cellar. He agreed. The waiting hours seemed longer than a lifetime. Then came that moment, that definitive knock on her door. He came, they started drinking together. Barriers started melting with each shot. She was giggling at his jokes, he was looking at ease. Four shots down, he looked at her straight and said: “the earth just shook and I’m not drunk.’ She got startled. He browsed his mobile and confirmed. It was indeed an earthquake.
He said, I’m sorry! For the umpteenth time now.
Meanwhile words were playing an exciting game of soccer in her crowded head. She wasn’t paying heed to them though. She isn’t much of a soccer lover. Or any sport, for that matter. Other than sleeping. Hell yeah, she often proudly said that in front of her sports loving friend circle.
So many circles exist. She heaved a small sigh. At times it meant a bit too much to handle. The photography circle. The cine circle. The adventure tourist circle. The cyclists. The metaphysicists. The pet lovers. The stray dog lovers. The nature lovers. The humanists. The feminists. The communists. Oops! too much, she thought.
I’m sorry! He said once more.
She was telling him in her mind: shut the fuck up you dickhead. But on the surface, she maintained a grim face. She chose silence. She always found silence a far better weapon than words at awkward moments. It saves you from situations where you actually don’t find suitable words that fit. It helps you to pretend that you understand, while actually you don’t.
I’m sorry for the way I handled it. It was immature. And I was scared to pick up your calls afterwards. Or write replies to your emails. He kept blabbering.
She had music in her minds. She loved the way ‘I’m sorry’ sounded, almost lyrical.
Long after he was gone, she was humming the tune in her mind. And that night, she fell asleep soon. Sooner than other nights.
No, another earthquake did not shake her up from her slumber.
‘You sit heavy on my mind,’ he said.
‘So my diet is not working,’ she thought. She has been on a diet of silence for quite some now. His comment shattered her, but she managed to put up a brave face.
‘You know, you should talk. Talk about something light, something that’s hilarious, some stupid scene that you picked up from the street and kept rewinding in your mind, something that we both can have a hearty laugh about; not this intellectual shit, you know what I mean?’
Stupefied, she nodded. In her mind she was struggling to figure out. Whether he asked her to talk or talk light. Which one weighed more? Or did he just ask her to talk right? As in, things that he thinks right.
‘See, you’re immersed in your thoughts. You just don’t care about things that I say. You know something, you’re killing me. Disgusting!’ He started pacing the room angrily.
She so wanted him to leave. Else this would continue. She so wanted to scream out ‘you’re the one who’s killing us. You know? Not you, not me, but us.’ But as usual, she couldn’t figure out whether it would be the right thing to say. Right, as in what he thinks right.
Long after she was pretending to be asleep, he sent a text to her: I don’t think we’re going the right way. This should end.
She heard the beep. Heaved a sigh of relief. At last something was going to be right. As in, what she thinks right.