After Kashish’s sudden departure from the beach, Aditya stood along the coast pondering over her words. He recalled the sight of her eyes from a few moments ago. He saw hurt and agony in those deep watery eyes.
‘Don’t tell me things you told and felt for Kaya, okay?’ Her voice echoed in his ears. ‘Your words matter to me.’
He heaved a deep sigh and dialed a call to Kashish. He wanted to tell her that he meant every word that he had spoken that evening. He wanted to tell her that though he was telling her the exact thing he once told to Kaya, the intensity was much higher this time for Kashish truly was his bigger magic. But for the moment, he felt helpless as she outrightly kept rejecting his calls.
‘Please don’t do this, Kash!’ He sent a text.
The next moment, he was on his bike riding on the way towards Kashish’s home. A few minutes later, he was there at her front door, continuously ringing the doorbell. When she didn’t open the door on the seventh bell, he took the spare key out of his wallet.
Entering inside, knowing exactly where she would be, he walked towards the balcony.
‘Kash?’ He said as he found her sitting on the swing, curled as a ball. ‘Are you crying?’
‘Go away, Aditya!’ She screamed, ‘I should have never given you the spare key.’
‘That wouldn’t have kept me from talking to you anyways.’ He sat on his knees beside her to reach her level of sight. ‘Please tell me what wrong did I do?’
She sobbed and nodded a no, ‘You wouldn’t understand.’
She looked away. He clutched her palm into his and planted a soft kiss on them.
‘Don’t do this.’ She pulled her hand away.
‘Okay then tell me what should I do apart from going away from you?’
‘Stop saying sweet things to me.’ She cried, ‘Okay?’
‘Even if they are true?’ He asked earnestly.
‘Because they hurt me. Because I know you don’t feel exactly the way you say them.’
‘You can’t know how exactly I feel, and you should not assume. Always ask. I taught this to you, didn’t I?’
She looked away, again. He pulled her closer and buried her in a warm hug. He always did that to calm her senses and every time, her restlessness melted away in his arms.
‘Now will you be a good girl and tell me what hurt you?’ He asked, still hugging her.
‘I thought you would understand it.’ She whispered.
‘I do.’ He said, ‘But I want to listen to it from you.’
Startled, she broke the hug. ‘You know?’
She felt flushed, and embarrassed, and vulnerable.
‘You’re in love.’ He said and waited for the words to sink in, ‘With me.’
She felt a punch in her gut as he said those words. Were her feelings so obvious? Or did he know her so much better that he knew this even before she could acknowledge it to her own self? Regardless of the reason, she felt exposed and stripped off.
‘Aditya, just go.’ She said, regaining her senses. ‘I don’t want to talk about this. I am sorry for the way I reacted. I just felt hurt…’
‘… Thinking about Kaya.’ Aditya completed her statement.
She looked down at her fingers. She couldn’t even lie to the man sitting in front of her for he knew and understood each living bit of her.
‘Just to be clear,’ He said. ‘Yes, I told Kaya that she healed me of my past. And yes she did. Those twenty days spent with her made me get over the gloom that Siya pushed me into.’
‘You don’t have to tell me that, I know it. I remember the shine on your face when you were with her. Can’t you just not remind me of that?’
‘You don’t know the whole of it but you need to know it now.’ He clutched both her hands in his, ‘The truth is, the shine in me was not for Kaya, it was for me. Soon after Siya’s incident, I moved to Mumbai. I had no real friends around me with whom I could talk and spend some real humanly time with. You too were yet in Kolkata. Our virtual connection didn’t help me heal, though I would say you played a huge part in keeping me sane. Kaya was like a gush of fresh air in my otherwise vacuumed life. I got a chance to talk to her, I got a chance to heal myself. There’s nothing explicit she did for me. She was just the right person at the right time.’
‘Where are you going with this?’
‘What I am saying is,’ He said. ‘The idea of Kaya in you is wrong. Yes, I told you that she was like a magic that gave me back the lost happiness of my life. It is the truth and it cannot be changed. But there’s another truth to it, a bigger truth.’
He looked into Kashish’s dark and deepening eyes, ‘If Kaya healed me of Siya’s damage, you healed me of all the wreckage life ever caused me. You didn’t leave my side when everyone did. You loved me even after knowing what an asshole I was. Your presence gives me peace and there are so many more qualities of you that I cannot even list.’
‘But you did list it for Kaya.’
He smiled, ‘Yes because they were finite. Yours out par largest of infinities. I meant it when I said you are my biggest magic.’
She felt her stomach churn with those words, ‘Why are you telling this to me now?’
‘Because,’ He said softly. ‘I am in love with you, too.’
She held her breath and knotted her fingers in nervousness and confusion.
‘Our lives were a mess, Kash!’ He said, ‘We needed to sort ourselves. Amidst the journey of helping each other learn through the lessons of life, we happened. We’re in love from quite some time now. You didn’t realize it but I did. I didn’t push through it for I wanted us to figure it out for ourselves.’
Kashish looked at Aditya through her tear filled hazy eyes, ‘You can’t be in love with me, Adi.’
‘Why can’t I be?’
She stood up from the swing and walked towards the iron railing. ‘Because I have seen you being madly in love with Kaya. You admired her so much, the way she was.’ She felt a lump in her throat, ‘I am nowhere near to the way she was. If her idea of happiness was to party with you in a club, my idea of happiness is to sit with you right here in this balcony with a coffee mug and simply talk. How can you love two entirely different kinds of people, Aditya?’
‘Why can I not?’
‘You just cannot. One of it has to be a lie.’
‘No. You’re applying your rationality where you should not.’
She nodded, ‘I am not giving up on my rationality. Not this time. Please leave, Aditya. I need some time alone.’
He smirked, ‘I wish you had applied your rationalities with the jerks who screwed your life.’
‘Please leave, Aditya.’ She said, turning to face the sky.
‘Don’t be so blind in the shine I had for someone else in the past that you fail to see the brightest shine in me that has lit up my present, which is for no one but you.’ He said as he stood up to leave.
She didn’t respond and seconds later, she could hear the front door bang close.
“Each one of us experiences moments of weakness and vulnerability. At some point, each one of us is confused and lost and distracted. Sometimes by not realizing and acknowledging the wishes and desires of our own very self. Some other time, by not finding the path that might lead us there. But it’s alright. Feeling lost is normal. It’s human.
But banking on those momentary emotions and turning them into misery is not. During such times, take a deep breath and know that it’s going to be alright. Just gather yourself , and take one more chance.”