Sloshed.Drenched in vodka.
The tongues of fire lacing its crevices and hollows.
The charred papernotes.
Each alphabet masquerading as the semian faces in the fireplace.
A gust of wind invaded the confines of the room till the fire guttered and perished.
All that, and yet, the pangs of guilt never stopped.
The dark room lit by the faint glimmer of a candle and flooding it was the unabated flow of intrusive thoughts and images that assaulted him both day and night.
He looked at her body while she slept fitfully like a baby. The soft brown wringlets, hazel eyes, long, lustrous brown hair, full lips.
He thought about the little quirks she had,the way she smelt -like sultry vanilla and honey ,the way she could feign pleasure at social affairs,the way her face scrunched up at the sight of peas,the way she enunciated his name, the way she sighed and heaved,the simmering envy in her eyes,the way she blushed,the way she clicked her tongue.
How was he going to let her go?
How would he face the dull sunshine of a new day without her?
Could he vouch for the fact that she wouldn’t fall for another man?
It was like being trapped in a box with a loudspeaker that amplifies your own voice, continuously broadcasting your premonitions.
He thought of the time when they first met,how they fell inextricably in love. How they’d talk about escaping to the vales,spending time in seclusion-no hurry,none to fear,she’d cook for him and they’d go boating together,make love by the fireplace in winter. It all then seemed like a haze of distant possibilities gaping through the spaces between the treacherous web of what was to be.
He couldn’t pin her down forever. She wasn’t meant to be.
Love flees when chained and captured. Only free,it soars enraptured.
But the fear in his heart was what if she became disenchanted from the love he gave her. What if she never returned?
But he had to risk it. He couldn’t chain her and keep her from flying. It would be wrong to do so. She was better than him. Brighter than him. More able than he was.
Her eyelids twitched under his gaze and her lazy eyes glimpsed and sensed the pain and longing in his brows. The first crack of dawn showed under the blinds and the rising sun silhouetted her lithe physique in orange light.
The day had come. He felt numb and dissociated like the ions in an electrolyte when she walked up to him in the airport and looked at him,perhaps for the last time if things didn’t go well.
He held her like he’d never see her again and wished to tell her all he had to at that instant. He wished he could freeze time and have her with him,in his Haven,in the realm of affairs he could control.
Five years later when they met, his voice trailed off like a paperplane flying out of sight and he found himself fumbling and his heart floundering when she said those magical words yet again. He wanted to shut her up. He knew that look in her eyes-like the time when she had broken up with him for the first time,the time she lied about not talking to her ex,the time she said she didn’t love him. Her eyes bore the same glaring pretence when she then said that she loved him.
His eyes simmered under the knowledge of his loss. He lost to his fear. He lost to the better guy who won her. He lost her to her brighter future and there was nothing he could do about it.
Nothing at all.