Love isn’t fair
Authors : Gunjan Vyas,Madhu Kalyan
I was sitting on a park bench, gazing at the blue sky, listening to the birds whistling and watching people as they passed by. A little bird pecking at the grains thrown in front of him by an old woman, sitting on a bench a few meters away from me. A little girl playing tag with her father and jumping with delight whenever he lost. A couple jogging away together on the tracks.
Just sitting and observing is easy and in so many ways delightful.
I was still enjoying my little peace when I saw a guy coming my way. He had a huge pair of headphones covering his ears, which I could see even when his head was covered by the hood of his jacket, as he sat beside me. I could tell he was not here to work out because he was wearing a pair of blue jeans along with a casual T-shirt. I didn’t like the fact that he was listening to music instead of the sound of birds on such a beautiful day so I patted him on the shoulder but he didn’t seem to notice it (thanks to my overall smallness). I patted him on his shoulder again, still to no notice. This was getting on my nerves now! So, I gathered all my strength in my right fist and gave his shoulder a nice punch.
This time, he did notice.
“What the hell? Why did you punch me?” he yelled, taking off his headphones.
“Uhm……I just wanted to tell you something but you weren’t paying attention so I punched you,” I explained nervously. Then, he took off his hood and smiled. His face was a beautiful sight – making everything around seem so dim in comparison and I couldn’t do anything but be awed.
He murmured an ‘it’s okay’ and got up to walk away but I pulled him by his hand. “Can’t you stay with me for a while?” I asked with a smile, hoping he won’t think me a creep.
He looked about him for a while before smirking.
Even his voice was beautiful, like an angel’s – firm, masculine and yet having soft undertones to it.
“What conditions?” I stammered out.
“First, you have to apologize to me. Second, you have to listen to this song with me,” he said taking out another pair of headset – a smaller one – from his pocket.
“Uhm… It’s jus-“
“What’s with the uhm again? Do you want me to stay or not?” he crossed his arms about his chest and asked.
I looked at him, wide-eyed and confused – what was the matter with him? Did he really think i wanted to sit and listen to a song with him in the middle of the park? I went on with my explanation which he had so impolitely interrupted.
“It’s just that, the whole reason I wanted to get your attention was to have you enjoy the environment around us – what would be the point of sitting in the middle of the park if you can’t even take off your headphones and observe what’s around us?”
He looked at me for a while like I was an alien. I fidgeted under his gaze – being stared at isn’t something I’m very comfortable with. He probably saw my nervousness because soon he started to laugh.
“I guess you’re right but I’ll listen to your opinion once you listen to this song with me.”
I smiled and took the spare pair of headset from his hand as he removed the pin of the one around his neck from the jack of his ipod.
We sat there listening to a song I can never forget – it had no lyrics but the music was so beautiful, I couldn’t help but close my eyes and let it take over my soul.
I let my head rest on his shoulder as the beautiful music soothed me. I didn’t realise when I fell asleep but when I woke up, I felt something knocking my head repeatedly. I opened my eyes and saw his grinning face.
I also noticed that my head was now on his lap.
I quickly got up, embarrassed about our this intimate position, and stammered out.
“Wha- What happened? And why are you grinning like that?”
“Well, while we were listening to some music two hours ago, you fell asleep on my shoulder, then, I wanted you to sleep in a better position so I put you on my lap,” he explained.
“Two hours? Why didn’t you wake me up? Why did you knock on my head repeatedly?!” I yelled. “First, you looked so cute when you were sleeping. Second, it’s just revenge for you punching me so hard. Lastly, please stop with the interrogation,” he said and I pouted.
“You, pervert! After putting my head on your lap and staring at me for two hours, you’re all smug and holy?” I shouted.
“Calm down, I was just joking,” he smirked.
I calmed down and fixed myself. “Don’t you think this is so strange?” he said, looking up at the sky.
“If you’re calling me strange, then, you may have to create your own funeral,” I said.
“No, no. I mean, we are just strangers to each other yet we act like we’ve known each others for years,” he explained.
“I don’t know what you mean. I just wanted you to see what’s around you, but you were busy listening to your stupid iPod,” I said, fixing my hair. We were silent for a while but he broke it with a question.
“How can you say I won’t hurt you? What makes you trust me?” he asked.
I smiled at him – he didn’t know that from years of staying alone I had developed an impeccable sense of judgement – I could tell a person’s character by just a few minutes of observation.
“You seemed like a calm person to me. I thought you were like me – going out for a walk just to get away from the monotonous routine until I knew you were a total pervert!”
“How can you even say that? I served as your pillow and you didn’t even thank me,” he said with mock sadness.
“Thank You. Happy now?”
“You sound like you don’t mean it.”
“You’re really trying to get on my nerves aren’t you?”
I chuckled lightly thinking how we were arguing like childhood friends but we hadn’t even introduced ourselves.
“I just remembered, we haven’t introduced ourselves to each other.”
“I’ll be first. I’m Anima,“ I said sticking my hand out towards him.
“Nice to meet you, I am Gaurav,” he said and took my hand in his own and shook it lightly.
We smiled at each other warmly.
“So, should we call each other by our names now?” I said trying to start a conversation.
“Of course not” he disagreed.
“Why not?” I asked. What was wrong with this guy?
“I like not knowing you” he said.
“Are you trying to have me beat you up?”
“I’m just messing with you,” he chuckled and gave me a smug grin.
I punched him again on the head because I was so annoyed.
“I think you already did,” I giggled looking at his hurt face.
“Fine, I’ll stop already,” he said as he massaged the sore spot on his head.
Everything was silent again but not awkward – I felt very comfortable in his presence and I believe he did too.
All of a sudden, he asked a really weird question, “Do you believe in love at first sight?”
I smiled because I knew a perfect answer to it.
“Of course I do, it makes me feel like I have found somebody I really love,” I answered.
He looked at me seriously, and then he stood and pulled me up from the bench.
“Why are you making me stand up?” I grumbled.
“Stop whining and follow me” he said.
I followed him to a bridge over the river.
Why did he ask me if I believed in love at first sight? And why did he ask me to follow him to a bridge near the park? What was going on?
He stopped and looked at his reflection in the water.
I too looked at his reflection – how cute he looked when serious.
I was surprised when I felt like I saw him for the first time. Feels like……love at first sight. I froze.
He looked at me so sadly. “Aren’t you afraid to love someone you just saw?” he suddenly asked.
I was unable to answer.
“You know what? The funny thing about love at first sight is, you won’t know if the person you see loves you back,” he said with a sad look.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. What happened to this proud, grinning guy all of a sudden?
“I’ll answer your question with another question, why can’t you stop asking so many questions?” he said in an irritated voice.
“B-B-Because, I want to know what you’re thinking,” I answered – what was with this sudden change in personality.
He ignored me and continued to look at his reflection.
I felt bad for not being able to do anything – he looked forlorn and in need of love so I did what came to my mind first.
I hugged him.
“Don’t be so lonely, just tell me what’s wrong,” I whispered.
He turned around and looked at me. Slowly, he bent down and his face was so close to mine, I could feel his hot breaths on my face.
Suddenly, he kissed me lightly on the cheek and I blushed like a tomato.
“W-Why did you do that for?” I stuttered rubbing the moist imprint of his lips.
“You didn’t like it?” he said.
“O-of course not!” I denied and gave him a dangerous look but he only laughed.
“Well, you wanted me to cheer up, didn’t you? So I kissed you,” he explained in the same matter-of-fact manner.
“How can kissing me cheer you up?!” I yelled angrily.
On the inside, I wanted to kiss him back.
“My mom kissed me on the cheek when I was still a boy to cheer me up, but in your case, I knew you wouldn’t kiss me so I kissed you,” he explained.
“You could’ve told me!” I huffed angrily and turned away from him.
“Why should I, would you do it?” he asked.
“Of course I would!”
“You…what?” he bluffed and I blushed so hard, I could feel my cheeks heating up.
“I-I would not!” I corrected myself.
“Then, I rest my case,” he said.
I looked around nervously and fumbled with the hem of my top for a few minutes. Trying to change the subject, I asked, “Why were you so sad anyway?”
“It’s because I know you wouldn’t love a guy like me,” he said looking at the sky.
I froze again. I didn’t know what to say.
“Weren’t you wondering why a guy like me stayed with you, even though you punched me enough to make me terribly angry at you? And why I asked you about believing in love at first sight?” he continued.
“The moment I saw you, the very second I took my hood off, I saw you, I fell for you.”
And to think that I actually thought that I was being crazy in liking a guy I just met, while he was the one having a hard time. “Can’t you give me a chance to tell you that I-” I said until I was rudely interrupted by the ringing of his cell phone.
“Excuse me” he said, taking a distance away from me. He answered the phone and I overheard him saying he’s on his way back home.
He approached me and said “I’m sorry for bothering you with my stupid feelings of love, I got to go home, and my mom needs me.” He gave me a hug, and then he ran the other way.
I can’t believe I wasn’t able to say that I loved him back. I couldn’t even ask for his contact number or address when he started to run away from me as I stood where I was.
After that, I went to the park everyday, hoping I would see him again and try to know the reason behind his sadness – why did he think I couldn’t love him? Why did he consider himself not worthy of being loved? What did his mother need him for that he couldn’t wait for even a few minutes?
I could never get to know answers because for all these years, I haven’t seen him once. And from this experience I realized that love isn’t fair to anyone.