Halfway Summer

“Our eyes locked but we didn’t say a word when the clock struck twelve that New Year’s Eve. Do you remember that?” he asked, tracing circles on my back as we lay in the warmth of the blanket.

“No,” I said groggily, eyes closed.

“You know, I think we have always been good at that. At being mad at each other. I mean it seemed like hell, but eventually we didn’t fit anywhere but in each other’s arms,” he said a few seconds later.

I smiled but didn’t respond. Not yet.

Disappointed at not receiving a reply, he tried again.

“I’m sorry,” he sighed.

Giving in this time, I opened my eyes and blinked.

 

He still looked like the little boy I once knew. The ten-year-old who watched trashy Govinda movies with me from the isle of the filthy cinema house, crying when lovers parted ways on screen, and hooting and cheering when they got back together.

“Kabir ya, it’s like the middle of the night. Can’t you be sorry about whatever it is tomorrow morning?” I asked, refusing to budge even though he was no longer drawing those comforting circles on my back.

“Oh so when she wants to have some conversation for whatever inspiration she needs to write, she’s allowed to wake me at 3 am. But when I’m pouring my heart out, it’s the ‘middle of the night’ for her,” he said turning to the other side.

“Are you seriously referring to me in third person? I’m right here,” I said rolling my eyes. Two could play this game.

“Who needs to watch daily soaps when you have a man like this,” I murmured, to nobody in particular.

 

When he didn’t respond, I rested my chin on his bare shoulder.

“What’s up?” I asked.

Though the lights were out, moonlight shone through our thin curtains. I could see his glossy eyes staring into blank space, eyelashes fluttering like a that of a little doll. I swear, the man’s lashes could give most cosmetic companies a run for their money. “What are you sorry for?” I nudged his back with my chin urging him to speak up.

“I just wish somebody could heal that tragic gap of time and take us back to the summers when we were sixteen.  We just kept missing each other,” he said, his voice suddenly hoarse.

He only got this way when he had too much to drink but I didn’t want to mention it just now.

“That line ought to be in of those sappy movies I make you watch.”

“We’re better than any of those bullshit movies. And it’s insulting to me that you are comparing us to them,” he said, turning around to face me.

“The boy with the wind-swept hair and freckled yet-to-be-discovered constellations on his shoulders…”

“The girl with sunset eyes. His Halfway Summer, sitting cross-legged on his bed three years after they lost each other. That night, while they talked till it was day, he melted faster than the ice cream they shared,” he said nuzzling into my side, hand in my hair, as the stars dimmed their lights.

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