She loved mornings more than nights. Not because her fantasy of him drawing her name by the stars lying on the lawn with her head resting on his chest hasn’t remained a fantasy anymore. Not because the dark empty spaces were filled with many moments of good memories. Not because she had someone by her side who would hug her and make her feel safe when she woke up in the middle of night after a nightmare. Because their mornings starts with seeing the dawn. Walking by the river, watching the birds fly out to start their day. Watching the newspaper-walahs spreading stories of yesterday. Watching the empty buses starting their ride. Watching the laughter clubs spreading laughter, people learning to laugh away their pains. Everyone starting a new day with a new hope and with the aim that today will be better than yesterday without worrying about tomorrow.
She had only one beautiful dream. Dream of walking by his side, making their conversations into songs, make him dream and make his countable moments the best of all. She did walk by his side always, after a distance, she couldn’t. The road he took, never allowed her to. He couldn’t imagine her life without him. He left his life and broke her dream.
Finally she saw Vilas coming. Krishika was waiting in a restaurant since almost an hour.The place was not so busy. It was the perfect place he selected. Elegant interior, warm lighting and good food.
She wasn’t angry on him. She was used to his late coming.
“You will never come on time Vilas.”
“You know Krish, that I will never be on time. You too must come late.”
“Very funny. Let’s order soon. I am damn hungry.”
“When are you not hungry ? ”
“Okay okay. Let’s order. ” He didn’t allow her to complete.
The waiter comes to take their order.
“Two sweet corn soup. The rest we’ll order soon.” The waiter noted the order and left.
Krishika was busy reading the menu and Vilas was busy thinking something.
“Ohhhooo, someone is thinking.”
Krishika was surprised seeing him thinking. Since when she knows him, she never saw him so serious. Not that he was clumsy and lazy, he was sincere, hardworking, emotional fool. When it came to seriousness, he was happy go lucky. Come what ever in way, that curve on his face never faded. Today, that curve was a straight line.
The waiter came and kept the soup bowls and Krishika gave the rest order.
“In last four years, I haven’t seen you like this. What are you thinking? Is it that why we are here? You didn’t sound good last night. What’s up? ”
Vilas didn’t complain about so many questions asked together.
“I want to marry her Krish.”
“Wait what ? Did I hear marriage? ”
“Oh com’on. Why I can’t think about marrying someone? ”
“You are serious about someone. Wow. Who’s that lucky girl? ”
“But I can’t marry her!”
“Different religion? Or different community?”
“Did you tell her about your mind? Does she too loves you? ”
“I think she also loves me. No Krish. I thought I first talk to you about it.”
“Good you didn’t tell her yet. She would be heartbroken if you wouldn’t marry her then ”
“What should I do? ”
“Are you crazy. How can I leave my parents?”
‘Just give a hint that you love me too Krish. I will fight the whole world to be with you.‘ Vilas spoke to himself.
” Don’t leave your parents. Forget her. Or convince them!”
‘I know Vil, that your her is me. I will not let you know how much I love you. I am tired of fighting now.’ Krishika spoke to herself.
“I tried convincing them. They didn’t agree.”
‘I know Krish you love me too. Please say it’
“Will you be able to live without her? ”
‘You will have to learn to live without me Vil. I am leaving this town tomorrow.’
“I don’t know. Maybe yes. But it will be very difficult.”
‘Why on earth are you asking this?’
“It will be difficult. But not impossible. I am sure you can do it.”
‘Please don’t make it difficult Vil.’
“Yes. It will be easier if your are with me.”
‘Why do you want me to live without you? Wait, are you going anywhere? Krish, you can’t do this.’
Vilas took her hands in his and looked into her eyes.
“You will be there with me. Right? ”
Krishika couldn’t say anything. She looked away.
“Krish. What happened? Are you leaving me? ”
“I am leaving you Vil. I am going to Florence tomorrow.”
“What ? You are going to live your dream and I am the only one who don’t know about it!”
‘Now I get it. Now I understand you asking if I would be able to live without her. You know I am talking about you.’
“I am sorry Vil. I didn’t want to hurt you”
“Hurt? I am more hurt now. I so badly wanted you to live your dream. And helped you to get closer to it. And I only don’t know that you are so close. Just go Krish. I don’t want to see your face. I hate you Krishika. Just leave.”
Vilas was suddenly angry. He was shouting. This took the attention of others also who were in the restaurant.
‘I am sorry Kirsh to shout at you. But I want you to leave me peacefully. I want you to be happy. If you find happiness in Florence, then Florence.’
Krishika didn’t know what to do.
“I said leave.”
Krishika stood up and started walking towards the door.
‘I love you too Vil’
‘I love you Krish. Have a safe trip.’
“I am scared.”
“What ? You are afraid to walk with me ?”
“No. Walking with you never gives me fear. In fact I feel safe and secure with you.”
“Then what scares you ?”
“I am scared that you will fall because of me.”
“You are scared of something that would never happen !”
“Would. See… even you are not sure. It may happen. And you know well that I can’t even bear to think of you falling down.”
“May. Even you are not sure. It is just a FEAR. You know na, what does fear mean?”
“Yes. False/Fantasized Evidences Appearing Real. I know. Still.”
“Look. Even if I fall, I know I will have your hand to pull me up. If you are not walking with me, I will surely fall. Please. I want to live all the dreams with you.”
“I understand that it is just my fear. Still. I can’t risk your ambition with mine. I don’t care if I don’t meet mine, But I want to see you meeting your goal.”
By now, Karan was tired of consoling Neha that nothing WILL go wrong if they are together. But Neha was scared. Scared that her illness would kill her any time. And feared about his low strength without her. And so, she wanted Karan to stay away from her. She wanted to see him strong, wanted him to gain the strength where she made him weak, wanted him to learn to live without her.
On the other hand Karan. He wanted to spend every possible moment with Neha. He wanted to love her fully for the few days or months or even years left with her. He wanted to live life at least with her till the days she is. He hadn’t even thought of a world without her. He has grown up with her, never went to school even without her. He never had imagined a day without giving a good morning kiss to her. And now Neha was asking him to stay away. He couldn’t understand why she was doing this. And she couldn’t explain.
As rule says, one cannot win an argument with girls, Karan too gave up for time being. He was getting late for his meeting with the staff members. The orientation meeting. It was the first meeting of the few staff members of the dream school Karan was building up since 2 years. He was just a few steps away from his dream. Right now the meeting was important. As from next week the admission process of kid were going to start. So he Had to leave.
“Okay fine. Do as you wish. But do let me know when you need me. You know very well that how important you are for me.”
She said nothing. And Karan was leaving. He started to walk towards the school. Waiting for her to call back and walk with her to school. His wait didn’t end. He couldn’t walk further. But had to walk. As now, the school was not only his dream but her hard work too. So, he walked towards the school. Even the cold and beautiful weather felt like bitter for him. A glance on a couple of his age walking hand in hand ahead of him made him almost cry. He couldn’t handle it. He walked slower. Very slow. After a 10 minute walk to school, he was overjoyed to see Neha waiting at the entrance gate for him.
“What took you so long to walk here? It is not even 500 meters.”
“I was thinking what would happen to me if you weren’t waiting here. For me.”
She then made an unsaid promise to him ‘To walk with him till she can.’
He never asked her a why and she never needed to say why.