“One day you will kiss a man you can’t breathe without, and find that breath is of little consequence.” (Karen Marie Moning)
Although I did wake up a couple of times at night, I slept well for the most part. I did not have to wait for the alarm to go off; I was fully awake at 4.30 am. I turned to look at Rohit – although fast asleep, his face was turned towards me. I kissed him softly on the forehead, careful not to disturb his sleep. At 5 am, his alarm went off loudly, piercing the stillness of the early morning. He immediately reached out for his phone and switched off the alarm. I wished him good morning and asked if he had slept well. He responded in the affirmative, mentioning that he had slept quite well.
I gathered a little courage and kissed him, afraid that he would push me away. On the contrary, he hugged me and kissed me back. It was a relief. He was lying down on his left side. I turned my back to him, took his arm and put it over my body, with my right arm over his. “Let’s stay like this for five minutes and we will then wake up,” I said. Rohit had much more in mind. He got under my sheet and snuggled against my body tightly. I could feel he was aroused. I turned my body to face him, and in a second his lips were on mine, kissing me just as he had done only a few hours ago.
Rohit was soon on top of me, kissing me and rubbing his body hard against mine. “May I try entering you?” he asked softly. I nodded by way of assent, and he eased into me very, very gently. Although I still felt some pain, it was not overwhelming. This time it was over quickly. He held me close for a couple of minutes and then got out of bed to dress. I switched on the geyser and went into the kitchen to make tea. By the time tea was ready, Rohit was dressed. I served tea and sat down on the bed with him, offering him handmade cookies as an accompaniment. He seemed to really like them a lot and ate three of them with great relish.
It was time for Rohit to leave. I asked him to wear his shoes while I switched off the lights and took the car keys. Although it was nearly 6 am, it will still completely dark outside. We took the elevator in silence, neither of us saying anything. We sat in the car and I started driving towards the highway from where he would get a bus home. After driving in complete silence for a few more minutes, I asked, “Hey, am I such a bad guy that you will not even talk to me?” “There is no such thing,” he replied. “You are really very nice. And such a handsome man.” His comment about me being a handsome man was spoken in a soft and child-like manner.
“You know, when you are as old as me, you will realize that being handsome and other such things become secondary. What someone like me needs is companionship, a shoulder to rest my head on, and a person who I can share my feelings with,” I said. “This morning, when you and I were having tea, was one of the happiest I have experienced in a long time. I am not saying that sex is not important – I love sex – but there are feelings beyond sex which become more important after a certain stage in life. I am in that stage now,” I continued.
Rohit was listening in total silence, neither agreeing nor disagreeing. Realizing that I had probably unnerved him, I changed the topic and started pointing out local markets, malls as well as my office building to him. He was taking in everything I was saying but was not participating enthusiastically in the conversation. Maybe he wanted this to end quickly, I thought. In a few minutes we reached the makeshift bus stop on the highway and I parked the car. A few buses, standing right beside a flyover, were calling out to passengers. Rohit checked with a couple of them, but they were not headed in his direction. I told him to take as much time as he needed – I would wait till he boarded the bus.
Rohit finally got a bus which would take him to his destination. It was not even half full, but I urged Rohit to board the bus and take a seat. He said bye to me and gave me a side hug. Tears, which I had tried so hard to fight back, came streaming down my face. I was crying shamelessly in a public place, not even caring about the fact that several people were looking at me. “Don’t cry. Call me during the day. Send me messages, I will respond as soon as I can,” he said, consoling me. Still crying, I gently pushed him towards the bus since it was about to leave.
I stood helplessly on the road, watching the bus leave. I sat in the car and started driving home, my eyes moist and head fuzzy. The sun was rising by the time I reached home. I opened the door to my apartment, only to be welcomed by silence and emptiness. I went into the bedroom and saw the clothes, worn by Rohit, thrown carelessly on the bed. I picked up the shorts, brought them close to my face and inhaled deeply. They still bore his raw, musky scent, as if he had just taken them off. I was crying inconsolably now.
I opened the doors to the balcony and stepped out to see the rising sun playing hide and seek with the clouds. Another lonely day was about to start.