Let’s Say (Part I)

Let’s say my name is Tanya. I’m bisexual. At least that’s what I like to believe. It gives me a little scope to be straight when I want. All I’ve wanted, for very long now, is to be able to freely talk about ‘it’, to be open about it, to come out. For very long now, all I’ve wanted is to tell people my story without having to twist and turn the facts, without having to change the gender of my partner, my lover.

I had my first relationship when I was 17. He was 21. Four years and four failed relationships later, I was attending a local book club meeting when it happened. It was the October of 2009 – around 8pm on a windy evening. We were sitting by a fountain when she came up to me. General introductions and a few pleasantries later I knew that she was studying law, lived a few storeys above my apartment and was 3 days older than I was. Our numbers exchanged, we were excited to have found someone to hang out with. A week and nonstop messaging later, we knew we were crushing on each other.

It only took one visit to her house, her room to change everything. Sitting next to her on that sofa, telling her something that feels very insignificant in hindsight, I felt a peck on my lips. It was one of those moments you tend to remember forever. I didn’t realise what had just happened. Was it real? Was I dreaming? Although I felt my head spinning then, there’s not one detail about that moment that I have forgotten – even today. The lighting in that room, the distance between us – barely any, her eyes –big and round, and that perfect smile of hers. She gazed at me for just a moment, trying to comprehend my reaction. “Look at your face!” she said, cackling loudly.

I failed to see what amused her right then. But seconds later we were on her bed, my lips craving for hers, hers for mine – finding each other in that madness, that perfect chaos. Pinned down on that mattress, our fingers entwined, she broke away panting. “Too hot to handle” she whispered. That moment was unbelievable – almost bizarre – we just couldn’t get enough of each other. Had the doorbell not rung, we’d have gobbled each other up that night.

As I walked into my apartment later that evening, a message flashed.
I want to do that again. Now. Despite the suddenness of it all, despite the strangeness of that moment, the helplessness we both felt almost caused us physical pain.

Was this magic?

She’d had many lovers earlier – just as I’d had. All of them men. Then how could this happen? What did this mean? Why at all? So many questions, no answers whatsoever. But one thing was clear, whatever this was, made everything else, every other relationship seem meaningless, almost trivial.

Weeks later, we still couldn’t get our hands off each other. Emergency staircases, common lifts, basements, empty passages – they’d all witnessed the wrath of our emotions. We’d wake up at 4am and go for walks together under the garb of exercising. We’d time my leaving for work and her leaving for college perfectly. We’d leave coded messages for each other in the hallways.

Looking back, I think, what made what we had even more special was the fact that nobody knew of this…of us. This was our world, our secret universe. One that only we understood… or at least tried to. We had our fights, of course we did. But there wasn’t a second during the day when our love for each other didn’t grow. We could be on the phone for hours and not get tired. I remember one time when, just before her political science examinations, she recited chapters and chapters about leaders I’d never heard of – on the phone to me, because that was the only way she could concentrate. Another time she’d promised herself she’d call me in an hour only if she’d completed a section of her syllabus.

I was her motivation and she was mine. To do anything and everything. I wanted to be thin for her. I wanted to be pretty for her. She dressed for me, she cooked for me, she breathed for me. And I for her. We didn’t need to say it to each other, but we did. Because that was all we could do. If there was any way we could have expressed ourselves, we did it.

The stolen kisses in her kitchen, the movie sessions at my place, the drives in the evenings – nothing ever lost its charm. Of course, there were times when she doubted our future – the practical type that she was. I, on the other hand, never saw beyond her. She was my oxygen, my life; she ran in my blood and my veins. I would fight the world for us if she stood by me. And I meant it from the bottom of my heart.

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The Paneer Pakoda

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