The night often distresses me. It is always in its still that I am disposed to collect the myriad events scattered across the plains of my life.
Shall I spend the whole of tomorrow reading and writing? I could write the story which I had thought up during my stay the resort in Bintan – a supernatural thriller in which we all woke to an unusually and eerily vacant resort, and could not escape it no matter how much we traveled. I remember the buggy ride we got from one of the staff whom we had told of our boredom and subsequent willingness to follow him on his rounds. As the sea breeze brushed against us, he told us he enjoyed the simple life he led there. He looked like a really cheery person. I wonder if I could content myself with such simple pleasures all my life? A friend told me she could not. Where are we to draw to line between being content and being merely indolent?
I think I was being indolent when I wrote only poetry. Heroic couplets, because of Pale Fire. That was ages ago. That was also when I first began to talk to her. We began exchanging messages more frequently and I was delighted. Speak, Memory was the book which I could have easily gotten myself but chose instead to ask if she were stopping by the bookstore. I hope I wasn’t too obvious in creating opportunities to meet. We were at the bookstore together sometime near Christmas. She handed it to me and wished me Merry Christmas. I replied with a poorly articulated ‘thanks’. That often happens when I’m nervous. I really wanted to give her a hug but I didn’t know how. We went to a bakery right after that. Bought a piece of bread and shared it. I thought we looked like a couple, and so in my heart I smiled gleefully.
I do not know when it was that I last felt that kind of glee. Perhaps it is only felt when something you have pined so long for finally escapes your dreams and plops itself right in front of you. I long for that longing. That bright birth of a new life.
The church was lit by a constellation of candles. I stood outside the glass door, nervously adjusting my tie. It was a whole three hours of singing and elation. I had spotted her standing a few aisles behind me, enrapturing in a ravishing red. I smiled and she returned it gently. After supper, we had wanted to walk home together. Did the night not feel especially romantic? It was a present from the Almighty. Unfortunately, the adults told us that it would better if they sent us home. Love would have to bloom another night.
We always sat on a bench beneath a bough facing the back of some houses. I cannot recall what we talked about but we were always laughing. Time always sped by and she, whipping out her phone, would always lament how her parents were expecting her home and how she wished we could both sit on that bench forever, chatting away an endless night, our secret joy espied by only the jealous stars. I had so dearly wished that too.
I had wished many things when I was with her. A holiday to a snow-covered land. An adventurous day at a theme park. A spontaneous car ride through the night. Surprising her with a birthday cake. Seeing her surprise me with a birthday cake. And a sleepover; which we knew was not possible since her parents were almost reincarnations of Disciplina. She told we would have to wait till she entered university and had more freedom to herself. I remember looking forward so eagerly to those days.
Those days have arrived. But they are strangers to the past. We too are strangers, almost. I sometimes wonder had she felt differently or I been more expedient, would we have been hurtled into an altogether different universe. But why dwell on such thoughts; why live a thousand pasts and no one contented present?