I was standing outside the changing room, holding a shirt, a few t-shirts one denim. It was about an hour since we were looking for clothes for my husband. Our taste in clothes doesn’t go well. He keeps looking for option and I keep standing holding choices for him. When I was a little girl I used to think I will marry someone like my father, who will happily wear clothes I choose for him, it seems now like a crazy fantasy. The young woman in me now knows it very well. Keeping all of it aside I chose a sky blue crisp shirt for him hoping he would like it. Perhaps today he will approve my choice as a wife.
Murmuring voice coming from inside.
“Nothing looks nice Shalu,” my husband, trying the fourth t-shirt and was about to reject it. The door keeps opening and closing but nothing allures him. I don’t understand what speciality he was looking for it was just a t-shirt. I was standing with the blue crisp shirt I chose for him hoping this one he would like yet I knew he could reject but that day I was kind of hopeful.
I yelled, “You come out to show it to me then only I can help. You keep rejecting all by yourself.”
Suddenly one of the doors opened. I stretched my hand towards him gave him the blue crisp shirt while looking for my phone which was ringing loud and lost in my bag.
“It will look great on you,” I said while adjusting other t-shirts in my hand. I asked again, “Could you please try this?”
Nothing he said, I turned around in dismay leaving my phone which was lost in my bag and keep ringing loud. The tip of his finger touched my skin shooting a rush inside my body sailing through my blood stuck in my head. It was not him, my husband. It was someone else, it was… Avinash!
Looking with a straight face gazing deep into my eyes, not a word he uttered.
Kept looking at me holding that blue shirt close to his chest wrapped his left hand around it, caressing the fabric of the shirt and quickly his bewildered face grew calm, his eyes became soft for a while like the little boy whom I had known; who overlooked every mistake I made and used to wear a calm composure when held his hands. It was a long time back still I could see that seventeen-year boy.
He has the same stillness my presence brought him years back. After such a long time when everything changed yet, he looked at me like nothing ever did. Behind his sombre face, I could see the hint of a childlike smile. His mouth chose no word instead his eyes asked and mine refused to say a word.
He took that blue shirt with him in the trail room. He shut the door and I was left behind. His unsaid word spoke loud; loud enough to scream in my ears the song of lost memories. Everything came back rolling in mind like a movie.
I, standing alone in front of a big mirror staring at my face changing colours, mind thinking aloud, a sudden rush in my breath, a cold blow of wind numbing my fingers and toes.
All the dreams of young love enfolded again. Old days and the fragrance of our love. Those wonderful rosy days when love was everything and our hearts were light as feathers when a young girl and boy of seventeen destined themselves as lovers, innocent Lovers.
That blue crisp shirt, he caressing his hands was a piece from our memory land. He took with him and left his unsaid words for me.
I felt moved and held, joyed and cursed. I was in a place with him now, where I was not, for a long long time, where I wanted to be and not to be.
My husband came out looking for more t-shirts I was holding I handed him all.
The rush in my eyes was for the blue shirt I had chosen was the only thing I wanted to see. I sat on a white cushioned stool wrapping all of me reminiscing the seventeen years of me and him. Avinash still accepts my choice as he did 17 years back.
The door opened, there he was, wearing the blue crisp shirt, he gazed into my eyes; no words fooled around; just his eyes pleading for my approval “Do I look good in your choice? The way you craved me to be? Be truthful, tell me what you have in your heart and mind?” His eyes looked desperate for my answer he did not want to be lost again he wanted to stay.
I looked at him as long as I could, as long as I could stop my heart to jump out on the floor and cry looking at him. I slowly nodded my head up and down. A drop of tear resting in his left eye fell slowly caressing his cheeks my hands wanted to do the same. My heart crumbled a thousand folds in that one moment. I kept looking at him like a lifeless statue- less of life left; none of the words to utter just a helpless stare. His feet moved towards the white cushion where I was now standing, each step he took my heart crumbled…more…a bit more leaving me short of breaths. I clenched my fist so hard that my nails were piercing my palms.
He did not stop moving closer and closer till his feet could touch my blue dupatta touched his black leather shoes. It was him, so close to me after so long. His eyes gazing my face, my lips trembling to tell him you just look as I dreamed once when we were seventeen. When I told you I will choose clothes for and you have to wear them as I will be your wife.
But I couldn’t tell him any of this.
Several unsaid things broken promises and dented heart was between us.
I wanted to embrace the moment, he wanted to cry. We wanted to stop everything around and run holding hand as we used to like old times but nothing could he do nor I except looking at me like a sweet child who wished for the “beautiful moon” in nights and cried to sleep thinking that he could not have it. I could see his pain the anger and all the unsaid thing I left behind wrapped in a promise that we won’t exchange a word never in life. He swore putting his hands on my head and eyes on my lips who said those cold words to a 17-year-old little boy. A seventeen-year-old girl who stabbed his heart and torn in pieces and my little boy still kept it.
In five steps he walked towards me, all things rolled in my mind and when he crossed me to go to the cash counter I felt his pain burdening my soul-crushing into pieces that could never join again.
He kept his promise and I kept holding the silence between us. I was still his heartless beautiful moon who has a gloomy shine, he was still my little boy who loved the moon and accepted all the moon said while leaving the sky.
He left again and I left him to do so. Some stories never change, time brings you in the same place perhaps this time something will change but not.
My story remained the same as it was 17 years back- of a beautiful heartless Moon, a seventeen-year little boy and blue crisp shirt.
~ Sahil Lakhmani