A gust of wind caresses against my numb cheeks as my eyes overwhelm with an unfamiliar sadness. The doleful monotony of incessant downpour evokes an overpowering sense of despondency. As the sky assumes a somber demeanor, my heart skips a beat. Oh! Memories and reminiscences, musings and ruminations! There’s this melancholy to rain, just like there is to love…especially forbidden, ill-fated ones.
Fragmented yet indelible images tumble out from the inner recesses of my stricken soul. The musty smell of a second hand copy of Browning’s Collected Poems with its faded brown cover over the yellow, brittle pages is the most tangible, recurring memory I have of you. It’s really strange how some of the most powerful, overwhelming memories are intrinsically attached to certain unforgettable objects, smells and sights.
Ours was not a regular love story. There was always a sense of an ending looming ominously over our forbidden affair. You were a frustrated, failed, alcoholic poet in your mid 40’s and I was just a gawky 18 year old teenager grappling with the first flush of romance! I fell for your laughing irreverence, while your dark anguished soul simply couldn’t evade the charm of my tremendous zest for life. I can still vividly recall those intoxicating, poignant poems which you read out to me while we sauntered through the lanes and by-lanes of the old city. Those exhilarating debates over literature, art and aesthetics while sipping on endless cups of steaming tea on indolent rainy evenings…! I shall indeed forever remain indebted to you for instilling in me the love for literature. Oh, I do remember your partiality for Shelley, but I still stick to Keats!
Ours was exactly the kind of relationship of which no one would ever approve of.
Presumptuous, brazen and impudent…just like love. After my results came out, I knew I had to move out. We always knew the end was imminent. We never really had any unrealistic expectations. But farewells are always difficult, ours was no different. It was raining yet again and as our eyes met for the last time, words proved to be grievously inadequate. There was this throbbing pain in my heart which I couldn’t convey to you, neither could you explain your sudden bursts of poignant laughter as your eyes welled up with tears. You said it was just the rain. I said I believed you. That day I learnt the biggest lesson in life – loving one another doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness. As our fingers touched momentarily, your face brightened up with a sudden sense of epiphany. There are no random meetings in life, you said. Even the briefest encounters serve a purpose. And maybe ours was meant only for this.