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It Happened One Night

About Jhimli Roy

A mother, home-maker and Yogini. I grew up in the culture-rich cities of Lucknow and Kolkata and have adopted England as my home post marriage. I worked as a teacher assistant for ESOL classes and spend my free time writing and painting and with music. I exhibited my first solo painting exhibition in 2011.  Literature has always been a keen interest and has developed into a form of expression over the years. Writing, to me, is a very personal affair where the past and present merge into words that overflow naturally into prose and poetry.

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It snowed that night. He had always longed to see the snowfall and we thought we would see it together this year. We were always oceans apart yet the distance had never bothered us much. I had plans to fly to New York to see the snow with him. Over these six years, distance was just a measure and the time zones, an overrated geography, beyond which we found ways to be together. It was a night that I still cannot forget.  I stood besides my huge French bedroom window, staring at the dark skies. As the night grew thicker, the sky suddenly lit up with the white snowflakes. It was unexpected. Probably too early even for that cold month. The season’s first snowfall was always such a delight, but here the scenario was different. The sparkling snow danced around coldly. Settling quietly on the pavements, the boats, and the chairs and tables that lay outside the empty restaurants. It was quite late, must be somewhere past midnight, and the streets lay quiet. No footprints had soiled the white glistening sidewalks. Everything around had looked so breath-taking! The only disquiet being the occasional whirling of the cold wind, like a strong williwaw that blew from somewhere. Something like my heart felt that night. I wanted to run outside to feel the snow, but my body failed to gather the spirit which was why I make did with a now and then peek over my window curtains to watch the white blanket settle softly. I sat there wondering how his eyes would glisten at this sight.

I must have been waiting for something magical to happen, almost hoping that something might change his mind. I knew it was too late and I had pushed him too far. I lay too cold, shivering with a high temperature and an emptiness of losing someone forever. I could hardly breathe. My crimson silk sheets soaked in tears that refused to cease. I stared at my mobile screen hoping he would reply. I called him, but the screen showed “call not reachable.” I wanted to tell him that it was finally snowing, hoping the night would bring a change in his heart, hoping the pearly flakes might soften his stance. It was late. Probably too late. I knew nothing would ever be the same again. I had lost him over a misunderstanding. A night that could have been so beautiful, stayed bitter and cold. A night we both had waited to see together, remained the most lonesome ever. I didn’t want to give up, not just yet. As I had once read, “I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” He had picked up my call once, a reply that would ring in my ears forever. “ I don’t want you anymore.”
But he had loved me for so many years and I had believed in his love. I hoped we could somehow make it work against all odds.

Two lovers who had never met, yet so perfect for each other.

A common friend had introduced us through an old fashioned chat window. I saw his paintings and I was in awe of his talent. An admirer of his work from day one. We had started talking online and the connection just grew stronger. I was always the chirpy one and he was always curious about me. I was quite the opposite to his calm and composed demeanour. Yet, he would just look at me and listen to me going on and on. Even across the oceans, time zones and schedules, our hearts were connected. It was nothing but the virtual worlds, but here we were. Years from that first introduction and knowing that we had developed a deep love for each other in our hearts, we decided to meet. We had decided to be together for Christmas and New Year in New York.  He had to fly from a town in Florida, and me, from a quaint little town in England.

Two people carrying so much baggage of past and present, how could they fall in love? He was married and there was no way he could have left his family, though he had no attachment with them. I had a broken relationship from the past too. A relationship when I had visited India few years back. Too many oddities! That night, I was angry with him over an argument. I announced my travel to India instead of sticking to our Christmas plan. After all our never ending arguments over trivia, this had ultimately pushed him a bit too far. He knew I had broken up with my past; yet the decision of choosing to travel to India had made him jealous to insanity. The thought of I meeting my ex love and that I would choose someone else over him got the better of him. I knew my words and my decision would cause harm, it was just to spite him. I didn’t imagine it would change something so permanently.

He had his struggles to cope up, torn between his family, his passion for arts and a job, which he always hated, and then there was me. We found solace in each other. We were liberating and comforting, sharing so many similarities and always in admiration of each other. We were always there, though in our own perfect virtual reality. How perfectly imperfect two lovers could be? I had loved him and he did too. The world lay shattered with torn pieces of hope mocking at me.

As of today, it was over.

So there I was on a cold England night, helplessly watching the shackled boats with their dreams floating away. I felt hollow within. Everything else seemed meaningless. The canvas of my heart, colourful with his affection till only a few days ago, would now stay bare forever and so would our music play a lonely tune. I knew this was it. That mystical snowy night, wanting for some magic that would put everything right, was over. Burning with fever, crying bitterly as the night slowly closed in. The longest night; hoping still; wondering even; if that approaching dawn would change his heart. I couldn’t give up. I cried into the night hoping for a better tomorrow, I cried until I couldn’t think anymore. The names we knew each other by, our relationship as we once named it, a nameless notion now. Some words that I had read long ago kept ringing in my ears “…. I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.”

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