I stumbled across a familiar face in the crowd, staring at me. Those eyes gazed at my face, and my clothes, like I was not expected to be there. I felt restless controlling my eyes not to stare back. A pile of regret rose up high, from the casket of my dead conscious. I stopped and threw my cannabis joint, I thought what would I say if she asks me about it. There she stood by the palm tree. I walked past her, without giving the greeting smile, I used to gave once. She too didn’t blushed like she used to.
Flashbacks begun to unfold before my eyes. The sweet memories of her and I, lying side by side under the rising sun, gazing at the horizons of hope of the youthful romance longing till the eternity. Little did we knew that the same sun sets into the abyss of depravity at the end of the every day. Little did we knew that horizons only appear to be together, if only seen from a distance.
Aaliya and I were students of philosophy in the university. The obligation of finding project partners drew us closer; the feeling of being loved and the sense of belonging, everything just pulled me towards her.
“Students! We’ll have to be ready for the project presentation on Monday. I hope you all bring out the best you can with your topics. Good luck.”
I looked around in search of a decent partner, my eyes stopped at the farthest corner in the plethora of the benches, at the charmingly elegant facial features of an equally up spirited soul, I thought of approaching, but I had this latent fear of being rejected. All heaven broke lose for me, when she herself walked towards me in the lunchtime.
“Arpit! What are your plans for the project? You found a partner yet? You’re doing the project over the myth of Sisyphus, right?”
“Yes. Hey, aren’t you doing the same?”, I responded promptly.
“Of course, I’m doing it. I’m well versed in Albert Camus.”
“Would you mind if we work as partners?”, I asked with the fervent fear of rejection, clearly visible in my posture.
“Why would I? It will be a pleasure to work with a genius. Come on! We all have seen how passionate you are about mordernist philosophers. “, She smiled and went on to show me her research papers.
The project went well for us. We received more than the desired grades. After the presentations, I, for the first time in my life, asked someone out for a date. Luckily, it wasn’t as hard at it seemed at first.
I still remember our first date at the Kenshi’s Café, how she showed up in floral red gown, and how much she smiled at my lame and silly jokes. I knew it wasn’t meant to be in any way, but the joy of her being with me was enough for me at that time.
We started living together in the rental room during our final year at the university. It wasn’t a big deal for me, as I had already become much comfortable with her. Our romance was the talk of the town, it received fair public attention because she was one of the university divas. The kind with a couple dozens wannabe womanisers, drooling at any given time. As for me, I wasn’t particularly famous for my appearance, but I was widely famous for destroying the fundamental beliefs of various adherent believers around the mile. All in all, it was a youthful romance to die for, in the hope of meeting somewhere in the eternity, for the perpetual togetherness, as the same is unachievable in this mortal world.
I was at the fits of self destruction, when she told me that she can’t do this anymore, although I held myself back up within a few months, I wasn’t completely moved on and to be honest, I’m still not completely over her. Here I’ve been invited to attend her funeral, rather unwillingly I came here, as my mind refused to admit that she hanged herself. Such a spirited soul can never commit a heinous and cowardly act of suicide, but reality mocked all my faith in her. After all, she did was in an abusive marriage with her drunkard and casanova husband.
Ravi pulled me towards him and asked me what I was doing here. Ravi, the perfect ladies man at the university, best friend of all the female students, he was undoubtedly expected to be here.
I felt nervous, what I’m going to tell him? What was I doing here? Obviously I’m attending my ex girlfriend’s funeral, but what if he didn’t knew about our relationship? There’s no way he would be unaware of it, but what if he didn’t remember seeing us together at the prom, or holding hands at the annual day celebrations, or kissing backstage before our farewell performance. My mind was bombarded with such questions, the answers to which I barely knew.
“Who told you about Aaliya’s funeral?”, Ravi asked monitoring the changing expressions of my face.
“I’m invited here from her husband’s side.”, I nodded.
“Ohh! Okay, I always thought you watch Aaliya from afar, but you never showed the courage to step up to her.”
The memories of her with me were all a façade, a farce with no elements of either truth or reality. A illusion created by my mind to combat the regret I had. Everybody has their side of story, I had mine.