Till We Meet Again..Beyond The Horizon

Ayesha stood looking at the mirror; confused, apprehensive and excited. She was so nervous; almost over the edge with it. Was the green saree good enough, she thought? Aayan’s favourite colour was green but that was ten years back; what if he didn’t like it anymore. Fidgeting with the brush in her hand she looked at herself. For the first time in years she missed herself, somewhere down the line she had stopped being the Ayesha that Aayan had fallen in love with.

Her hair had become thinner than the last time they had met. The dark circles were prominent, her face showed the signs of aging. It was a long time ago, a whole decade at that. She was no longer the youthful innocent girl who laughed without giving a damn to the world. She was no longer the girl who was vibrant and always happy. The ten long mountainous years had taken a toll on her, she hardly laughed anymore or if she did it was fake and not uninhibited. All she did now was work, eat and sleep. She led a life because she had to; atleast as long as this body of hers didn’t continued working and breathing.

She walked away from the mirror with the brush in her hand towards the portrait of Aayan and herself that hung just infront of her bed. It was placed such that every time she lay on her bed she would be looking towards it. In the sketch they looked happy but that was years ago. That was when Aayan had not left her in this house all alone while he bowed to parental pressure.

She ran her hands through Aayan’s face in the picture and tears slowly formed in her eyes. It wasn’t the first time. Since the night he has walked out of their house, she had cried herself to sleep on numerous occasions. She felt imprisoned in the house where everything reminded her of those days of love, commitment and passion.

The mahogany coloured cupboard on the right of the bed with glass doors still had Aayan’s shirts on one of the shelves. She just couldn’t get herself to get rid of them. Just next to the bed on the left was the dressing table with the oval shaped mirror. On numerous occasions Aayan had sneaked up to her while she would be busy getting dressed infront of that. He would hug her and kiss her forehead as if to promise a life of happiness and togetherness while they stared into each other’s eyes in the reflection. But it had been a decade since that had happened. She looked towards the window near the dressing table which overlooked a lake while wiping a tear or two; the sun had set. It was dark, the favourite part of her day for years. In an hour Aayan would be at the bus stop where they had first set eyes on each other. Yes that was what he had said on the evening when neither he nor the tears from her eyes stopped.

Aayan had to leave for his parents. Ayesha has lived through that day every second of the past ten years. He should have stayed back or was he right to leave her ; she just couldn’t decide. Sometimes she hated him for not standing up for them; for what they had while at other times she just couldn’t stop herself from feeling the love overflow for him. Perhaps she abhorred herself for not being able to let go. She wasn’t sure he would show up but she had to go. She wanted to go.

She tied her hair into a bun and left towards their rendezvous point. With her green cotton saree draped to perfection, she walked slowly as her heart beat grew stronger and faster. She was anxious. One moment she held her saree, the next she touched her bun. She felt thirsty and her feet grew numb as she saw the bus-stop from a distant. The same gulmohar tree stood tall by it with the ice-cream truck parked nearby.

The moment of truth was now near. She stood on the other side of the road waiting for the signal to turn red for her to cross. She was scared and turned back to look at her reflection on the huge glass door of the store nearby for one last time. She was sweating profusely and as she gulped another surge of fear she turned to cross. There was a bus just infront of the stop.

She kept walking; the view of the stop was obstructed by the bus. As she reached close enough the bus slowly started moving. Her heart sand as the seats on that part of the stop visible; was vacant. Maybe he wouldn’t turn up she thought. Afterall, he would have a different life now. Maybe she was silly to live each day of the past ten years in anticipation of this moment.

She climbed up the pavement and looked towards the other side of the bus stop which was still hidden by the bus in the front.  There was a man with a little girl, perhaps six to seven years in age standing at a distance. As she looked carefully, the man looked familiar. He was spectacled with very little hair remaining on his head.  Perhaps a little over forty while the girl was chubby and cute with an ice cream in her hand. She looked a little harder and it struck her, it was Aayan. He was looking at her too but he had changed so much. Their eyes met.

‘How are you my dear’ he seemed to ask.

‘Oh Aayan, I missed you. No, no actually I still miss you’ she seemed to say.

‘I still love you and perhaps someday in a different world I will prove that to you Ayesha’ he looked apologetic.

‘Oh Aayan, I know. I have known it all along. Sometimes there is more to love than being together’ she thought.

As they kept looking at each other intensely, the little girl suddenly called out to Aayan.

Chacha lets go home’.

It was as if they were in a trance which was broken by the child’s voice.

‘Excuse me, do you know which bus to get on for this address’ said Aayan to Ayesha as he walked up to her and handed her a piece of paper.

Ayesha took it and their hands touched. They felt the same emotions jolt their souls; that of love, sorrow and passion.

‘Its 403’ she said looking up towards him and then turned away.

Aayan stood there with his niece and Ayesha walked towards home.

She opened the piece of paper and it read,

‘I’ll never say our love is incomplete,
For I still love you and you still love me,
In some sense we are still entwined together.
Yes life has been unfair and I did what I thought was right at that moment,
Not for us but for my parents but I wronged you in doing that.
I know you are lonely and if anything that I feel guilty for is that I left you alone,
But know this I am alone too for Aayan needs Ayesha.
But my love I know someday we will be together, one day beyond the horizon.
Till then I will continue to love you’.

Ayesha tucked away the note in her purse and went to sit by the lake near her house. She sat on the bench where she had spent numerous evenings alone; talking to herself and even to Aayan in her thoughts. Perhaps, Aayan was right and they would be together again someday in a different timeline. She was exhausted to even contemplate if that made any sense at all. However, she knew one thing for sure and it was that her love for him was so strong that letting go was neither an option then nor is it now. Perchance, the essence of their love was in being away from each other but somehow still holding on.

Beyond the horizon