What Attracts and Repels?

Short Story

Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay

Most of the time I ask myself the rhetorical question “Who doesn’t pine for love?” I think every creature of this universe longs for love, and it’s, in fact, a great force to a great sacrifice. To experience love is an unavoidable fate of everyone. What we call love is a fascination with caring for, dreaming about, and also being jealous and desiring to be with someone believing that these feelings would last forever. I can’t say firmly at this stage that it really lasts forever, but I’m sure it really lasts longer––no matter what we all want a real and lasting one. Yet, the marriage falls apart as the leaves of the trees in the autumn season. But the dissolution of any bond is of no specific season’s concern, and we don’t know why! If we know we really don’t want to know. We’re unapologetic about it most of the time as we don’t want our feelings to be disclosed first. So, a pretentious form of art keeps screening on!

 Anyway, I know about a girl who was perhaps eighteen or nineteen then. She couldn’t sleep the previous night. Waking up early in the morning, she started getting ready. She spent almost an hour in front of the mirror. Perhaps more than five times, she asked me, “How am I looking?” “Am I okay?” She discussed elaborately her attire, its colour and her hairstyle. And I kept on repeating words such as wonderful, beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, etc. The glamour of her dress, the aura on her face, the glimmer in her eyes could have paled thousand of stars. I’ve never seen such luminosity in her eyes before.

 “OK! Wish me good luck,” she said to me. I clearly saw her lips as blossoming buds! I wished her, “Good luck!” When she stepped out elegantly, I took of my stride to follow her to a short distance and uttered, “All the best for the paper!” She looked back at me strangely. Her queer expressions hinted to me of her other plans or events she was going to attend. I’ve seen some people so well dressed up appearing at the exam as if they are attending a party. However, I was a damned fool at that time.

 The human psychology you think you know doesn’t always give you the apt signal to the proper revelation of the situation––it’s, perhaps, too complex sometimes or else we cannot simply have enough time to pay attention to every little thing. By the way, when she went out of my sight, I started reading one of my favourite novels. She returned after one and half hours. I was wholly engrossed in my reading. It was so gripping that I couldn’t put it down! So, I couldn’t heed her when she arrived. When I was out to respond to my natural call, which I had already stopped forcefully––as often, I never wanted to leave the climax of the story in the middle.

 “Oh, you came very early. How was it?” I inquired.

 “It was the meeting,” she blushed, bearing the smiles on her lips.

 ”Okay! Tell me then about your meeting.”

 ”It was awesome and memorable! He liked me too. He loved me too. I’ve found my sweetheart, and he’s my first and will be the last love,” she said unwaveringly.

 “GOOD,” I said awkwardly.

 Since my childhood, I’ve been trying to read human minds. Thus, I jumped into the well of her utterances. Girls probably in their teenage are governed by feelings, not by facts or reasons. It’s too complicated to understand love if not grounded upon the union of intellect and emotion. I think the feeling is governed by a ray of false hope which makes you love somebody unexpectedly. I wanted to advise her ‘not to be in a hurry.’ But I didn’t. I, however, wanted not to spoil her mood immediately. Even if it’s the wrong way to love someone––if you really love somebody wholeheartedly, then it’s OK to express one’s feeling.

 Let the love blossom. But, she was unmoved. She went on repeating that they both are made for each other. And, her commitment to her so-called, “sweetheart” began to bang, added a rainbow of touch to her life. Her manners got grace and made her a daydreamer!

 As usual, the way I looked at my life was a bit painful and habitually different from my fellow friends. Some of them used to call me “pessimist.” Whenever I have the time, I’m either busy talking to my friends or busy spending my time with books and laptops.

 One fine morning, though as usual with newspaper, I was tenaciously gripped in reading the article, “How mass media engineers and distorts our perceptions” on my laptop, she suddenly intervened and put her head on my shoulder. This was quite strange for me. So, I cajoled her to tell her story. Sometimes, responding to one’s cry is to console one what souls cannot, consolations can. I did that successfully, and uttered, “There’s a heap of fuzzy feel-good stories.”

 When you plunge into a relationship, always remember not to expect that it’d last forever. Lifelong romance begins with you and always will end with you––others are assigned a role to play with you––just for sometimes and short times. And yes, there’re many frogs under the green grass too! ‘Your prince charming’ might have proved to be a frog you met. The flash of sparks once in her eyes I saw faded away. Her eyes reflected the pain and constant unease. Her longings didn’t last. I was amazed at how this would shape her.

 I measured out my life too, and rolled out my critical eyes to the situation, and pondered over the undoctored issue. The girl was beautiful, trustworthy and capable of being a girlfriend and wife too. What’s the reason for a breakup? One of my friends told me when I asked him, “You know it happens these days! Tell her to celebrate her break up with a party hard tonight. Everything that happens repeatedly in a city becomes a matter of lesser importance. Take the issue of crime against women, for instance. It hardly sensitizes people.”

 ”It’s not a breakup, idiot! It’s her heartbreak,” I said intently.

 When I met the boy, I find him handsome and seemed sincere too. I thought that it’s perhaps a contrast of personality or what we call is an incompatibility. If not so, then both are foolish. You know the traits of fools––they roam around but would never stay where there’s a paradise. I mean fools’ paradise is everywhere. We, seemingly intelligent people, know that nowhere paradise exists…because we’re parasites here.

 As days passed, I realized why she was frequently visiting me. She was feeling lonely here with her relatives and was on the way to escape from her bad memories of the past. She even started taking interest in the stories that I used to like. Though, I knew she was pretending to pass her days with books and stories. She knew her interest in stories will bring her to me for a prolonged conversation.

 One day I was having talks with my parents on my phone. She entered my study room and started reading one written paragraphed of my story that I was trying to write. It was vaguely entitled as “Philosophy attracts and repels.” Thereafter, she continued asking me the question, “What’s do you know of philosophy?” rather than what’s philosophy.

 I ignored her question.

“You must be a philosopher,” she said.

 ”I’m not,” I said.

 “No, seriously you’re… it seems!”

 “You qualify or disqualify me?” I said suspiciously.

 “Would you please tell me about the philosopher and his philosophy?”

 I was compelled to tell her, but I didn’t understand what connection she wanted to establish.

 “Philosopher is somebody whom you will find lost in rational inquiry. And philosophy is the mirror ‘to know thyself’ first.” I tried to convey in short.

 “You mean philosopher is a thinker!”

 “Of course, they’re agents of thoughts.”

 “So, Mr Philosopher or thinker…whatever you’re. What do you think of me?”

 “What would you like to know?”

 “Whatever you wish,” she chuckled and stroked my hair with her tender hands. Her dupatta frequently draped on her one soldier, slipped. My eyes propped on her bosom and a wave of passion run through my body. I moved my chair a little back from her and quickly gathered my nerves. She quickly maintained her decorum. I broke the silence of seconds passed between us, “You know I hardly speak unless questioned.”

 “Moving on your high plane of thought you’d know,” She said. I murmured to myself what’s high in it.

 “If you’d allow me to guess, I might hurt your sentiments,” I surprised her.

“I know you aim at instruction rich in exhibits, not a pleasure,” she drew out her perceptions of me.

 “Don’t get me wrong. It may be a combination of both. I never exhibit the saintlike submissiveness,” I said as if I really was a thinker.

 ”Okay.”

 “I think you miss something, don’t you?’’ I tried to know what she factually wanted to know.

 “Yes, I miss…! Don’t know what to do with my knowledge,” she frowned.

“This is the greatest defect of our civilization that it doesn’t know what to do with the knowledge. You know civilization and culture both are divorced.” Anyway, I suddenly stopped myself from being too critical.

 “I’m a stupid girl.”

 “Traffickers are in the street. So as many clowns are in a circus,” I said.

She giggled out as if it were a private joke. Finally, I saw a tinge of laughter in her expression after a long conversation.

 “Let’s start the quiz,” she said.

 “But why,” I asked.

 “You’ve to give the answer in short.”

 “I always do.”

 “You hardly did.”

 “Yeah, I know.”

 “You’re a philosopher. Your interview is going on.”

 “Oh, you’re a naughty girl.”

 “First, question––What wise people do?”

 “What you and I don’t.”

 “Oh, be serious na,..plz”

 “OKAY. As you like.”

 “Answer then.”

 “They always drink water, and prepare themselves to live and die well.”

 “This is your answer again?” she said surprisingly.

 “What’s wrong with this?”

 She remained silent for a second.

 “If you think this isn’t apt to tell, then I must tell you that I’m not good at answering questions,” I threw sarcasm.

 “Mr., you’ve been reading classics and still feel baffled by the larger questions of life,” she said ironically.

 Now, I firmly began to doubt her age. You know girls are more sensitive to their ages except for their indifference to other things. This might seem a biased idea to many, I admit it.

 “You know I’m vulnerable to the error of my common sense,” I said without hesitation.

“I didn’t ask any big question.”

“Oh, in the name of big or small, I lose my perspectives,” I muttered.

 “You mess up the thing.”

“Yes, I’m messed up with many things, but now I don’t. I just multiply,” I said, knowing full well that she understood nothing.

 “You multiply? Do you spur poeticism?” she asked astonishingly.

 “O, no, I don’t. Forget! It’s a terrible mood swing,” I said in an irritating dejection.

 “Please, come to the point, don’t beat about the bush. What really matters should be taken into considerations,” she spoke eloquently.

 “Nothing matters. Bloody perspective,” I simply concluded.

“We’re muddled with what truly makes us happy,” she said indirectly but honestly.

 “This is what I wanted to know,” I said frankly, and added, “This will define your character of existence. Don’t make choice out of the false impressions of reality. Either it overrates or underrates the thing: disillusionment!” I gave a precise lecture. I’m telling you I’m a victim of giving lectures.

“This is the difference between you and him. Yours’ will certainly make a greater difference,” she said in a way that I felt she was overcoming her emotions.

“What sort of difference?” I asked.

“He should have told me. He could have corrected me if I was wrong somewhere in something. That’s not the way to avoid, and insult people,” she went on.

 I liked her way of telling, and I was touched. “He should have tried at least once,” I said.

 “Thanks! I should leave now.”

 “Do come again if you’d come…,” I interrupted myself.

 “What’ll if I come?” she asked.

 “I don’t know…but without you, there’d be an emptiness of conversation,” I said intentionally.

“Without me? How?” she inquired.

 “Emptiness of meaning means emptiness of life,” I philosophized.

 “Oh, no. You’re a thinker. God has better plans for you,” she consoled me as if I were a victim now of some grave sin.

 She wavered her hand and bade me, “Goodbye.” I watched her going out of my sight.

Days and months passed but I couldn’t see her. She had been here in Delhi for six months with her maternal grandmother. One day I couldn’t resist myself and asked, “Aunty, where’s Soumya?” She said she went to her parental home. I knew her only a month ago.

 I’ve been waiting for her. I really miss her. I frankly tell you I began to like her. From my heart’s core, I’m waiting and waiting, and eagerly waiting for her to spend time with me.

Will she have the same height and breadth of her feeling for me? Will she remember me or him? Whatever the answer maybe, but one thing I know––I’m a common man, leading a common life. My name can’t be carved on stones. I won’t be standing like a statue in the middle of the city to guide profit mongers! No one can call it an enthralling story. Oh, I’m a common man! I’ve nothing to be remembered––I’d soon be forgotten! This is not a love story to be remembered!

                     

THE END