The evening was damp that day. There was a dim rainbow smiling as ever like the happiest baby in the lap of the sky. Rahul was sitting on his secret place; a small place which he felt was only his and made for him only. It was a small embankment on the top of the largest tree on the shore. He used to sit there every day with a diary in which he wrote some kind of poetry. The secret place wasn’t a comfortable one; he used to crouch and pen his feeling with the flow of the air. The lyrical tone of the sea waves, the setting sun, the cool breeze and most of all quietness were his favorite friends. He was crying that day. He couldn’t help but recall that moment.
In the morning, after preparing a small speech, he went to the school to confess his feelings to someone whom he loved die-heartedly. She looked beautiful and was sitting in the last bench alone. The class was empty; no one had arrived then. Grabbing the opportunity, he went straight to her. Just say to her dude, you are a lion, come on, come on, come on. He stood in front of her; gazed straight into her eyes.”Yes?”, she said.
“Well……hm……actually….I wanted to say that…..”
“What?” .Her eyes bright open.
“I have seen stars…….. I have seen moon…..”, he stammered.
“Rahul, are you all right?”.
“Yeah….well….I have seen everything, but nothing so beautiful than you. I love you”. He bent, kept his hands on her neck and kissed her soft lips; he could smell her fragrance fill his nostrils and he breathed deep. What was going to happen he didn’t know. How she will react to this was beyond his thoughts; he just kept on kissing her. Intolerable as such an act must be, she grabbed his hands and thundered them off his shoulders and slapped his face hard. And then there was an another slap. “How dare you touch me?”.”Well, I’m sorry but I don’t know to say it but I love you”.”Shut your mouth or I will break it””hey, Naina……”.”Just shut up”. He could see anger in her eyes. Jumping on her feet, she went directly out of the class. He went behind her but she went into the washroom and closed the door behind and starting shedding tears. “Naina, look I’m sorry, please don’t cry”, he said, standing outside the girl’s washroom. But there was no answer.”Sh*t”, he murmured, keeping hands on his head and could say nothing but stand there until his classmates started coming. Neither of them spoke to each other for the whole day long. He couldn’t believe now that she hated him.
He couldn’t keep hold of his tears which welling up from his broken heart. He cried the whole evening and reached home late.”Where were you Rahul?, I have been waiting for you so long”, his frustrated mother barked at him.
”I…..I…..was in the park….hm….playing”, he answered with a fearful voice. And there was a slap.
“Let’s see how much you play for the next time around”.
”Sorry”, he said and went inside. Reaching his room, he could hear his mom saying, ‘this is the result of all the love you give them’, okay, let’s tell your dad today, wait’.
Irritated, he just pulled his ears out of the voices and bumped into the bed but couldn’t close his eyes. The whole night he didn’t sleep; he just kept on changing his positions on the bed and thinking of her. His eyes were wet all night. What wrong have I done loving someone and confessing? I don’t know what love is and don’t know when I started loving her, it all happened strangely and unexpectedly. What all I know is that I love her and can do anything for her. After all, such a shameful act is always rewarded with pain, he realized. He started losing his pace with life and soon found himself covered with utter darkness. Naina too started avoiding him. She felt some kind of insecureness in Rahul’s presence and no longer found innocence in his eyes and faith in his voice. This made Rahul more dejected. He started drinking cigarettes and pictured his sorrowful emotions through and shared only with the lonely sea. In the vast stretch of the sea, he found some kind of hope that she will at least forgive him. The lungs daily puffed up smoke and started getting deteriorated.
One day as usual when he got late to home after his lonely talk with the sea, he found his father standing on the door, waiting. He looked quite angry, which made Rahul shiver coming towards him. Rahul never shared his feelings with his parents but they say it all right that mother is mother, she can exactly tell what you are thinking of or what your mind status is. He took Rahul’s hand and took him to his room. It was dark there; he switched on the lights. Taking out his hanky, he swept off the sweat on Rahul’s face and made him sit on the bed and got a glass of water for him. As Rahul finished, he began by clearing his throat, his eyes as rough as those cliffs. Rahul wasn’t looking at him but his heart was thumping like anything. Oh god, just pull me out of this room. Has he got to know or what?
“Well….”, his father began, looking at him. Rahul was lost somewhere else. I wish I hadn’t done that, oh heaven, where have you got me to?
”Rahul!” barked the angry old man.
“Ye…yes…dad”, Rahul stammered, spranged from his place.
” Your mother told me that you are not concentrating these days on your studies, where are you lost these days?”, his voice as firm like the lion with his eyes directly darting Rahul’s.
Thank god, he doesn’t know. Rahul didn’t answer; perhaps his mind was roaming somewhere else.
”Rahul, are you asleep?”.
”Oh, no. yeah. No. I mean….well, I’m all…I’m all right” Rahul stammered.
After watching him for some time, the old man said, keeping his hands on Rahul’s shoulder, “Well, my dear son. Things are never as bad as they seem sometimes. Keep the faith in you. I know you will understand. I may say nothing more than that.”
He left the room. And it started raining outside. Firstly, drops stumbling down, then big drops and then it were threads coming down. The sun was just setting off; it made a small rainbow in the sky, that same dim rainbow which he saw the day she slapped him, in his place. The scene looked beautiful. He took his face out of the window savored the drops kissing his face. He felt someone else was kissing him. It was a full moon that night. He tried to picture out a photo of her in the moon, but the moon looked as pale and as expressionless as the pumpkin. He tried again but couldn’t find any. I love her. She is my life. I can’t live without her. But I must do something. His father’s firm words flashed his mind. Things are never as bad as they seem some times. And he saw his father’s face in the moon, laughing; laughing as if he laughed for the first time ever. Rahul smiled back. He knew what he did was wrong and unfathomable. He wanted to go up to her, say sorry and forget her. But it was difficult.
When the temple bell chimed, the nightingale was singing in the soft breeze of the dawn. The sun peeking from in between the clouds, as if a mischievous child hiding from his mother. Rahul slept very deep the last day. He didn’t think anything; he just dreamed what came into his fancy. But he knew, he had dreamed well. As he got up and took a deep breath, he felt a sudden shiver run down his body. Today he smiled before going to the school. He didn’t know the reason of it.
As he was expecting, she was alone in the class when he reached, smiling. Seeing him, she turned away her eyes but he was still smiling.
“Good morning, dear” he said, his voice clear, coming towards her. She didn’t reply. He waited and kept watching her. That same fragrance filled his nostrils. It felt good.
Then after some seconds, he said,” I am sorry. I know what I did was wrong, indeed punishable. But, sometimes, love makes someone blind and I feel sorry for that. I know you won’t talk to me or just even look at me. But, I apologize. I respect you”. After a second or so. ”from within”, he said, “I hope that one day you will forget me. And I want to thank you for that”.
Then he left. She wasn’t looking at him when he spoke. In his absence, she felt something that she hadn’t for a long time. She felt she must forgive him. His words reverberated in her ears and raised the hair on her arms. She felt revealed.
The same day when Rahul opened his bag in the home, front of all the books, laid a piece of paper. It had something written on it with beautiful letters.
I FORGIVE YOU
Tears welled up in his eyes and he couldn’t see anything. He could feel her presence there, he could actually smell her. He felt her standing there, seeing him, crying. His tears fell on that paper, which made a figure. It said,