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...And Then They Fell In Love

By Priya Velayudhan

In the pauses between sentences

And the words that almost appeared.

In her absence as much as in her presence,

There was something that seeped into his being

Something that he knew not by name

Yet felt so at home with it

Like a stray wave clasped by the sea

Or a lonely star enveloped in the moon's light

Or the familiar longing held between the pages of a worn-out book,

In the farthest corner of a dusty bookshelf.

Or the noises that assure us of life - pressure cooker whistles, hurried footsteps and even doors hopelessly banged.

Or the sweet smell of the starved earth upon the fall of the first rain of monsoon.

Or a secret glance from a special person, speaking more than any words could.

He likened her to all these and more.

The intoxicating mix of comfort and danger.

The mysterious feeling of knowing so much yet so little.

The irony of going all the way without taking a step.

And that was what Love did to him.

He waited without really waiting,

Spoke without really speaking,

Confessed without a word.

Gave himself so completely, without really giving.

She shoved that feeling under her foot.

Lovingly yet without a care.

Keeping in mind that she must come back for it.

Stealthily reclaim it and caress it when she can.

When her time was hers alone.

When the world allowed her to sit for a while.

And look at herself in the mirror,

And go looking for unanswered questions.

Or answers whose questions abandoned them.

Shoving them underfoot like she did.

Possibly waiting for a better time,

Knowing deep inside that it would never come.

And so she created another world, locked it and hid the keys.

Slyly retreating to it, if only for a mere moment.

Grateful for the freshness it lent to her sore mind.

She sought meaning in their unfinished conversations,

Warmth in the coldest corner of her heart, lit by a hopeful candle that he held.

Gently throwing light on an unknown place.

Revealing without really knowing,

Holding without even touching,

Succumbing without the slightest sliver of agony.

And in the small place that had no name,

No address or path to lead to.

They sat in two obscure corners, unaware of each other

And then they fell in love.

By Priya Velayudhan

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