Joined: 14 September 2006
"Aaj raath ko main Pari ko, Dadi se milane jaa raha hoon. Aajse tum…aazad ho. Tum aapni yeh naukri, chodke jaa sakti ho."
She stood speechless, unable to move. He had said those words so simply, so easily – without hesitation. He had said those words and then walked away. With every step he took her heart shattered. Just like that, it was over. No explanation, no benefit of the doubt – nothing. It was just…over.
She fell to the ground as scenes from last night and this morning flashed before her eyes. Him almost confessing that she'd been the girl to make a place for herself in his heart, him sleeping peacefully on her bed while her heart was in the middle of a raging storm, the remnants of color where her lips had touched his scruffy skin, the admission that he didn't remember anything that happened the night before, the freeing her from the hold he had on her…the walking away.
She should have been relieved when he said he was too drunk to remember what happened the previous night. He'd been too drunk to remember what he'd said or what he'd done. He'd been too drunk to remember the most intense, gut wrenching moment of her life. He'd been too drunk to look past her fake anger and her lifeless excuses to see what was really going on in her eyes. He'd been too drunk to see that as the words left her mouth, she died a thousand deaths because of the look on his face. No, he didn't remember.
And now, just like that it was all over. The months of comfortable silence, the moments of secret knowing, the times of support, the times of laughter, the times of worry, the times of care – and dare she say, the times of love. They were all gone – vanishing into thin air, like they'd never existed. He had brushed her aside like she didn't even matter. She had fulfilled her duty, she was of no use now.
Just like all the other men in her life, she'd served her purpose so they'd moved on. Just like her Dar-ji, Brij veer-ji, Dev, even her Bauji. Like a cigarette, which had given all it could give, they'd wrung her under their feet. Dare she compare Maan Singh Khurana to such atrocities? Dare she group him, her savior, with the monsters that betrayed her? Dare she compare the man who'd risked his life for hers, to those that all but pushed her off the cliff? Dare she compare the man that stood up for her self respect, to those that never thought she deserved any? Dare she?
No, of course she didn't dare. But she also didn't dare to stay behind to find the answer. She knew him – she knew him better than she'd like to admit. She saw his eyes when he said he didn't remember. For a moment, just a quick moment, his shield failed him and she's seen past his lie. For a moment, just a quick moment, his shield failed him and she'd seen into his heart. For a moment, just a quick moment, his shield had failed him and she'd seen his pain. For a moment, just a quick moment.
No, she was definitely not strong enough to stay back and discover the answers that she already knew in her heart. She knew that what she was about to do would kill her and it would destroy him. But it had to be done. Better to suffer a little pain now, than to suffer a world of heart ache when her past resurfaced. Better to suffer a little pain now, than to suffer through rage when her 'betrayal' was revealed. Better now, than later.
She looked at the picture of him smiling again. Tears filled her eyes but she couldn't help but smile. He'd unwillingly become her guardian angel. Saving her from pain and from suffering. Saving her from even herself. Protecting her and her honor from the harsh, unforgiving world
When she had given up on love, when she'd given up on all that was good, he rode into her life like a knight in shining armor. He came into her life to show her that all was not over. He showed her that life was beautiful, that it was ok to smile, that it was ok to be yourself. He'd taught her to stand up for herself, to not fear the world.
She'd bleed within an inch of her life when Dev had left her stranded in that airport. It was like someone had cut a hole in her heart so her blood just spilled out. But then, he'd come along – Mr. Maan Singh Khurana – and healed that hole. He'd put her back together without even trying.
With one last look at the picture she walked out, praying that one day he would smile like that again. Praying that he got the happiness that he deserved. Praying that he would forget that she'd ever come into his life. She didn't pray that she have the strength to do the same, because she knew she'd already lost that battle.
As she packed her bags, she felt like she was packing her memories away. Dinner at the dhaba here, getting locked in the conference room there. Dancing in the rain here, tending to his burns there. Him rescuing her at the party here, him saving her life there. Him throwing her out of the out house here, him moving out for her there. Him putting on her jhumka here, him taking of Dadi's jewelry there. Him hurting her here, him caressing her there. Him smiling at her here, him looking at her there. Him standing up for her here, him giving her a hard time there. Him secretly loving her – that she packed that way in her heart.
It was time for her to go. Try as she might, she couldn't leave before seeing him. She just couldn't leave before seeing him one last time. One last time to see the stubble on his face, one last time to feel his presence, one last time to be with him. One last time – just one last time.
She walked into the dark room quietly. The only bit of light coming from a lamp by the desk. It was there that she saw him, sprawled out in the chair eyes closed. As she approached, the steadiness in his breathing told her he was sleeping. She stood silently, looking at him. Just the thought of knowing that this incredible man would no longer be part of her life was killing her. Just the thought of living the rest of her life without him by her side was scaring her. The thought of not looking into his eyes again and knowing that he cares, the thought of never again being in his arms knowing that everything would be alright. Just the thought…Just the thought…
He suddenly flinched and instantly she held her breath, afraid that he'd woken up. Afraid that if he looked at her the way he did – like he knew her body, mind and soul – then she'd never be able to leave. She'd never be able to make this sacrifice for him. She thanked God when he didn't awaken.
It was then that the light made something glisten. What she saw stunned her – it was the taveez. He held it in his hand. Her mind drifted to the moment in the carnival when the soothsayer had told her to give this to the man that would protect her all her life. Her mind drifted to the moment when she'd first ran into his strong arms. The soothsayer had been right. Like destiny and fate, the taveez had found its way to its rightful owner.
"Main jaa rahi hoon Sir," she whispered. "Pehli baar aapne mujhse kuch maanga hai, toh main kaise aapko woh naa doon?"
Uncertainly, she reached out and touched his arm.
"Main jaa rahi hoon, aur aapne saath woh saare gham leke jaa rahi hoon joh khabi aapa tha hi nahin. Aapni asoon, aapni kismat aur aapna daard leke jaa rahi hoon. Woh saare yaadein leke jaa rahi hoon joh aapne mujhe diya hai. Woh umid, woh khudaari, woh swabhimaan leke jaa rahi hoon, joh aapne mujhme jagaya hai. Woh pyaar joh aapne mere dil mein jagaya, woh roshni joh aapne meri zindagi mein bhara…woh bhi lekar jaa rahi hoon" she said.
She took a moment and smiled down at him.
"Jaate jaate, kuch aapke paas chodkar bhi jaa rahi hoon," she said as tears stung her eyes. "Mera dil, meri jaan, meri aatma, meri kushiyaan, meri aashayein…saab aapke paas chodkar jaa rahi hoon."
Her tears could hold no more as they spilled over. As beautiful as love could be, it could also be paralyzing painful. She knew she'd never be the same person again. She was leaving a big piece of herself behind with him.
She then leaned in – hesitantly, shyly. She kissed his forehead gently, like a feather falling.
"Good bye Sir," she said as her voice cracked and her emotions refused to cooperate.
Then, cautiously yet deliberately, she took the taveez out of his hand. Carefully, she pulled it free from the hand that had been its home.
"Aapne saath, aapni saari mushkilein, aapni saari taqleef leke jaa rahi hoon," she said.
The walked towards the door, but stopped just short of it. She looked at the taveez in her hand.
"Magar...aapne aapko…aapne aapko main aapke paas chodkar jaa rahi hoon."
She held the taveez close to her heart as the tears came out with a new fury.
She looked back at him one last time before stepping out. She looked back at him one last time before walking away from the man she loved. Once last time before she would once again be all alone.
Then – then she walked away. Her mind, her body, her soul and her heart all bleeding. As she walked, she prayed that he'd never follow this trail of blood back to her. Then – just like that – she was bleeding in love………………………again.
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