Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Fiction: The Kiss

She had made fun of me the first time we met.

The acerbic words, the colourful and often (more like always) hurtful diatribes I am now known for were missing in my repertoire back then. It was a time, when once I had found out that the female of the species Canis Familiaris is called a ‘bitch’, had found it exceedingly funny and decided to christen everything I met on my way back from school by the same name, my mom had put a little red chilly powder on my tongue and warned me that if I ever called a woman that she’d disown me.



She had made fun of me and I had remained silent.

I was four years old and she was about three years older and four fingers taller than me. She could have easily taken me.



She had made fun of me and I would have done the same if I were in her position.

You see, I still hadn’t mastered the subtle art of tying my shoelaces. I never really understood the whole ‘one little bunny goes over the bridge, hides below the hedge and is then pulled out by the evil witch’ bit. What the hell was a bunny doing on my shoes anyway?



She had made fun of me and then gone ahead and tied my shoelaces.

We had become friends instantly. And we were inseparable. We were together when I lost my first tooth, when she and I learnt to ride a bicycle, when her parents split, when she had her first period (the oddest day of my life so far), when Jurassic Park came to the theatres, when she was asked out on her first date …

And then my parents decided to move to a different city.

We were sitting on top of the water tank on my terrace (our favourite place). We had not spoken for over an hour. We just sat there looking at the houses around us, the play ground where we had learnt to climb trees together and our old school in the distance. We didn’t look at each other. We didn’t want to cry.

My mom called out from the driveway. They were ready to leave. I said I’ll be down in a few minutes.

I looked at her. And did something I had never expected to do. I kissed her, kissed her for the longest possible time. But something was amiss. She wasn’t responding. Her lips weren’t moving. I kissed her harder, pulled her closer to me. Nothing. I only withdrew when I felt her tears on my cheek. Her face was expressionless. She didn’t say anything.

My mom called again. I stood up in a daze. Said goodbye. She still didn’t say anything. I stood there for a moment and then climbed down the stairs.

On the way to the airport I did not speak to anyone. All I could think about was her. Had I done something wrong? Had I destroyed the only friendship which meant anything to me? Had I …

I was fourteen years old. And that was my first kiss.

****************

I was waiting for her on the airport. We hadn’t met or spoken to each other for almost ten years. She had found me through the internet. She was going to be in the city for a few hours.

I was moving around impatiently in the waiting area, the least bit interested in the cricket match coming on the television. A man walked up to me and inquired about the score and then went ahead and gave me a lecture on the importance of the coach and the captain. I nodded and smiled, appreciating his knowledge and depth of the game, while all the time wishing that he’d find a small unassuming puddle of muck and drown himself in it.

Somebody tugged at my sleeve and turned me around. And before I knew it I was being kissed, kissed passionately. It was her. And we were kissing. She drew me closer and we went on kissing. We stopped when we heard a loud applause. It wasn’t for us. India had won the match and people were celebrating. We laughed. The way we used to. I picked up her luggage and arm-in-arm we left the airport.

“That was how I should have kissed you all those years back” she said as we were getting in my car. “I hope I made up for it”

“More than you’d ever know” I replied and smiled.

We spent the next three hours driving around the city remembering the old days and talking about the present. She works for a top NGO. She is happily married. Plans to have a baby in the next few years.



Just now I left her back at the airport. All the guilt that had built up over the last ten years has been swept away. I have regained a good friend. And I can look back fondly and say - that was my first kiss.

16 comments:

A Hairy Snail said...

This, m'man, was a great feel-good writing.

Nice.

InAustin said...

Good stuff Anshu.

Anshumani said...

Arindam & Lingo - danke!

kate said...

Lovely post..:)

San said...

Hey, awesome... the first part reminded me of a Wonder Years episode...

Anshumani said...

Kate - Thanks :)

San (Helmet?!) - man Wonder Years has become ingrained in the thought process ... never seen anything better than that

San said...

Yup, Helmet ;).

And I agree... I'm thinking it was aired on TV at almost the perfect time for almost all of us; we literally grew up with Kevin.

Unratiosenatic said...

Hey, just heard your podcast. Pretty good! You're guaranteed at least one listener for the next one :)

Anshumani said...

Unratio - next podcast will be up in a few days :)

Voice Within said...

came here via kate's blog...
nice feel good post up there, hope to come back for more...

deep said...

its so so wonder years kinda story.nice one nonetheless :)

pearl said...

makes me feel good.
bcoz i m waiting for someone in the next few days
thanks man!!!

Unratiosenatic said...

hey, no post yet?

Sarath said...

nice story man. liked it.

Janit said...

To good.. awesome..

Abhinav Vinayakh Shankar said...

Brilliant!
I liked your choice of words which helped paint a vivid picture, like the events are happening right before my eyes.