By the time I escort her to her little VW Bug, the hotel garage is deserted save for a few cars  strewn here and there. I am overwhelmed with emotions and the desire so deep and fervent that I don’t want to let her go. We stand by her car and hold each other close. There are kisses and then she gently peels herself  away.

‘My father will kill me.’ Those words emerge slowly. Somehow she has managed to utter an entire English sentence.

I pull her to me one more time. My arms resting on her shoulders, I scoop her face into my hands. I don’t want to let her go. ‘This is a crazy question to ask, but would  you be my girlfriend?’ It just rolls out of my mouth.

Startled, she steps back. Her eyes fixed on mine, I hear her utter, ever so softly: ‘Si.’

●●●

Next morning she picks me  up and brings me to Benito Juarez International Airport. We have coffee up in the terrace café. We are both tired, sleepy even. We don’t say much but hold hands across the table. My hand sandwiched between hers.

‘I’ll miss you.’ She says.

‘I’ll miss you.’ I repeat.

‘I’ll wait for  you. And…’ she whispers something that I don’t quite grasp at first but then understand as,  ‘And be good!’

‘I am always good!’ I answer playfully!

‘Be good.’ She repeats. ‘Or…’ And I see her slide the blade of her hand across her neck.

‘Ouch!’

I let out a nervous laugh.  I could almost feel the sharp knife slashing through my throat and see the blood dripping.  And think: she is a Latin Lover alright.  But no importa. I haven’t felt this good and this close to anyone in a long time.   I reach across the table and put my other hand on the top of our already layered hands, like in a Pyramid.

They announce my flight. We shuffle and I sling my carry on bag over my shoulder.  As we walk down the stairs, we stop on the landing. I put down my carry-on and take her in my arms. ‘But the people!’ Her mild protest is lost in our sealed lips. And we continue our descent. She takes my hand in hers, gives it a slight squeeze and I hear her say, ‘I feel triste.’  The sadness has dawned upon me as well. We pause at the bottom of the stairs, and then I hurry through to the immigration desk. When I look back, she is gone. I imagine  her blurry eyes. I want to run back.

© Haresh Shah 2013

Illustration: Jordan Rutherford

 

Next Friday, February 15, 2013

IN THE NAME OF LOVE

It’s easy to fall in love. But it takes some doing to sustain a relationship.  Most of the time it’s only little things that make big differences.  To wrap up my Valentine Month, I tell the story of a friend who chooses to sustain his love with his wife than to hold on to something that was emotionally so dear and near to him.

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