Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fiction: The Crescent Moon

The moon is a crescent today with a halo around it. Larger than I have ever seen it before, it hangs just between two buildings. I want to call you, to tell you how it’s like sitting here on the familiar garden swing, gazing at the moon, the smell of jasmine pervading my senses. We had sat together on that bench nearby so often. Often you had stood by while I took my turn on the swing. We had spent so many beautiful summer evenings here, talking till late in the night, wondering at how starlight or moonlight touched the leaves to make them gleam, how the night turned the small park in our colony into a magical land.

It is just such a magical night today. Or it would have been, if you were here.

I reach into my pocket for my phone but draw my hand away without taking it out. You are on your honeymoon, and I shouldn’t disturb you. You did tell me I could call any time, but I am not sure Saakshi would like it. I like you too much to want to cause any disturbance in your domestic life.

I like you too much.

I wonder sometimes, if I should have spoken. If things would have been different if I had spoken instead of Saakshi.

After all, you and I were best friends. You used to say you love me more than anyone else in the world. Even after you started going out with Saakshi. Do you remember, that day at the mall when Saakshi had asked you to get her chocolates? When you returned, you pushed the box towards me, asking me to take my pick first. I did not dare look at Saakshi then. I wanted to refuse, but that would only prolong the awkwardness, so I hurriedly picked one and gave the box to her. But later, I looked back on that moment with a fierce triumph that you had chosen me over her.

But you didn’t choose me over her, did you? You choose her. You said you loved me best. You said I understand you in a way that she never could. You came to me when you fought with her. You cried on my shoulder in pain that day, anguished at the way she had treated you. You even came to me when you didn’t get the promotion you had expected, instead of going to her, and you did not even answer her calls while she was frantic with worry.

You chose to marry her, not me. Even though you said I was the smartest person you knew. Even though you said I was beautiful. Even though you hugged me, right before leaving for your honeymoon, as if you would never let me go.

You did let me go. And you went off with your wife.

You may not have known how I felt. But you did choose to marry her.

I get up from the swing and turn my back to the moon to walk back to my house. For the first time in months, I walk past your building without looking up at the flat where you used to live. Tomorrow I’ll walk into the office where we worked together and not glance at what used to be your desk as I walk by. A girl sits there now, a very nice girl called Shahnaz – we have coffee together sometimes. From now on that is Shahnaz’s desk, not yours.

Before stepping inside my building, I turn to take one more look at the moon that has shown me the light today.


Iya said...

all i want to say is, thank god i fell in love with my best friend and he with me. we are together, thank god we spoke..

Nitu Saksena said...

hmm..I have no words..

Pallavi Sharma said...

It's lovely in its simplicity :)

Unmana said...

Iya: Glad you liked it enough to relate to it.

Nits: That bad?!

Pallu: Thanks!

dipali said...

Very poignant.

Chicu said...

lovely, unmana. I love the way you bring out the flavour of the moonlit night and of their story through a taut soliloquy.

Unmana said...

Thank you, all!

*takes a bow*

Nitu Saksena said...

No baby its too good for my vocab..

Anonymous said...

"From now on that is Shahnaz’s desk, not yours.

Before stepping inside my building, I turn to take one more look at the moon that has shown me the light today." ............. Lovely!

Unmana said...

Anonymous: Thanks. I must say I love your username!