Dusk had departed when we arrived at the resort high up the hills.
The smooth jazz number played in the lobby seemed to be the only soothing thing about the day. It was the first night of our honeymoon, but Murphy’s law was at play and things went haywire, at least those that could go wrong – delayed by the flight, misdirected by the locals, only to be fleeced by the cab driver in the end. However, I was not going to let trivialities jeopardize the first vacation with my wife.
It was an arranged marriage and it helped. I did not know how she would respond to these issues, neither did she understand my ways of handling affairs. She remained close, silent but close. We, like all the others, had worked on understanding each others individuality after our engagement. We liked each other but we were yet to fall in love.
We decided to freshen up and spend some time together in the balcony. The excruciating rituals of marriage had granted us little time to have a decent conversation.We were simply glad that the day had passed.
The room had a pleasant view, facing the river, gurgling downhill. The luster of the full moon reflected meekly on the stream. I placed the plastic chairs together in the balcony and grabbed the thick blanket from the room. She switched off the lights and stepped out in a white shirt and pyjama.
You wear shirts to sleep?
‘I like them, they are so soft and comfortable. I borrowed all my brothers old shirts.
Well, I am not going to share mine so easily.‘
‘Lets just see that!’, she smiled.
We relished the silence, for neither of us wanted to break the tranquility. We sat gazing at the moon, soaking in the cool mountain breeze.
Hours passed as we shared our travel stories, of mountains, of beaches, of temples and of musuems. We spoke of our innocent school days, our college exploits and our workplace romances. I lamented about my lost love stories and invariably asked her about her sad ones.
A moment of silence transpired.I looked at her cautiously as she continued staring at the moon, a pang of guilt rising inside me for discomforting her.
‘I had a friend. I trusted him with my life. Childhood buddies everyone called us. Things changed after he returned from college one summer’.
Did you like him?
‘Yes, I did always. My teenage dreams always included him. I would have given everything to be with him.’
Did he have someone else then? Is that the reason?
‘He did. I never knew…until I had given him everything.I felt betrayed. I felt used. I raged and cried, tearing up his letters and burning away every single memory of him.’
I held her hand. She looked up, teary eyed.
I am sorry. I asked you about all this.
A faint smile grew on her face as she laid her head on my shoulder.
‘It is okay. You need to know. You are my only hope now.’
I cupped her face in my palm, relishing the serene warmth of her skin.
Can I? I asked. She nodded with a bright smile and moist eyes.
It was one of the most beautiful moments of our life together.
Our first kiss.