Casual distance

She walked amongst the million songs blaring out of the art cars, trying to search for that particular note on the guitar that she very well knew would belong to him. She couldn’t call out, the music was too loud. Electronic and death metal merged into each other to create a potpourri of macabre music. Her face turned a lighter shade of her normal color as she thought about the possibility of never finding him amongst the crowd. She smiled at the others dancing without a care in the world. But she cared about finding her boy. It was her last day here and she found out through a fellow festival friend that he was also present. So she left to find him. She left her tent, her belongings and walked in the desert to look for him. The lights and people surrounding her gulped her into the madness and spat her out to move to newer people.
While she walked around, she thought of the moment that transpired across the universe that brought her where she was. She thought of herself 3 days ago, when she was at her beloved bookshop, with a cup of coffee trying to make it to work when out of nowhere she bumped into him. He, who she had not seen for the last 6 years after they parted ways to search for a better life. She loved him with everything she had and it was never enough. But that day, things felt different. It felt like the universe conspired to bring them into that particular crossing for them to bump into each other. He had changed, he had grown a beard, looked shabbier than the dapper gentleman she was in love with. She noticed his eyes in the time she had while she looked at him. They were sad eyes. The glint of happiness that always shone through his eyes were now gone. The seemed to be in search of something in her, that she wasn’t willing to part with.
“Hi” he said quietly
“Hello, how have you been?”
“Nothing at all, I lost my job so now I freelance as a graphic designer to earn some cash”. He never stopped looking at her whereas she kept fumbling away and looking at the people walking by.
“Oh, I’m sorry about that. I was just heading off to work. Shall we meet in the evening, say 5pm, this same spot? I’m sorry but I’m getting late right now.” she questioned unknowingly fearing his answer.
“Yes, I will come here and see you”. And they said goodbye.
She kept thinking about the time when they met again in the evening and how awkward she felt around him. The sense of security and belonging she felt with him ceased existing but she managed to keep her cool and smiled at him. They spent the entire evening laughing and talking about the things they use to joke with. They sat next to each other on the river bank and kept quite listening to the silent flow of the water. Looking at the sky, both of them noticed the shining stars in the clear, moonlit sky.
He leaned towards her, taking in the smell of her long, shiny hair and it gave him the rush of happiness that he hadn’t felt for many years. He realized she still used the same shampoo.
“Hey” he whispered into her ear.
She turned towards him and turned a deep crimson shade. She closed her eyes.
He leaned in closer and smelt her. He didn’t touch her lips but just felt her breathe her long, deep breaths. He knew exactly what he had missed for the past 6 years and it made him sad. It made him sad that he fought with her in the past and made her sad, made her cry and had not been supportive of her. He pulled back leaving her breathing the night air and the cold, sad gaze of the man she once loved.
“I thought you were going to kiss me”
“I was, but then I realized that I loved you and maybe I still do. I have been very sad since I lost you and nothing that I do in my life is ever right anymore. You were everything to me and I lost you fearing the responsibilities I was supposed to take as a man. I was glad you went away otherwise I would have made you sad and unhappy. I’m so sorry for everything. I’m not here to kiss you or even make love to you, but just to see your amazing face, smell you and be around you. I have been happier in these couple of hours I’ve spent talking to you, than the years I’ve gone without you”, he held her hands while he told her this.
“You know, I love you too. I have missed you so much. But I went on with my life, thinking that you were happy without me in your life and that just gave me strength to go on. To know that you’re happy, even if it’s a lie, I managed to base my laughs and happy memories on this small unknown fact. But I didn’t know you were not happy. I’m sorry we went away and destroyed our baby”
“There’s a music festival happening 300 miles from here and I heard it’s amazing. Do you think you can get off work and make it there, with me, this weekend? We can just go as friends and I hope your love for good music is still present. Only for a day, do you want to come?” he asked her while she laid her head on his shoulders. It was this amazing talent of his to flip through conversations that she sometimes didn’t like.
“Yes, I think it would be fun”
The next day, she tried calling him and he never picked up nor did he reply. The next 2 days were the same. She kept thinking if she should go to the festival or not and it kept making her jittery. Finally she decided that she would make it there, with or without him.
The moment she reached, she was hit with a wave of loud music blaring from every corner of the field. She fell in love instantly and knew that she was going to have fun. She looked around and there were colors all around, people with funny hats and no pants, playing with light sabers. She realized that even after travelling the world and living in the best hotels, nothing could beat staying in a tent and eating communal dinner. While she walked among the various tents and structures that the people had made, she heard a very familiar song. She remembered this as the song that he had played for her when she was in the hospital, critical from her accident. He stayed with her every night and read her stories, played her songs and fed her the food he cooked for her. She looked around everywhere for the song she just heard. And as soon as it started, it ended. The song left her hanging on for more. She screamed his name, and got no reply. She asked people if they knew where his tent was. No one knew and that scared her. That’s when she decided to take a walk. She saw the different people who had come there and enjoyed the music and didn’t bother about the world.
“This song is dedicated to the girl I have loved all my life. She made my life beautiful and worth living. And it is only because of her, that I managed to get up on stage today. So here it is” someone said over one of the bigger sound sets on the stage. She didn’t bother looking back and kept walking on to search for the man she loved.
Then she heard it. The same song. This time it was all over the festival, not just the stream of music from an art car. She realized it was him on the stage playing her their song. She didn’t believe her eyes and almost fell down from the shock. But he saw her and he smiled at her, gesturing at her to come up on stage. In front of thousands of people, she fell in love with him again. Right at that moment, it was only the two of them back to the day when he played her this song for the first time. The world didn’t matter to either of them and they were happy. She blushed like a teenage girl, who was asked out the first time and got up on stage. The whole time that he played for her, he made her sit on his lap. She kissed his cheek and he bit her ear.
They were in love and finally saw how happy they made each other. After the show they sat in his car and talked. They talked about the billions of seconds they missed out with each other, the time they lost to staying far away and not knowing what the other felt.
“I’m going to take you away, and it’s going to happen right now” he said, looking her straight in the eyes.
She felt like her heart had come all the way into her mouth and tasted the dryness surrounding her lips. “Drive. Now!” she said slowly.
And they sped away into the moonlit distance. Not knowing where they will start from, what they would do, or how they would manage. But they left the world to make their own world.


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