I lost count of the number of fights we had. I did not want to think of the number of fights we might have in the future. Most of the times, it ended with me going over to meet him where ever he was and sometimes he came over. What were we arguing about I don’t even know. I didn’t understand then, I can’t remember now. A lot of blame game and tears and accusations, that was the crux of it all. The words were sharp. It hurt both of us. But we continued. Relentlessly. It was like those electric rainstorms, where every lightening was like the sky wielding a sword, showing off its prowess. Every thunder made you deaf. Every rain drop drenched your soul and left you cold and shivering.
Another urgent, unnecessary yet critical meeting was called for, again. I was going over to his place. He will come to pick me up from the bus station. A lot of lies were told-to friends, teachers, family, in the hostel. I felt sick. But there was no way I could back out without making me sick ten times more. So I went.
When I called him to tell that I was boarding the bus now and will reach the bus station early morning around 3 o’clock, he was drunk. Quite pathetically drunk. I was not sure if he had even heard what I said.
But, no matter how much we fought, he always ensured that I was safe. Comings and goings were done according to my convenience. And his capacity for alcohol was great. Never heard him throwing up or having that bad a hangover. So I was not really bothered. He will come to pick me up in the morning. Though I dreaded the meeting, I was glad that he would come. I was not familiar with the place. And it was not the last stop, which means I had to get down in between and wait for him at ungodly hour.
I didn’t sleep in the bus. If I didn’t sleep, I threw-up. All that emotional stress made me sick, I knew it. It made me hate travelling. It made me lose my appetite. It was all a very bad experience. After keeping the alarm of 2 30 am I tried to sleep. But I couldn’t and it was nothing new. So I stared into the darkness moving past me.
Somewhere in between I dozed off. I woke up when my alarm went off. Almost time. I called him but he did not pick up. There was still time. He must be getting ready. He’ll call me when he sees the miss call. I dropped him a message as well saying that bus was on time and he can come directly to the drop point to pick me up.
I got down at my destination at around 3 15 am. But it was pitch black. Only light coming from the lonely night vehicles passing by. Where is he? Why hasn’t he reached? I could feel the beginnings of a panic attack in me and I had no idea what to do. I had only his phone number and not any of his friends.
I tried calling him again. A full ring and still no response. I couldn’t stand here on the road and wait. It was dark. It was cold. It was dangerous. I don’t know what to do. I walked cautiously along the road trying to find a safe place, where I could wait for him. All the time calling him. Again and Again.
I saw two people coming. But was scared. They could be anybody. Thiefs, thugs,rapists, or maybe a helpful souls too. What should I do? What should I do? I didn’t want to take risks, so turned into an alley on my left and disappeared from their sight.
Its 3 45am. Still he didn’t pick the call. What now? I need to do something. I can’t stand on the road like this. I walked a little further. A saw a light still more ahead. It was from a chapel. I half ran, half walked into the chapel. Safe haven. I could wait for him here.
It was small church and the door was closed. Still. I didn’t think I’d be robbed or attacked in the God’s house. I sat on the steps on the side of the entrance, cowering and shivering behind the small shrubs and plants. No use of waiting. I called him again. Still no response. I was angry. Then I was furious. I was enraged. That was all I had to keep me warm.
I didn’t even try to sleep. Wide awake I waited for his call. Tried calling him. The battery in my phone about to die. Time was now 4 15. I will have to wait at least till 6, for light to properly came out.
I had already started fighting and arguing with him in my mind. It gave me strength and courage to brave the cold and dark night.
Blink. My phone’s battery is dying…dying…dead. Nowhere to go. No one I knew. In a strange place, at a stranger time.
Dawn came. The chapel opened. I rushed inside and burst into tears. I had only so much strength. I was terrified. People came to attend the early morning mass. I was a bit relaxed. I talked to the priest for directions. I learned the place he was staying was still more far. No regular buses. Even if I did catch a bus, I didn’t know the exact location still. I searched for a pay phone. I called him again. It was 7 30am. Sure, now at least he should be awake. The call connected and got disconnected.
My return bus was for the next day. I searched for my charger of the phone. I went back to my safe haven and the kind priest helped me more. He gave me food. He gave me water. Never in my life before did I feel so orphan and so alone. What a fool I had become. Easily manipulated and discarded.
A sane voice in my head told me, maybe something happened to him. Maybe he is not well. Met with an accident. I was beyond any sort of rational thinking. I needed to plan. I needed to get back. All those lies I had to tell to come here, I felt guilty and burdened. I felt I was cheating my family, brutally. I felt cheated.
I didn’t want to cry. I will not cry. At least till I reach back home. It was 10 o clock. I had money. Before leaving, I called to his number again. Still. Dead end.
So I picked up my bag and picked my broken heart and self. I decided not to wait for the bus. I went to the railway station and left. It was going to be a long journey. But I needed the time to think. There was no way to fix things now. I will, of course, give him the chance to state his case. If it is even worth half the trouble, I will try again and try harder. But if he can’t give a valid reason, he is as good as dead to me.
24 hours later, after reaching home and sayings some more lies about my sudden return and condition and eating a huge meal and after a small nap; I got a call back from him.
I saw that you had called.
Yes, I called many times. Anything you would like to say now?
Ehh actually, I was drunk…
And, I was little more than drunk…
And I was driving around with some friends. And I passed out in the car. These guys made that driving around a cross-state road trip.
Ehh I am still out, havent reached yet.
Good. Enjoy. Anything else you would like to say?
(A long pause) Sorry.
Hmmm… Have a good time. It’s not like you have anyone waiting for you back here right? And yeah… remember this, don’t bother to call me again. Ever.
Everything did not end here, of course. But a lot of things did… It’s only a matter of time.