Love in the Time of Distances

It had been a week at his new job, the one he bagged straight out of college.

“How’s office been treating you?” She asked, sleepily. Time zone differences sure take their toll.

“It’s all great…arrgh”

“What happened?”

“Oh, nothing. It’s just that the coffee here is disgusting” He replied, still trying to spit it out.

Two thousand kilometres away, only half awake, she made a mental note to get a flask to pack coffee with him to take to office.

Two thousand kilometres away, he saw her faraway, pondering and deeply concerned expression and smiled. Knowing exactly what she was thinking, he lulled her to sleep.

Boy, does distance really come in between love?

I guess not.

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The Bet

“Oh, you like me now! Give it a few months and you’d be running for the hills”, she said wearily – hiding the pain of having people fall out of love with her before.

“Oh, you shall see, I’m a sticky person,” he responded with the confidence and wisdom of one who’d waited all his life to love the right person and knew what he wanted.

“You’re saying this because we’re still in the honeymoon period of our relationship. Talk to me in 2 months!” She whined and stomped out.

Two months later.

“So you were saying, honey?” He winked.

Letting out an exasperated sigh, she said,”It’s not my fault we’re undergoing an unexpectedly long honeymoon period. Something’s wrong with you! But you wait, you just wait. You’ll see I’m right!”

He smiled indulgently, having given up on convincing her of their longevity, and retorted,”Fine, I’ll put a reminder alarm on my phone for exactly six months from now. We’ll see who wins, alright?”

With a heavy heart, she agreed. No one had ever bothered to stick around, why would he be any different. It was unfortunate, though, that she’d fallen irrevocably in love with him. It’ll hurt that much more when he leaves. She’d better start preparing herself for when the axe falls.

One morning, while he got her coffee and pancakes in bed (yes, he pampered her silly), she heard a beeping sound go off. “Why’s your alarm ringing now? You’re already up?”

Furrowing his brow in confusion, he picked up his phone to check. Within seconds, he was howling with laughter, rolling on the bed. It was only when she glared at him with her most angry expression, which he secretly thought made her look as cute as a button, did he get around to showing her his phone. The alarm read – “Tell her she’s wrong!”

She cracked up instantly too. Both falling in each other’s arms, giggling, laughing, snuggling, oblivious to the world outside.

When he teased her for being wrong for once, she said in a huff,”I still maintain something’s wrong with you! I just need to find out what it is!”

Suddenly getting serious, he looked her straight in the eyes, waiting for her to stop laughing and look back at him.

“Marry me, will you?” He said with such intensity that her jaw dropped.

She looked at him, silent, dazed and confused.

“Marry me?” He repeated.

She blushed. Giggled. Plunged under the covers to hide.

In a moment, she emerged, laughing and nodding her head. It took her a few more minutes to find her voice to say “Yes! Of course, yes!”

She was choking, her voice overwhelmed with emotions.

He was swift to place a ring on her finger lest she got inundated with doubts again. Not about marrying him. About losing him and having to live without him.

“You’re everything to me” He said, sealing the deal.

“Well, you’re saying that now. Give it some time and you’d be fed up of my crazy ass.”

“So shall I put the reminder for ten years later, honey?” He asked, with a serious face.

“Oh, don’t you dare!” She screamed and threw a pillow at him.

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Conversation Starters

Always a pessimist is what he claimed himself to be. She didn’t know him too well by then (they had just started chatting on Twitter!). Yet, she decided she’d be damned if she let anything bring him down. Chirpily, she offered her services asking him to call on her whenever he was sad. She’d gladly knock some optimism into him and also some sense while she was at it. She was, after all, a self professed hopeless optimist. He laughed the notion off by saying many a good men had tried to drill their way inside his head and failed splendidly. Well, I’ll perform a lobotomy then, she announced. Not one to give up. Never one to give up.

Months later, scrolling through her messages, she came upon this conversation. Smiling, she sent him a text saying “Looks like I succeeded wink“.

He walked into the room with his phone in his hand. His smile told her the message had been received as he bent forward and kissed his wife.

Oddly enough, she’s the one prone to anxiety, panic attacks, depression and hopelessness, always second guessing and doubting herself as well as the future, while he’s the one who holds her together with infinite patience and endless calm. Switching roles from their first conversation, they work together beautifully.

Funny how things turn out.

Picture Credits: Shivani Gupta

Consciousness

You make me conscious.

Not the nervous kind. The aware sort. Around you, I’m more conscious of myself. Not the doubting or second guessing kind. The feeling alive sort.

You make me notice how your eyes light up with the curve of my smile. How you adore every single movement of mine. How you hang on to every word that rolls off my tongue. How you exude warmth whenever I feel cold.

You make me realise I am beautiful. To you.

In Every Passing Thought – Love in a long distance relationship

While you boarded your flight tonight, I lay in my bed listening to two songs on loop. “Leaving on a Jet plane” and “Hey there, Delilah”. One about not wanting to leave your loved one but still having to go. The other on longing for your love who’s in a different place than you. The music spoke to me just as the lyrics sang to me. I’ve pondered over a billion thoughts, lost in an enchanting symphony. Not one of those thoughts failed to include you. Your essence permeated into each one, like a living, breathing corporal presence covering me in a blanket of warmth.

Seems unreal. Seems surreal. You’re a thousand miles away and, yet, you’re here. I can’t speak with you for an entire day but you still whisper in my ears every other second.

So I’m lying here in my bed again. Imagining all our dreams coming true. You know, about finally being together? In the same city, country and continent? About setting up our place together. You say you’d do all the work will I can sit comfortably and rattle off instructions. Sweet! I think about going grocery shopping with you. I think about giving lists to you while you forget to get half the stuff and work the charm of a sheepish grin on getting caught.

I wipe a tear away as I smile and recall our happy place. The one you created with words and love to bring me out of my worst nightmares. A cottage near a pond. A toddler learning to ride a bike. A girl helping her mother down the stairs. A baby on the way. A man taking in the sight with a happy sigh. A walk, hand in hand, to watch a setting sun. It sounds silly and unrealistic to a rational mind. It is not supposed to be real though. It’s supposed to keep alive within us the idea of a home, the feeling of belongingness, the assurance of a future and the love of a lifetime. It is meant to be idealistic. It works.

I can see the hours go by. Each agonizingly long and painfully slow. Symbolic of the life we’re living.

You see, you’re on a flight, and time for me has halted. I’m on pause, darling, till you hit play again.

Meanwhile, I’ll dream of having a cup of coffee with you as John Denver’s dulcet tones carry on …“Ev’ry place I go, I’ll think of you, Ev’ry song I sing, I’ll sing for you, When I come back, I’ll bring your wedding ring. So kiss me and smile for me. Tell me that you’ll wait for me. Hold me like you’ll never let me go.”

What are your thoughts on long distance relationships? Or relationships in general? Do you think they’re worth all the trouble we put ourselves through? Let me know in the comments section down below!

Love,

Varnika

Pulchritudinous

Sitting in his empty courtyard watching the rain fall all around him, he closed his eyes and allowed the pitter pattering of raindrops to take him back to the last time he had ever seen her.

It had been a day much like today. Nature had been haughtily showcasing her beauty in all its glory. The rain gods were also in tough competition. And the wind, oh, it couldn’t have been left behind and kept sending pleasant gusts all day.

Yet, there had been a melancholic undertone to the pulchritude that day. He could sense that every element of nature was trying to soothe him, calm him down, embalm him before the felling of a grievous blow.

Nothing could have prepared him for her departure though. It knocked the very wind out of him. It would have been one thing if he’d seen some signs of this impending doom, if he’d been able to anticipate it. Doom, yes, because that moment had been the death of him. From then on, he merely existed instead of living. Awaiting the end of his corporal self.

He did realise later, in his forced solitude, where his fault had lain. It had been too little too late. When he had finally mustered the courage to go to her, apologize and convince her to come back, even if he had to go down on his knees and beg, he found out that she was dying. She had been fading away for quite some time, not that he’d ever had the time to notice. What tore him apart was that she was so far gone she couldn’t even recognise him when he said sorry. There was no twinkle in her, no warmth in her smile. It was as if she was being forced to meet a stranger and had to be gracious about it. It wasn’t her. She had always been vibrant. He could not reconcile this frail image of her with the woman he had known and loved, no matter how hard he tried.

He never got his forgiveness. He never got his will to live back again.

Now, even though years have passed, every time there’s a day with a weather like today, he looks back to the last time he had been able to lay eyes on her, the real her. She had looked as resplendent as the day they’d met.

If only he’d have given her happiness some thought and understood her better. If only he could have mended his ways earlier. If only he could have stopped her from leaving. If only he had not forgotten the beauty in her over the years. If only…

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From Fear to Freedom

Her biggest fear wasn’t of being forgotten. It was of becoming irrelevant. She had strived her entire life to not just be at the top of her game, but to be ahead of everyone else as well. She did it. She achieved the pinnacle of success in her chosen field. Yet, instead of resting on her laurels, instead of sitting back and relaxing, she was consumed with perpetual worry.
What if everything that she’d done was not enough? What if all the sacrifices she’d made as life passed her by, were all for nought? She understood and accepted that even great people, who had lived inspiring lives, were forgotten and eventually relegated to some distant corner of public memory. She even realised that public memory in itself was extremely short lived. Yet, being dead and forgotten was one thing, and being very much alive but rendered insignificant was a haunting though to her.
She recalled the meeting that had taken place today. Her entire Board of Directors had unanimously suggested that she step down from her position and let young blood carry forward her legacy.
Young blood, she scoffed, like she was old. Wasn’t she hailed for her knack of always homing in on the precise pulse of the situation. Isn’t that why she was the best? She always knew what people wanted, needed and dersief and she gave them just that. Can she still do it though? What if she faltered? What if she made an error and people blamed it on her arrogance? What if they pitied her for not quitting while she was still ahead like some lucked out gambler?
No, she decided. She will not let that happen. It was not the time to step back, but the time to invest more of herself in all her ventures, to exert more in getting every decision right, to be careful and precise.
She stood up, regal and tall, looking out of the glass windows providing her an unparalleled view of the entire city. She looked over it as if it were her domain. Her face set firm in decision as she thought back to the time when she’d first forayed into her field of work. She knew she still had within her the same zeal that drove her then. Now, she had another mountain to climb. Irrelevancy, she thought, was a worthy nemesis. It shall be fun to defeat all its challenges just like she’d done with every other trial that life had thrown her way.
She will retire when hell freezes over.

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A Heart of Stone

In his frantic attempts to find his way back to the caravan, he came across a sight that held his gaze. It looked like a formerly over trodden path which had, at some point in time, been overrun by weeds. Inviting, nonetheless. He followed the meandering path, curious about where it led while still trying to grasp how it had just suddenly appeared in front of him out of thin air even though he was quite sure he’d crossed that exact point atleast half a dozen times before since he’d been walking around in circles, completely lost.

Curiosity killed the cat, he kept reminding himself but his feet kept moving forward. It’s getting late and dark, it’s time to turn back and find shelter, not to go on a wild goose chase, he chastised himself. Yet, he could not bring himself to stray from that path.

After what felt like a mile of walking, the path took a sharp turn. As he had been walking in a daze, he could not stop before getting hit by several low, criss-crossing branches right in the middle of his face. He now saw that the path was fenced in from both sides by dense trees. Gingerly, he moved on ahead, careful to step over roots that were running through the ground any which way.

Just as suddenly as he had come across the path, he now came across a castle. A castle in ruins. A castle that had been taken over by the elements of nature. One that had been claimed by wild flowers, shrubs, bushes, climbers and creepers. The rains, however, had given tough competition to the foliage by wearing down the roofs, walls and pillars till only a few halls and rooms could even be made out anymore. Yet, he could see that the castle still stood tall. It still had about it an aura of old, like a proud king refusing to bend the knee.

As if on cue, there was a loud clap of thunder, lending further mystery. He looked up and saw grey clouds closing in. Just as he abandoned all thoughts of further exploration in the face of worsening weather, it started to pour. He was left with no option but to seek refuge somewhere inside the castle itself. He figured there would be atleast one room with a roof on top. Defeated and cursing the moment he first saw the path, he stepped a begrudging foot inside.

As soon as his other foot crossed the threshold, he felt something come alive. It felt like a surge of power or energy moving through the surroundings. He tried to shake off that feeling but there was no denying the fact that the castle was now breathing all around him.

Confused, angry, and a little scared, he started looking for a dry enough room to spend the night in. With every step, however, he was overcome with the feeling that he was meant to be here. Something brought him to this place. He had to have some connection to this castle. With his face set in determination, he decided to find out what it was.

Methodically, he went through every room, every hallway, every gallery of the place, looking for a clue, looking for absolutely anything at all actually. Yet, he was met only with resounding emptiness. It appeared like the place had been ransacked and nothing had been left behind. Everywhere he looked, he came up empty.

Just on the verge of giving up, he reached a huge doorway. Surprisingly enough, the doors were still intact. He pushed them open and found himself standing in a huge hall. It was a long one, supported by dozens of pillars and arches. To him, it looked like a throne room. Like every other room though, this one lacked a roof too.

Since it was almost dusk now, he could not see the other end of the hall clearly. However, something glittering under the setting sun’s rays caught his eye. He hurriedly walked towards it. Lo and behold! There sat the most beautiful of thrones. Encrusted with rubies, sapphires, emeralds, opals, topazs and pearls, it shimmered like a rainbow.

Yet, he was still to take in its beauty. Because before the throne stood a statue. A statue of the most melancholy beauty. It was a girl, with stony tears running down her cheeks. Her mouth open, as if calling after someone. One hand extended as if to stop someone from leaving. Her other hand, however, held her heart which had been carved out of her chest. Drops of stony blood dripped over her hand from her heart.

He stood, mesmerized. He stood, enthralled. A tear began to form in his eye as he took in every aspect of the statue. Someone had taken great pains to portray every intricate detail in this scultpure, he thought to himself. It obviously depicted someone from the royal family guessing from the tiara adorning her head. Yet, nothing could take away from the look of abject misery and sorrow that was woven in every ounce of her being.

Stirred by some unknown force, he walked up to her. He noted how in his mind the statute had changed from it to her and tried to fathom the reason behind. Before he could stop himself, his hand moved up and carefully covered her glistening heart in his palm. Very delicately, he caressed it. He noticed now that it was cracked and broken, deep ridges spanned across its stony exterior. He could feel the pain it must have gone through. He could feel her pain. The tears did not stop now as his eyes welled up. Streaming down his face, they fell over the heart. And then, the most curious thing happened.

As his tears fell over her heart, it started to come to life. He looked on in shock as he felt it beat in his palm. He looked on as it changed from stone to a deep red. And he looked on as the other hand holding out the heart took on a human tinge. Within minutes, she stood before him. In flesh and bones. Breathing.

Her eyes opened wide on seeing him. A gasp escaped her newly moistened, red lips.

“You came”, she whispered in disbelief. Her voice hoarse after years of not being used.

“How could I not?” He answered with a smile, feeling at peace for the first time since he got lost that day.

He held her heart in both his hands and took an oath. Never again will he let her get hurt. Never again will she die a thousand deaths. Never again will she give up all hope and become so unfeeling that she would end up being turned to stone.

As he seated his queen back onto her throne, the castle started to repair itself magically. Soon enough, the wilderness had shrunk back and in its stead stood a majestic castle that was rejoicing the return of life. He gazed upon his lady with all his love and decided he would like to remain lost here for life.

And, of course, he managed to get a roof over his head to settle under for the night.

Coffee, Cookies and Barista

“Is it over yet?” Sarah enquired over the top of  the menu she was only pretending to read.
“I don’t know.” Replied Liz, drawing circles with a fork on the red and white, chequered table cloth.

“Well, What do you think?” Sarah tried to pry out something more than the hundredth ‘I don’t know’ in a row.

“I don’t want it to be over, I guess. But I know it’s not going to work out.” Liz shrugged, still feigning nonchalance.

“Why, what’d he say today?” Sarah asked, slamming down the wooden menu.

“Nothing.” Liz said, absently twirling a strand of hair in her fingers.

“What do you mean?” Sarah squinted, thoroughly perplexed and equally exasperated. Yet it was nothing compared to the anger she felt in her friend’s behalf.

“It’s just that he hasn’t been in touch much lately”. Liz said with the same faraway air.

“I’ll get you a cup of coffee.” Sarah got up decisively.

“Does this mean it’s over then?” asked Liz, sipping her coffee a few minutes later.

“I think it should be. You know better than me that he doesn’t treat you right.” Came the prompt reply.

“Does anyone ever?” Liz sighed, licking away at her milk moustache and nibbling on the complimentary cookie. 

“Maybe, maybe not. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold out hope. Atleast, that way we protect ourselves from the ones who don’t.”

“And stay alone?” Liz whined, trying to hide from the glare aimed at her by seeking shelter behind her cup.

“And stay strong.” Sarah pulled away the other’s cup, making her look into her eyes.

“Hmm.” Liz finally nodded her approval, always gracious in defeat. Though that did not stop her from stealing the cookie off Sarah’s plate too. She could not be blamed. They were divine.

“Hmm!” Sarah reiterated with pursed lips and folded arms, just to drive the point further home.

“The Barista is kind of cute though!” Winked Liz, with the hint of a smile threatening to form at the corners of her lips.

“Yep, definitely over! We’re switching to wine tonight.” Sarah said, grabbing her friend’s hand and pulling her along.

Laughing, with arms entwined, they left the little coffee shop. 

Vika watched them for a moment till they turned round a corner and disappeared from view. Then she sighed and smiled while clearing the table, mentally patting her back for adding her special, “pick-me-up” cookies to their plates because God knew the girls needed some sugary love.

Then, still smiling, she went behind the counter, walked up to the charmer manning the coffee machine and gave a quick, warm hug to her husband of 49 years. 

For more short stories, please click here. For poetry, please click  here. Please leave your thoughts and comments down below, I’d be delighted to get a feedback. Thank you for reading!

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Made To Be Me

Reblogging because it takes a lot of courage to open up. It takes even more to create a blog and put your words out there. Go read this amazing blog and you’d have nothing to regret. 😊

December Rose

*WARNING: THIS IS A LONG POST*

I’m going to try something new today and tell you something about myself using the one-word daily prompt… Because I may only have five followers, and those only from the daily prompt posts, but I’d like to reach out and reveal myself more blatantly to those five followers.

I see the “insights”… Any time I post something without using a reference to the one-word prompt, it goes unread except by my friend, Carly. And I love her for that. But I have this blog to be discovered as a writer by other people who aren’t yet acquaintances. So I use the one-word daily prompt tags, and I get 10-15 views from around the world, and it’s super exciting, but then I realize that they are likely only reading a glimpse into how I think and see the world. Granted, that’s a bigger part of who I…

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