it feels wierd. the way even in your silence you open yourself up to her. the way the three years of not seeing her seem to not matter. the way the eyes you love break your breast bone, go through the ribs straight to the throbbing tired heart. the way it beats as if with renewed hope of succour. the way those eyes hold it, massage it, ease it, make its efforts worthwhile again. you feel again. almost as if for the first time in your life. the way the rest of the crowd disappears for that one brief instant. then you remember she’s not yours any more.

you lie in bed alone at night, yearning.

you remember the book you told her to read and understand why jenny had to die.


you’re sitting next to each other during the literature tutorial. she’s listening as moonface is discussing bathsheba everdene’s character with the professor. she’s rotating her pen with her left hand, tapping her foot impatiently as she waits for the forty minutes to end. she suddenly glances over at you, your eyes meet and for you the rest of the world disappears. she follows your gaze to her idle hand resting on the armrest. you reach forward, slowly, with a fingertip, oblivious to the professor droning on about hardy’s women. she watches as you gently move it over the back of her hand, tracing designs neither of you can understand. she stays still as you play with her fingers, those lovely fingers, gently, tenderly as if they’re the most fragile things in the world. as if she’s a crystal figurine, as if she’ll suddenly break and shatter and you’ll wake up.

she’s not breathing. neither are you. your finger touches the wrist that’s fallen to her knees, decorum prevailing even when you’re both lost in the clouds. touches it as if to see if she’s real. as if to test the color of her skin and see if it’ll rub off.

“what do you think abbas?” the professor asks.

you both jump, you guiltily pull your wrist away and you say “i think she’s the kind of woman who any man could love, and most wouldn’t regret loving”

“i was talking about bathsheba” she says

“so was i” you lie.


she sits on the bench in front of you, the sun rays filtering through the grillework throwing shadows of her eyelashes on her cheekbones. she shows you her yesterday’s journal entry, a recounting of events from the way she lived through them, not what you built up in your mind. she has to lean really close to show it to you, because she’s afraid you’ll grab i and read the stuff you’re not yet allowed to read. you have to look, and then smile sheepishly in mutual embarrassment as you see the faces of the friends with you whom you momentarily forgot about.


you congratulate your friend on his getting engaged to his childhood sweetheart. you’re siting at a roadside cafe, everyone teasing him, everyone laughing. the shisha smoke everyone’s exhaling, everyone but you because you feel smoking is a betrayal to her because she didn’t approve, gets to you again as you think, “this could have been me”.

she’s saying “qubool hai” to the qazi, 18 kilometres away.


you’ve just come back from a wedding. you can’t sleep because you’re irritated.

so you write.


2 Responses to “flashbacks”

  1. bathsheba everdene! possibly the vainest fictional character i’ve ever come across. gabriel oak will always be a life time hero.

  2. i always did like girls with attitude… 🙂

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