It’s an eerie sensation prickling in my ribs. But now, I can’t stop to think or to define; whatever feeling wants to invade me I’ll give silently in to it. I can’t feel my feet as his own advance towards me. Within seconds, I am submerged with memories…
Alfred’s arms wrap around me, and within his arms I cry. My tears are not feverish, but they are wrung out of my very soul. And when they fall, they are carrying but a tiny weight of my grieve. “Don’t marry him,” he whispers. I evade his glance, always capable of discerning the deepest of my insecurities, and say, “ I Love him.” I hear a heavy sigh out of his nostrils. ‘Are you sure?” he retorts. I squeeze my eyes and out of my thoughts, dispel all the doubts. It takes some time from me to reply, but at last, I do, with yes as my answer.
“You know, we gotta buy carrots,” James says as we walk towards our home.
“Why?” I ask, surprised.
“I’ve read today in the newspaper that carrots induce the chemical responsible for the feeling of love in the brain.”
“Those scientists, they really get on my wicks.”
“I know,” he smiles crookedly.
“So you read that carrots are romantic and love is the outcome of chemicals, and I read that the brain stops secreting those chemicals after a number of years, some say three and others say seven. So perhaps, one day, while walking down the street, you’ll find ‘the love chemicals’ bottled up and gruff voices calling, ‘Love for Sale’. But you know what, the ‘chemical love’ does exist; it’s when your heart beats fast and all the other crap. If that’s the love they mean, then no wonder it’s bound to disappear. And in what way do you think we love each other?”
“Our heartbeats may not synchronize, but our thoughts do.”
“So, is that to last forever?”
“Only time can tell.”
“You are cheating on me.”
The question or perhaps the statement resonates through the room exiling all to silence. I hold my breath as a heavy ‘Yes’ falls unto my ears.
Me and him, we are so far away, I think, as I contemplate his face, few paces away from me, and yet, so far away. From his expression, I sometimes try to fathom him, to decipher what flows within his heart; but forever and always, it’s a poker face. And I know, that under his stillness, more than I can imagine is simmering.
I once thought that we think alike, and he too thought the same; but as I look at him from across the room, I know his thoughts don’t interest me as I know it’s the same for him.
I walk towards him with steady steps. He takes notice of me and lifts his gaze. “I’m pregnant,” I say.
So many years I’ve wondered if what I felt for Alfred was the doing of chemicals in the brain. And the very fact that I thought of him still would rewind me to the saying of the forbidden being desired. Out of all that, I had to extract love; I had to pour all in my heart in a filter and observe: what fall right through the cracks are the other things, and the dense thing persisting, is love. But I was never able to do so, and all the question marks were succeeded by no answers.
I smile at myself as my heartbeats start racing. Just like before
“Mommy!” I tilt my head, taken aback.
“What’s it Tommy? You startled me!”
“Tommy….that’s a cute name.” I turn back to see Alfred standing behind me.
“Oh thanks,” I slur, with my hair standing at one end. “So how is life with you?”
“Well I travelled…a lot, worked a lot and been with many people and felt myself with none. What about you?”
“As you can see…”
And we keep on talking for hours. As the time of departure comes, I look back at him and smile.
“Mommy, who was that?” Tommy asks on our way home.“An old friend,” I reply.