I do not know if I have the right to call you 'Love'. But deep within my heart I do know that if I don't, I would be telling a lie.
It's been over a year since you allowed me to walk over your heart. Believe me, those were the hardest steps to take. It felt harder than walking barefoot over fire.
I remember the first time we met. It was the winter two years ago. I was waiting for the cab to move. Suddenly, you came and sat right next to me. You had then offered me a candy, which I had gladly accepted with a smile. Then, as I was about to throw the wrapper out, you stopped me and held my hand. That was the first lesson you taught me - the lesson to care about the environment, and not acting foolishly even if the trash was bio-degradable.
That ride in the cab was when I first learned about you and perhaps you about me. I came to know about a lot of things you did in your professional life. But more importantly, I realized that you were a warm person who had not yet received the warmth of friendship and love as much as you deserved.
It is a busy world and people are busy with their own lives. But despite the pace of life, I was positive that you would have had someone in your past. Someone who would have made you realize that it is not worth running after shallow hearts. I knew that you were waiting for someone who was at least as warm as you are. I felt that you did not have a friend who could understand this feeling, the feeling of chill on a pleasant autumn evening, when you could actually enjoy the warmth of a hug, when you could take walks holding the arms of a friend and feel the warmth of his friendship.
At that point in time, even when I had the option of remaining cold, I could not resist the feeling within me - of showing you the warmth around. I was hoping that I could bring you out from your cocoon. I believe that was where I went wrong.
While you were hiding yourself in a cocoon, I was still inside a cave deep within the hills. I had lost my heart to someone. I was foolish and had not realized what love was. I was under the impression that she had loved me. But even if she did not love me, I did not find it just. She threw away my heart like I was throwing the candy wrapper or the way one throws a gift wrapper. It hurt a lot and it took a while to recover. After that I had decided not to let my heart wander around.
When I met you, I knew that you were one of those who would not tear even a wrapper apart. You would remove it as carefully as it was wrapped, so that it remained intact, and after that keep it safe. This very feeling persuaded me to open the doors of my heart. It allowed me to let go of the barriers which I had drawn around it.
Thereon, I became my old self, a passionate soul who would do anything for a friend and a loved one. I was still cautious. I did not want to throw my heart, and I did not want to steal yours either. I just wanted to feel the warmth as much as you did. I wanted to share the warmth with you.
So, I started talking. I remember the long chats, the lazy afternoon walks, the late night messages and the good morning smiles. I remember the smiles I received from you the moment I entered the office.
While I was getting to know you better and slowly exposing myself to you, I was trying to keep you at a distance. I failed.
I shouldíve realized it when you first said that you were uncomfortable at the lunch table that day. You said you expected that I wouldíve been on your side. But I never thought that I needed to do so. At that time I felt that probably you were not as open as I was to my friends who were our colleagues. I was under the impression that you knew them well and would blend. I was wrong. You were still within the cocoon. Your wings were coming out but they were not yet developed.
I was in a fix. On one hand there were old friends who were desirous of my company. On the other were you. I was trying to expand my group and was hoping that you become part of it. But it was not easy and it felt as if I was being pulled in both directions. That is where I shouldíve stopped. I shouldíve told you this but I did not. I felt that you would feel guilty about it and draw a barrier around you so that my relationships did not suffer. I did not want to leave you.
I therefore maintained a divide. I tried to spend as much time with you and my friends. My friends were skeptical. They thought I was in love with you. They were of the opinion that you are not beautiful and that I deserved someone better. I did not argue with them. Itís not about whether they were right or wrong. Itís about whether I did love you or not.
I knew that the relationship I had with you was not that of love, but that of friendship. I donít really know when it is called love and when it is friendship.
If caring for someone is called love, then yes I loved you.
If being happy in someoneís company is called love, then yes I loved you.
If making someone smile is called love, then yes I loved you.
If taking long walks and not talking, but enjoying the warmth of company is called love, then yes I loved you.
But for me it was like talking to any other close friend. This is how all my friendships have started. I donít remember a day before that when this was coined love. Probably I canít differentiate between the two as the way the world does.
For me love is beyond friendship. I would say that I loved you if I were ready to leave the world behind for you. But back then, I did not want to leave my friends howsoever skeptical they were. I knew that they were not aware of the beautiful person you are. I knew they were being driven by looks. I would be lying if I said that you look beautiful. But yes I would be willing to say that lie to those who did not understand the beauty within you. I was also not ready to leave behind the will of my parents. They wanted me to love someone they approved. This they said after I had my heart broken.
I did not love you was because I never thought about our relationship that way. I always wanted to a good friend, one who cared about you and one who brought you out of the cocoon. But somewhere in between those talks and walks, in between the friendship love paradox, I would not deny that I had developed close-knit feelings of ambiguity about you.
I canít lie to you. I regard you much above those shallow hearts. When back then suddenly you wrote to me about the way you feel, I was taken aback. I was not ready for it and I did not anticipate it. I thought that I had conveyed my feelings to you. I thought that I had told you that I did not want to get entangled. I thought I had shared the reasons with you. Above all, I thought I understood you. But I am only human. I could not read your feelings. I faced the reality again. But this time, I was on the other side. I had a heart in my hands.
I shivered. My heart wept. I cried.
I had to write back to you. I could not just sit there and watch you die in anticipation. Even though you wrote that it was alright if I did not have the same feelings, I did not have the heart to let you go. I could not dare to lose a friend and I could never lie to a friend.
I postponed the communication till as much as I could so that I could come up with something meaningful. I was trying to get back to my cave. I was far from the hills now. Going back was impossible. And I knew that this time the destination for my heart would not be a cave within the hills but probably the moon. There in the lunar world, it would be warm because of the sun, and here at earth people would adore it in the marvel of the night. Yet, none of them would be able to touch it or even come close to it.
Eventually, I wrote. I tried my best. I tried not to break your heart and even harder to keep you close.
I was ready to face the fact. It happened. You were hurt and you kept yourself at a distance even though we were still friends.
Yesterday, when we met after a long time, I could feel the warmth in you. You insisted that we meet. I could not say no. I could see the sparkle in your eyes. I was happy. I realized that despite me loving you or not, you will always love me for what I am. I therefore offered you to come over to my place.
Then when you were watching the movie, I was watching you. I gained the courage to take you in my arms as we sat next to each other. Yes, it was a slow and steady effort, and I had pretended that it was just casual in the beginning. But when you were close and I held you in my arms. Then, you held me too. You did not want to let go. I felt for the first time how much you loved me. Then I held you as tight as I could. I could feel the warmth of your heart. I hope you felt the warmth of my company too in those few moments that we lay cuddled to each other.
Today, I can say that I love you but I wonít. I have a promise to keep, and I do not have the courage to face the consequences. I canít face a battle which involves breaking hearts of all those who love me.
I donít want to see you broken. I canít imagine you spending countless nights crying in the dark corners of your room. I canít let what happened to me happen to you. I donít want to say I love you because I canít bear losing you.
I am glad that I said yes for the meeting yesterday. I will never forget you. I will never forget the way we cuddled yesterday.
I want to say goodbye with this memory of you.
I am going away. I am going to a new place. I may not come back. But whatever I do and wherever I am, I will always cherish the magical moments weíve had together. If I were to say something, I would say that:
No matter where I am,
No matter what I do,
I will always remember,
I loved you with all my heart,
In those few moments,
And I will be taking with me,
A memory that will keep me warm,
In those winter afternoons,
When I would be walking alone.
I am sorry for not having the strength to love you as you do.