“Not all colors are meant to be mixed.” He read this somewhere but it was stuck in his head on the whole journey of rumination. If it was up to him, the train wouldn’t have started, may be not even his love story in the first place. But they both did. The train was running placidly, almost like it was floating. That’s how he remembered it anyway. In reality, the wind was gusting around in arrogance over every impotent thing standing against it, a storm that was almost roaring but he couldn’t hear or feel a thing.

His judgement and senses were clouded by the mere idea of losing her. He recalled how it all started 1017 days ago from that day. He was friends with her for almost 3 months before that too, but his story started from that day, the day when he opened his heart to someone for the first time in his life and realised that he couldn’t lose her or he isn’t blessed enough to be his ‘Romeo’. Every day after that was a struggle between admitting what he is and admitting what he wants to become, between presenting himself to her and presenting his image to her, between being a man who is brave enough to follow his heart and being a man who is brave enough to avoid his feelings.

He knew the exact number of days not because he counted every day with her, he is not like that. Actually, when he got turned down, the only thing that calmed him after the panic attack was knowing that he still has some days with her, he just wanted to know how many. So, like the newly wedded wife who just got married with an army officer and she know that he will go away soon to serve the nation, he counted everyday with her on the very beginning of his love story.

That day! When his love story tried to take its first step was crippled, he was crushed. He remembered the agony pumping through his veins, coldness shattering his heart and yet the jitters were nowhere to be seen on his face!

Just like last time, it was all planned. How he was going to reciprocate to the situation. He wasn’t the one to show any susceptibility, though he was very vulnerable without her. He wasn’t ready to say goodbye with a smile, though he was going to. As the sun went up, he got despondent; he knew that it was going to end with ending of all the days he had with her. He forgot everything, he was so sad about in just one glance of her magisterial smile from across the seat.

That was it. That was the thing about her that he was going to miss the most. Her ability to spread felicity with just a soft smile was so immense in his life. She knew that he wanted her, but he was never going to let her know – how badly! He was like that, he only showed his glorious gladiator side to the world and believed in hiding the most parts of his’ warm-hearted character.

That night from his diary-

“As children, we stay true to ourselves, we follow our heart and hide nothing. We express everything as it is. We feel happiness like we never feel as adults. Happiness just strikes its way through our unadulterated heart to our souls and we feel it, every second of it, every touch of it. But as adults, we have so much rust of criticism, hatred, disappointments, failures, heart breaks on our souls that we only feel a dainty part of it that remains after sieving and that could make its way into our heart and soul. There comes a time in everybody’s life when the soul sets itself free from the ball and chain that weighed it down and heart makes its way out of the poison of our lives. A moment so pure, it unleashes the true us and like a reflection in the pond, we see our vague ugly side. That moment came to me this evening.”

The train slowed its momentum and his heart’s too, thankfully his heart didn’t stop when the train stopped at her destination. He helped her with her luggage. She probably didn’t notice or what he didn’t let her feel that how heavy it was to roll that 10-pound roller bag. A 10-year-old girl was rolling the exact same bag; it wasn’t so stout for her. Maybe it had something to do with his hands shaking and legs convulsing at that time. All his efforts and energy was tired out in holding himself and walking straight. His palms were sweaty which would explain why it was so hard to get a firm grip on that travel hand bag. But he is a man, no way he could let her show that his throat was drier than the whole Sahara Desert. He couldn’t believe how hard it was to say Goodbye. He was still fighting the moment rather than accepting defeat and surrendering his feelings towards her.

He was trying to suppress his emotions so hard, but he knew that he would fail miserably as he is just a mere mortal and couldn’t possibly compete with the might of his emotions. He was restless, almost on the verge of crying. Something just kept on drilling its way towards the core of his heart. He put on his shades, though it was evening, but letting her watch the ‘watery thing’ in his eyes was something that he would never want. He was struck with the sudden realisation that the clout of his emotions was too overwhelming for him that his tears might betray his weakness. “Strong! Brave! Fearless! No pain! Men don’t cry!” All these words uttered by the people, who were the embodiment of the stereotypes perpetuated by our society since time immemorial, involved in his life, held his heart like a cork holds the raging pressure of champagne that just wants to be free. All he needed was a little pull, to pull out the cork, but he was about to be served with a ‘Sabrage’.

It took them less than 1 minute to get off the train. She asked if he wanted to hop on the train, but he still had 9 minutes with her and not an army could take that away from him. So, he stayed with her and with every passing second he was losing it; he remained silent.

Someone was needed to break the ice and let it all sink in; they both knew it was her. So, she started, ‘Look, if you aren’t going to say anything then I will. I cannot imagine what it’s going to be after this. We have been tight, almost since the day we met. And you mean something to me, you have always meant something to me.’ She hugged him.

She knew this might be the last time she was going to see him. So without holding anything back, she continued on to saying some things she had never said to him. ‘You weren’t really blind to imagine us together, it made sense, but I don’t know why there is just something between us, pulling us apart. I was so happy with you and believe me or not, I tried to fall in love with you so many times. Something just didn’t feel right, I don’t know why that is.’

‘I am kind of relieved that our college has ended and you can finally move on, not that you couldn’t before. But being friends with someone you love makes it harder to move on…’ deadly silence gripped them as he was still standing there like a statue without much expression. Just coldness, which made it harder for her to go on. But she doesn’t hold regrets. She dug harder in his heart to say every nice thing about him despite the hostility from him and at the end, she rubbed her eyes, wiping out the tears from her eyes which was forming.

‘I know you are so strong and it won’t take you long to get on with someone else. I mean, I am not strong like you, I just don’t have what you got. That’s why, I think, it will be best if you just throw me out of mind for good. “Nothing can happen between us, I am sorry!”’ She got it out of the way.

His eyes were glassy in rapt nostalgia. These toxic 8 words were the food poisoning that he told everyone who saw him throwing up on his way back from her house that day 1017 days ago! He remembered that he left her house with a smirk and stating that he wasn’t expecting a ‘yes’ anyway!

The heat between them melted the coldness in his eyes which witnessed the sensation of tear drop. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing, this time he got the blues. A new and yet his true side was about to give the farewell speech that she deserves.

‘I can throw you out of my mind, but I can’t just throw you out of my heart.’ Breathy voice came out. ‘I do have a heart, you know. I know it is not like me to let anyone else know about it.’ he added.

‘You know, that’s the second time you have said that to me. The first time was when I confessed about my feelings for you. 1017 days ago,’ he said with a deep gravelly voice. She just stood there, stunned!

‘It’s probably stupid that I haven’t said this to you already, but that was the only time in my life that I confronted my feelings and went on with it. It took everything I had to go to you, already knowing that you were going to just rip my heart out. But I had to get that over with because as you know I wanted things to go normal between us and spilling out what I felt should have done that, yet it never did. You think I want you in my life?’ he took a deep breath, cleared his throat and went on without wiping any tears. He didn’t care. Not anymore!

‘I lied!’ he said with a silvery tone. ‘I never wanted things to be normal, I needed you in my life. I still do. Every second away from you reminds me of the reality that I don’t want to live in.’ he added.

‘When I came to our college, I wanted to find perfection and in pursuit of perfection I found you, and you were indeed…’ he paused; ‘Perfect’.

‘Every time I froze my heart, I feel okay, but the moment I let things go, the only thing I feel is you. For the last 3 years, watching you smile used to be my best part of the day and now I don’t know how to say goodbye to the best thing that has ever happened to me.’ Straight from the heart to the mouth, these words were dying to come out of his mouth.

‘I knew, watching you go will be the hardest thing that I have ever experienced, yet I was prepared to do it with a smile, I thought it was because I don’t want to express my vulnerability, but in reality, I don’t care if you see any side of me because I want you to know every side of me like I know yours. I want you to know every last attribute of mine and love every side of mine, like the colour loves every part of the flower.’ Too little, too late. He got carried away.

He realised that it’s time and with a really heavy breath, he added, ‘I am going to walk away from here with a smile because that’s how I want you to remember me. Just know this, you never hurt me, you could never hurt me. It just happened, like the wind flowing on its own. You have everything that I ever cared for, everything that I ever wanted, everything that I ever wished. It’s with you, it’s in you, It’s you!’ He said it and it was alleviating.

A moment of absolute silence went on in that crowded and loud Railway Station. All they could see was the person in front of each other. Then, as her tear drop touched the floor, the silence broke into the siren of the train, which was just about to start. He took the first tiny step backwards, which was the hardest step he ever took. He already hugged her and it would be impossible for him to let go off her twice in those 9 minutes. So, he leaned his hand forward, expecting a warm handshake. Their hands met and right there was the strongest bond, it was clinging like ivy; their hands were stuck with each other. The second siren blew and it was time to go. He kept his hand steady to have every inch of her sensation till the last second, he slowly took another step back hoping that it would stretch his hand out. It didn’t!

She won’t let it go. He took a colossal step backwards which just swayed her with him. That moment was made in heaven. She held his hand and looked him in his eyes. They stood there, just like that and the train left!