One cold summer evening I approach my door step. I have just bought it a couple of months ago with him after living some years in different cities and for a certain period even in opposite sides of the world, but what we shared with each other was so strong, so determined, so much in love that she decisively carried us to this moment when I am about enter a home that is ours. That very evening as I place the key in the door and turn the knob, I reminiscence the past. Against all the odds we had made it. Had someone bet even a dollar on our chances to survive, he would be a billionaire now. Perhaps that is the reason bookmakers never take bets on love. It is unpredictable and unlike in sports you can never do match fixing.
In the beginning we had nothing else conversations online; we had met briefly after two weeks talking to each other, it was an afternoon that lasted no longer than a Woody Allen but the moment captured a myriad of feelings that no director has ever been able to portray in her works. Two men who met in a small Indian town and fell in love with each other at that very first time when their hands secretively brushed against each other. No art form is able to depict the sensation of being with him, listening to his luring voice as he tells you about himself and every single word he mouths is so tastefully articulated that it almost sounds as if he is reciting 13th-century Persian poetry. Those three hours wits him is something that you happens when miss Ordinary makes love with mister Wonder and it is just perfect.
We had just that for next six and half months. I was in Finland and he was in India, I was a student and he was a student, he wanted to study at Oxford and be part of the social change that makes this world a better place and I was still uncertain what to do with my life.
We dreamed of our lives in the conversations we had, disputing every single issue and never agreeing on anything. He wanted a child, I wanted children. I wished to have a German Shepard, but his heart was settled in a pug. I said that one day when live together and he comes home from work, he would discover the cutest Corgi puppy at our apartment and he jokingly threatened to inject the dog with poison if I ever did such a thing; I know he is horrible, it took me also time to get used to his crooked sense of humour! Well I am not too sure if I am still used to it. In fact he had decided that he would do all the household decisions and if I ever went shopping to Fab India, in my opinion the most amazing chain of stores in the entire world, he would kill me. I kept teasing him relentlessly and us having those nonsense conversations about the future where we did not agree on anything was something that made me happy that time we were apart.
It was hard. I had promised myself before that even if magically I fell in love again in my life, I would certainly not give my heart to a man who lives thousands of miles away, not this time. But I little did I realise it was not my decision to make.
I suffered. There were times I noticed that I was not happy whenever I did not talk to him and the radio silence plunged a oxidized dagger in lungs, piercing them with a slow suffocating and desperate agony. That despondent and dangerous need to hear from him every waking hour of the day disturbed whatever I accomplished to do. That compulsive obsession of thinking that he had been online two hours ago and he has seen my messages tirelessly flirted with my mind.
I am not still not sure how I survived that, I think as I enter our home and take off my shoes, but it does not matter anymore. The entrance is painted with the love child of yellow and orange, but there is also a tint of red’s genes. It seems he did not get to make all the household decisions, I laugh and continue my way to the kitchen to unpack the groceries.
It had been three, maybe four months since we met for those three hours and while we had been talking every day and I felt as if I was falling more and move in love with him the more I got to know him (– he is so handsome, he is so smart, he is so caring, he is so loving, I knew that from the beginning but as the days continue to pass, he gets so much more handsome, he gets so much smarter, he gets so much more caring, he gets so much caring), we had our uncertainties. We did not know how to be together. The future toyed with us, and there were moments of severe doubts; your friends tell you that you twohave no future, your parents not knowing anything about you because you are gay, your life situation just being what it is.
I had asked him to come to Finland and promised that I would pay his ticket, but he did not find the offer very appealing. Although I kept telling him he would not have to feel that he is forced to be with me after the trip (in my pessimistic mind I thought that he sees how disgusting I am and no longer wishes to be with me) or feel that he is indebted to me.
Late August the Ministry of Justice offered me an internship and I was over the moon. The first thing I did after reading the acceptance was obviously to call him and let him know I can finally book the tickets for him; before the entire conversation of him visiting me, that occurred just twice or thrice to avoid thinking about it too much, drew inspiration from hypothetical scenarios. He was happy for me. But the call did not go as I expected. He was still reluctant and that feeling of gleeful elation vaporised, fracturing my heart.
For a moment I stop reminiscing. I pour myself a cold glass of crisp white wine. I bring my laptop to the kitchen and put on my playlist named eccentrically smooth jazz songs in love with electronic sounds. He is not at home and he probably would not come for another hour or two. I left the office early and told him that I would not be able to catch the metro back home with him because I had to run a few errands so I would just meet him at home. That afternoon I had just felt like surprising him with something small; with the move to our new home and both of us having hectic workload, we had not been able to just sit and enjoy each other. So I went shopping and bought his favourite port wine and ingredients to make spicy tiger prawns with rice noodles. After groceries I visited the local florist and bought a bouquet of stargazer lilies and white dendrobium orchids with lavish germinis and a sprinkling of gypsophila. As she made the flower arrangement, she smiled at me and told me these must be for someone special. I nodded, adding that I am the luckiest man in the world.
When cutting vegetables and pealing the prawns my mind drifts back to the past, to the moment when I saw him at the airport in Helsinki. It was the second time we met, but unlike previously I no longer needed to hide my love for him. When he exited the gate and I saw him pushing the trolley, my heart cried with happiness and I rushed to him, kissing him just there in front of everyone else who were waiting for their loved ones to come out of the customs. I tasted him, I felt him, I sensed him, I saw him, that very moment when he was in my arms I was the happiest I had ever been in a long time. Again no art form has the capacity to describe the feelings when I laid my eyes on him, that superfluous euphoria knocking the doors of all the cells in my blood vessels to invite my body to the greatest party it would ever experience in its existence.
We had each other just for the two weeks, but we did not let the thought of it besmirch the limited time we would be together. I had imagined what it would be like when he would come to Finland, but I should had guessed it was beyond my competency to even begin to dream how rapturous life is when it is shared with him. Those two weeks with him confirmed what our hears and minds had known since the day we met in India. We belonged to each other.
After he left Finland one would imagine that our story was back at the starting point; I was in Finland and he was in India, I was a student and he was a student, he wanted to study at Oxford and be part of the social change that makes this world a better place and I was still uncertain what to do with my life. We had no plans how to be together and this time we had not the remotest clue when we would meet each other again.
But it did not matter. We continued talking with each other every day and we kept dreaming about the common future where he thought he will make all the households decision and I supposedly wake up at 4am to go for a run with him. Unlike the six months between our first and second meeting, our feelings were no longer tainted with persistent ambiguity. Rather it was replaced with this remarkable confidence that no matter what there will be mornings when I wake up next to him in our beautiful home and after a little cuddle I would get out of the bed to take a shower while he continues to laying in the bed for a little while longer. After getting dressed up I would go and make breakfast for us, he would join a bit later and kiss me and we sit around the table, talking about the political turmoil in India and gossiping about our friends before leaving together to get a metro to the city. My stop comes before his, I kiss him and wish him a happy day as I exit the compartment and walk to my office. Those mornings will happen, I thought after he boarded his plane and I sobbed with my heart wrenching in pain and that odd certainty that I had never had in my life kept us going.
And here I am now. I look at the small framed silly selfie of us with boats in the background, smiling and remembering our honeymoon in Venice where he bargained just the way he does in India. The dinner is almost prepared, I only need to boil the rice noodles and set the table. I take out of empty bottles of wine from the cupboards and place them on the wooden table, putting a candle in the bottles but obviously I cannot find a lighter when needed. The perks of being an ex-smoker and that very moment I can hear the front door opening. I look at my watch, it has not been even an hour since I arrived home and I hear a perplexed sound.
I go to the entrance and there he is, looking as handsome as always with a box of my favourite white chocolate truffles in his hand and I smile.
– What are you doing here so early?
– I thought you were planning to come late so I decided to leave the office a little early to surprise you…
– That was my plan, you idiot, this was the errand I had to do.
– Who are you calling an idiot, you idiot!
I cannot help but go to him and kiss him to shut his beautiful mouth. Every time I feel his touch it feels even better than the previous time, every time I smell his scent it smells better than the previous time, every time I kiss him, well, you get the point, I think. I take the box of chocolate and leave for the kitchen as he takes off his shoes and coat.
When I put the rice noodles to boil, he comes and the first thing he does is switching the music to some overly cheerful Bollywood songs. Even though it happens every single time he comes home I still raise my eyebrows and every single time he just looks at me and says I know you love me regardless and comes to me holds me from behind, wrapping his arms around my waist and kissing my neck. He discovers the bouquet of flowers I bought for him and sees the unlit candles in the wine bottles, laughing a bit.
– Could not find the lighter, arre?
– You came too soon you idiot, this was supposed to be all prepared and beautiful and romantic when you would —
– It is already beautiful and romantic, Nitin.
– But it…
– Just shut up.
– So nice, here I’m trying to make something lovely for you and you’re just telling me to shut up.
– Yeah because you are talking nonsense.
– And now I am talking nonsense, damn, I do not–
– I love you, Nitin.
– I love you, too.
– And the lighter is in the balcony.
– What the —
– Where is my port wine?
– What makes you think I would had bought your port wine…?
– Fine. I guess I cannot ever surprise you.
– You surprise me every day, my love.
He sits on the chair, loosing his tie that I had tied for him in the morning and he starts to talk about his day at the office where it seems no one is capable of doing things without him directing them. He had just recently become a partner in his firm and now some of his colleagues had started treating him a bit differently. Listening to him talking about the little events that had happened to him while we have been apart is one of highlights of my day. In the office I cannot wait for the evening to arrive so I can go home and be with him. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy what I do and sometimes it is nice to go for after-work drinks with friends of mine and not see him immediately, but the best part of my day is to reconnect with him in the evenings. I love it.
After dinner we go to the living room and just lay on the couch. The television is on and I am not too sure what show is airing, it is another of Hindi dramas that we have accidentally started to have as background noise when we go to cuddle. We talk as he is holding me but then at one moment, he pauses.
– Yes, handsome?
– Do you think it is time now?
– For what?
– A child.
I turn around to face him and kiss his sweet lips. We had always talked about having children, but this is the first time when have a real and serious conversation about starting a family. I get up and bring my laptop to research how we should proceed. He is leaning against my shoulder as I type keywords on Google. For a second I get distracted, looking at him and thinking how blessed I am. He notices that my attention had momentarily drifted away and asks what is wrong.
– Nothing, my darling. I just love you more than anything else in the world.
He smiles his beautiful smile and kisses me as we are about to embark on another chapter of our love story.