Once Again - contd
by Priyanka Maurya
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Neha knew what this gesture meant. Whenever, Rohan was stressed, or was going through some emotional turmoil, he would always do this, as if waking himself up from a slumber and telling himself, “Okay…let’s give it one more shot.”
She also knew that when this happened, Rohan found it difficult to initiate the conversation. So, saving him the torture, she said, “Rohan, I don’t know what made me draw this, but I just did. And after I drew it, it still didn’t make me happy. Rather it made me more uncomfortable. So, I was going to get rid-off it.”
Rohan (slightly raising his voice) argued, “It made you uncomfortable for a reason Neha. It shocked me for a reason too. It’s not nothing. You know that!”
Neha unable to keep it in her heart anymore, blurted out everything in a single breath, “Why did you stop accompanying me while I painted? Why did you stop reading to me? Do you enjoy your “ME” time more than “US” time now Rohan? Was all that just temporary, because everything was new and nice? And as time passed, did you get bored with it Rohan?
Every time I sit to paint, I hope that you would enter the room, grab that cane chair and sit beside me. EVERY TIME! But you just stopped coming. I feel like we are just two roommates now and nothing else. Yes, I remember very well what we had decided before our wedding, that we will give the other person the space to do their own things. So, I gave you that space! I still do!
But for me now Rohan, things have changed, there is no “MY SPACE” left anymore. I don’t know when, but with time, more than painting, I started to enjoy painting with you by my side. It felt as if my paintings gained more depth, more love when you were with me. And with you gone now, it just feels like an art, a lifeless piece of drawing.
Rohan, I am not going to lie but now I don’t want JUST “MY SPACE” anymore. I want you in every expression of mine. I miss YOU. I miss US.” By now, Neha was in tears and had started sobbing.
Rohan eyes were fixed
at the floor all the while Neha spoke. After a brief moment of silence with occasional sobs of Neha, the room was filled again. But this time, with Rohan’s voice. He said, “I know very well what we had decided before we got married. And I still believe in that. Tell me one thing Neha, Why does one need space? Why? So that he/she can spend time with self. And with this, can better one’s perspective, can explore and always try to be a better version of them, RIGHT? So, this space is important Neha. And I’ll never compromise on that. Ever!!”
On hearing this, Neha felt that everything what she had said was futile, that Rohan would never understand what she truly felt and needed. This realization made her tears flow more intensely. And now, every two seconds, Neha was seen taking the futile efforts to wipe her cheeks.
Rohan moved towards her, held her face in both his warm palms, fixed his gaze at her and said, “But I have realized something in these few months that, when I'm with you, I am better, when I read to you, my thoughts are better, when I sit with you, I live better! Neha… just like you, there is no “MY SPACE” NOW!! IT’S “US” and from now on, it will always be US!!!
I know we can never with each other all the time …But the time we'll be with each other; we will be ‘TOGETHER’…. This is what I want! This is what I have been wanting for past so many months! But just like you, I too remembered my words, and gave you “YOUR SPACE”!!
Neha lifted her right hand, moved her index finger towards Rohan’s cheeks, which were now wet with a stream of tear. She gently wiped it off and they hugged each other, so tight as if, trying to fill every minute space between them.
After few minutes of staying still, Rohan got up, held Neha’s hands, made her get up from the bed and sit in front of her canvas. He gave her the sketch pencil and with a smile said, “Baby…I think, it’s time to unite these hands…..!!!” And just like that, in their constant struggle of ME AND YOU, they had found their US, once again… ***