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  • Writer's pictureVijaya Priyadarshini

A Known Stranger

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

We exited the muddy streets onto the expressway. I kept stealing glances towards the driver’s seat. Sitting next to me was a man who loves me beyond my imagination, yet all I could do was address him as my friend.

About an hour ago I had made a call sharing my problem of withdrawing cash from the cash machine in the campus, since it was temporarily out of service; he had suggested taking me out to the city. After initially refusing I had agreed since the payment to the college was essential the very next day.

Twenty minutes later, I had walked down settling myself in his car as we drove out of campus. A cup of tea, tasty snacks following the cash withdrawal, he had asked me if I had any issues if we drove back via the highway rather than the city. I had happily agreed with either.

Screeching sound of the brake interrupted my thoughts as we came to a halt in the middle of the highway shinning under the dim street light. He requested me to get off the car, reluctantly getting off the car I followed him; not to admit the fear that evaded my soul, the fear of being in the middle of a secluded highway embraced in darkness with a known stranger. I carefully traced his footsteps as he led me across the road towards the darkness. I refused halting my steps in the middle of the road, not wanting to go away from the light.

The very next moment he turned starring deep in my eyes; his eyes depicting a tale of love- love that I feared, love that would destroy everything, love that would hurt our friendship, and love which would wound my parents, and love that the society would never accept.

He knelt down on one knee making me take a step back, as I stared at him; I knew what was coming, I knew what would happen, I knew he would be hurt yet I could not muster up the courage to stop him or to let him go ahead. There was silence which spoke more than words could, I could hear him breathe, and I could count his pacing heartbeat.

Breaking the eye contact he bowed down only to look up with more determination forwarding a rose, a red rose- symbol of love. I turned away fearing my emotions, fearing the decision that would make things go hay ware. I could hear him plead, requesting me to look at him. I could not gather the strength to face him, to hurt him or to make him see a dream that would never be reality.

I turned around getting lost in the pool of tears forming in his eyes, the precious pearls that shattered my heart in pieces. I could quietly, almost mutely, just tell him how this was impossible. Words refused to form, as I looked around realising how can someone love me so much? It was in one of our previous talks that I had vaguely mentioned about being in love with the street lights on a highway, and here I was standing under the shining light post treasuring one of the most precious memories of my life.

How I wished I could take him in a bone crushing hug, wipe those tears so they would never come back, intertwine our hands to never let it go, to let him know that I wanted him with me- for me, for us. But I can’t do that bound by the limitations of my family’s expectations, invisible line of society difference that would never let us be together. The reality of my life and so I knew that it was better I hurt him know than later, I push him away from me in the hope of him finding happiness with someone better. It may burn me in ashes watching him with someone else but I had to do that for us, for him and for me.

My family had promised me they would find me the best suitor, a man who would give me the best; I laughed at my thought as I realised that the man in front of me was irrevocably in love with me. Would anyone ever love me as much as this man?

May be yes.

It was best if I thought this way. I silently walked back into the car, leaving him behind- stabbing his heart.

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