It’s early evening on a Friday, you’ve wrapped up your work, and I call you out of nowhere. I tell you to pack a bag for the weekend, take your car keys, and meet me downstairs in half an hour.
We drive out, discussing how the week went for both of us. Soon, we’re like a line of red paint flowing out of the canvas of this town, the hazy orange of the sky mixing with the bright blues & yellows of the street beneath.
Within an hour, it’s already getting dark on the highway, and we see fewer and fewer buildings with every mile we pass.
Concrete skyscrapers turn into dingy structures, made like children’s clay castles, and the caterpillar of city lights across the lake bridge glows dimmer and dimmer still.
We stop at a food court before midnight. I step out of the car to take a deep breath of the clean outskirts air.
It tastes like a spray of wild grass mixed with mild fragrant water. There is a hint of fresh cow dung, too, but I don’t mind.
I feed you hot pav bhaji with my hands and you feed me my dosa with yours. You’re smiling at the baby across our table. I’m smiling at your gorgeous smile.
We continue on the road for another hour till we reach the resort I booked for us, a wide structure which glows like a pot of honey in the dark of the night. The empty reception is chiming with the sounds of crickets and grasshoppers.
We take our bags upstairs and melt into the soft white fabric of the bed.
You don’t notice it but I’m trying to touch your hand, aching to be guided by its meandering as you glide it across the sheets, fading into sleep.
I’m awake before you, like I always am, and I nudge you for the buffet breakfast, which is my favourite part about staying anywhere.
We spend the day just walking around the place, talking about everything that brings us joy and sorrow. I’m horrible at clicking your pictures and you know it, but I click a million anyway because it makes you laugh.
I’m uncomfortable admitting to this but I’m starting to like where we are. I’m starting to like how I find happiness in our simplicity.
In simply spending time with you neither conquering the world, nor learning new things, nor creating anything spectacular or valuable.
I’m dazzled at how I’m finding meaning in a person’s company in and by itself without a product, expectation or outcome attached to the time we give to each other.
And I’m scared that all my life I’ve wanted everything to be grand and fast but you make connecting with someone feel as important, which is so new for me.
You don’t even realise that it’s already late at night but I surprise you with a candlelight dinner at the corner of the quiet restaurant. We’re sitting right next to the open forest and hills.
You trace the borders of the haunted ranges, echoing against the emerald sky, clutching small bamboo and stone homes on their fingertips. There is a small temple in the distance. All your photos are blurry and full of flash but so is my state of mind.
The next day, we drive back home after a late breakfast, stopping at the famous vineyard en route to click more photos and grab a bite.
It’s drizzling as we enter the city and the traffic is uneasily clogging up so we stop a short while for tea and some respite.
You drop me home and ask me to text and wish you good night after I freshen up.
It’s “back to work” for me tomorrow and there’s so much lined up but I haven’t thought about it for one moment all this while. Did you?
As I unpack, my mind is engrossed in mental checklists, plans, and strategies to get through the chaos of my life.
But there is this feverish trickle of mixed emotions flowing through the caves of my heart, the feeling you get when you say goodbye to your special or favourite person after spending a good day with them and then they have to go back home.
You kinda want them to stay but you’re also exhausted of them … exhausted in a good way.
I wanted you to know that you’ve become a meditation for me. A little albeit mindful pause in my noisy world. A world away from everything.
A highway that’s mine to explore. A muse that transports me into dreams and drops me right back at home, safe and sound.
No matter how busy we get, no matter how far we go, I will always find my way back to you, so that you can take me away…
It’s a lovely piece!