Rummaging through his old files, Aditya stumbled upon a black Parker pen carefully tucked to one of the corners of a fading yellow folder. The folder had beautiful daffodil flowers printed on it. It appeared so girly, so out-of-place in the stack of old files and notebooks. On a second thought, he remembered that he had kept this folder in his bag pack stealthily, trying to avoid being caught by his mom who was helping him in his packing when he was coming to Toronto. He had been so busy since then in his medical practice and classes that he had almost forgotten about it. He had carried it for seventy-two thousand miles. He had known what he wanted to do with the folder when he first laid his hands on it. The plan was to keep it near his bed-side and watch it till he felt asleep every night.
Aditya packed everything else in his bags and decided to hit the bed early so that he does not miss his flight which was scheduled at half past six in the morning. He did not know what to do with the folder.
The folder was a reminder of what had gone by. He hugged the folder and felt a tear trickle down his face. He fell on his knees. He could not see anything clearly. He removed his glasses and pressed his eyes. His fingers were wet.
He got up feeling good, smiling inwardly. He sidelined his luggage and dived into his bed. Last night in Canada, he felt tired. He had not missed home so he thought he will not miss Canada also. He just missed missing things.
Two years ago, he was enamored, smitten, bemused, enchanted and everything else which felt like being in love.
He rolled the pen on the bed with his palm. He never used it so it was still new. He had bought that pen for Ishika’s hair. He smiled now at the memory. He had failed in one of his semester papers because of those perennially unmanageable long shiny long locks which dropped loose on her shoulder at slightest provocation. For six months, he did not attend any of his morning lectures so that he could travel with Ishika by her time. He enjoyed the view of her cascading hair standing right behind her. Her hair had an invigorating smell which filled his senses.
At the end of that semester, he brought this pen and gave it to her and said curtly trying to sound very business-like, “This is a pen you will never forget. Let me explain you its benefits. You can roll your hair with this so that it does not fall and you can also write to me when I go to Toronto after two years to study medicine.”
She smiled at his silly face, “I will rather call you or email you.”
He scolded himself for his stupidity but he was also happy because he had finally been able to talk to that girl who took the same metro with him every day (except on Sundays).
It was very different from the way he had felt for other girls. The more he talked to her, the more he felt he was a part of her. Together it seemed they were two scattered pieces which came together to make one whole story.
A month before he had to come to Canada, when she was lying on him and her hair falling beside both his cheeks, he looked at her and she looked at him, he had felt home. He had said her that he had never beheld such a beautiful sight. She had smirked at him incredulously and tucked her hair behind her ears to give him a more proper view of her face.
Suddenly, he had felt an empowering emotion not to leave her. That was a very difficult moment. All his life he had dreamt of going to Canada to study medicine and there was this one girl who had almost charmed her into changing his decision.
He slid her to his side, stroked her hair twice and got up at once, surprising her. He walked across the room and pulled her folder from her handbag that was kept on his table. He emptied all its content in her bag except a sheet of paper from her notepad. He said her, “Write whatever comes to your mind when you think of you and me.” Without wasting a moment she scribbled something as if she had been waiting for this moment. She placed it in her folder and kept it on his table and collected her hand bag, gave him a smile and left.
A week before he was leaving Aditya found himself on his knees before Ishika. He looked at her and said all that he had ever wanted to say. He said, “I feel nothing but peace, satisfaction, tranquility, calmness, humane and divine. Here, lies my destiny. I want to live and relive this moment again, forever and always.”
Ishika chuckled “And I feel like a Goddess.”
Aditya smiled too. They embraced and it felt perfect. She whispered in his ears, “You will never feel like this again.” His arms tightened around her and he felt a lump in his throat. He knew what was coming
Ishika said, “Yes, Aditya, you will never feel like this again in this room because I’m not coming here anymore. I am not coming to you. Instead I’m coming with you to Canada, to Toronto with you. My admission letter is in my back pocket, don’t waste time.
His arms tightened around her and he felt a lump in his throat again.
Aditya was still lying on the bed rolling the pen when Ishika entered the room and saw him hugging himself. She turned towards the luggage and made an omg-i-am-going-to die-in-a-foreign-land- without seeing-India kind of face. Aditya recognized that face instantly and rose in self-defense lest she threw half of the luggage out of the window. He said convincingly, “Oh! This…I’m going to carry all of this, don’t worry. She sat on the bed feeling good about the arrangement.
Finally, she fell back on the bed and the pen hit her head.
Aditya smiled, “this was meant for your hair, you thick skull.” and hugged her on the bed.
The folder was still lying on his bed-side. It had a paper on which it was written-
“Let’s meet in that haven
Which we can call our nest
Let’s for once live a life
Not many have lived yet.”
Aditya whispered in her eyes – “our haven”
He did not miss anything because all that he wanted or ever desired, he had all of it with him. All of it was here, wrapped in his arms now.