It was time for sunset when they were sitting there. They had come there for a drive, a thing that both of them love to do, more so when they were with each other. But he always hated driving. "I am sick of this traffic and pollution", he once said and she knew he wasn't ubercool. She always knew it. But far away from the city and its dust, they were happy that they drove there. She loved to come with him. Anywhere he was, she likes to be around. He was happy that it was mutual.
The trees beneath where they were were very thick. What this meant was that it formed a dark background behind her and it contrasted perfectly with the yellowish-orange salwar that she was wearing. As they were holding hands, a rather troubling frown covered her face. Those two wide eyes narrowed a bit as she was about to speak. She looked to him, opened her mouth and quickly dropped the thought as though it was forbidden. It was too late now, she knew. Everytime she had some stupid doubt, he would come and rub it off, as though it was a small dust speck on an otherwise flashing mirror. And everytime she thought it was better to shut her mouth than ask another one of those not-so-silly-to-me doubts, she would have already made her intentions clear that she was about to speak. Knowing this, he placed his arm across her lovingly, and asked what it was that dared to bother his darling.
"You shouldn't lie, okay?"
"Okay. You know I won't do that when I am with you"
"Okay then. It was something that this stupid guy was saying"
He wanted to say that it was foolish to think about anything else when they were together, but he knew he makes lots of mistakes and having quickly got this thought, he immediately rejected it and regretted having even had such a thought. Saying that would not only darken the mood, but also the vanilla who said it. He did what he should do. He listened.
"You see I am really not worried much about this. You know me. But sometimes it bothers one. Why should he be telling me things? I know it's just a joke. But sometimes it really bothers me. Sometimes you make such stupid jokes too. But not regarding this one and I know you won't", and she smiled. It seemed to make her happy that he didn't do many things that bothered her. Or having learnt that some things bother her, he began to avoid joking about them. She liked him for it. For changing himself to prevent making her sad.
Then as though someone was trying to hear her, she looked either ways, then looked straight at him and asked the million dollar question.
"Do I look fat?"
She paused. She was still wondering if she should have asked him that. But he was, as Rachel put it in Friends, "The apple of her eye" and she would ask him anything and everything. It wasn't even a second that she was in thought that she felt the arm across her shoulder loosen. "Have I said something wrong? No, I was just asking him. He loves me anyway, have I spoken anything else?"
The hand that loosened across her shoulder took her left hand, then clasped it with both his hands and said
"Dear sweet vanilla ice-cream, you look lovely" and then blinked both his eyes in a flash. This was something that he learnt from her, apart from learning to live, learning to love and many more. This was her signal of love and affection. That she liked him, even during the times when they were only friends. She felt happy now. She was expecting something like "It's the dress", "Not at all", but she knew she was a bit on the other side of the weighing machine's pointer.
A smile. Then a small giggle. It was more than a mere giggle. Then a hug.
"Am I really lovely? You know, I think that I am lovely too. But it was only my mom who said it first"
"Dearest, you were always lovely. I change the tense, you are always lovely. Even in that horrible nightgown that you wore that wednesday, you were charming. And now when the sun shines on your face and you look with those wide eyes with full of innocence, I'd bet those Greek warriors who launched those thousand ships would have said "ahoy there" and stopped filling fuel to stay till the sun went down. Now, they would've probably stayed on but I would be too angry to have you there in front of them and hence would have talked them into going to Troy for keeping their promise, however absurd it might be"
"That's sweet of you. You know you talk too much sometimes. Give explanations that are really out of the blue. But I like you for all these"
Then after she had him hugging her till her heart felt that it was now okay again, and until they rocked sideways for a good long time, she broke loose and scurried across to fetch her camera.
"Hey, it's a bit dark now. I should've taken it earlier. I will still get a print of this and write what you've told today"
"You remember all of it?"
"Not the garbage. Only.."
She giggled. "I like to do that to you. Okay baba, I remember most of it. If I ask you again, you would come up with another way of saying that. I know", she said smiling.
"Yeah, yeah. Apni hi kisi ada se poochlo. You are the one who makes me say things, so they're not entirely my words"
"Done, now. Lets go and have pani-puri"
" I thought you don't like them much"
"Yes, but you do. I'll be happy to see you eating"
She had that angel smile on her face again. That was her. She does things that make him happy whenever he makes her feel good about herself. Cursing why the sun sets so soon and thanking at the same time that she was with her during that sunset, he started his bike.
"It's a long dusty way back. Wanna do something to make up for this ?", he said with his mischeivous smile.
Not that he wanted anything apart from her majesty's presence the next time, but he wanted her to say that and smile again. Sometimes, being called an idiot actually makes him feel that he's on the top of the world.
Crazy are the ways of love.