I was pregnant.
I was bit along before I realized it even. The not-so-insignificant flutters in the stomach, the pronounced attunement to certain fragrances, the nearly pacing heartbeat and such were the indicators to the wondrous fact.
Yes, I was pregnant. Very much so with the excitement, the secrecy, the anticipation, expectation, imagination and all other emotion relevant –tions!
A mere chance meeting brought us together. It started as polite acquaintance and general hanging-outs along with mutual friends. But certain common interests brought attention on each other more. We grew comfortable. We talked sense and more nonsense. I always had a word and he always had a reply. It was around then that I started feeling funny in my stomach, every time when he looked, smiled at me, or teased me. I felt happy in his presence and I was always in wait for any opportunity to meet him, to talk to him. Few more weeks passed before I became conscious of the fact that I was exhibiting marked preference for him. Though he was formal and normal as was usual, I started fantasizing that the attraction would be reciprocated. If he felt any change in him, any change in me, he didn’t show it.
Break came in the form of me moving out of town for few months for work. Though the likeliness and feasibility of my wants confused me, that separation really helped put lots of things in perspective.
Almost towards the end of my tenure in the new place, Chance made us cross paths again, and he came into town for a few days.
We met for dinner on the day we were heading back home. I had imagined that meeting in a million different ways. But I forgot all that when I saw him waiting for me. I used to ache to see him but the acute relief on seeing him again was nearly painful and as powerful as the ache itself. Butterflies all over me, in me! On seeing me, he made a movement to get up, but mid-way appeared to change his mind. As I reached him he said ‘Hi’ in a preoccupied, musing tone and looked at me curiously. I too just stood there looking at him and somehow felt peaceful and calm. He made me sit near him and I was afraid he would hear my heart thumping erratically. I remembered that that was the first time I was alone with him in a long time. After a few moments of looking at me deeply, he smiled a little and slowly but simply said ‘Of course! Now I know I’m attracted to you. It feels good to be with you, talk to you. I don’t know if this feel good thing is love. But I really wish it is. I think it is’.
I did not know how to react. For one thing I was surprised that he felt the same way about me; second, I was shocked at the almost casual way he was expressing his interest; thirdly, I was floored at the simple yet profound and sincere expression in those words; and fourthly, well, I don’t remember ever getting that far. I was not sure of the expression on my face that day, but he seemed to have found something that made him smile a smug grin. He leaned over and said softly, ‘I love you!’ I would have agreed to anything even more clichéd or even less romantic. If I hadn’t had the sense to control the rush of excitement I felt, that which was making me weak in the knees, I would have swooned.
After the very special conversation on that night, he did not seem to indicate by means of action or words that we were in a relationship that was more than platonic friendship. As the saying goes, days rolled on to weeks and months. No special smile, no pampering, or lovey-dovey-mushy-ness. Nothing! It was as if we were the same, except that we weren’t. No promise of future, no stories of the past; the thing that mattered was we were together, dependably so. But it was confusing at times. Whenever I got the guts to voice it, half-way through my convoluted acquisition, he would wink at me and remark something, which, knowing as I knew him would be very caustic to put me in a reaction mode and yet at the same time be very funny to almost make me ignore. And I would be torn at what he was actually intending. No hand holdings, no cuddling, nothing further. Only solace was, ‘You know how I feel. Take care’ sms that he would send me everyday night that kept me going. All the while, the shameless belly residents were very hyper and high at those times when he was beside me, almost touching.
As it were like that, after a few months, one normal and boring day, we were zooming through the town in the ‘flying’ train. We were settled in the seats that offered the best view of the town below and also the symphony of movements inside. As per habit I was rambling on about my work anecdotes, plans for the later-that-day and all other sundry nonsense, when he suddenly held my left hand and turned it over and pressed lightly at the place where my ring-finger joined the palm. Tingling-ly electric! Abruptly I lost thread of what I was saying. The wretched butterflies were all strutting around lending me almost incoherent.
Very gently, in a voice very new to me, he asked ‘Can we be?’. Raising our entwined hands to signal between us he finished ‘Always?’
Mere minutes or hours could have passed and I wouldn’t have known. I had eyes for no one else. He waited patiently, never relaxing his hold on my finger.
Finally, now that I can, I put my cheeks on his shoulders, and asked inaudibly ‘Promise?’
He pressed our hands to his heart and said ‘Promise!’