Say You Say Me

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Journey of a lifetime between two souls in search of each other.

Submitted: April 03, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 03, 2012

A A A

A A A


Love, like river will cut a new path when it meets an obstacle-Crystal Middlemas

4 hours 37 minutes 28 seconds before Dinner

Present Day

‘Yes, it’s Imran Khan, I-M-R-A-N.. yes there’s only one ‘a’. Thank you, yes and its dinner for two.’ Imran cancelled his call. He doesn’t want to be late, particularly tonight. He’s hoping everything will be going as planned. He stood infront of his wardrobe thinking of what to wear now. All his t-shirts are either too crumpled or have mounted themselves in the laundry basket. He glanced at his growing laundry. His bushy eyebrows arched upwards. He wiped his face with his hand hoping that closing his eyes would somehow make them disappear. Not… *groan. He searched for a ‘neat’ tee to wear. Suddenly his eyes closed in on a t-shirt that seemed to have found its hideout at the back of the cabinet. He took the t-shirt out.

“Ulysses, Free Spirit” the words were imprinted on it. He bought it during the five days that he spent on a tour, at Greece. He went for the tour because he wanted some time off..to see if he had fitted in the turn of events, personally and spiritually; of course those five days, which ultimately resulted into tonight. Imran wore the t-shirt and went over to his t.v cabinet and took a key-chain that he had kept stashed behind the piles of DVDs. “Live For Today Frm, Leha” the engraved key-chain spelt out. It seems like yesterday, he laid on the floor while still holding the key-chain, a dove shaped marbled enigma Imran remembered her words as if it was yesterday. He let out his trademark goofy grin; he leaned his head on the sofa and rubbed the key-chain with his thumb, perhaps hoping she would “phooff” out of that key-chain like a genie. He closed his eyes, seeming to remember what took place 3 month’s ago.

Surprise at Santorini

3 months ago

Santorini is a volcanic island of the south-Aegan region; just a short stop off Milos and Cyclade, home of Artemis the queen of hunting, keeper of the deers and the resider of the moon. Greece had a warm, rich feeling about it. Its country is laden rich with legend and is an exotic locale. He had booked a room in Hephaestus Inn, Oia village at the top of a hill overlooking the great blue ocean and rightfully complimented by the blue thatched roof and white stone houses and inns and hotels throughout Santorini Island. It portrayed itself as a moving art, one which seems to embrace the throes of modernity while basking comfortably in a laid back ancient legendry lifestyle. With a multitude of tourist pouring in the island, it is no wonder that almost every household seems to offer a variety of services to the prospective clients. Imran was wide eyed when he saw the swaggering culture of this part of the Europe, casual is totally IN; fresh sea food everywhere. Music filled the air wherever he goes and laughter and fun seemingly their identity in this part of the Greece. Santorini is indeed heaven on earth.

He had pre-booked his stay in the Inn when he arranged a short trip of sorts to Greece and that will continue to France and finally to Holland. Even he does not know why he chose those places. But he felt that his journey is going to be the greatest journey that he had ever embarked.

He first saw her in the lobby; when he was waiting for his room. She was lost deep in thoughts, she was wearing a white pants with a beautiful light blue top. He can’t seem to take his eyes off her when she seemingly walked passed him; hands crossed infront of her, she seemed to glide pass him He felt a connection there. He couldn’t explain it but his heart told him that his supposed journey and she are intertwined. He was disheartened a bit when he noticed she didn’t even bother to take note of him.

Imran went to his room. A traditional Greek setting greeted him. He tipped the porter and plopped himself on the bed. The bed seemed to creak beneath the force. Imran casually felt the legs of the bed if they are still in position. They are, well that’s all to worry for now. Soon he was off to dreamland, catching fluffy cupids who are busy running around in his sleep. Just then he noticed a familiar figure creeping up to him, he froze confused. When he turned around there she was, hands folded in the familiar position infront of her, but there’s a small change in this scenario. She smiled at him, his bushy eyebrows arched up in surprise and then he let out his trademark goofy grin at her. She seemed very familiar in that instance.

She neared him, mouthing off something but he couldn’t hear the words. He was puzzled. Just then he heard the phone ring. He awoke from his dream and lazily picked up the call to answer. ‘Hello?!’

When the doors of perception is opened, things become clear to us as it is..infinite- Doors

3 hours 43 minutes and 53 seconds before Dinner

Present Day

‘Hello, didi?! Yes, Leha here. I’m fine, nothing to worry.’ ‘Oh come on didi, not again. I will be going for the dinner, no I’m not nervous. It’s not like I never had dinner..’ she teased . ‘Let me go through tonight, then you can talk all you can about your shopping with your friend’s brother’s working colleague’s former college mate okay?!’ ‘Phew!’ Leha lied on the bed, thinking. his voice ringed in her ears, Leha closed her eyes. Well everything that happened in her life had affected her to face tonight, but his words were embedded in her heart. ‘What then?’ She questioned herself… and thought back to the trip 3 months ago.

Surprise at Santorini II

This journey was no mean feat for Leha thanks to her exams and her sister asking the dreaded question on regular intervals in her seemingly ordinary-glitch free life. She remembered back those moments half-amused ‘What do you think of Laila’s friend?’ ‘Who is Laila?’ Leha was puzzled. ‘Arre, Laila, Ashraf’s cousin?!’ Leha blinked, ‘Who’s Ashraf?’ Her sister huffed, ‘The one we saw on Nazrah’s nikaah?! Don’t tell me you don’t know who Nazrah is. ‘Of course I know who Nazrah is… Ashraf’s cousin right?!’ she smirked. Her sister threw the paper at her. Well Laila is looking for an alliance, she smiled. Leha looked at her sister surprised.I know you are desperate to see me settle down. I never thought you were this desperate. Well who need’s to be the groom? Leha questioned mischievously.

Her sister gave an icy look to Leha. If looks could damage, Leha would have been seriously injured in that glance. ‘Laila is looking for an alliance for her best friend’s brother,’ her sister started. Leha felt tired with the topic being opened once again. ‘You know what; I’m tired of this talk. I just don’t want to settle down when I have yet to see the world, to experience life.’ Her sister looked at her intently. Leha looked elsewhere while she spoke. ‘Marriage is a huge thing you know, it just doesn’t happen to anyone. There has to be a certain something to connect.’ ‘You can connect all you want after you get married,’ her sister laughed, but seeing that Leha isn’t laughing she straightened out and listened while Leha continued. ‘I haven’t seen anything in the world, I have yet to taste what it meant to live, please don’t misunderstand me, I have been living here in US away from family and all. But I have come here for study, and I haven’t even finished that. Leha shook her head, at loss for words to explain what is that she really needs.

‘I want to be able to take the plunge after experiencing rite of passage. This journey that I intend to undertake, I want to weigh in the good and bad and reflect upon the choices that have made me who I am.’ I want to know that I’m really, really ready for this.’ Leha continued, her voice had an urgency and desperation that her sister had never heard throughout the time they had been together. She gently stroked Leha’s hair and smiled. ‘If a break is what you need, then take it.’ Leha looked at her sweetly surprised. ‘Really?’ her sister laughed. ‘Arre it’s not like we see a guy now and you get married and start to sing with him in the Alps twenty minutes later.’ Leha laughed at the thought. ‘I wouldn’t mind that personally.’ Her sister gave a gentle nudge. ‘Dream on.’

‘Go ahead and embark on your trip, life itself is one mysterious journey. Step ahead knowing full well that when you find yourself at the edge of a cliff, you know your next step into the unknown leaves you either with an alternate route or the ability to fly.’ Leha looked at her sister surprised. ‘You are so philosophical tonight; jeejhaji didn’t buy a gift for your birthday?’ Her sister eyed her sister mischievously. ‘No, he brought me a humongous three in one vacuum cleaner, and he’s doing the cleaning.’ ‘Aah… no wonder…’ Leha guffawed.

Chance meeting??

Santorini 3 months ago

Imran stayed up the whole evening resting and fiddling with his ipod. He was listening to ‘Sweet Child Of Mine’ as he turned to look outside, he chanced upon the lonely figure staring out overlooking the sea by the balcony. He was curious; who was she? What is she doing here? Is she alone here? Why is she looking forlorn? But more than that he was curious to know why he is extremely interested to know about her. He stepped outside to his balcony adjoining hers. She didn’t stir, ‘Hi.’ She looked at the source of the voice. Their gaze locked for the first time. Her gaze was of a melting pot of emotion, he had never seen a stronger emotion emitting from someone. It was the same girl that had walked passed him in the lobby earlier today. They did not know how long they were standing there eyeing each other.

Then her voice found him, ‘Hi’ Imran let out his goofy grin, ‘I guess it’s a very cliché word to say to a girl you hardly know but have we met before?’ he tried his luck. Leha carved a half smile. ‘Very cliché indeed, and no I don’t think so’ she turned away from him. His interest now piqued; he tried again. ‘Nice view na?!’ She didn’t bother to look at him, instead she nodded a yes. Then as smoothly as the breeze, she went inside, taking his glance over her as she entered her room. Before she closed the door, she spoke, a cool exterior hid behind a mask of emotion, her voice silky ‘Good night.’

The morning after…..

The next morning Imran woke to a thumping music in his ears, he tried ignoring it first, but the music grew on him, ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno…lo mein aa gaya….’ Imran’s vision still blurred under his sleeping eyes, he woke up and tried to see where the music is coming from. He opened the front door and listened intently, it’s coming from next door. He pressed his ear to the next door, there’s a female voice singing along the song. He strained to hear some more, suddenly he lost his balance. ‘Whoa….’ Imran nearly tripped to the floor. Standing infront of him is her in a beautiful Chinese collared emerald dress and draped with a blue-ish green flowy skirt; she looked like a jewel…from the sea. She however seemed surprised and agitated at seeing him, ‘What are doing?’ ‘I’m a…. exercising,’ Imran tried to cover. Leha looked at him shocked, ‘In your boxers?’ He looked down. Yes, he was wearing nothing but boxers, still he continued ‘Well, I don’t want my shirt to get sweaty’ ‘Where’s your pants?’ Imran fidgetted his hair. ‘Outside.’ Leha suppressed her smirk, ‘What is it doing outside without you being in it?’ Imran was lost for words, his face and chest was now flushed in crimson, still he managed. ‘Drying’ he nodded nonchalantly. She pursed her lips seemingly nodding at his explanation. ‘Well good for you, if you’d excuse me, I’d like to go outside.’ Imran blurted urgently, ‘where?’ She seemed surprised but her face betrayed her thoughts again as she masked her emotions once again, ‘That is something I believe I don’t need to tell you. If you’d please; excuse me.’

Imran had a quick bath and dressed up in his most cleanest pair of jeans he could find with a canary yellow snoopy t-shirt with a running shoes for his trip. Then he took off with his brand new Nike back pack as he decided to have a walkabout at Pyragos, the highest village in Santorini with a Venetian castle. He heard from his innkeeper that the speciality in Pyragos is the sunset viewing. It’s certainly is a breathtaking sight.

Pyragos

As he walked he went to Oia village once more and had his breakfast at one of the local’s shop, a Grecian delicacy of Salmon and olive. He was literally stuffing himself with the food and the latte they served must be tasted to be believed. Occasionally his eyes roamed around his surroundings to see if he catches sight of her, but to no avail.

Leha sat near the edge of the cliff overlooking the city of Santorini, and the big blue ocean. Her mind was happy and sad at the same time. Happy because she had come for a break from the mundane everyday life of hers and sad because once back home, her apparent singlehood would be a matter of past. It’s not like her sister had arranged for an alliance now. But the possibility to settle down would be much higher after this. More so she seems agitated at the sight of this new stranger. Leha was confused and afraid at the very thought of this “stranger.’’ She noticed him when she saw him in the lobby itself, but she pretended she didn’t saw him, it happened again when she noticed that he’s stays beside her room, but this morning, ‘he spied on me?’ Leha shook her head, She put on her shades and made a pillow of her Nike backpack and lied on the surface to enjoy the view. She had her thermos ready filled with a newly purchased mocha as company.

But before she dozed off, her mind asked if that stranger had anything to do with this journey all together. ‘Hi, you were sleeping?!’ a voice was ringing inside of Leha’s head. She tried to ignore it but the voice persisted again, each time the same question was forwarded louder than the previous time. Leha could barely open her eyes. Sitting beside her was the same 'stranger' who obviously had decided to perch himself straight next to her when seemingly there’s obviously 30,789 square feet of nothingness all over that cliff for views. But this “stranger’’ obviously decided to do otherwise. She sighed and tried to stifle a yawn coming out of her. He in turn gave her a two raised bushy eyebrows obviously amused and pleased at the sight he is seeing now. Leha quickly settled down. ‘Don’t you have a better picnic spot? I kinda booked this place.’ Leha told him wearily obviously noticing the umbrella that he had placed to shade him and her in the spot. Imran noticing that she had observed the huge shade, mumbled ‘I don’t believe that the Grecian government had sold this spot for you. Nevertheless, you are welcome, the shade is too big for me alone anyway…’ Leha looked at him exasperated a bit ‘I was going to say thanks…’ ‘I know…’ Imran grinned.

‘Imran’ he offered his hands. Leha looked at him, slightly embarrassed. This is supposedly their 3 or 4 time meet and they didn’t even exchange their names yet. ‘Leha.’ She smiled at him and took his hand. ‘Cookies?’ Imran offered. Leha took it with a thanks. It was very delicious. It was chocolate cookies. ‘Hmmm…..’ Leha let out a soft moan and licked her lips. ‘This is very delicious. Where did you buy it?’ Imran eyed her surprised at the soft moan she let out and sheepishly admitted, ‘I made it.’ Leha’s eyes turned into Petrie dishes. ‘You what?’ He chuckled; his chuckle is low almost like a grunt. ‘I made it.’ He repeated. And he continued. ‘I can cook, I think it’s therapeutic.’ He offered shyly. ‘First time in Greece?’ he asked her. ‘Yes’ she replied. It was almost 3p.m then. Leha’s stomach let out a small grumble. She rubbed her stomach suddenly embarrassed at the sound. Imran laughed, but quickly regained himself. ‘Guess my cookie can’t stop that appetite. He offered her a late lunch at a nearby restaurant there. She accepted that invitation hesitantly. Once they were inside the restaurant. Leha started to eat to her fill. She eyed a blueberry filled pie and began devouring slice after slice of it. They both finished their food early though and had little conversation because mainly because Leha was too focused in eating and Imran chose not to lead her into a conversation.

What if?

Soon they refreshed themselves and walked back to their picnic spot. ‘You missed a spot,’ ‘What?’ Leha didn’t catch him. ‘There,’ Imran pointed. Leha tried to rub it off but still missed the spot. Then Imran helped her to rub it off, a speck of blueberry jam almost at the corner of her lips. He thumbed it away. ‘Thanks’ she mustered softly. ‘You always seem to be lost in thoughts, care to share?’ he began. She looked at him, then chuckled softly. ‘We know each other less than 2 days?!’ and ‘I’m always lost in thoughts?’ ‘Well everytime I see you’ he tried again. ‘Nothing much, I guess I’m always a thinker,’ she gave a tongue in cheek reply.

They came to their picnic spot to find their shade was now missing. Then Leha looked behind them and saw their… well Imran’s shade is hanging pathetically lodged on a tree. Imran groaned at the sight and proceeded to climb the tree to bring it down, then….. ‘creak’ the sound was loud. He had broken the shade and the shade is hanging limp in his hands. ‘Just great’ he lamented loudly. Leha arched her eyebrows in amused observation but chose not to say anything. Imran is now carrying the limp shade in his hands and decided to spread the sheet on the ground. Then he sat on it. ‘See it still is useful.’ ‘Wow, you must be Edison’s protégée.’ Leha deadpanned. ‘Why thank you.’ Imran spoke trying to adjust himself amidst the protruding steels coming out the shade. Leha laughed at the sight.

‘You are working?’ Imran started the question. ‘Well no I’m studying’ ‘Studying what?’ I’m doing Master in Industrial Engineering.’ She replied. ‘So what do you do? Build dams? Houses?’ He questioned her. She drank from her thermos and offered him some before replying, ‘I guess I actually better someone else’s invention; constantly upgrading their work, lame na?’ she laughed. He shook his head. ‘Nah it’s not lame.’ He smiled at her. ‘What do you do?’ she asked him. He smiled sheepishly, something to do with art… haven’t done much yet, once I’m done I’ll be sure to inform you.’ He paused for a while looking out at the scenery infront of him. The sun is a bout to set in, it’s already evening.

‘Why are you being here’ she asked him. ‘I honestly don’t know, I saw you and decided to sit with you,’ he started. She smiled. ‘Actually I meant why you are in Santorini? Any special reason?’ she probed him. ‘I … well wanted some time off to see where my life leads.’ To know that I have chosen right and well all this time,’ he offered. He put the same question to her. Leha breathed in and told him everything from her sister to the matchmaking alliances. He listened intently all the while not butting in. When she finished he asked her ‘This matchmaking thing….what if you find out that your heart belongs somewhere else… what then? She looked at him and managed a reply. ‘It’s not like they are getting me married tomorrow,’ she rolled her eyes. But he was serious, ‘What if you decided to settle down with a guy you seem to like and then halfway down the road you met your… soul mate?’ ‘What would you do?’ he was concerned clearly, Leha could guess it. But there’s something else in his voice that he couldn’t suppress but she couldn’t point out what. ‘I guess I’d chide the guy for coming a child or two too late,’ Leha laughed. Obviously Imran was not laughing so she stopped her mirth. ‘I have never gone to thinking to that extent I guess’ she shrugged.

Then they both watched the sunset in the horizon together. Imran spoke without turning to Leha. ‘What kind of men do you prefer?’ Leha wasn’t thinking when she spoke, the kind that is sensitive, humorous, smart, open minded, focused in life… you know the usual.’ ‘Someone like I could speak about anything and everything and nothing too.’ she nodded. Someone I’m hoping that could…’ she struggled to find the right words. ‘Finish your sentence?’ he asked. She looked at him, ‘yeah… basically who I could sit like this and watch this beautiful creation of the Almighty together for the rest of our lives.’ She spoke as she pointed towards the picturesque scenery painted by the creator amidst the biggest canvas one could ever choose to find; the sky.

Then they both glanced at each other, each not daring to speak for fear of intruding the moment. Then he started, ‘What if your soulmate is somewhere closer to you and you didn’t realise it?’ ‘The one who possesses everything that you asked for?’ he asked softly. Leha continued to watch the sky. ‘I honestly don’t know,’ was all she could reply not knowing what to say. Her eyes glistened at his word. He noticed that, but decided to not to intrude too much. He had spoken enough for today.

Love is a many splendour thing, guised as friendship treated with respect, care for it and watch it grow – Me :P

]2 hours 53 minutes and 14 seconds beforeDinner

Imran’s door bell rang; he went and opened the door to find Imaad standing with his suit picked up from the laundry. ‘Thanks buddy.’ He received it from his friend and as he let him in, Imaad questioned ‘Aren’t you like being all too fast here?’ ‘Imran didn’t turn when he replied, ‘You mean this dinner? I thought I was way too late.’ He chuckled. ‘Yeah but..’ Imaad tried to speak but Imran stopped him. ‘You know sooner or later all that would lead to this, so don’t fret yaar. Geez… you are much more nervous than me’ Imran tried to laugh.

But his heart is saying the same thing to him, ‘Are you taking the right decision here?’ his heart questioned him. Honestly he couldn’t come up with an answer himself

This moment…

Paris

3 months ago

Imran sipped an espresso at the Les Duex Magots Café. It was a beautiful evening, but his thoughts are somewhere else. She doesn’t like me? Is it because I was being such a nosey bugger? Was it my cookies? But she loved my cookies..> he sighed deeply and stroked his stubble, not much though but it was scruffy and it looked like he haven’t shaved for a day. He looked upon a gift he brought for her before he left Santorini. He’s still keeping it in case he might see her again. Imran scoffed at his own optimism. He rubbed his face with his jacket. He tried to focus his attention elsewhere.

He looked around the café for awhile. Wow, a café that brings about literary giants and artistic heroes to the forefront. Ernest Hemingway had been chaperoned in this very café. So was Pablo Picasso, and intellectuals like Simon de Beauvoir to name a few. Imran wondered whether his name would be added soon amongst the list of artists that had graced this café. He smiled a little and finished his espresso and tipped the bearer before leaving for a walk in the city.

Imran had walked for nearly two hours now, visiting the now infamous parts of Paris, and one must add the fact that Paris or locally known as La Ville-Lumiere (City of Lights) simply need to be seen to be believed. He wanted to see the Eiffel Tower, but his feet were killing him so he decided to rest a little before continuing his nocturnal visitation in the City of Romance.

No sooner had he reached the Place de la Concorde, he gasped in awe at the beauty it illuminated. The sheer breath taking image it radiates brought a chill in his spine. He sat at the edge of the fountain, fiddling his fingers into the chilled water and basking in the velvety wind that had brushed him now and again. He took his lighter that he brought in the market and started tossing it around. [Plop] it fell into the fountain. ‘Oh shit!!!’ Imran didn’t think twice before reaching his hand into the fountain. [splash] his jeans and t-shirt had gone wet. It was really an amusing sight to watch his legs dangling in the air and his upper body totally submerged inside the fountain. He got the lighter alright, but when he turned it upside down, it poured water. He sat straight, sighing ever so loudly and shaking his head. He noticed he’s wet. And his hair is dripping. ‘You know, those water aren’t really for drinking’ he looked at the source of the voice.

Heaven gives it’s glimpse to those not in position to look close – Robert Frost

2 hours 12 minutes and 32 seconds before

Dinner

Present Day

Leha stood there, eyeing her dinner dress that was delivered to her apartment. She smiled to herself looking at the exquisite dress that was selected by her sister. her eyes sparkled at the dress. A simple cut, ice blue velvety dress that flowed to the floor. Leha thought to herself. Her mind wandered off even as she took the dress to hang by her cupboard. Her mind trailed off to the morning she left Santorini. She was wrestling with her mind whether to inform the “stranger’’ a smile escaped Leha’s lips before she could stop it.

She never thought that fate had something in store for them when she was in Paris. Leha let out a chuckle. She was taking a walk because her mind isn’t practically resting and just at the Place de la Concorde; and there she saw a pair of legs dangling up in the air, body submerged in the water, it was certainly a funny sight to watch.

Place de la Concorde

Paris

3 months ago

Imran stood up when he heard her comment. Leha was pleasantly shocked when she knew that the dangling legs belonged to the ‘‘interesting stranger’’ she chanced upon in Santorini barely two days earlier. ‘You…’ Leha’s voice trailed off. Imran could not hide his happiness when he saw her… again. ‘Hey…’ was all that he could muster while he slipped both his hands in his jeans pockets, shrugging. ‘You know there are better pools to dip in Paris,’ Leha teased. Imran watched her as he tried to dry his hair with his hands. There she was standing infront of him; hands at her hips, figure hugging black boot cut jeans, topped with somewhat lighter shaded cotton v-neck blouse with hand loomed patterns decorating her blouse. The wind blew softly… slowly uncovering her face from the mask of her hair that danced infront of her moments ago. Imran dropped his back pack.

‘Are you alright? You look as if you had met a ghost..’ Leha coolly glided towards him and helped him pick up his bag. Imran felt the colour rise in his cheeks. It’s ok I can handle it,’ he tried to yank his bag from her hands. But Leha will not have any of it. ‘Dry your hair and do you have anything else to wear?’ She asked him casually as she turned away from him seemingly to check his bag for any extra clothing. ‘A jacket..perfect’ she tossed the jacket to him and left him for some privacy to change his shirt. Well it was an irony considering the fact that they were both in the middle of Paris and practically the middle of the road. But still Imran changed his shirt with the black jacket he kept in his back pack.

Soon Imran caught up with her who was strolling along the road. Out of breath, he ran towards her and thanked her while trying to take his back pack from her. Leha had put both her’s and Imran’s back pack together in one shoulder to maintain her pace. But when he pulled his back pack, her Nike threatened to tear. ‘Wait.’ ‘No I can carry it.’ ‘No you don’t see it.’ ‘Let me…’ “Ziipppppppppp!’’ Leha froze her mouth agape. ‘You tore my bag?! That’s just great… You tore my frickkin’ bag..’ Leha shook her head and lifted her hands in exasperation. Imran stood there with a clumsy look lining his face. ‘Sorry.’ Leha looked at him straight. If looks could kill, Leha’s stare would strangle Imran by now. ‘To think I tried to help you….urgh!!’ she resigned herself from getting mad further. ‘Here you can use mine, Imran offered his Nike back pack empathetically. ‘No.. thank you very much.’ Leha declined his offer and continued to walk.

Imran stood there feeling guilty; his hazel eyes darted around nervously. Leha looked around at him. ‘You are not coming? Want another dip in the pool?’ she deadpanned. Imran looked at her with added interest. He soon joined her for the night stroll. ‘You left without a goodbye..’ he started. Leha looked away uncomfortably. ‘Didn’t want to bother you..’ she spoke softly. Imran stopped in his tracks. ‘Who said you were a bother to me..did I?’ he pointed to his face. She looked at him briefly and shook her head silently. ‘Then..why?’ Leha found herself wetting her lips; at a loss for words. ‘Can we please focus on what’s ahead of us rather than pondering over what we left behind?’ Leha spoke softly. Imran looked at her. ‘You and I.. we both were at Santorini for obvious reasons.. We have both known something about each other.. I guess knowing about each other is hampering both of us to live for this moment.’ ‘This much information…’Leha emphasised with her thumb and index finger nearly touching to show how little… ‘and we need to pour our sorrows out to each other? I don’t think so.’ Leha folded her hands infront of her once again partially to block herself from the chill and partially to hide her tremble from Imran in fear he might take it as a sign of weakness.

Imran gazed at her intently. Then he nodded to her explanation. ‘People were getting so interested to know about other’s sorrow rather than focusing on the happiness that they could help create,’ he added his own musings to hers. Leha looked at him intently then slowly broke into a smile. ‘Then are you ready to live for the moment?’ Imran looked at her quizzically. ‘I guess I could..’ he gave her a very cute boyish grin. They continued their walk in silence while gazing at the city of lights in nighttime. They crossed the French Naval Ministry when Imran took something out of his pocket and offered to Leha. Leha took it silently and found in her hands a dove shaped keychain inscribed with a Greece word. ‘S’Agapo…’ ‘It’s beautiful,’ Leha gushed. ‘I got one for you…’ Leha offered hers to him… “Live for today….Frm Leha’’ Imran took it and smiled amused at their seemingly similar tastes. ‘Thank you’ he replied. They both shared a quick smile.

They strolled along while gazing at Champs-Élysées, a 17th century garden promenade turned avenue connecting the Concorde and Arc de Triomphe. As they walked along Imran suggested that either one of them to sing because all this silence is killing him. Leha arched her eyebrows. ‘You really don’t want me to sing, not unless you want too harm yourself; she said half seriously. ‘In that case how bout a dance anthakshari?’ he suggested. Leha stopped and looked at him. ‘Are you okay?’ ‘Never been better..’ Leha shrugged ‘Aaah what the heck.. ok then..but how do we do this?’ Well you give a dance movement and I guess and vice versa,’ his hazel eyes sparkled. ‘Deal!’

First was Imran’s turn so he rightfully did a moonwalk and twisted and stood on his toes. ‘Wow! I’m impressed, Wacko Jacko,’ Leha answered. ‘Your turn..’ Leha stood thinking for a minute and started her dance, one hand on her hip and the other rightfully pointing to the sky she gyrated to an invisible rhythm. Imran guffawed at the sight.. ‘My, my… Staying Alive, John Travolta.’ He answered as he gimmicked her moves. They both laughed. Imran gave a Shashi Kapoor move, a simple shake of the head with a by-2 step accompanied. ‘Shashi Kapoor’ Leha laughed, that’s easy. Next Leha tried a Rajesh Khanna move.. ‘Imran could barely hold his laughter.. ‘Wham bham thank you ma’am Rajesh Khanna..’ he howled. Then they both spoke the infamous dialogue of Amar Prem in unison.. "Saline water... Pushpa, I hate tears. Inhe ponch dalo [Wipe them]." They both soon laughed at the idiosyncrasy of their action of mimicking cringe worthy dance movements in the dead of the night and spewing out melodramatic dialogues with gusto in an equally amusing result.

As Leha was laughing out loud, just then Imran dropped his bag and approached her and extended his hand. Leha looked at him silently and softly swallowed a lump that was forming in her throat. ‘I can’t seem to give you my yesterdays Leha, they are gone…. long gone. And my tomorrows, I don’t own them myself. Even today, that too is questionable, but I can give you this moment of mine. Would you take it?’ his eyes earnest, he looked at her afraid she might slip away should he pause to even blink. Leha dropped her backpack smiling. ‘I’m most certainly honoured,’ she replied and took his hands. He gave a smile at her and took out his ipod and pressed play.

“Since the moment I spotted you… walking ‘round with the little wings in my shoes….” Leha heard the song and looked at Imran amazed. He smiled and they both know what it meant. He pulled her close and took her hand and held her hand close to his heart while his other hand rested on the small of her back while she hugged his neck while they swayed gently to the music. “But everytime I try to talk to you……… I get tongue tied… turns out everything I say to you… Comes out wrong and never comes out right…’’ She rested her forehead on his chin, rough with heavy stubble while he held her closely never wanting this moment to end. They cling to each other for fear that this night will end soon. But Leha brushed off the thought to live for this very moment. A deserted road, under the street light surrounded by stars and a song to keep them company, both of them closed their eyes enjoying the moment as it unravelled around them. “So I’ll say why don’t you and I get together an’ take on the world and be together forever, Heads we will… Tails we try again….’’

Their steps slowed in a rhythmic pace gently swaying to the music, each not daring to speak in fear that the other would leave the embrace. “So I say why don’t you and I get together forever, fly to the moon and straight on to heaven…. ‘cause without you they’re never gonna let me in….” Imran could almost feel her tense under his embrace, he opened his eyes and saw her frown in fear. He gently blew on her face to take her attention. She opened her eyes and their gazes locked. Their sway almost came to a halt as they savoured the moment seemingly locked in each others arms. “Slowly I begin to realize this is never gonna end…. About the same time you walk by….And I say oh here we go again, oh…So I’ll say why don’t you and I get together an’ take on the world and be together forever, Heads we will… Tails we try again….” Imran ever so gently lowered his head closer to her and looked at her, his moist big hazel eyes drinking at the sight of her and she returned his gaze. They both remembered the word and Leha fiddled with his hair and involuntarily found her hands cupping his neck before leaning closer…she closed her eyes as Imran closed the gap they seemingly shared. A thousand and one sensations soared through both of them in the few briefest moments their lips met. A soft chaste kiss, not hurried. given in freewill, taken in the utmost faith. A moment that will be cherished by both souls for as long as they shall live. “So I say why don’t you and I get together, fly to the moon and straight on to heaven…. ‘cause without you they’re never gonna let me in….”

Love…… is a moment that lasts forever – Julie Wittey

1 hour 57 minutes and 32 seconds before

Dinner

Imran came out of his shower feeling fresh but somewhat anxious. He glanced at his wristwatch that he had put on his table. Almost up now. He quickly dressed up in the suit that Imaad had apparently picked up for him a few hours ago. An all black ensemble, a double breasted formal suit, a silky black necktie topping as a classy finish to an already astounding, Emerildo Zegna satined shirt and suit. Imran sat down on his chair to put on his shoes. He remembered back to the moment at Paris. He sighed heavily and checked his hair slight stubble and wallet and cell phone and before he reached for the door, he grabbed the dove shaped key-chain and put it in his breast pocket before leaving the room and promptly locking his door.

Viva la Paris

3 months ago

A faint sound of a police car jolted both of them from their embrace. Leha broke off the kiss first, a little shocked and a little flustered; she combed her hair with her fingers not sure how to handle the situation at hand. Imran stood rooted there, a little dazed by the sensation that has now engulfed him wholly. Still he remained rooted at where he was and watched her pacing away from him. Unable to stay in the situation any longer, Leha bade him goodbye and proceeded to take her back pack which was now torn and a little damp after having dumped in the ground a few minutes ago. She proceeded to walk away from him, Imran tried to stop her but before he could continue, Leha stopped him with her hands motioning in the air. Without turning towards him, the voice spoke almost desperately, ‘You gave me your moment, I… I accepted it. [Silence] ‘Thank you… and goodnight’ her voice was soft now. Imran did not chase after her; he felt that was not the end of their meeting. But still he glanced at the key chain which Leha gave him as a gift and rubbed it. he closed his eyes and made his wish. When he opened them, he saw a lonely figure turning towards the end of the road away from him.

The words are lovely, Dark & Deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep… - Robert Frost

1 hour 46 minutes 21 seconds before

Dinner

Leha put on her pearl droplets, the final accessory to don in order to compliment her evening dress and to accompany her beautiful, blue stoned locket in a platinum chain. Leha looked in the mirror; she had let her hair down, her mane fall to her shoulder effortlessly. Her slight make up enhanced her features. She is satisfied with what she saw in the mirror, her lips let out a half smile. She breathed in deeply picked up her purse and proceeded for the door, ‘Oh shoot,’ Leha chided herself for forgetting, she rushed back in and took the dove shaped key-chain and put it in her purse before leaving her apartment.

An evening to remember- Amsterdam

3 months ago

Imran stood standing in front of the Institute of Architecture of Amsterdam with a hand seemingly blocking the sun away. ‘Wow!’ he marvelled at the modern art that stood majestically over him. he thought to himself.

He roamed the streets of Amsterdam a little more. He had brought his lunch with him so he could have tour of sort while enjoying his food. He crossed the canals and made his way across the ‘leaning houses’ as they were dubbed before deciding to end his day in the infamous garden that made everyone talking; the Vondelpark. Located within a walking distance from the Van Gogh and the Stedelijk Museums, it is the largest green area in the city. He opened his map and headed towards Vondelpark and he reached there in no time. Imran stood reading about the history of the park.

This relevant place in Holland's capital was planned by the architect L.D. Zocher, and by 1865 it had opened its doors for the people to enjoy the ponds and stroll around the 8 original hectares of land. A committee was formed in 1864 with the prospect of creating a public park and the design was established by Zocher and his son, who chose the English style. Vistas and pathways were some of the elements incorporated to create an illusion of a natural landscape, which at first received the name of Nieuwe Park. It was not until 1867 that the word Vondelpark was used, due to a statue of the Dutch poet Joost van den Vondel placed in the garden.” he thought to himself and walked further inside.

Imran opened his lunch bag and proceeded to munch a bagel before proceeding to have a walkabout. he thought to himself. ‘Well I’m certainly grateful for that,’ he smirked. He continued to walk until he spied upon a beautiful bridge. He decided to take a few stills from there. he thought to himself. Just as he was walking towards the bridge, he noticed a forlorn figure leaning on the railings and looking out.

As Imran was walking slowly towards the lonely figure cutting a solemn image overlooking the bridge, the figure leisurely turned its gaze towards him. Imran stopped dead in his track, his eyes widened; he couldn’t help thanking the Almighty for this. ‘Small world huh?!’ Imran grinned. Leha who stood leaning on the railing stood straight; facing him, one hand in her hips, standing slightly, she tossed a peppermint gum to him, ‘small world’ she repeated after him, her eyes sparkled but she maintained a cool composure throughout it all.

‘How did you..?’ he started but stopped immediately when she frowned, and arched her eyebrows. ‘No pasts Imran’ she chided him playfully with a lopsided grin. Imran held up his hand in mock surrender. They both laughed then quickly regained their composure. He soon joined her to look over the sight over the bridge. After a few minutes Imran spoke first, ‘I know I’d meet you again.’ Leha looked at him, amused and a little embarrassed at his words. She smiled but remained silent. Imran felt completely at ease with both of them silent. The silence they seemingly shared seemed to enhance their closeness. ‘I was kind of hoping the same too..’ her little voice found him caught unaware. He glanced at her a little shocked at her confession but soon smiled warmly. They both stood there awhile longer before Leha asked him, ‘You are hungry?’ Imran shook his head. ‘Not yet, but I have bagel to whet my appetite though, he took the bagel which was now looked smudgy and pathetically scrawny. ‘Is that something you put inside your mouth? That’s so gross’ Leha looked mortified when Imran offered her one. He simply shrugged and took a bite. Leha felt queasy looking at that. ‘Please spare me those..’ she said wishing she would never have one in this lifetime.

Then they both started to walk around the park. They hardly spoke but they matched their pace and kept glancing at each other aware that their meeting this time had taken a slightly different route after the ‘meet’ in Paris. Just then Imran stopped in his track and turned to Leha. ‘Close your eyes’ he said. ‘What? Why’ Leha was confused. ‘Just do as I say.’ ‘Imran.. why… ah well’ she resigned to herself and closed her eyes. He is now gently leading her somewhere. ‘Ok open your eyes..’ ‘Just what is going on?’ ‘Open your eyes..’ he insisted again. Leha gasped at what she saw. ‘Imran they are…’

‘I spied on them when I was having a walkabout earlier. Thought you would love it.’ He offered sheepishly. Leha felt herself blush. She looked at him, momentarily lost in his soft hazel eyes. ‘Imran they are beautiful..’ she said finally. ‘Not as much as you,’ he winked. Leha felt herself flushed some more. She quickly looked down to avoid his gaze. Her heart was practically doing a double take. She laughed nervously. ‘That’s a very sweet thing to say.’ ‘Only the truth.’

They both continued their journey after taking a few photographs around the park. But when Imran wanted to take her pictures, Leha stopped him and somehow Imran did not want to force her so he let it be as it is. The next 2 hours they spent together was spent discussing about the architectural splendidness of the renaissance Europe, history of canal irrigation, Roman conquest, tintin comic strips, why Charlie Brown never grew up beyond the age of 5 and what really ticks a tick. They laughed, argued, agreed, enjoyed, and most of all relished their time spent together. Leha finally broke the conversation by declaring that her holiday is coming to an end. Her flight back ‘home’ is in 3 hours. Imran insisted to follow her to the airport. Leha didn’t budge first but seeing Imran’s determination she gave in after making him agree that he should not ask where she is headed, a supposed pact they agreed mutually in living for the ‘moment’.

It was almost 7 p.m when they reached the airport. Imran and Leha got out of their taxi and stood infront of the Schiphol International Airport. Neither of them moved out of their place while Leha seemingly tried to adjust her Nike back pack in which she had put in fastened using diaper pins. Imran noticed that and Leha laughed softly, ‘Had to do something about it..’ she shrugged. They both leaned on the railing outside the airport. Leha still has a full 2 and ½ hour more. Sighing heavily both were at lost at what to say. ‘Will I be able to see you again? He asked her. Leha wasn’t sure herself. ‘I honestly don’t know.’ Then she turned to him and said, ‘Imran I think you should leave now.’ His eyes widened but before he could say anything she continued, ‘It’s already hard for me…’ she wet her lips, seemingly trying to find the best word to describe it. It’s hard for me as it is.. please don’t make it any more harder for me.’ Her eyes glistening, she briefly looked up at him. Imran’s heart sank. his heart raced out a thousand words to him. He shook his head, and looked at her.

‘I’ll leave after you walked safely inside.’ He said it, heartbroken he chided himself for letting it her way. She proceeded to take a few paces towards the airport when she heard the song… “Tum ko bhi hai khabar… Mujko bhi hai phata… Ho raha hai judaa….Dono ka raasta…”. She spotted where the song was coming from. A cab is waiting for passenger and seemingly the driver had put the song a bit loud till it spilled out for the public’s ears. Her heart felt weak.. yet still she continued her walk. “Dur jaake bhi mujhse tum meri yaadon mein rehna….. Kabhi alvida naa kehna… Kabhi alvida naa kehna…. Kabhi Alvida naa kehna….” Hot tears were flowing freely from her eyes. She was afraid that if she stopped she would break down. Imran watched her moving slowly towards the airport. The song did not escape him too. Jitni khi khusiyaa… Sab kho chuki hai… Bas ek gham hai ki jaata nahi…. Samjha ke dekha behla ke dekha...Dil hai ki chain isko aata nahi…” Leha stopped walking; her heart was feeling heavier by the minute.

She sobbed quietly and dropped her back pack before turning around. Imran stood where he was standing when she left him; by the railings and looked at her, his eyes glistened but obviously he was trying hard not to show his hurt. She came towards him half running –half walking and he held out his hand. She jumped up at him and he scooped her up and held her closely. She was now sobbing into the hollows of his neck while he gently hushed her. “Aarzoo hai ki hai angaarai…. Aag hai kab aankhon se behna…. Kabhi alvida naa kehna… Kabhi alvida naa kehna... Kabhi alvida naa kehna…” They held on to each other for a few more minutes before Imran released his grip slowly on her. Before turning around Leha gently caressed his face with her thumb and he gently took her hands and kissed the inside of her palms. There was hardly any need for words here, even if there was it would sure felt wasted. For a moment even the breeze gently lulled into them embracing their private moments and kept solemn when they parted.

Leha sighed before walking back to her back pack and took it in a single stride without breaking her pace and vanished into the airport while Imran stood watching outside. Then he slowly turned around and proceeded towards the city to somewhat spend the remainder of his tour, his heart a shadow of what it been a few days ago.

Love is strong yet delicate. It can be broken. To truly love is understand this. To be in love is to respect this – Stephen Packer

O hour 10 minutes and 12 seconds before

Dinner

Leha sat at the reserved table. Thankfully, she was early today. The waitress approached her to take order but she decided to order when her ‘date’ arrived. She sat there looking aimlessly at the people who are seemingly enjoying company. Her stomach churned, she sighed in anxiousness. She sat there amidst the crowd while looking at the key-chain that he gave. “S’Agapo” she asked herself. Just then she noticed a pair of legs walking towards her table. It stopped right infront her. ‘Sorry to keep you waiting’ Leha looked up. ‘It’s okay.’ She smiled. ‘Please no formalities, have a seat Firdaus.’

You know you are in love, when you see the world in her eyes and her eyes everywhere in the world – David Levesque

0 hour 8 minutes and 34 seconds

DINNER hour

The restaurant was swarmed by people. Imran went inside in a hurry. He scanned the room briefly before spotting her. He waved slightly to her and proceeded towards the table. ‘Sorry, no place to park’ he offered apologetically. ‘That’s o.k Imran.’ Samiah smiled at him. Imran took his seat and called the waiter. ‘Have you ordered?’ ‘Actually no, I was waiting for you,’ she spoke gently. Imran apologised again for the delay and asked her to place her orders first and then he ordered.

They had sat there eating their dinner while listening to the infamous jazz band of New Orleans playing ‘Dainty Lady.’ Imran had engaged in small talk with Samiah. As they were listening to the band, Samiah tried to ask Imran a question. ‘Why do you agree for this date?’ Imran looked at Samiah, ‘I’m not sure.’ He shrugged. She smiled at him, ‘You know we have been like friends forever and suddenly both our family are trying to fix this ‘date’ between us and we actually agreed to it.’ ‘It feels weird, even downright absurd if you ask me,’ she laughed while shaking her head all the while focusing her eyes on the jazz band. Imran looked away sighing not sure what to say now, his mind drifted back to Leha once more.

Softly I murmur against the wind, hoping it carries my yearning of thee – Me J

0 hour 25 minutes 23 seconds DINNER hour

‘Finally I had to break away from the patient after I checked on his chest and throat x-rays because he was pretty sure the aliens have planted a spying devise there,’ Firdaus continued. Leha tried to look interested, but her look is failing her. She secretly wished that this date would end sooner. Just then his phone rang. ‘Excuse me a moment,’ he went away from the table to answer it. His face turned solemn. ‘Leha, I’m sorry but I have to go, emergency.’ Firdaus spoke. No problem, some other time then, she half smiled. Soon after Firdaus left, Leha left too. She was about to leave for her apartment when she realised that it is fairly early so she decided to have a walkabout by the pier.

Imran led Samiah outside the restaurant. ‘Thanks for the dinner Imran.’ Samiah spoke softly. ‘Hey now, what are friends for?!’ he nudged her gently. ‘Well there’s a cab Samiah, are you sure you don’t want a lift?’ ‘Yes, sure Imran thanks’ she winked before giving him a hug and a peck on his cheek. ‘Goodbye and take care Immu’ she said before getting in the cab. He waved goodbye at her and proceeded towards his car before deciding to have a walk first.

He walked a little while before walking down the stairs towards the pier 39 overlooking the bridge. He then stood watching the night unfold infront of him. He fished out from his coat pocket the key-chain that Leha gave him when he noticed a figure walking towards him. He could only figure from the silhouette that it was a woman. He pretended he didn’t take note and was about to leave when he caught sight of a glimpse, of what maybe… ‘Leha?!’

Leha jumped when someone called out her name in the dark, she looked ahead and she noticed a silhouette, he was standing in the shadow. But the voice… she looked again. Alas the figure stepped into the light. Like a blaze in darkness, like a fire shrouded in the shadows, Imran stood infront of her, in a black ensemble, his soft hazel eyes widened, his face surprised, contented, happy all rolled into one to have met her…. again. Imran saw her from head to toe, bedecked in the icy blue dress, the night effects complimenting her looks further.

Let me face the world, let me face the tyrannies of the traitor’s heart, let me not meet your gaze, for I fear I’ll fall apart – Me ;)

0 hour 43 minutes 37 seconds DINNER hour

They stood there gazing at each other. Finally Imran found his voice. ‘How are you?’ She nodded too overwhelmed to speak. ‘You?’ she finally asked. He smiled, ‘Good.’ He stood there loosening his necktie. ‘What are you doing here?’ he asked again. She looked at him. ‘I live here now.’ Imran and Leha felt strangely uncomfortable by the silence. ‘Leha,’ he started. ‘Had a date?’ Leha questioned him before he could continue. Imran nodded. ‘How did it go?’ Leha’s heart sank a little. ‘The food was fine, my friend I and enjoyed it a lot.’ Leha looked at him. They shared a smile. ‘Found your shehazad yet? Leha couldn’t answer. She looked down at her feet, while fiddling with the leaves that had fallen near her. Imran was trying to figure out why he couldn’t tell her that he couldn’t go on with the date because she had been occupying his mind. Or for that matter he wouldn’t go out with anyone because she was the only one that he keeps thinking off. But she standing infront of him, standing absolutely indifferent, masked once again, all hope drained off him. his mind contemplated a thousand possibilities before he grew tired of that. ‘It’s getting late, you should be getting back home Leha.’ With that he bid adieu and proceeded to leave the place.

Suddenly she remembered, ‘Wait, Imran the key-chain you gave me..’ Imran turned and looked at her. ‘What was written in there? I always forgot to ask you. What was written there?’ Suddenly something inside Imran snapped. All inhibition threw itself to the wind. He WILL say what he wants to say to her. For just this moment she WILL listen to him. ‘You want to know what was written?’ Imran asked; his voice low. ‘S’Agapo; right?!’ ‘Yes.’ He proceeded to walk towards her, slowly and steadily. He was by now standing infront of her, just a little over 2 feet away from her. ‘I love you.’ Leha froze. ‘S’Agapo’ it means ‘I love you.’ ‘You want to know why I choose that key-chain for you?!’ Because I want you to know that I love you. I love you the moment I set my eyes on you, I love you when we sat staring into the sunset. I love you when you stood watching me in Paris. I love you when we kissed. I love you when you accepted that ‘moment’ I offered to you. I love you when I saw you in Amsterdam again. I love you in those times and in between all these moments. I love you for your memories. I love how you made me feel, make me feel and continue to make me feel, standing here looking at me.

Leha stood infront of him, mouth agape eyes widened not sure of what to say, what to do. ‘And I’ll be damned sure I’d love you till the ends of my time. How am I going to convince you that ours was not a chance meeting, maybe the first is, 2nd meet it was an accident , 3rd meet was lucky but now Leha.. 4th meet is destiny.’ He walked over to her and held her hands bringing it close to him. ‘I love you, I want to share many more moments with you, till I age and die and I want you to know at the end of your time without an unflinching trust that I love you so very much.’

[Silence, waves colliding softly by the pier is the only sound there now] ‘Leha..’ Leha didn’t know how long was she standing there looking at him, hearing those words coming out from him like a force had managed to dig deep in him and bring out the hidden depths of him to surface. ‘Leha…’ ‘Huh?!’ her voice was barely a whisper compared to his deep heartfelt burst. ‘Marry me…’ Leha nearly fainted when she heard him. ‘Imran...’ He was now holding her tightly in his arms, his soft hazel peepers locking eyes with hers, now moist with emotion. She wanted to say a million things, but alas she could say only one thing. ‘Yes’ Imran looked at her. It was his turn to be surprised. He hugged her close. Leha then broke the embrace and looked at his eyes ‘Imran.’ ‘Hmmh?!’ he stroked her hair lovingly. ‘I love you too, very much.’ They both smiled and this time their embrace was strong and lingering, for they both know this will last a lifetime.

FIN


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