“I Love You”, he said with all the courage he could muster, his heart pounding so loud that he imagined his words to be lost in the thumping sound.
“What????!!!!”, she said. Her reaction wasn’t quite unexpected.
“I am not expecting anything in return…I just wanted to let you know of my feelings.”, he blurted.
“Forget expecting or not expecting anything..do you even *know* what you just said? How can you even *say* that to me!!! Just how long has it been since you have known me?”, she asked.
“Errr.. not even a month”.
“Do you even *know* what love is?”, she asked rhetorically.
“Have *you* experienced it?”, he volleyed.
“What do you think I am talking abt then?”. His sinking feeling sank even further. He knew he couldn’t expect her to love back. He knew that she was never to be his. But for her to have loved and been loved by someone else was more painful than he had imagined.
“Well, I think of you all the time. You are on my mind whatever I may try to think of and I can just not let you out of my system, however hard I have tried.”.
“Oh! So that’s what you think love is? That’s called infatuation for your kind information. Go take a vacation for a month and let see if you still remember me when you come back”.
“No, it’s NOT infatuation”, he vehemently added..steaming up a little. “I know that it *is* love. And it is unconditional even if it is unrequited”.
“If I could, I would have married you”, he added.
“Whaaaaat??????!!!!!!”. Her reaction was again not unexpected at all.
“Marriage? My GOD! You have really gone far in this imaginary world of yours.. haven’t you?”
“Well to tell you the truth.. I even thought about the kids…”, he added sheepishly as he saw her almost choke and her eyes pop out in reaction.
“Gosh!! Please stop it! I have had more than the-number-of-shocks-I-can-take-in-a-day”, she spluttered.
And they both laughed. It had lightened the obvious tension a little.
“But seriously.. what’s wrong with you? Have you forgotten that I am at least two years elder to you?”, she came back to the point soon. “What is this that you have suddenly started. Ok, the joke was funny.. now can we get back to work. This has been one hell of a tea break!”
“The age difference doesn’t matter to me.”, he justified. “I know what love is. It is *me* who has been experiencing it so strongly. I can do anything for you. You can try me. Go ahead”, he added.
“Oh please! Stop being filmy and all that. What you feel is simply infatuation. Mark my words. Grow up. And to reiterate, had you really been in “love”, you wouldn’t have made these silly claims of doing *anything* etc.”. She was beginning to lose her patience. Seeing his pained expression she added hurriedly, “Look.. ok.. I know how it feels.. I have been through it myself..it’s not as helpless as you seem to think.. not being able to think of anything else except me.. believe me I am not half as nice as what you are imagining me to be. You are looking at me through rose tinted glasses. Wake up to reality and it won’t be so difficult any more. That’s the way it is.”
“Well, to me you seem as nice as what I think. Anyway I am not forcing myself on you or anything. Just wanted to express myself and I did”.
“Why are you smiling to yourself?”, she heard her husband asking. It broke her reverie and she tried to disguise the startle as her own movement.
“Oh…err.. nothing.. just that someone looked familiar…”, her voice trailed off as she saw that guy from her yesteryears going with a lady, a possessive arm around her and a sprightly looking kid prancing around them.