This story is about how long distance relationships can work and what is really needed is only mutual trust and patience.
The train had stopped at the Nagpur station. She had very clear memories of spending some precious minutes with him.
It had been six long years. It was a very long time period for her to patiently wait for him. Things might have changed since then. He might have found someone else. He even might have forgotten her. Maybe he was not coming to meet her also. She was very afraid. Afraid of seeing the change that she might not be able to gulp down her throat. She still remembered his oval shaped face with his favourite navy blue glasses and those well shaped teeth giving her always a million dollar smile. Suddenly she got reminded of someone's quote.
"Don't expect anything from anyone. Just do your work with full dedication and perseverance. You will surely get what you want. "
But that is not how relationships work. The weighing balance must weigh equal on both sides. The needle must keep oscillating constantly.
And she was a Homo sapien, not a saint. She expected a lot from him. She was afraid of the disbalance of the weighing balance.
She waited so long for this moment and was yearning to see him. All those days and nights of endless conversations and making of promises would now answer her. The longing for just holding each others hands was too much for her to feel. Too much of suffocation had made her finally let loose her senses and leave everything for going for him.
He had promised to meet her at the station and spend a little time with her. She was traveling for a business trip from her office to Mumbai. She had told him to come to Nagpur to just look at his glasses and his smile. Hoping for him to be still the same. Keeping her fingers crossed. All those years had really scared the crap out of her. She hoped for the good.
Her phone was suddenly ringing with an irritating beep sound. He had texted her.
"I am here. Will meet within the next 5 minutes."
Hannah looked out of the window of her seat with a lot of anticipation. She was feeling restless. She would see him now at any moment.
The dirty Nike shoes had changed into polished black shoes. The loose shirts and jeans were replaced with a suit. That complacent smile was replaced with a stern look and a faint smile. And the blue frames had gone now. Only frameless glasses were resting on his nose. He walked like a perfect corporate office employee. He made his way through the crowd and got into my coach. B-3. She saw him moving with a royal gait. Hannah called him.
"Jose! Jose! Where are looking? Here! I am here!"
She waved her hand at him. He came to her and gave her a smile. She helped him to get to the upper berth seat. They both sat beside each other. Silent for almost ten minutes. Hannah was trembling like a dead leaf that was about to fall from a tree. She was nervous to start a conversation with him. He croaked.
"I have only half an hour Hannah. I had got something for you. I couldn't talk about it all this while with you. I hope you will understand."
She was staring at him. He handed her an envelope and a cube shaped box. The box was wrapped with a shiny golden paper. The weighing balance was losing the balance now.
"Open it after I leave."
Hannah was confused. She was left in a dreadful suspense. She felt afraid more now. She couldn't hold the envelope. So many thoughts rushed through her mind. Is he going to reject me? Or is it his marriage invitation card? Am I not a part of his life now? Why is he not able to say that he doesn't want me anymore? She calmed down somehow and put it in her bag.
Jose started talking about what he was doing and how he was busy with his job. Hannah looked at him talking incessantly and listened to him patiently. He unlocked his phone with a bizarre pattern and showed all sorts of photos of his office campus and the places he had visited. Then he talked about his roommates at his dormitory. And then about his elephant headed roommate who bothered him always.
Out of the blue, Jose's phone started vibrating. It was his alarm for leaving. Time had flown by like a bullet train. The train had stopped at his station. It was Indore. He got down from the upper berth and smiled at Hannah.
"Come with me till the gate."
Hannah got down and walked him out of the coach. He got down at the platform and said something Hananh had not expected at all.
"You have not changed at all. You are still the silent listener. Why don't you talk? Please don't forget to open up that envelope and the box. Okay then, I am leaving. I am getting late. Bye Hannah!"
Those sparkling shoes faded away into the crowd at the platform 6. She couldn't listen to the tapping of his shoes. He had changed a lot. He had changed so much that she felt numb and deaf.
The half an hour was like half a minute. Half a minute had taken away her soul from her body. When the whistle of the train was sharp enough for her to hear, she regained her senses. The train started moving. She quickly got back to her seat, opened her bag and tore open her envelope.
A hard grey coloured card was inside it. Her heart skipped a beat. She couldn't wait. She flipped through the card and found something written in a familiar cursive handwriting.
"Will you be my better half?"
Hannah was ecstatic. She opened up the box to find out what he had got for her. But she found something that was totally different from her expectation. There was a neatly folded chit in it. She unfolded it.
"Don't expect me to be a romantic fool. Obviously it is not a ring. :p I love you Hannah. Call me. I am waiting for your reply. Don't make me wait any longer. Six years were too long."