-A Writer's Reflection

Love at the last sight


“You know these streets!” said Kyle with a wide-eyed admiration.

“Just a few streets around here,” said Eric keeping his eyes on the busy street.

“Man! I wish I were single. Look at these girls,” said Kyle. He put on his sunglasses and opened the window. Smiling at every girl on the road, he was not listening to Eric’s responses.

“It’s Paris man. Just don’t take any baggage back home with you,” said Eric and got Kyle’s attention.

“Just like you did. You never told any stories of your stay in Paris,” said Eric. “Look at these streets and hey that’s Eifel Tower. Driving through the beauty with Eifel Tower in front and Sun shining on us, this is the summer, I say.” Eric stole a look at Kyle and turned on the radio. “Hey, and it’s English,” said Kyle loudly. Now, he was distributing flying kisses.

Eric turned right, looked at Kyle for a microsecond, and asked, “Kyle, hmmm…do you mind if we take a little detour?”

“Yeh sure. Whatever. I’m single for a week, Eric,” said Kyle. Eric sighed as they stopped at a red light. Approaching Eifel Tower from the west, the sun was shining in front of them.

Kyle settled down, closed the window and put sunglasses away. “So where are we going?”

“I married to Julie on rebound,” said Eric quickly without looking at Kyle.

“Whoa whoa whoa. Where did that come from?” asked Kyle. Eric pushed the paddle as the lights turned green. “Now I understand. We are going to see your ex-girlfriend.”

“Elodie was not my girlfriend,” clarified Eric.

“So that’s her name, Elodie,” said Kyle mischievously punching Eric. Eric blushed and turned off the radio. “Yeah, your story is sassier than Meghan Trainor. I didn’t know they listened to her in France,” Kyle took a pause and then looked at Eric, who was concentrating hard on the traffic. “So Elodie was not your girlfriend. Did she reject you for a classy French man?”

“I never asked her out,” said Eric stopping at another red light. “We used to walk on this street, all four of us, when we were doing the project together. We walked this street everyday to drop Elodie and then take metro to go to our places.”

“Did you two get drunk and made out or something?” asked Kyle.

“No.”

“Then she asked you out and you rejected her, only to realize your mistake,” Kyle’s torso was facing Eric completely.

“No. We never dated, kissed, made out or had sex,” said Eric.

Kyle turned back to his seat. “It’s green.” The car started moving again. “I’m lost here. I mean how did you marry Julie on rebound?” Kyle said with an emphasis on rebound.

“Because I was in love with Elodie and she was in love with me when I started dating Julie,” said Eric pushing hard on the paddle. He almost hit the car in front.

“Eric calm down. I’m on your side. I’m just trying to understand. In fact, this is what rebound is. You might not be over Julie’s death and trying to find solace in an old puppy love,” Kyle explained. He was now facing Eric.

“No. Don’t judge me as a devil. I loved Julie, truly, but before that I loved Elodie, may be just for a minute. Look at that street, behind that McDonald’s,” Eric pointed at a McDonalds few blocks ahead. Kyle took some time to spot it on the busy street. They were not moving due to traffic. “That’s her street. A lot has changed here over past seven years, but I remember.”

“Surely not. She hasn’t moved out,” said Kyle.

Eric again concentrating hard on road, said, “I’m not sure. We have never talked since I left Paris.” Kyle’s mouth fell open, his eyes widened but no words came out. “So, that McDonald’s street is her street. Just 10 more minutes and we will be there.” Eric added on a cheerful note.

“Was her street,” corrected Kyle.

“What?”

“Eric she might have married in rebound as well and moved somewhere. Seven years Eric.” Kyle explained.

“Yes, she might have, but I’m taking my chances. You never know.”

“Tell me what I don’t know.” Kyle said exhausting all rational arguments.

“Last day in Paris, she decided to buy me a dinner. We were alone for the first time, just two of us. See this street. Yeah, this was where we had our dinner. Nice little place,” Eric said pointing at a small deli on the right. “I walked her home after dinner. We were talking about our project, its success, future plans and all. Her apartment balcony was exactly above the entrance. We reached the entrance, the last minute of our life together.”

The McDonald’s was three blocks away. They were slowly moving towards Elodie’s apartment. Eric continued. “That last moment, something happened, something divine. For the first time I noticed Elodie in a different way. Her eyes were saying something different. Her usual chatter was absent. We were just looking at each other and in that moment, we both felt something special. First time, I noticed her rather unusual grey eyes, her pale skin smooth as silk, her oval face, perfect Parisian makeup with black lash lines and red lips, waves of black hairs responding to every gush of wind playing hide and seek with her earrings and a child like smile.”

The McDonald’s was two blocks away. Even Kyle was visualizing a bright pale face and wavy black hairs. “And none of you said anything?” asked Kyle. “Nothing,” Eric responded. “We didn’t need to. We both exactly knew what we were feeling. At the same time, we were aware of the reality that I was leaving Paris the next day and probably never to return. Foolish I was, I assumed, I could never live in Paris and she could never leave Paris. Every day, she used to say goodbye to us from her balcony, you know while going home we three guys used to walk her to her apartment before catching metro. On that day, though I was alone with Elodie, we just said goodbye at the glass doors and I never turned back to even look at her, whether she was in her balcony. I couldn’t muster enough courage to look at her again. I was afraid I would lose my sense of reality and never leave Paris.”

One block and they would turn left towards Elodie’s apartment. Eric had lost control of his senses; the car was driven by his subconscious while his senses were completely focused on Elodie. Kyle was also smiling. He said, “Eric, I still think you’re being hard by saying you married Julie on rebound.” Eric promptly replied, “No Eric. I didn’t look back because I was numb. As soon as I boarded metro, I felt empty, like my soul had been sucked out. I couldn’t feel anything. I had episodes of emptiness after returning. When Julie asked me out, I had no energy to resist. Julie had a calming effect on me. I was able to focus on the present more when I was with Julie and so I got married. She helped me getting over Elodie, but I never told Julie about Elodie.”

“Last red light. I hope we see Elodie,” said Kyle excitedly while they were waiting to turn left.

Eric was dreaming Elodie standing in the balcony. “I never contacted Elodie and neither had she done me, because it was difficult. Not that we didn’t love each other, but we knew once we contact each other we would be sucked out of the mortal world into a dreamland from where there was no coming back.” Eric was in the dreamland at that moment. “Every time someone mentioned Eifel Tower, I thought of Elodie. McDonald’s, petit palais, Fete de la Musique, anything Paris reminded me of her. Every such reminder made me feel empty, lost, and numb.”

They turned left, crossed McDonald’s. Kyle was anxious and looking at every balcony. “Ah, love at the last sight,” said Kyle. “See that balcony,” said Eric loudly pointing at a light pink balcony over a pair of glass doors on the right few feet ahead of them. Kyle jumped in his seat at sudden shout. The balcony was very ordinary with solid concrete railings. Elodie was not in sight. Kyle immediately became disinterested. After all the excitement, he felt futile. Elodie must have moved ahead in her life. With a wry smile, Kyle looked down on the street ahead of car. His smile quickly vanished and he shouted, “LOOK OUT.”

Eric, not in control, with eyes on the balcony, hit a pedestrian crossing the street. Kyle got out in a jiffy. Eric was pulling himself together. The accident brought all his senses to the reality. The crowd was slowly gathering around the victim. Kyle froze to the ground looking at the victim, a woman in black dress: light grey eyes, skin as smooth as silk, oval face, black wavy hairs. Glass doors behind Kyle squeaked. He looked back and then up at Elodie’s balcony. Elodie was still living there. Eric was facing Kyle from the opposite end with a blank face. Kyle looked at him and then slowly lowered his gaze to look at Elodie. Her wavy hairs responded to a gush of wind but she did not. Eric followed Kyle’s gaze and looked at Elodie after seven year. Like a Michelangelo’s The Dying Slave, Eric was firmly rooted to the ground with no movement. Kyle walked up to him and put his left hand on Eric’s shoulder. As soon as the hand touched Eric, he collapsed. Kyle could not believe his eyes and he kneeled down. “Love at the last sight and love in the last sight. Love till the last breath,” Kyle murmured to himself. Eric loved Elodie, truly.

Many are able to live together with someone they love, but few are lucky enough to die together.
Love at the last sight Love at the last sight Reviewed by Mihir on 3:12:00 PM Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. Nice portrait of you travel Mihir...Keep in writing your experience

    ReplyDelete