Sunday, January 21, 2007

He died.

His name was Zane. February last year, i found an email from him sitting in my inbox saying, "Hi. was looking to make friends. You think we have something in common?" For the next 8 months, we communicated regularly. I loved hearing from him - across the immense cybervoid, i thought someone finally got me. I don't know what he looked like, or what he sounded like. But i know he cared about his work, the beaches and the mountains, that he believed he wouldn't find love, he liked to work towards perfection, his version of utopia, was glad for Microsoft and MS windows and the spell-check feature that would help him hide his dyslexia, that he was comfortable with who he was, loved his place in the world. And that all he wanted to do was 'fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds of distance run...'

Then sometime in October, after complimenting me on my writing style "like a pastel painting which changes into the deep brush strokes of a Vangogh oil", i didn't hear from him again. I wondered why, and assumed that this connection which i thought i'd felt had actually been a figment of my imagination, that we had indeed gone the route of millions of internet-spawned interactions that had faded into the cyber-oblivion. Maybe we had.

On a lark, i searched for his name on Orkut, and found only one reference for him. His was a name on someone else's "intro" that said, "To fill the unforgiving minute... (to my friend Zane who died a month ago while climbing K2..)" Something broke inside me. The loss of someone you never knew and yet someone who probably got you better than most people you do know, is something very hard to explain. I wish that we HAD in fact gone down the drifting-apart route, because somewhere i'd always have known that there was someone out there.. who understood.

He died on Dec 29. I've missed him for the longest while, and today i grieve for him, because of who he was, who he wanted to be, and most of all because he was a good man who knew what it was to love. I wish i'd met him.

Monday, January 8, 2007

And then there was Mark..

By now you've figured out that i don't use the real names of the real people. THis is probably because it helps me look at them, and more importantly me, objectively. Like for example, Mark. He's the love of my life currently - except he doesn't know it. I won't even add the silly "yet" to that statement because i'll probably never have the courage to tell him.

Before you think i'm a complete chicken shit (i am a partial one, but now i'll defend my non-chicken-shit part), i want to provide some background. Yes, there is always that, isn't there? I met Mark some 5 years ago while working on a film. I found him attractive, and obviously he was vaguely amused and quite taken by me, who was always looking for excuses to be around him. I didn't know him from Adam but would find reason to take my cup of coffee into his cabin and stick around chatting whenever i was at a loose end... and that was quite often.

So one day, he walked to where i was and asked me if i'd like to go out to dinner with him. I said yes, why not. We went to one of the newer joints there, and conflicted as i was about being with him when my boyfriend was in a different city, i did enjoy myself. He was clever, great with repartee, and enjoyed me. Early into the conversation we innocuously established rules: "yes, as my boyfriend was saying the other day..." His eyes sparkled with humor and surprise and he said, "Oh that was nice, very subtle.." And i said, "You noticed huh?"

And we laughed and talked and flirted, talked about our respective (presumably better) significant others, about how much we loved them, etc. I went back home with him to watch TV - it's true i didn't (still don't) own a TV, but was 1 am a good time to watch it at a stranger's house? It did seem like it at the time.

And we watched TV, listened to music, and spent the whole night kissing each other, saying how it's probably best if we just stick to friendship as cheating is way too stressful on everyone, and how we're innately too lazy to cheat.. Maybe we should just keep it light and easy, despite the obvious attraction. We agreed, he made me breakfast, he held me, i enjoyed it, i left for home the next morning, not realising how deep a bond had just been forged.

A year or so later, when my boyfriend broke up with me, i found myself spending a lot of time with him. Nothing else had happened between us except i'd still go over to watch TV (this time for real) while he would work and we ended up having conversations about life, love and other animals. It was really good. He was my shoulder to cry on, and when he said "You're really special and any man's an idiot for not seeing that", i believed him.

Then one day, when we were working together, he told me he was attracted to me, wanted to be with me... It was the most confusing day of my life. I have rules about messing with people i work with, about messing with friends as one most likely loses a lover and a friend... and yet, he was insistent. So i made big mistake - i thought we should sleep together and get it out of the way, go back to being friends...

But life, they say, is what happens when you're busy making other plans. We did it. I hated it because i was lying to myself. There was a life lesson - just say no. I could have. I didn't. Because i really thought the plan would work. Except clearly it didn't. Mark really wanted to be with me. And i couldn't lie to myself or him anymore. I wasn't in love. So when his best friend decided to ask me out, i said yes.

I broke Mark's heart. I've regretted it ever since. There was one whole night when there were tears, and pain and grief and loss. I'd give anything right now to take it back. He understandably stopped talking to me for more than a year. The day when i burst into tears on Mark's birthday when i learnt that i hadn't been invited for his party, and i realised just how much it hurt, was when i should have known how much he had and continued to matter. During that time, my relationship with the best friend fell apart, and all i really regretted in that was that i'd lost my best friend, and it wasn't the boyfriend.

6 months later, we started talking to me again. I was so happy, so relieved about it. And slowly i realised finally that i wanted to be with him, i missed what we had shared, i missed the ease, the confidence, the comfort, the banter, the conversation... And i knew that i probably won't have that again with him because he would never trust me with that part of him, and i'd hate to impose myself on him. This incidentally isn't conjecture - whenever the well-placed subject came up among my friends and him the conversation went like this: Friend - "Why don't you and Searcher get together?" Mark - "If something had to happen it would have already, right? I don't think it will anymore."

So that's where i am right now. In love with someone who probably at this stage barely knows i exist. And i can't bring up the subject with him because i'm afraid to hear him laugh at my silly notions, or worse, decide he can't possibly be friends with me anymore. What if he says yes, you ask? I haven't seen any indication that he will. Nothing. Once i'd asked him: "how do i know if a guy i like likes me back?" He said: "If it's meant to happen, it will."

Maybe i am a chicken shit. But i'm going to wait for a while, see if the Universe has a plan for me. Who knows, maybe something is meant to happen, and i shouldn't worry about timelines.