She was awake. I could figure it out from the way she was breathing. I could feel her eyes on me. Her fingers slowly ran through my hair. “You are getting fat again”, she said with a little cheekiness in her voice. I opened my eyes and looked at her next to me on the bed. Her eyes squinted and she said, smiling “There’s no way you could have fallen asleep after that!”
I laughed and said, “Yeah…definitely the best sex we’ve ever had!”
“All or nothing baby, all or nothing”, she responded, still giving that same childish smile.
She said that a lot. Picking up the slightly crooked cigarette lying on the side table, she got up from the bed and walked out to the balcony with the lighter. I would be lying to myself if I said this was the first time I felt like this. And she knew that. She probably knew it before I did. But this was the first time I had felt like this in just a month. Last time, it took me four years to feel the same way about a girl; and coming to think of it, maybe it wasn’t even this intense. She probably knew that too. And somehow, even after that, I still couldn’t say it to her.
I silently looked at her as the flame slowly burnt through the cigarette, ash falling down. Her eyes moved from one star to the other. It was a clear night. I wished my head were that clear too. It kept bugging me because I wanted to tell her. Maybe I was too scared, maybe it was too soon, maybe it would freak her out, or maybe, she would just see it coming.
In a way it was really frustrating that she could read me that well. I couldn’t keep anything from her; not even the surprises. Situations that way lose their spontaneity. And she is all about spontaneity. It isn’t easy to impress her. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. Small things make her happy. She doesn’t expect the world and at the same time makes you feel comfortable about everything; even yourself. But to reach right at the center of her heart, you had to be extraordinary. And I wasn’t.
She aimed and threw the butt in the garbage bin just outside the balcony, did a tiny victory dance and walked inside.
“What’s bothering you now?” she asked instantly.
I let out a small defeated laugh and got out of bed.
“Nothing.” I said, planting a kiss on her forehead. “Can you roll one more before we actually fall asleep?” I asked her picking up a cigarette from the box lying on top of the television.
She rolled her eyes, “Only cause something is bothering you”, she said letting out a small sigh.
I went out to the balcony and lit my cigarette. Turned around and looked at her rolling the joint, effortlessly as always. If only I could say it that effortlessly. I wondered what she saw in me. Then I remembered what Viraj told me, “Maybe she sees all those things in you that others don’t”. I took an extremely long drag from the cigarette. And as the smoke escaped my mouth, the courage slowly seeped in. Maybe the clear sky really did have an effect. I threw the remaining cigarette out carelessly and walked into the room. Positioned myself right in front of her on the bed and interrupted her rolling.
“What?” she said slightly annoyed.
I looked straight into her eyes and took a deep breath. “I…” I stammered.
“What is it?”
I rolled up the sleeve of my left hand and said, “I got a tattoo”.
The colour of her face transitioned into an ever so light shade of pink, coupled with the most sheepish smile I had ever seen, as she read out what was written on my arm.
“All or nothing”