I was sitting in my favourite spot at our local library, a secluded corner of the literature section by the window facing the coffee shop across the library. There is something about old books and libraries that make me feel so safe and at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love those glitzy and glamorous bookstores of the shopping malls like any other person, but they never felt like home to me. They are more like a gorgeous New York penthouse where I would love to live obviously, but that can never be home.
So, here I was in a late-October afternoon sitting by my favourite library window engrossed in a classic Holmes mystery. Yes, I’m big on all the blood and murder and conspiracies that make Holmes a classic. Nothing beats boredom like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle does! I mean, yes, Bronte sisters, Jane Eyre, they are all beautiful, but they don’t really get my adrenaline going like Doyle does. Christie comes close, but this afternoon, I was particularly craving for the magical Holmes and Watson duo. I was about to dive into reading the gory details of a murder scene in “A Study in Scarlet”, when I heard a very familiar voice somewhere close by me. You see, I’m not a light reader and getting distracted while reading a Holmes novel is almost next to impossible for me. But, there was something about this voice that struck a chord somewhere deep inside my mind. Yes, my mind, not my heart because heart just pumps blood through the body, nothing more, nothing less! I don’t know why people put so much pressure on that little organ, as if it doesn’t have enough work to do already!
“So, you still prefer Holmes over Poirot!” I heard the voice chuckle breaking my train of thoughts about the human heart and blood circulation. I finally decided to put down my book to look up because no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t place a face to this oh-so-familiar voice! As I looked up, I saw a pair of beautiful green eyes already gazing at me. I have known these eyes, I have seen them before, and I have already been in with love them once.
“Close your mouth, dufus!” I heard him say as he smirked sitting down in the chair next to mine. I didn’t even realise that my jaw was literally about to hit the floor. Well, it’s not really my fault, but I thought I had already said goodbye to those eyes and that smile.
“It’s not that Poirot is bad, it’s just that he doesn’t have the sex appeal of Holmes,” I smirked back at him leaning back in my chair. My comment made him chuckle as his eyes lit up with that same old childish mischief that I knew all too well.
“How long has it been?” He asked looking at me. I could hear the hint of nostalgia in his voice.
“Honestly, I stopped counting after a year,” I replied with a small voice trying very hard not to look at his eyes.
“You never called,” he said ruffling through the pages of an old copy of Hamlet that he was carrying. I smiled inwardly. His love for Shakespeare hasn’t changed after all these years. We always used to have pretty heated debates about the works of William Shakespeare. While I was on Team Macbeth, he was on Team Hamlet. I realised that he hasn’t changed at all and somehow that made me feel relieved.
I looked at him as I said, “Well, you leaped so high that the mobile networks were not available up there!” I feel like the concept of sarcasm was created exactly for moments like these.
“Very funny, smartass!” He responded kicking me lightly under the table. We were both laughing a bit too hard, which earned us a few angry glares from our neighbouring readers.
Sitting there, talking to him in this October afternoon, took me back to those summer mornings when I would wake up to the mouthwatering smell of pancakes as he was the chef of the house. While I sat there looking into the eyes of this beautiful human and listening him talk about his new job, I was reminded of the summer nights when we used to share our sweet-nothings as we lay there in his bed wrapped in his white bed sheets holding each other. It always felt like coming down from such a high that no amount of drugs or alcohol could replace. But most importantly, it all felt so right with him!
My sweet stroll down the memory lane was suddenly interrupted as he said, “You know I never wanted it to end. It wasn’t supposed to be just about those six months.” I sensed the disappointment and sadness in his statement.
“But, that’s the thing about summer love right? It stays as long as the summer does.” I replied with a poignant smile looking at him as he just chuckled and shook his head.
It was April 2017 when I first met him while working on a summer internship for a publishing company. Meeting him was coincidence and falling in love with him was kinda out of syllabus. We belonged to different cities and came from completely different parts of the country, but what connected was our love for literature. Once I got to know him, his ideas, his thoughts, his mind, falling for him was pretty easy and inevitable. But, I never wanted to drag it out because I couldn’t dare to get my hopes up. It’s really scary what too much hope and expectation can do to a person. We decided to keep it short, so it was our summer love. Those six months felt like a beautiful love story and that’s exactly what it was supposed to be, “a story”. And every story eventually comes to an end, right? Or, so I thought!
I smiled to myself as I sat there in my favourite corner of the library with one of the most beautiful human beings that I’ve known in my life, a person with whom I thought I would never meet again, a person to whom I thought I’ve already said my last goodbye. Fate is a really weird thing I tell you!
While I was contemplating about my fate, the library clock struck 5, which meant that my precious Saturday afternoon was coming to an end.
“I think it’s time I leave you with the Prince of Denmark as I have errands to run,” I told him getting up from my chair with my copy of Sherlock Holmes.
“Will I be seeing you around?” He asked me as I walked past his chair. That question made me turn around and look at him.
“That depends. Are you here to stay?” I asked him raising my eyebrows.
“What if I say I am?” He replied back with a smirk. Oh how I missed that stupid smirk!
“Then I guess we’ll see,” I said with the most innocent smile that I could muster before walking out of the library.
As I passed the library gate and walked down the busy main street in the brisk October air, my phone suddenly pinged with a new message notification from an unknown number. I checked the notification that read, “Coffee tomorrow at 6 pm at the cafe across the library. I’ll be waiting. – Adrian.”
So, it took him 7 minutes to find the page-marker where I wrote my number and slipped it inside his copy of Hamlet. I couldn’t suppress a grin as I thought to myself, may be some summer loves are meant to last longer than the summer. Just may be!
“Like morning dew, your love will come again to you…..” – Poets of the Fall