“Stories should be simple”,  she used to say. Although a startling discovery at first, the clarity of her words eventually found a small passage into my mind on a rather breezy rain-kissed night, sitting through what can only be described as a false siesta on my bed.

My immediate response to her requests of simplicity was usually a moment of silence followed by a distracting display of affection, and it almost always worked. There was never any damning evidence of my silent betrayal. Her lips would curl into a grin, too honest for satire and too happy to be ‘happy’. There have always been these turbulent phases in which my mind yearned to forget and learn seemingly irrelevant things about life, love and other ridiculously simple mysteries. Words have often rescued me from my perpetual abyss. It was difficult to imagine how, then, I was so irrevocably in love with her and jealous of her simplicity all at once. Sometimes at night when she looked away or breathed in the air around us in adorable little puffs, I would stare at her for hours, wondering where the labyrinthine walls between us collapsed.

I could recall a million instances when she had asked me about the kind of girl I dreamed of ending up with. I corrected her every time, with the playful innocence of a new lover in scorn. I told her that it wasn’t who I would end up with, but with whom I could share a clean slate. And in my head, I believed it too. My idea of romance was lined with an eternal beginning. I had heard stories of couples who claimed to be at the twilight of their relationships, and I was too drunk on positivity to even stop for a moment and measure the audacity of my hopes against the dredges of history.

After all, how many love stories really have happy endings? It surely wasn’t a hopeful number – for most of the angst surrounding us was driven by the rage that follows lovers’ spats. She & I had witnessed in equal measure the destruction of spirits among friends, disconcertingly content in their solitude. Every time a man lost the love of his life around me, I would shudder and thank whoever was listening – that my soul had been spared the misery of the simplest of failures known to humans. And at that same instant, a voice in my head would remind me that I was heading down that same path, driven by the general insecurity of all humankind. It became a punishment at first, knowing that my mind considered the act of shunning loneliness a sin in my world of anarchy, and that yet – my hands didn’t seem to want to let go of her hands.

“Mmmmm puchapuchu gggggguubbugaaa purrrrr….mmmm mm” She made an illegible and wildly cute noise as she turned in bed, her face devoid of the wrinkles that carry desperation in mine. Whether by a figment of my imagination or otherwise, I felt her grip around my arms strengthen. It was as if she knew that her simplicity could protect me from my never-ending questions. And that’s when I stopped studying her face and just looked. I looked at the beginning of what can be, at the tip of an iceberg destined to haul my ship into an ocean of bliss. As the wings on my mind fluttered and writhed in the agony of losing my questions, the answers melted into me, moving inside me like liquid hope – creating sensations that I had never felt before. I held her closer.

“Stories should be simple” I whispered into her ears, and imagined her lips curling into a complete smile and then added on. “Ours is.”

And as I kissed her good night and drowned myself in the undeniable glory of the moment, I told myself. This is the beginning.

Fin.

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Shomprakash Sinha Roy is an author of fiction, of Indian origin. A marketing management alumnus from the Indian Institute of Business Management New Delhi, he has three titles on shelves so far (The Pink Smoke, Life Served Hot and 21 Things About Romance). With honors like the Whistling Woods International Young Achiever Award (2013) and a Forbes Nomination (2014) backing him up, he still cherishes his first literary win – NaNoWriMo 2012, where he finished writing his first manuscript. He stays in Bangalore and is a fan of grunge music.

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