Even as you scroll down to the number that you should ideally have deleted a long time ago, you know it's a move that you'll regret the next morning, but blaring more loudly in the foreground of that doubt is the thought, "If not now, then when? If not like this, then how?" Yes, at heart, I'm probably a chicken-shit, and without a generous amount of dutch courage flowing through my arteries, am only too happy pushing things under the proverbial carpet.
Last night, surrounded by a few friends and several acquaintances, something snapped inside me. I was coasting along, singing the songs, smiling and laughing when suddenly a voice from my 8-year-ago-love-past pinged me. "Hi, am in Pune. Was thinking of you. I still love you." Love? Really? It made me wonder if i even knew what it meant anymore. And quick on the heels of that particular thought, came the memory of another boy whom I had truly loved... enough to have let him walk away, and not shut down access lines. So, surrounded by youngsters who were playing the guitar and singing love songs, i picked up the phone and pinged him - "Right now. This minute. I miss you. I miss us."
Sweet, right? Atleast i'd like to believe so. He responded. I pinged back. And the next morning, when I woke up and read the other, increasingly maudlin messages I had sent, that screamed of loneliness and sadness, I was mortified. How could I? For someone who has been a proponent of the "I'll Survive" school of thought, what a terrible admission of frailty.
So the next day, i went red-faced with the effort of sweeping said mortification under yet another carpet and met a friend who sat me down and told me to get a grip on myself. His judgement was : "So you leaned on someone in a moment of weakness. So what? It means you're human." Yes i know it's human... but ... why him? Why a person whom i'd loved and lost? Why can't it be someone who is around, right now, right here? "Because you don't stick around long enough for someone to be around you."
Aww.. crap. Last thing i needed in this state was a reality check. The fact that he was kinda right is no excuse. To make a reeeaaalllly long story very short: boy met girl, got girl, dumped girl; then girl met boy, got boy, dumped boy, etc etc. This went on for a while until finally, girl figured that any guy she meets and gets is probably not the right guy for her. So as soon as she senses that she may get a boy, she bolts. Leaving her alone at parties wondering why she's alone.
Okay, yes i know the "The solution: don't bolt" theory. But the real situation is this: My whole life i've taken a fairly large section of responsibility for my actions. And hence, their consequences. So when faced with empirical evidence of multiple failures of a particular "fall in love first and ask questions later" strategy, I opted for the "ask questions first and then fall in love" modus operandi.
Because now, since i was already analytical about a person and a situation, just "feeling and going with the flow" was impossible. So we now had a girl who believed she could see through people, their pathetic attempts at 'wooing' her, the various pick-her-up strategies that ranged from "I'm such a cute cuddly guy" to "i'm such a super smart brainiac" to "i don't want you but you want me" to "sex is ok, after all this is the 21st century"... It was exhausting to constantly question and probe and seek the truth about peoples motivations - what do you truly want from me? Validation? Sex? Friendship? Sweetness? Devotion? What??? The bad news was that this MO provided no fool-proof clear-cut answers either and hence my analytical approach rejected them all. And it was impossible to stop.
So when i was drinking and dialling, surrounded by youngsters and music, i was actually reaching back to a time of my life, to a person who had just been, who had let me be, who had loved me and made no secret of the fact, whose assurance had carried us when my own was shaky, who took our future for granted, whom i never ever considered giving 'no' for an answer. It was a time of ease and of confidence in ourselves, not tainted by fear of loss, fear of rejection, fear of our own fallibility.
It was a time of youth. Sigh.