Sunday, 5 February 2012

Do you really love me?

"Hey... How're you?" I said, as I walked into Andrea's room. A bed stood in the centre of the room where she rested. "Doing good now. Much better actually. " she said as an angelic smile spread across her beautiful face. I sat at the edge of the bed, her palms resting comfortably in mine. The next few minutes went by in silence as I fell deeper into her glistening raven eyes. "Do you really love me?" she said, obstructing the conquest of silence.

I really did love her. The day I laid eyes on Andrea, I knew I wanted to be with her. It was at a friend's wedding reception that me and Andrea first got acquainted. She wore an elegant emerald dress complemented by a delicate pair of high heels and sat at a table engrossed in her cellphone. I walked up to her table and took a seat. "I haven't seen you before, are you a friend of the groom's?" I asked, just to strike up a conversation. "No, I'm with the bride. We were classmates in school." she said and turned back to her cellphone. I hesitated, but I really wanted to get to know her. "Could I interest you in a glass of wine? They have a pretty good selection at the bar." I said, trying to regain her attention. "Oh that's a surprise! You did not seem like a wine person to me." she said, glancing back at me with a playful smile. I rushed to the bar counter and asked for two glasses of the best wine they had.  The bartender poured two glasses of exquisite red wine. I walked back to the table and offered Andrea a glass.  Five glasses later, we began talking about our lives, loves, challenges and eventually about philosophical theories. In retrospect, it was the wine talking. After about an hour, she had to leave. She took my number and promised she would call.

Nearly two months later, Andrea fulfilled her promise. "Hey I'm presently in Mumbai, was wondering if you'd like to have lunch?".Fifty six days I had waited to hear from her, and when she spoke, the words continued to reverberate in my mind. "Hello, are you there?" "Oh yes.. yes I'll make it. Text me the time and place and I'll be there."I said, quickly regaining composure. We met at Kareem's at around three. The place was splendid with tasteful furniture and an enticing aroma. The food was delectable and the company made it even better. We spoke for a long time, notably sober throughout. She had recently moved to Mumbai and was looking to settle. I offered to show her around. "Oh that's really nice of you. I'd like that."

Thus, me and Andrea began to meet regularly. Everyday after work, I would take her sight seeing and sometimes even shopping. At times she would come over to my place or I would go to her's. We would sit late into the night, watching a movie or simply talking. While I taught her about Mumbai, she managed to teach me a thing or two about cooking. Soon enough, our relationship evolved from being just friends to being something more. I was falling in love with Andrea, and it seemed so was she.

One night, after a tiring day at Phoenix Mills, me and Andrea went up to my terrace. I merely stared at the celestial sky as Andrea sat on the ledge, engrossed in her phone as usual. I walked up to her and clamped my palm over her phone. We stood in the starry night, staring deep into each other's eyes.  "Do you really love me?" she asked, amorous expressions spreading across her face. "Yes I do." I said, as she gently moved her hand through my hair. I leaned forward and lightly touched her lips to mine. The feeling was euphoric. I just wanted to stay right there, united with her, unmoving. I was definitely in love with her.

Today, two years since our relationship began, I sat next Andrea in her room at Carlson Clay Hospital. She asked me the exact same question that she had two years ago on my terrace. Did I really love her. Ofcourse I really loved her, but why did she need to ask me this? Why today? I was at a loss for words. I merely stared deeper into her eyes. She beckoned me closer. "I love you... Do you love me?" her voice was barely a whisper. "Yes... yes I do love you Andrea. I love you very very much."I said, trying not to sound confused. "Thank you." she whispered. Just then a nurse entered the room. She picked up a file from Andrea's side table and hurriedly turned to leave. A report came off from the file and fell to the floor.  I picked it up. On reading its contents, I stood there aghast.

My head turned fast to look at Andrea. Her eyes told me she already knew what I had just read. A heavy teardrop trickled down her cheek as she gave me a slight nod. Tears that I held back turned my vision hazy. I could not bring myself to believe what I had read could be true. I continued to stare at her through the blur. "I.. I was.. going to tell you... but.. but I just couldn't... I couldn't bring myself to do it." she said, as tears flowed down her moist face. I turned back to the piece of paper in my hand, hoping the text would change. The text remained, as bold as ever. Andrea was terminally ill. With the same line spoken, it all began, and with the same line, it was all going to end. " Do you really love me?"