love from the outside looking in

Sometimes I feel like I am jumping up and down waiting for someone to notice me. I’m waiting to be seen. I’m here! I’m here! Over here. Yes! A little bit to the right, just a little more, tilt your head down a bit, yes! Here. Look at me! Look at me! Look at meee! I repeat in my head in a crowd, or standing in line at Second Cup for a decaf coffee, waiting to check out at a grocery store, standing in line for the bus, or walking around an art gallery. Look at me! The one with the black t-shirt, blue jeans, fire-y red lips and glasses. But nothing. I am unseen. I go unnoticed. I’m invisible. This has led me to me question my life, my existence, the very foundation of my being and what matters to me. The questions are complicated and difficult but the answers have become increasingly simple not because I am so smart (because that I am) but because I’ve reached a point in my life where I know who I am and what I want. But it still bothers me. I can see you, but why can’t you see me?

Unrequited love is the only love I know. A one sided love that I have fallen into many times, twice to be exact. It’s a love that requires one set of eyes, one beating heart, time, patience, and hope. All of which are mine. In this love I fall first and stay there wishing upon the brightest twinkling star in the night sky that he’ll fall for me too. That one morning he will wake up with his sexy messy sleepy bedroom hair and realize that she’s the one! I have got to tell her that. But that doesn’t happen, my love is not reciprocated. It’s a half moon love that never comes full circle to shine.

I have never been in the opposite of unrequited love. I see but I am unseen, I love but I am not loved in return, I want but I am not wanted. Being alone in love feels lonely. One sided love is embarrassing, humiliating, pathetic and I cannot help (despite how intelligent I am) but feel stupid. You might be reading this and be thinking that I am not missing out on anything much or perhaps that I have an overly romantic and unrealistic view of love; but that is only because you have experienced it. You have been on the inside of love while I have always been on the outside of love looking in.

When you have been missing something in your life, something that every other person right before your eyes seems to be taking for granted you begin to see what you are lacking very differently. I can’t see love in the same way that you see love because you have loved and been loved in return (perhaps many times) and consequently you will never see love the way I do because I am someone who has never experienced being loved in return. When you have been missing something in your life for a long time you not only see it differently than everybody else, it takes on a different reality of importance to you. I have always believed and maintained the position that love matters but as I got older my situational reality suggested that I change my belief because my belief in love did not align with my reality.

In my reality I loved but I remained invisible, my reality differed from the outside norm and it was up to me to compensate for my inexperience and to legitimize my experience as “normal”. It was therefore up to me to comfort myself and make myself feel as normal as I possibly could as it was becoming clear that nobody wanted me, for when I fell in love with someone they never shared the same sentiments about me. Consequently I convinced myself that being loved doesn’t matter, at least to me. I did not want to hold a belief in something that was running counter intuitive to my reality. After convincing myself that love did not matter and after finally admitting that I was only deceiving myself I acknowledged that it does; love matters so much and most importantly it matters to me.

Because I have never been in the opposite of unrequited love I feel invisible. It sounds senseless and of course I know that it is not true, I am not invisible because when I walk into a room I am acknowledged by the Other, greeted with a hello, a wave, a friendly smile, enthusiasm, and sometimes even a hug but despite the physical recognition of being a physically present subject or human entity by the Other I don’t feel truly seen. A part of me has still not been validated and I admit that it is bothering me. No amount of compliments, “job well dones”, educational or work related achievements, extensive travel, expensive wines, watches, delicious pastries and chocolates, pretty red lipsticks, library full of amazing books and friends can validate me. I like all of those things, they make life fun. All of those things interest me and make me feel happy, they satisfy my personal goals, curiosity and my intellect but they do not give me the feeling that I matter. Mattering matters, it matters to me that I matter to someone. When I have good news, or a funny story, or a day-to-day-life-musing, a lame joke, a youtube clip or clever tweet I wish I had someone to share it with, someone who would want to share those things with me. What bothers me the most is not the loneliness (not of the existential kind) and the fact that I have never mattered to someone.

There is an emptiness that I am not able to fix, not even with the finest of Belgium chocolate. Of course I don’t believe that am entirely invisible. Guys have told me that I am pretty (6 to be exact, it happens so rarely that I keep track), some have said that I am “unlike any other Indian girl” they have met (I love this one and take it as a compliment and encourage Indian girls to keep doing exactly what they are doing because it makes me look good). I have been told that I look amazing naked, have a quirky and endearing personality and am really smart. Although these compliments that objectify me (in a healthy and respectable and necessary self-validating manner) are nice to hear, they pretty much mean nothing. I smile and say thank you at these compliments but I don’t believe them, not entirely. I can’t, because the world seems to confirm that they are not true. If their words had even an ounce of truth I wouldn’t be writing this blog. Maybe I am all of those things but just not enough. No matter how many times he tells me that I am beautiful in an intimate setting I don’t believe him because I don’t matter to him. I am sex. When he kisses me it feels (amazing but) empty because I don’t matter to him, I am a body. Sex without mattering is just (convenient but) empty. Despite being seen as attractive, hot and intelligent there is a part of me that has not been validated, a part of me that has not been truly seen. I am nude but I am not naked. I am noticed but not seen. I just want to be seen. Once.

Scribble:

Here is Kris’s insight to my situation.

Being in a relationship isn’t what it seems. It’s not easy and it’s actually a bit complicated. A relationship can be draining, it can be more draining than a job and be detrimental to your own personal goals and dreams. You have to sacrifice some of your plans and goals that you had for yourself because it may not fit with your partner’s plans and ambitions and you’ll probably resent them for stopping you from pursuing your dreams because every decision that you make has to be for the both of you, it has to make sense for the other person as well. And then you’ll fight and realize that you love somebody who is actually pretty bad for you but your stupid heart can’t let them go for some reason. But being in a relationship can be nice, it’s nice to have someone to cuddle up against after a bad day and banging your head against the headboard 5 times a day can be fun.

I know he’s completely right. Nothing is easy and relationships can obstruct your freedom, limit your possibilities, complicate your life and goals, potentially compromise your individuality but it could also give rise to other possibilities that could other wise not have been possible. I can’t help but think that the positives out weigh the negatives. It sounds wonderful to have someone to play Scrabble with while drinking green tea and wearing fuzzy socks, someone who wants you to call in sick for work one day just so you can sleep in and have sex on the washing machine, someone who you don’t have to fake it for, someone whose simple text message on your phone makes you smile a goofy smile, and someone you can can sit comfortably in silence with. These are just my thoughts, thoughts from someone who only sees love from the outside and has been always looking in.

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day 4 in BRU

Today was our 4th day in Brussels and we went on a day trip to Ghent and Bruges. Sometimes after a couple of days of exploring the city on your own it’s nice to have a guide give take you a tour around, at least that is how I like to travel (because after being responsible for guiding myself and making sure that I don’t get lost it’s nice just to follow someone who knows her/his way around and can give you added commentary about the historical significance of the city along with quirky jokes). Also, Ghent and Bruges which are 2 little cities one hour away from Brussels would be quite expensive to go to on their own so this was a good day trip. The day was perfect except the weather. The weather was absolutely dreadful. It was rainy and windy and the high was like 5 degrees Celsius. I wore a long sleeved t-shirt, a long hoody over that, then my spring jacket and my friends’ spring trench coat and my super big scarf and I was still cold. It was only after I came home that I realized that I could have doubled up on the long sleeved t-shirts and that would have helped considerably. If you’re reading this do not plan a trip to Europe in March, April or mid may without bringing a winter jacket with you. Layering clothing is not a thing. It’s a stupid idea. Especially in your late 20s.

Our first stop was Ghent. Ghent is a city located in the Flemish region of Belgium and it is beautiful. The architecture in the city is very well preserved in the medieval style to retain it’s history and character. When you’re in Ghent you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time except that you are reminded that you are in in 2015 when a long yellow street car or Mercedes Benz drives past you. We walked past the Gravensteen Castle, a castle in Ghent from the Middle Ages. I can’t say I know too much about the history of the castle but from the outside it is large and it wasn’t nearly as pretty looking as the castle that I walked through in Prague. The Gravensteen Castle is dull looking on the outside, quite long and I think if I committed a crime and was given a sentence to stare at the Castle for the rest of my life solitary confinement would be a sweet trip in comparison.

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Clearly the castle wasn’t my favourite building. My favourite area of Ghent was The Grasalie which is believed to be the most scenic place in Ghent’s old city centre. The buildings along the water reminded me of gingerbread houses (that I could have easily bit into to fatten me up quickly so that I wouldn’t feel so cold) and if the weather was nice I could have spent my entire day marvelling at the buildings, looking out at the water, perhaps even taking a boat ride, ride a bike, watch couples walk while holding hands. But the weather was really crappy, despite being slightly annoyed the walk on the cobblestone was quite enjoyable because of my view. The crappy weather however did influence our decision of staying inside a restaurant and people watching while drinking expensive (only considering it was in Euros) carbonated water and eating Easter egg chocolates.

After spending some time in Ghent we made our way to Bruges which is a city in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is believed that “Bruges is the Venice of the North” and I believe it (I haven’t been to Florence but Bruges is spectacularly pretty). If I had to pick I would say that Bruges is my favourite city that I have visited in Belgium because of it’s old medieval charm and because of how peacefully quiet it is. I have just recently learned that you can take a ferry from Bruges straight to England for 6 Euros (how neat is that? If you don’t mind being on a boat for 6 hours that is. I believe it docks at Victoria Station). One of the most notable medieval buildings is the Church of Our Lady which is a Catholic Church that is 122 meters high making it one of the highest brick/towers in the world. Not only is this church special because of it’s height but because it also the home of one of the most famous sculptures in the world, Madonna and Child by Michaelangelo. This sculpture is believed to be Michaelangelo’s only sculpture that has ever left Italy within his lifetime. I unfortunately did not see this sculpture, not because I did not have enough time to go into the church but because it was so cold that I sat and ate instead. I really regret it but I know I will be back but next time I will stay in Bruges for 2 nights.

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(Above: scenery from the canal ride)

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(Above. Lake of Love)

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day 3 in BRU

Sunday. My 3rd day in Brussels and I am in love with this small city with not much to do than eat chocolate and waffles and regret your decision 5 minutes later. The only problem is the weather, it just does not seem to be clearing up. Today it is rainy and windy but at times the sun makes a guest appearance but then quickly disappears. What a tease. Last night we slept late and woke up late, and were up and out of our hotel by noonish. We started our day with brunch at a cool looking restaurant called Drug Opera. The restaurant does not have drugs nor does it play opera, instead it has great food and a laid back ambiance.

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(the above is a photo of my place mat but it looks exactly like a picture of restaurant)

After we ate. We went to the Musee Du Cacao et Du Chocolat. The Chocolate Museum.

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This place was just a hop, skip and jump away from Grand Place and my Brussels itinerary suggested that we visit. This museum smells of chocolate the moment you walk in. It’s a small museum in a house. When we walked upstairs there were 2 levels of fun facts, and information about where the cocoa bean is harvested, how the cocoa turns from fruit  seeds into chocolate. After that we went downstairs to the kichen of the chocolatier where we watched a chocolate making demonstration, which was miraculous. We watched a young, cute chocolatier, with an adorable French accent turn chocolate from liquid form to hard shell and then sample the result!

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After the chocolate museum we walked and walked and look at the beautiful view of Brussels!

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More pictures of the beautiful buildings.

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waffles on wheels!

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After taking some pictures we found the Brussels Art Gallery and although I am not well versed in Flemmish art it was beautiful to look at.

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It was so cold, windy and rainy people gave up with their umbrellas and I took pictures of their abandonment

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The one thing I love about Europe is the gold embellishing on their buildings.

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The best part of our day was walking through the indoor shopping gallery. There is this lovely sweet shop called Meert. They have small cakes, candies, chocolates and macarones that look way too pretty to eat. We purchased them and ate them in our hotel room which was great because we got to use the kichenette which was equipt with forks, plates and a dish washer!

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day 2 in BRU

The moment I landed in Belgium I knew I had made a mistake. I should have brought my new Mount Equipment Co-op winter jacket with me. Instead my sister said it would have been a nuisance and it would be better if I just layered clothing under my spring jacket. I don’t know why I listened. I was in Austria in the middle of April last year and experienced the same weather. Note to everyone reading and self: it’s always better to be overdressed than under dressed.

Since I had crossed waffles off my list of things to eat, french fries were next. I had a tangerine and banana for breakfast and french fries in a cone for lunch in the rain near Grand Square and it was perfect.

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This is the best view I’ve ever had while standing and eating french fries in the rain. I watched cake decorating through a store Window and it was much better than watching the food channel. I bet the decorators were thinking “what a bunch of stupid Americans, they are amused by anything”

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Museum Van De Stad in Grand Place. I’m going to be honest, it was boring but interesting.

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(Above: model of Brussels city)

Manniken Piss goes to Canada

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Then he goes to India.

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Then we visited a chocolate shop and saw a chocolate model of Hotel Di Ville in Grand Place!

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Time for crepes. Nutella, banana and syrup which was very unnecessary.

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Brussels in the rain looks so pretty.

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The best thing about Europe is no matter what country you go to the food is just like what you would find on the streets of Toronto.  Almost just about everything minus veggie and meat hot dogs. They have small bakery shops, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, plenty of North American chains like Pizza Hut and Mc Donalds, Falaffels and sushi seems to be all the craze here and I love that because not only is it healthy and affordable but it’s vegetarian! I had a Falaffel in bed which was comforting after a long day walking in the cold, rainy and windy weather. The iced tea is carbonated in Europe and I don’t understand that.

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YYZ to BRU

I am 5 days into my my trip but lets pretend that I am just beginning.

All I need in life is my passport, lipstick and camera.

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I have landed in Belgium. After 6 hours in a flight that I was worried would not depart (because of a strike) with a crying (but cute) baby in my zone I made it to Europe except only I had little to no sleep and could not watch any movies to entertain myself because the choices were so bad. I landed in Brussel’s airport and was greeted with visual bliss at the Brussels Chocolate House.

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I took the train from the airport and got to Brussel’s center with the help of a Pakistani gentleman who spoke Punjabi. We bonded over our common language. Once I got to the hotel I was so amazed. I had my own kitchenette complete with a dishwasher! I purchased bananas and tangerines and yogurt to stay healthy and regular.

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I really wanted to take a nap but I decided against it because it was 3pm. Instead i showered, changed my clothes and began to explore the city which was a hop, skip and jump from my hotel on Anspach Street.

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(above: walking to Grand Place)

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There were rows and rows of shops full of sweets. Despite traveling to Paris I had never tried a macaron, so I bought myself one.

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(above: my first macaron from Darcis)

I walked to Grand Place, Brussels’s Town Hall Square. It is lively, pretty, spectacular and cold.

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I then walked to the Manniken Piss and took my Wikipedia-esque photo. Surprisingly the statue is much smaller than it appears online.

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My first Belgium waffle which was impossible to eat on a paper plate and 2 small plastic excuse for forks.

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I walked off my waffle to the cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gadula. It was beautiful and so peaceful.

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Inside:

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The rest of my evening was spent taking pictures of chocolates because I was all sugared out.

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Dinner time view in a cozy joint away from the cold and rain.

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A night time walk through Grand Place. It looks so romantic under the moonlight.

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it’s over

After 4 days of mild anxiety and restless sleep, I have learned that Lufthansa’s pilots have ended their strike! I hope they don’t decide to go back on strike on Thursday night because I fly from Toronto to Frankfurt and then from Frankfurt to Brussels on Lufthansa.

4 more sleeps until Belgium! Today I went to Demetres and ordered “Moo-lala”, my last Belgium waffle in Canada. Belgium waffles are not called Belgium waffles in Belgium, they’re called Belgium waffles everywhere outside Belgium.

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you’re beautiful

He called me out of the blue. Unexpectedly as I was sitting on my bed on a Saturday afternoon wearing three layers of clothing (a top under a sweater under an indoor jacket), thick socks under my indoor moccasins and reading Maximum City. It was -20 degrees with windchill out but inside I could feel the intense heat of election day in the state of Maharashtha (which was partly due to my fleece zip-up and the steamy cup of hot green tea in my hand). I could hear the chatter of the people of Mumbai talking amongst each other in line at the poling station deciding whether they want Bal Thackery in power or a fresh new face who is equally as unlikely to keep his election promises. Each citizen forced out of their homes to stand under the flaming hot sun eagerly waiting her or his turn in line to cast in their vote so that they could return home and have their cable restored after voting as promised. This is the only way the government can force it’s citizens to perform their civic duty. Maximum City is a book that I have been taking my sweet time with, reading it slowly so to keep my memories of Mumbai fresh in my mind even 2 years later, a city that I have found, fell in love with and don’t want to lose.

Let me be clear there is nothing going on between us but when his name appears on my Blackberry it excites me but in a comforting way and comforts me in an exciting way. I answered the phone with a “Hello”. “Hi, why are you whispering?” he replied. “Because I can” I continued. “What are you doing?” he asked. “I’m reading a book” I whispered. “Are you going to continue whispering?” he asked. “Yes” I replied wondering if he would play along, hoping that he would play along but he had no thoughts that he wanted to conceal. “I was thinking about you” he went on, telling me something he could have just conveyed to me in a simple text message instead of interrupting me while I day dreamed about being in the midst of election day complaining about the humidity sipping on lemon-aid and then complaining that the unfiltered water would make me sick. “Yes I know” I replied with a seemingly unaffected tone in my whisper but grateful that my phone (which I felt was going through a dry spell) rang. “How do you know?” he asked. “Because you texted me last night and I figured you’d still be thinking about me in the morning and late afternoon until you finally caved in and called” I answered with a sharp matter-of-facted-ness in my whisper and the intent of getting under his skin so I can get under him. “Really?” he asked knowing that he has been outted. “Yes” I whispered keeping it short and sweet, I had an inclination to fuck with his mind and his head for a while…and long as I could. “Well I’m thinking about you” he replied. “I know hence why you called” I said half jokingly and half serious. There was a pause that I broke being the curious cat that I am by nature. I wanted to know what kind of thoughts were running through his head. “What are you thinking about?” I questioned knowing exactly how he would reply. “Your body. It’s so hot” he replied, clearly having no desire to beat around the bush. He went straight to the point. “Tell me more” I replied as I placed my light blue book mark that I purchased from a quaint little bookstore in Bandra between the pages of my book that I was reading so I didn’t have to bend a page (which drives me crazy) eager to hear more memories that he had of me. He didn’t feed my curiosity nor did he affirm what I thought he was going to say. “I want you” he announced. “hmmm” I thought out loud. “Get ready I’ll be there in 5” he said. But I didn’t feel like leaving my bed that I had finally made a comfortable nest in. The only place I was willing to leave my bed covered in flannel sheets for was India I thought to myself but my desire for attention controlled my tongue. “No 7pm” I whispered without thinking my decision through. With very little exchange I wanted him too. “Okay” he replied. “Bye bye” I ended the phone call.

I didn’t want to get out of my room. I didn’t want to change out of my house-clothes. I didn’t want to take off my indoor boots and change into my outdoor boots. I didn’t want to brush my teeth again and run a comb through my hair. I did not want to face the cold which sucks the moisture out of my skin and turns it dry and flaky. And most importantly, I did not want to take all off my clothes off just to put more on that I would eventually have to take off when I come back home just to put my home ones on, it is such a task. Just as I was contemplating cancelling my plan to see him PING. My blackberry rang. It was a text message from him. “Don’t wear underwear” it read and I naturally rolled my eyes, “you better smell like yourself” I texted in return giving him hope that by not acknowledging his text directly my reply indicated that I was going to comply with his request.

I don’t know what it is about him that drives me crazy. Maybe it’s his absence, he is rarely present in my life despite being a 1 minute drive away from me. Combine that with his lack of involvement in it (he doesn’t even remember my birthday or know my favourite colour. It’s January 27 and blue just for your information) but I think I like that because it makes his unexpected random phone calls and text messages (that always seem to follow a similar pattern. A “hi” followed by a “I’m thinking about you” which leads to the obvious) severely hot. It always leads to the obvious no matter how much I try to resist him, he gets to me, I let him get to me rather. But there’s more to it (or at least I like to think there’s more to it in order make myself feel that my moral character is in tact and so that I can fool myself to thinking that I am living the virtuous life when clearly I am not because my decisions are irrational). He smells good, he has a nice nose, bitable ears, the way he mispronounces my name drives me nuts and the way he kisses is heavenly; just absolutely waffles-bananas-and-Nutella-with-whip-cream-heavenly and I feel that no one will ever be able to kiss me like him again. I wish I could describe his lips but any description would be inadequate but I can try. His lips are soft (like even in the harshest of winters), light pink, thin and I know I mentioned they are soft but they feel so soft when I brush my fingers against his lips. And his kisses are nothing short of perfection. Okay so maybe there’s nothing more than than the physical and psychological combined with the obvious fact that I have come to realization that I’m lonely and lack same-age male attention (despite being “out there” [and by “out there” I mean outside my room I still get accused of still not being “out there” enough to attract good looking guys, I don’t know how much more “out there” I could be!] and have significantly lowering my standards to now include guys who may not have an interest in art or art history and don’t think Bryan Adams is a Canadian treasure, he’s the only one who likes me. I am not sorry but there are things that I am not lowering my standards for. If you do not type in coherent sentences when texting me then I don’t want to hear from you again).

I walked out of a comfortably heated house into the frigid cold Canadian outdoors drowning myself into my scarf but careful not to smudge my wine coloured lipstick and more importantly to not get a lipstick stain on my scarf. I got into his car and quietly waited for him to talk. “Kiran” he said as he turned over to look at me “come here” he drew me close to kiss me suspending all my thoughts, making me forget the weather and the layers of uncomfortable clothes that I had on under my jacket. “Look at my hands” I instructed “they’re frozen” being slightly dramatic, they were not frozen per say but just cold through complete fault of my own for owning gloves and not wearing them. He took my hand in his and studied it “it’s not that bad” he said and nestled it between my thighs “there, better?” he asked as he slowly brushed his thumb against me repeatedly as he drove. My silence was his answer and his hand between my thighs would raise more questions for me as we continued into the night.

He looked over at me with his dark brown twinkling eyes raging with lust and happy and removed my glasses carefully placing them on the side of his bed and pulled me in closer by my jacket and kissed me. His kiss sent this incredible warmth all the way down to my toes. In that moment I knew my tongue made the better choice and perhaps my common sense doesn’t ensure a fun time. He had me in that moment and he knew it as I carefully made my way on to him, my lips still locked with his. I kissed him back. He began to unbutton my pants and he suddenly broke away. “You’re wearing underwear!” he scolded me as his hands began to explore my body, going beneath the clothing upon clothing that I was wearing to protect myself from the cold. I nodded my head as I looked at him completely unapologetic, his hands felt warm against my tummy and my back. “You smell nice” I smirked with my hands wrapped around his head looking into his eyes. My smirk only reminding him that he honoured his end of the text deal while I did not. He masked his annoyance well and smiled. How could he be mad? I pulled him closer bringing his lips back to mine and closing the distance between us. He held me securely, almost as if thought that I would escape but I had no intention of doing that and going back out into the freezing cold. I sat straddled on him as he took his time stripping away all my clothes, I could feel him getting harder beneath me and it only made me want him more. “Up” he said signalling me to put my hands in the air so he could take off my camisole, I quietly complied getting restless, regretting all the layers of clothes I wore, wanting all my clothes off and him all over me. “I want to make love to you” he said as he inched closer to my neck, smothering me with kisses. Licking me from my chin to the skin of my breasts, cupping them gently but firmly in the way that only he knows how. “Now” he whispered in my ears as if this was a secret. “So you’re whispering now eh?” I joked, my fingers playing with his short brown hair. (The thing with his hair is that it’s so short I can never clench it between my fingers, or grab it as when I squirm in delight. He just doesn’t have the Shah Rukh Khan rukh-ja-Kiran-play-with-my-hair-hair but that’s okay). His cologne became increasingly intoxicating, the hints of cedarwood exuded sex and masculinity and his body had become so familiar to me was my security blanket as he swiftly laid me down on his pillow. He took his time, looking at me, studying me and I pulled him closer to kiss him. “You’re beautiful Kiran” he said to me suddenly taking me out of the moment and deep into a thought.

“You’re beautiful”. His words kept repeating in my head as he kissed me. Words that I didn’t want to hear. Especially from him. He had no reason to tell me that I was beautiful. He had absolutely no reason to ruin our moment and my enjoyment of him. For one, he had me exactly where he wanted me without the need for a romantic filler. Two, I was reserving that statement for a time where I was with someone who I mattered to. He ruined it. Words that I had been waiting for to hear from someone for the longest time suddenly felt cold, empty, void of any meaning and blah. He took my experience away from me because although beautiful, not beautiful enough to matter.

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