The Girl Once I Loved

After all these years, today, a new girl sits cross-legged on my bed and she has a name, Maya. She tastes like a new flavor of an old bubble gum.
As the tiredness won over the excitement of loving each other for last 2 hours, she opened a book kept on the table next to her side of bed. The book titled, ‘If it’s not forever It’s not love.’ And by the time she looked at the book more briefly, I went deep into sleep.

“Is it your favourite book?” Maya asked with a little high pitch that broke my sleep.
“Yeah,” I replied with closed eyes. Half asleep.

As she turned the pages, a picture folded in half wafted down on the floor. Maya looked at the picture that had a crease line in the middle that parted two people in it.

“Who is this girl with you Pranay?” she asked shaking me hastily. I woke up scared, “Huh? What?” I asked.
“Who is this girl next to you in the picture?” she asked, reaffirming it by bringing that picture closer to my face.
“Payal.” I said this single word and dozed off on my pillow.
“Panay? Wake up. WAKE UP!” she shouted slapping my bare chest and left arm one after another. She wanted to know more about Payal as I never told her about my ex-girlfriend Payal Singh.
“Payal. She used to be my girlfriend.” I said comforting my back on the pillow to the side rest.
“You never told me about her,” she said with a little concern and a frowned face, “Tell me about Payal. NOW!” she added pressing a bit more on the word ‘NOW’
“Why you wanna know about her?” I asked.
“Because I am you girlfriend,” she said in an admonitory voice raising her left eyebrow, to frighten me.

Maya was sitting on my left with a bedsheet wrapped around her chest and I was looking at her white thighs, thinking whether to tell her the whole part and put myself down by recalling or to avoid telling her the truth and enjoy the night.
‘This may ruin the relationship.’ I thought as I really love Maya, but decided to tell her everything thinking, ‘If she’s the perfect one for me, then she will understand.’

“Payal and I were in a relationship for 3 years and those were the years which happened a year before we met.” I said gazing deep in her eyes and avoiding the fact that we were still naked.

Maya came close and rested her head on my chest, I gave a kiss on her head and covered ourselves with the blanket.

“How did you and Payal meet?” she asked not being jealous like I expected.
“I used to play basketball back then and in one game, I saw her sitting in the stands with a flat face with zero expressions. Usually people shout and scream but she wasn’t amongst the crowd. She was different.” I added.
“Her hairs were neatly done, tied to make a pony that looked like silk. Her skin was white as milk. Her cheeks were white and red like a bowl of cherries dipped in fresh cream. I would say that she was more like a fruit salad to me than a girl.” I continued to which Maya seemed to enjoy and gave a smile which made me a bit comfortable and easy to narrate her my past.
“We were like the best of friends first and then anything else. Anyone could have got jealous of the days we spent together. It was like the moonlight on the mountains; no heat, no cold, just the bright light.” I said and checked on Maya, if she’s asleep and thank god, she wasn’t.
“I’m listening to you Pranay.” She said with a smile to which I smiled back.
“Our relationship was like two imperfect people trying to do the perfect things and as they say, love is all about living in imperfections; and this truly differed us from the rest, but not for a long time.” I paused and continued.
“Payal, one day returning from her office had an accident, firstly we all thought that she’ll be fine in some days, but those ‘Some-days’ took her away.” Maya was quiet and only silence comforted me.
“Pranay.” Maya said. The sheet wrapped around her chest fell as she lifted her head from over my chest to look properly in my eyes, she didn’t say a word for a while and then hugged me as tight as she could. I guess she was happy seeing me this strong and that hug made me realize that I was with the most understanding and fully fledged girl.

“You are strong.” Maya said giving a kiss on my left cheek.
“You make me stronger,” I said.
“Okay. So prove me how strong you are,” she winked at me, “Another round of Hotdog and Doughnut method?” she asked with a wicked smile to which I answered with an obvious “YES.”

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