A Long Wait
After another sleepless night, I went for a walk on the deck in the pre-dawn breeze. It was dark, I stepped out on the wooden floor and saw a figure, a masculine figure doing one-armed push-ups with the legs hooked on the railing, counting “Twenty six, twenty seven…,” and breathing heavily. I immediately recognised the voice and was compelled to turn around and stride back down the stairs to be isolated, confined to my own comfort zone. To be precise, my social anxiety disorder was getting the worst out of me, as usual, and I had decided to make myself invisible.
For some reason though, I didn’t. I lurked for a couple of minutes, secretly watching him complete the second set and then switching to crunches. Finally, when he looked exhausted and got up to stretch, I approached, not really confident of myself. As I expected, or rather hoped, he initiated and wished me good morning. “Up so early?” he enquired. I had been up for as long as I could remember, I thought to myself, but I just said, “Yeah, couldn’t miss your workouts, could I?” He smirked, finally turning to face me. His face and torso was all sweaty, he had short, chipped dark brown hair and green penetrating eyes and one could easily mistake him for a Greek-God if his hair were any longer. But as everything else, this too looked out of place, this situation was too oddly shaped a piece to fit into my life’s puzzle. The idea was abstract in its own sense for these pair of brilliant green eyes belonged to a person to whom I was just another friend.
After a small chat, we both turned to face the horizon, the first rays of sunlight were starting to slowly reveal themselves and illuminate the sky with faint orange streaks. The smell of salty seawater was everywhere. The sun still hid itself behind the greenish ocean and shied away from our view. I lost track of time since just staring at the water, exposing myself to the fresh air.
Suddenly, he stepped sideways, now closer to me, and rested his hand on mine, which was on the railing. I didn’t know how to react, so I remained still, tried not to change my expression, and act indifferent, but things didn’t stop there. He pulled my hand away from its place, spinning me around 90 degrees, to face him again and grabbed my other hand. “Do you trust me?” he asked in a haste. We were now less than half a feet apart with his eyes peered into mine. I opened my mouth to attempt demanding an explanation but he cut me short, “Yes or no?” He definitely dominated this conversation, “I don’t want a descriptive answer.”
Did he just freaking read my mind? I didn’t have a clue of what was going on but I wasn’t scared, I felt excited and the curiosity overtook my hesitation. I still had my doubts but decided not to give in to them just this once. He squeezed my hands harder, jerking me back into reality. “Okay…Yes…I do!” I blurted out, unable to handle the pressure.
He led the way to the bow of the vessel, still pulling me by hand which had now started to sweat. After the five feet transition, he nodded towards the railing, wearing his best reassuring smile. I had a hunch about what was coming and hoped it to be right.
I wished I could stop blushing but my cheeks made me feel otherwise. By that time, I was downright impressed by… By god-knows-what and had already surrendered myself to him. I took a step forward and let him twirl me around by the shoulders so I could face the perpetual stretch of nature again. There was something in the way he touched. That perfect touch felt remarkably fantastic; neither too light, which makes it ticklish (and creepy), nor too hard, because that would just be rough and disrespectful. He was gentle but firm, uncanny but authentic, liberating but also convincing me of its depth.
He placed both my hands on the railing again and helped me up on the iron bar that constituted the lower half of the railing. Usually, my acrophobia would have kicked in by this time, making my heart beat faster, legs shake, and throat dry up, but none of these things happened. I noticed that the wind had picked up, so much that our clothes were whipping. As soon as I stepped up, the sound of the gushing air filled my ears. If he had said something then, I would not have heard him, but he didn’t. I shot a quick glance backwards, for my proprioception seemed to malfunction because of all the messy emotions, phobias, and other crazy things. With me now being an inch taller, he stood directly behind me. All my presumptions came true when he took my hands again and spread them out sideways, lacing his fingers through mine. I couldn’t believe that it was actually happening, after all those years of my teenage fantasies!
I was now standing completely supportless on a two inch wide iron bar, except, his fingers intertwined with mine. One wild wave, one slip was all it would take for me to fall to my death into the womb of the gloomy ocean, but then again, I had agreed to trust!
He neatly flexed my arms by tugging at my fingers backwards, prompting me to lean onto him for support and balance. I did so and closed my eyes. They say when you lose one sense, others work more efficiently and damn they were right because I was experiencing it. With my eyes closed, I was even more aware of myself, my surroundings, my soul. I felt important, I felt special. For the first time in years, I felt satisfied, complete, and happy! The periodic rocking of our ride on the sea made it even more relaxing. His hands slowly slid to my waist, caressing my curves, not losing contact for a single moment and slowly turning me on. I could feel the air temperature rise. The wind slowed down and the sound of waves hitting the ship grew louder. If anything, it had to happen now!
I sensed movement and my elbow-length hair which were tied up in a bun suddenly dropped loose. I felt warm breathing on the back of my neck and a pair of arms wrap around me. A sweet chill spread thought my body from the contact. I braced myself, turned my head sideways and waited; waited for those soft wet lips to come and nibble at mine.
However, they never came and (sigh) I am still waiting…
Inspiration: JK Rowling
~Vedant Khandelwal | Edited by Aditi Dhasmana