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"Dreams, you want to talk about dreams? It's always been about you, right? Since the very beginning. It was always your dreams. Never ours.."
The accusations trickled in one by one as Aalia listened to everything Rehaan had to say. True, she had not meant to fall in love, but it had just happened. It was also true that her first love was writing and always would be.
But why didn't he understand, or rather couldn't, she fumed silently. Her words not leaving her mouth. The sole sign of her frustration could be seen only in the way her lips formed a grim line.
Two years. Two years of her life she had invested in this relationship. She had always made it clear in the beginning that she could not stay back. She had been a writer struggling to find her feet, taking up odd jobs to save for the creative writing course in New York that she had always dreamed of pursuing.
Rehaan was an artist too, she had thought he would understand. His music was everything for him. But unlike her, lady luck had smiled upon him a long time back. He was well off, he earned enough from his music. And now, he wanted more. He wanted to get settled, start a family. He wanted more than she had to offer.
She willed herself to drone out his voice as her mind drifted back to the day she had seen him first. She had been working as a waitress in the pub the night his band played there. Unkempt hair, easy laughter, a voice that wrapped itself around her like liquid silk. It was difficult to not fall for him when he asked her out couple of nights later.
From then on, their days and nights had been filled with passion, poetry and music. He would give her space to do her writing, something that she would do at the oddest of hours, whenever inspiration struck. He understood her mood swings, her frustrations on those days whenever she faced the dreaded block. Being with him felt so right, he played music for her, held her close and rocked her body to the rhythm of old records that played in a corner their room.
"And now you want to sacrifice it all, sacrifice us, what we have and just fly away to a new life? Pretend all this never happened?" Rehaan's voice brought her back to the present. She tried not to cringe, but it had to be done. It was now or never. She could either succumb to his wishes and live a life of regret or make up her mind to go get the life that she had always dreamt of. Sure, it was not an easy choice. But since when did she ever have to make simple ones? Like ripping off a band aid, it had to be done- quickly, to avoid the pain. Of course, it would hurt for a long while afterwards. But that was a pain that she chose for herself.
With strong willed determination, Aalia took out her suitcases and stuffed her remaining clothes into it, one by one. He left her alone for a while; Rehaan knew that once her mind was made up there was no turning back. Her flight would leave in a few hours time and she would have to leave soon. He had not wanted to let her go. Ever. Which is why he had tried begging, cajoling and finally fighting and arguing. When it came to her, he was sometimes all the more clueless. There have been nights when she had whispered in his ears how she couldn't live without him, even for a single day. There have been days she had been waiting for him at the end of a hard day, just to be with him, be there for him. She was a contradiction, a mystery. Perhaps, she had never truly loved him. Perhaps, the only thing that she gave herself to selflessly, unconditionally, was her writing.
They sat together in the cab holding hands, Aalia looking out the window, her tear streaked face breaking his heart into a million tiny pieces. Her tears blurring the vision outside, her mind screaming out in silent pain.
Just before walking towards the departure section, he pulled her towards him and kissed her for one last time. He knew that this would be their very last meeting. No matter how badly they wanted to be with each other, they couldn't.
"Rehaan, you are special. Don't ever forget that. The days since you entered my life has been filled with rainbows and darkness, the nights filled with pain and pleasure. You reached out into a place in my heart that I had kept hidden from the rest of the world. You were always there for me, which is more than can be said right now. But know this, no matter where I'm or how far the distance maybe between us, a part of me shall always belong to you. Right here..," she said placing her hand on his heart.
"Lia," his voice broke as they stood embracing each other oblivious to the maddening crowd around them. Blissfully unaware of the world that was rushing in to swallow them whole. Tearing herself away, Aalia pushed her bags and moved forward, not daring to turn back and look at the lone figure that stood near the gate. With a lot of dreams in one hand and beautiful memories in the other, she made her way towards the next chapter in her life.