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The loud silence

Anxious and excited in equal measures, Natasha entered her favorite rooftop restaurant, overlooking powai lake. Her anxious eyes were searching for him; when they suddenly stopped at this handsome man sitting on a corner table. It was him.

He was an extrovert, and she was a loner. He would have wanted to sit right in the center of the space, but for her, he choose the corner table, and that meant a world to her!

She walked upto him, and what followed was a brief, and awkward small talk, which was enough to make her more anxious. But Rohan knew better. Within minutes, he ensured that the air of awkwardness transformed into that of seamless comfort; the comfort that they once used to share.

Both had developed an instant liking for each other when they had met for the first time, at Kanika - a common friend's wedding, three years back. The meeting seamlessly culminated into an extremely brief but comfortable phase of intimacy, which didn't last long.

And months later, here they were, at her favorite rooftop restaurant, once again, talking as if nothing ever drifted apart.

In the middle of their conversation, Natasha asked Rohan if he'd like to stand near the balcony for sometime, and he nodded in agreement. It was a monday evening and the place wasn't very crowded, just like Natasha likes it. They could talk to each other about anything under the sun, and that's exactly what they were doing. Their conversation had moved into spaces where they won't allow everybody to come in. In the middle of this one particular conversation, when Natasha's eyes were glowing as she spoke about her innermost dreams, Rohan leaned and planed a brief kiss on her lips.

She wasn't expecting this. She took a moment, gathered herself, and continued with what she was saying, pretending as if nothing happened. But did not dare look into his eyes. A few minutes later, Rohan leaned again, but this time, before he could get any further, she placed her palm gently on his arm, nervously looked into his eyes, gathered every ounce of courage within herself, and whispered, "don't. Please don't. it will get difficult for me".

He moved back, without breaking the eye contact, and thought to himself, how could he not see this? How could he miss the yearning she had for him? There was no way they could be together. Just a matter of few days, and she will be in a different city, like all these months, and again, distance will overtake the fondness they have for each other. But that day, in her eyes, he could see a lot more than fondness.

He could see that she had fallen for him. From when? He didn't know that, and didn't even choose to ask, for he knew he wasn't prepared to handle the answer.

In the remaining conversation that they had, and the occasional eye contacts they shared, he understood exactly why she was being so fidgety, and avoiding eye contact.

He understood what she was trying to conceal; the battle within herself. She had politely stopped him from coming close to her, but her heart was yearning for him. Her soul just wanted to let go of all the ifs and buts and surrender to the moment; while her mind urged her to be in control of her emotions, reminded her the battles for which she needs to remain strong, and of course, of the distance that will soon be a reality.

As they finished their drinks and turned to walk towards their table for dinner, she gently held his hand, went closer and hugged him, he hugged her back. Neither of them uttered a word. In his embrace, for those few minutes, she felt everything that they hadn't spoken about.

They were two flawed people, perfect for each other, stuck in the shackles of imperfect timing and distance!

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