So, the sufferings he had read in the faces of those who had returned from the land of fallen weren’t because they had received tortures here but because they suffered on their way back. But why would anyone wish to climb back at all? He wondered, forgetting that he had been planning to do so only last night himself.
Now, it seemed to him, he had figured the meaning of his existence – and it was contained in the repeated journeys of his fingers from roots of her hair to their tips and that is all he wished to do till his death. He would do so in the parties the villagers had every night – while they all sang in the chorus. Now that they were getting used to the customs of the place, they sometimes brought new couples here – and would at times laugh knowingly when one of the new ones talked about going back, in that same knowing way that the rest of the people had. And the time they spent talking to each other after coming back home from those parties were the best times of his life. He just couldn’t have enough of her.
If only he had met her before! he wished to reproach her for every day he had spent when she wasn’t in his life – as if it was her fault. But now that he had her here in his arms, it still wasn’t enough. Each eye that might look at her seemed to steal her from him if only momentarily and partially. Except for when they were alone together, he would miss her. Even if they were together in the presence of other people, he could miss her. Each time she talked to anyone else – men, women, or children, he would feel a pang of envy.
But all this pain was worth the sound of her laughter. He knew if he asked her to stop meeting people and if she agreed, he would lose her completely – for that would change her by imprisoning her. The very essence of her person which he wished so hard to have for himself was in her freedom – and it is in this paradox that he must live his whole life. Yet it seemed a small price to pay for what he had gotten in exchange.
At times though, his insecurities and jealousies got better of him. It seemed like her fault – though he didn’t know how. Perhaps, due to the same reason that made some blame gods for their faults – she just held such power over him that it seemed perfectly possible she could ease his discomfort if she may choose to. Instead, her very existence was like an unbearable tease. And sometimes, he would feel incapable of bearing being teased like that. Sometimes, no longer able to bear it, he would plead vaguely to “Please stop that”. And she would ask smilingly “Stop What?”. And he would fall silent in frustration.
On one such day, he felt that he had had too much – and started arguing with her, “Why do you do this? Why can’t you stop? Why must you torture me like this?”
She was still as innocent of her perceived fault “But what have I done?” She asked, concerned and confused.
The fact that she won’t understand only made him more frustrated. And this time it erupted out of him in anger. “You are. That is what your fault is.”
She stared back at him with her eyes full of tears and shock, and after a quiet reproachful nod m, walked out of the room they were sharing.
He just sat there cursing the universe.