Mostly, we spend time at my place. There’s TV and there are my parents.
Then there are those occasional days when we spend time at his place. There’s no TV. No fridge. No food and mostly not much water to drink. But, it is a room, we braved Delhi’s worst summer months, to locate. It took hours of dedicated crawling through dusty alleys with parched throats and aching feet and tanning skin. It was a room that I wanted to make a home. It was the room which introduced a different side of me to me. How I would clean it, where would be the floor bed, maybe I should make a table with beer cans? A lot of those things didn’t happen but I helped him shift, set it up. I still help him keep it clean. If he didn’t have a woman in his life, it could have looked a lot like a dirty bachelor’s mess with sudden cockroach attacks and a strange dingy smell of rotten pizzas.
He wasn’t that much of a mess but I had to tell on him and I wasn’t appreciated. He has changed to become more responsible about keeping a home like a home should be. Yes of course boys will always be boys and he will always mess it up thinking, it will have to be cleaned anyway.
No. actually no matter how it is, we feel responsible for it. It is our space. We made it what it is today. It makes me happy to be there. Makes me feel grown up. Strangely, I feel like a lady there. I’m all in control (I act like that). Like the woman of the household. I know where what is kept. It’s cute. He acts like The Man all the time. I think, from his childhood. But I love acting the kid and when I’m there, that changes. And also the world doesn’t matter anymore. I never feel like leaving. It’s like leaving behind something you truly own, which is not something you get by the dozen just by throwing cash on the counter. The rent is just 4,000 but that’s just for the bricks and paint and walls and roof and doors and windows and taps. Not for the love and care and thought which has gone into it. No. money won’t be able to buy that.
A lot of times when I’m there and his sister calls up and he’s talking on the phone, it takes my mind places. It would mostly be in the evening. We’d have had a perfect day (even if it was fighting and crying) we’d mostly be naked and satisfied. A cigarette dangling from his lips. His silhouette etched in the framework of the door which is open, letting in the dusk. The sky a dark even blue. Me lying on the bed looking up at him, listening to the conversation.
It fills me with wonder. I’ve have never seen it before. All the other boys I met, talk to each woman differently. With different body language, formality or casuality. He has just that one tone and one manner. It hurt me in the beginning. I thought I’m not special enough. Then I realized he’s just being truthful to himself. So, he’s be talking to his sister in the usual bantering manner he uses with me. He would claim to be getting extremely annoyed but their talks last long. He’d be the grown up, matured, elder brother and she (I can’t hear her but I presume) would be the nagging, demanding sister who has been denied something by her parents or the sister whose got nothing else to do right now or someone just updating her brother on the latest family events. It’s amazing to hear them talk. That’s what love must sound like. He cares for her so much! I’m jealous at times. Not because she is taking up his time. Because I don’t have someone to call up and make sudden irrational demands, because I don’t have an elder brother or a sibling for that matter.
Someone had ones said ‘that’s okay, you have us.’ But I guess it’s really different growing up with someone who is almost your age, knows the same people, is facing the same situations, and is a witness to your life. After all it’s growing up together. That calls for love which can’t be given or claimed by friends you’ve made 3-4 years ago. I guess somehow I try to fulfill this void in my relationships. I become too affectionate, too loving, almost motherly. It’s not much of a conventional ‘girlfriend domain’. With a lover I’d like to giggle late into the night about stupid stories and I’d try to know about their past, their childhood. I’d want to know them, better than themselves. It’s a need I have. I try to be the friend, the girlfriend, the mother, the father, the sibling, the wife and the child. It must be tough dealing with me. These are also everything I expect from the person I’m with. This is what Kaif was to me. He was all human relationships put together. It was a face and a name I had given to my emotional needs. The emotional needs of a teenager. I dreamt him up with open eyes.