‘Say something nice to me,’ Neal said to Marisa.
‘What,’ she laughed and mumbled in her sleepy voice, ‘at 3 a.m. you want me to say something nice, huh?’
‘Okay,’ she thought. ‘You are a nice person… not the kind of I thought I would like, but you turned out to be better from everyone else.’ she sweetly mumbled.
Neal listened, his eyeballs swiftly moving left-right.
‘You are different… so much different. You are sensitive… caring… loving… intelligent… humble… and good-looking…’ She smiled to herself. ‘You know that listening is the most important part of a conversation.’
Neal didn’t say a word. He silently lay. His heart was beating two beats at a time. His throat was slowly filling.
Marisa continued: ‘You know how to touch, how to please and… love. You don’t complain…’
‘Sometimes I do.’
‘Well, yes, but that’s negligible. You are patient. You are charming. I think you can make anyone fall in love.’
‘You said that before.’
‘I know… but that’s true, you’re really a person anyone would love to love… but you know what, you are always so coy from everyone that people don’t even know how you really are.’
‘But I guess that’s not a bad quality. Hmm, and you look better when you smile, but you don’t smile often.’
‘I smile the most with you.’
‘I know, but you should do that often, you should always be happy-happy.’
His heart quaked.
‘What else… you can sing, you can cook, you write beautiful poems, but I think that you should also write with happy tone. They are mostly sad… still they are beautiful,’ her voice deepened a little, ‘like your heart cut open.’ She cleared her throat. ‘You have a beautiful brain… and a beautiful soul… and an enormous beautiful heart.’
‘Mmm,’ he made a sound. He didn’t want to hear all of that, but it made him emotional.
‘What happened?’ Marisa asked, reading the vibes.
‘Nothin…’ he cleared his throat.
‘Whaaat, tell me, no,’
‘You still didn’t say what I wanted you to.’
Marisa gulped. ‘You know that I do.’
‘Then say it.’
‘It’s difficult,’ she hesitated, ‘I don’t want to hurt you.’
‘You’re hurting now.’
‘I love you like a–’
‘Don’t classify. Do you classify when you tell that to your parents? Do you explain it to your siblings or anybody else? When you feel it for somebody, you just tell them. You don’t discriminate or put terms & conditions.’ He clarified without even mentioning it.
‘You know me long enough to know that I’ll not misunderstand. Still you do this. Don’t you… you know everything. I just want to hear you say it, like you mean it, plain and simple, without underlined conditions.’
‘I’m sorry. I’m just so messed up. Sorry… okay,’ she took a breath, perhaps discriminating in her own mind. ‘I love you,’ she said. Her voice was flat.
Neal didn’t react. His eyes were full of tears. He was humiliated. It was already ruined.
Marisa knew she didn’t say it right. She took a long moment; calmed herself; closed all the doors and windows of her mind; and recalled that how she felt to be around him, how she felt when he touched her or lingered, how she felt when he said that he loved her, unconditionally.
She started sinking, away from all the formalities, away from all the obligations. There remained just one feeling, just one thing she cherished the most. She smiled for meeting him and being at the receiving end of his love. Then it made her sad for not being able to love him in return. She closed her eyes and imagined him around. The words automatically came out with her warm breath. ‘I love you,’ she said and it flowed out her heart.
As words bubbled out from her mouth, Neal knew they were true. He gently pressed his eyelids and the tears started dribbling.
I’m looking for suggestions. Please shoot anything good or bad you have to say on this post. I’ll be highly obliged. Thank you for reading!