My second tryst with the female heart was a faint one that got bigger sometime in the 30s but died an instant death, faster than an instant noodle is swallowed through the funnel of the throat. What attracted me to this lass, was a little bit of the outward beauty but strangely the fact that she only wore single colored T-sbirts. She was either anti-slogans or logos or she loved draping herself with single colors. I still remember like yesterday the colors she had – pink, white, yellow, blue and red. All with a loopy neckline. Some days the Ts were firmly tucked into her trusting denim pants and other days flowing out, too large for her medium-built frame.
I didn’t know anything about her at the time I started liking her, saying good morning to her or simply smiling knowing that she will reciprocate with a smile. She had perfect skin. I would have needed a microscope or a magnifying glass to find some acne on her skin. She was picture perfect, like a lighthouse that was given an ivory coat and with dimples that stood out like a commas around her lips. She was like the anti-Dilantha. I too was wearing single colored T-shirts at that time and would never foray into wearing logoed Ts, due to my affinity for single colors. They were simple, clean and gave me a sober look. I remember her coming down from the Alliance Francaise staircase on Saturday mornings and we would knock smiles like the sun and moon in total eclipse. I guess she knew I was a sucker for her smile or worse, for her partiality.
Two years afterwards, I would share the first poem I ever wrote, with her. It was a poem in French called “Restaurant of Love”. It was making metaphors abundant with a restaurant culture and making it like analogy-central. She didn’t say much about the poem and I remember being disappointed that she didn’t give me an outright two thumbs up. I knew at that time, that my aunt and her father were good buddies and that she had come to my place as a nappy-draped 6 month old. I felt a little ownership of destiny at that moment and it was like parallel railway lines converging on the horizon and yet keeping apart. It was all a mirage and I got duped to believing that I and her, would have some small story to tell.
Later, on the day of the Alliance Carols, I got to dance with two girls. The dimpled girl was one. I had a great time dancing with her. She was in a lavender velvet dress that went to the ankle, and the contrast of her flawless skin to the purple-coated dress was like seeing white and purple orchids side by side, the coconut whiteness beautified by the purple drapery. We danced to “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton and I remember feeling confident with a woman for the first time in my life. My palms weren’t sweaty and I was at ease with her hipbones and I made it a point not to let my palms navigate the twilight zones, where the hips end and the top corner of the bottom begins. It was wonderful that night, eyes firmly fixed to hers, the music swaying the knees and the thighs, conversation looping out of tongue, chemistries alloying together in palm and eye, she looking up at me like a miracle was about to happen and I showing no sign of panic, letting the moment drag on like the tail of a Bird of paradise. It was sheer bliss to be dancing with a beautiful woman, with no punctuations on the clock surface. We danced for a good 20 minutes, perhaps more. I remember asking her about the Valentine’s Day dance and whether she will get permission from her dad to be there. I guess I wanted to give her a rose that was half yellow and half red. My heart loved our conversation, there was an oomph factor to it and it was lazy but smooth. I would later know that we could always talk freely, whether in person or in e-mails. When a woman makes you feel that much at ease, you know in your heart, she is a keeper.
The last time I met this girl was at the Le Palace restaurant for dinner. She and a couple who were friends of hers, came for dinner on that day. I remember drifting towards the old times, with great ease and it was like the 20s once again. I dropped her home, at her place in Maharagama, where I asked her to visit me in the Philippines. She was at that time living without her parents in Sri Lanka. I told her, I have a three bedroom house and you can stay in one of the vacant rooms. I had no intention to sleep with her but I looked forward to spending some time alone with her in the Philippines. I remember, waiting for a reply from her once I landed in the Philippines, but the reply never came and I was stuck in a moment that I could not get out of. I missed her was an understatement. Still I knew the moment had passed. She was never coming to the Phillippines.
Now this girl is married and in the US. She was a facebook friend of mine for a while but we drifted afterwards. Now she is a firm presence in my past. Her birthday was on the 7th of July and I realized later on that the woman I loved the most (until I met my wife) too would share that birthday, four years apart. July 7th was going to be the day that would make me heart-broken and that would be an understatement. This girl left me like a piece of driftwood hanging alone to the tide. Still another girl, the alligator, would shatter my driftwood into splinters with the furor of her tide. She was No 1, always was. Still I enjoyed my times with the surrogate “July 7th girl”.
Still I have single colored Ts in my cupboard. Sometimes when I go through my Ts, I think of this girl – Nels. She will always be a little flame inside my pocket. Now she is an advertising chick in Seattle. Sometimes, “what if” hurts you but in this case, the fact that I never ventured to popping the question, never burns me from head to toe fully. I guess I liked her a lot but the other ‘L word’ never really followed suite.