Veer must fight his attraction for his colleague Kian. Will he succeed?
I see you in the lunch room. You are by yourself eating a sandwich. The beauty of your radiant face, the way you sit with your long legs crossed makes my blood flow. You suddenly look at me. I panic and look away. My heart is pounding and I feel sweat on my brow. Am I experiencing love at first sight?
It’s stuffy in the meeting room. Loosening my tie, I sigh and look around at the dull faces. The door opens and a face comes into view. It’s you from the lunch room!
The meeting is forgotten as my full attention is on you. I watch as you stroke your chin with slim long fingers. The way your tongue flicks across your full lips. Your mouth is open slightly revealing even white teeth. A thick strand of your dark brown hair is kissing your forehead. You are a dream boat.
I am awoken from my reverie as the meeting comes to a close. You rise, shake a few hands and walk towards me. I am totally unprepared to meet you and want to flee. Too late! You stretch your hand for a handshake. As I hesitate, I see you are actually reaching out to my boss who is standing next to me. My face turns red and I feel like a rotten egg has fallen on me. I compose myself and walk away awkwardly.
As I reach the door, a voice behind me says, "Sorry I didn't get your name". I turn to see you, grinning boyishly. Everything feels like it’s happening in slow motion. In the background I hear music.
"Hey I am Kian," you say in a clear voice.
"Unh. I am Veer. Friends call me Vea." And why would I say that to a stranger?
Your handshake is firm and confident. You are wearing a white Armani shirt, red tie and black pants. A light scar on your chin adds to your sex appeal. It should be a crime to look so handsome.
"Well I hope to call you Vea too." You say with a twinkle. "I work in Marketing Development and you?"
"I am into IT Services."
"That’s swell. Catch you around."
The next minute you are gone. The scent of your musky perfume is hanging in the air. The romantic in me kicks in. A cascade of images floats in my head. I am kissing you at the Eiffel tower, at the Taj, the Blue Mosque of Turkey, a houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala. Stop! I say to myself. Does Kian even like guys? I warn myself to control my emotions, lest I get hurt. The excitement quells as I am brought back to earth. I pick my things and walk out.
I sit at my desk thinking of Kian. We met a few times in the building. I laugh thinking of the time I was taking a pee in the restroom. You enter and take the slot beside me even though others are empty. I become conscious and stop midway. You whistle a tune and seem to be enjoying my discomfort.
While washing hands you ask, "Why are you nervous when I am around? Don’t you like me?”
I frown, "No, I feel happy to see you. In fact I wait..." I purse my lips.
"For what?" you ask stepping towards me. Your hypnotic eyes put me in a trance. In that moment something unsaid transpires between us. I believe that moment changed something.
The phone rings and it’s you.
"Hey Vea. Care for some coffee at the roof top cafe?"
My heart skips a beat seeing you in blue jeans and white shirt. It’s casual day at the office. We sit in a corner from where we can see the city below.
"I come here to clear my head," I say. "Looking at this view is therapeutic."
Your shirt button is open displaying chest hair. "I enjoy your company Vea," you say. I feel glad that you call me Vea.
Coffee finished, we walk over to the parapet wall. Cool winter air caresses my face. I close my eyes to soak up the dreamy moment.
Standing beside you feels romantic. Our arms graze and I feel a tingle. On an impulse I take your hand in mine. You look at me. Everything becomes still. My heart pounding, I move my face closer to yours and touch your lips with mine. You draw away slightly before turning away. Clearing your throat you say, "Umm I have a meeting to attend." Biting your lips you fumble your way towards the lift, leaving me alone, high and dry.
I feel like a douche standing there. I kick the wall and curse. What must you be thinking? I feel helplessly drawn towards you. I guess it’s doomed for people like me. We cannot express our love openly. We have to be apologetic for our feelings and constantly hide in fear of being discovered. Even if we are open, it’s at a great cost.
Days pass. You ignore me in the lunchroom. I understand you are upset but do I really deserve this?
Deep in thought as I approach the office entrance, I see you walk from the other side. Our eyes meet. You pause and then quicken your pace. In your urgency, you stumble and fall. I run over and give you a hand.
"I am fine," you say looking at me darkly. I feel flushed and my anger rises. Grabbing your wrist I say, "I know you are angry but can’t we talk it out?"
"Veer leave my hand. People are watching"
"I don’t care. Meet me at Bistros after work so we can talk it out," I say firmly.
You are waiting as I arrive at the cafe. The warmth between us has cooled. You look distant.
After ordering coffee I begin, "I was out of line that day. I shouldn’t have done what I did."
You fidget in your chair.
"Please hear me out. I am not open about my feelings." I pause contemplating whether I should leave.
"Kian I am attracted to guys." My hand is shivering. I wipe the sweat forming on my brow. I never revealed this part of me to anyone.
"I fell in love the minute I laid eyes on you." The emotions rise up to my chest. "We think we are in control of our lives but it’s only an illusion. I am crazy about you. You are everything I dreamed of. Charming, witty, and you make me laugh. I mean who wouldn’t fall for you?" I sip my coffee which is delicious, but I am not enjoying its taste. "Maybe you feel repulsed by my desire for a man. But I am not ashamed of what exists inside me." My eyes are moist. "Look, I don’t expect you to understand, but I wanted to let you know." You are quite.
"Please don’t hold any ill feelings towards me. Do I become less of a person because I love differently?" A storm of emotions are threatening to unleash.
"Veer this world isn’t ready for people who are different." You chew your lips. "I don’t foster any ill will towards you. You are an amazing guy who doesn’t realise his worth." You pause. "But, we should draw the line here. It's my misfortune that I can’t continue this friendship and it hurts to let you go. Good bye Veer."
I am confused by what you said. You rise and give me a hug. It feels warm and snug in your embrace. As you walk away, the dam bursts and warm tears roll down.
I read the job offer that came in. The salary is better and based in another state. I decide to accept it as I am heartbroken and feel aggrieved. I need to get away far from Kian as I guess some relations are best severed at the root. As there’s nothing to achieve except pain why let it grow at all? All this sounds good in theory but my heart cannot help but agonise to see you each day and not have you. Not for long I remind myself.
I toss and turn in the night as images of your lips and smile face burns in my psyche. I wake up agitated and find my pillow drenched with sweat. This has to stop.
A day before I am leaving, I decide it’s only fair to inform you. The office is mostly empty as I approach your cabin late in the evening. You look up as I knock. "Come in,” you say awkwardly.
The stubble on your chin makes you look sexy. "Kian, I have resigned and will be leaving tomorrow."
Your eyes grow wide, "Why didn’t you tell me earlier?"
"I don’t see the point since you don’t want to be friends anymore."
"It’s not like that," you murmur. "I like you. A lot. But.."
"Kian, I get it. I love you but its unbearable to be around you"
Silence follows and it’s awkward standing there.
A crazy thought flashes in my mind. "Can I ask you something Kian?" Don’t!, I tell myself. "Can I kiss you?" I feel weird to hear myself. "It will be something to remember you by. A memory that will keep me warm sometimes."
The silence is deafening. You look perplexed. I turn to go.
"Wait," you whisper. “I can do that," you say looking up. My heart is thudding bullets. You smile and I feel mushy in anticipation. I draw close and hold you by the face. Your breath is warm. I gaze at your lips, draw closer and kiss them gently. My cheeks graze against the stubble of your chin. You close your eyes and as I do millions of colours erupt in my head. The sweetness of your lips is intoxicating. Wish I could freeze this moment in time. I stop and look at you for a while. "Farewell." I whisper, before walking away.
On the last day I leave office with a heavy heart. Its early January and there's a nip in the air. I smile as images of the kiss play over in my mind. I reach the station and board the metro. A couple of guys are holding hands. I show them a victory sign. They smile shyly. Hope the day isn’t far when people could taste the freedom to love whoever they want.
I reach home and sit back on the sofa to reflect. Life always has a plan for us. It will unfold as we trace the steps in our lives.
It’s time to leave so I gather my things and lock the door. The elevator hums as it descends. As the door opens, I see a figure ahead. I swallow as I recognise who it is.
You hasten your steps towards me. "Oh thank God you didn’t leave yet!"
"What are you doing here?”
You gently hold me by the shoulders. "I can’t lie to myself any longer. Last evening the kiss changed everything. It made me realise that I can’t stop this gush of love I feel for you. I tried hard to fight it, but it’s a torment to quell its gentle nudges. If I resist anymore, I will soon implode.
I stare open mouthed as I can’t believe what you are saying.
"Vea, I have been too afraid of coming out to myself. But how long can I deny the truth? A day will come when I will come to terms with my sexuality but then it would be too late. I would have lost you and that is something I simply can’t allow."
"Kian I am trying to process what you are saying."
"Don’t think too hard my love. Trust me."
The lift door closes and you pull me in your arms. As we kiss, I feel the eruption of joy. Love has triumphed after all!