The Meeting

It was almost 3.00 am. His eyelids were heavy with exhaustion but he couldn’t sleep. He looked at the phone kept on the dressing table before him and sighed. This would have to wait until morning.

He watched as the first rays of light made their way through the half open curtains. They chased away the dark and the terrible thoughts which tormented him throughout the night. Today was the big day. He was finally going to meet her. Would she like him? She had said no matter what she would love to know him. They had got along so well on the online portal where they had spoken for the first time. Throughout the day they spoke to each other for short intervals and at times for a couple of hours. He felt like she understood everything he spoke. This was more than just some chance meeting.

He knew he was addicted to her. There were times he would just sit with his phone in one hand and wait for her message. The minute the phone would buzz he would quickly check for her message. Finally, when she would message he would leave everything he was doing to be with her. This was his precious time with her and he wanted to savour every minute of it.
He had put on his best shirt and shaved early that morning. The driver had dropped him off at the park they had planned to meet. He could feel the anxiety building up inside him as he waited for her to come. What would she say when she saw him? She had said he was handsome but would she find him as attractive in person? After all he had one secret which he had kept from her. She had insisted that he tell her what it was because she couldn’t stop thinking about it. He told her that when she would meet him he’d be able to tell her.

She was on her way to meet a complete stranger. Not so much now. They had met on an online portal and something about him made her feel that she could trust him. They spoke a lot but he never messaged her and she at first thought that maybe he wasn’t interested. But she realized that the minute she texted him there would almost always be an instantaneous reply to her messages. Through the text messages which they shared he was very understanding, caring and witty at the same time. Deep down she knew that he was just a text message away.

She smiled when she pictured this handsome man sitting and waiting for her message. The profile picture which he had set was just a shot of his face. He looked sleepy with his hair ruffled falling to his side. He was a smiling and it was crooked smile which made him only more irresistible. What was he like! Was he tall and muscular? Or he had a lean body and was average heighted? She couldn’t wait to meet him. But now when the time had finally come she was terribly nervous. Especially after he had told her that there was something he had to tell her. She had asked him to tell her what it was but not matter what she said he was very firm.

She looked in the mirror one last time. She had worn a simple dress and had not put on any makeup. He had once told her that she looked beautiful even without makeup when she had changed her profile picture. She blushed when she thought about it. He was a sweet and very honest. Genuine about his feelings and she could make that out even through just his messages. She gathered her purse and grabbed her phone. She would need it when she would reach there.

He was now sweating profusely. He shouldn’t have come this early. There were still 2 minutes left and he hoped she would be on time. The beads of perspiration from the back on his neck travelled all the way down his spine making his shirt damper.

He looked at his wristwatch and looked at the entrance of the park. Just as he was about to look away he saw her. He stopped to catch his breath. She was breathtakingly beautiful. He watched and with every step she took his heart filled with dread. She could never be his. She had not seen him yet. He waited and took her all in. Every detail was stored forever in his memory. Her light brown eyes and the way they crinkled when she smiled. She had the most beautiful smile. He took a sigh and his lonely heart was overcome with longing.

She walked in with a thumping heart. Where was he? Nervously she looked around but still she didn’t see him. What if he was watching her right now? She smiled as she removed her phone and texted telling him that she was there. He responded back promptly. He was watching her and she looked around impatiently and then asked him where was he. He replied back asking her to look to her left but lower. She did as he asked and there he was. He was sitting and she could see his smiling face. She met his gaze and she felt herself flush. She smiled back and started walking quickly in his direction. She made it around the bend across which he was seated. It was odd that he had not got up to greet her. Never mind she said to herself. He was here and that was more than enough.

She gasped. She wasn’t expecting this. Was this why he was hesitant to meet? This is what he had been hiding for so long. Her heart ached for him. She walked up to him and saw that he was holding his phone in his hand. She smiled and extended her hand. He smiled back awkwardly and shook his head. She was puzzled. He spoke with a slight stutter. ‘I can’t move my arm completely,’ he said. She nodded and sat down on the bench next to him.

‘I’m sorry, I should have told you earlier,’ he mumbled. He was clearly embarrassed. ‘I thought you would never want to meet me if I told you earlier and that was very selfish of me. If you wish to leave now you can. I won’t force you to stay.’ She looked at him in is white shirt, clean shaven face and lastly his wheelchair. He was beautiful. How could she not love this man! He was so honest and had the courage to show up. She got up. His face fell and he started to look down at his feet.

She went in front of him on her knees and with her finger brought his chin up. ‘I’ll leave. But first I’ll get to know you.’ She smiled and then without thinking, leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. He looked at her and she saw his eyes brimmed with tears. ‘Thank you,’ he said and smiled up at her.

He couldn’t believe it. She was the most beautiful soul he had ever come across. She didn’t look down at him with pity. She looked at him like he had for long wanted some woman to look at him. She went behind and gently wheeling his chair started speaking to him. He told all about himself and asked her about her life. She seemed to be genuinely enjoying his company. She listened to everything he said attentively and was very considerate making sure he was comfortable.

Maybe life wasn’t so bad at all. Maybe there was still hope. He watched her as she laughed with the sun in her eyes. She looked at him and smiled. Moving in closer she took the phone from his hand. ‘You don’t need that anymore,’ she said grinning at him. She held his hand and together they sat and watched the sunset.

Love may not be perfect but love is the only thing that saves us. Where there is love there is hope. That day the two of them had completed each other and love had won, despite everything.

-Babar Mir

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