“Feeling nervous, Manu?”, I asked him. I have lost count of how many times he has answered this.
“Not at all”, he said, as confident as ever. In all these 5 months, that we have spoken, I have never heard him low on confidence. Though in the initial days I thought he is over confident, but now I know it is part of him. It is also one of the things that pull me to him.
“Tara, you booked your ticket 2 days back, right?” I like that tone. It stirs something in me. Makes me feel desired. It has the agony of the wait to it. It has an expectation in it.
“Ya.”, I tell him.
“You have asked me this question atleast 5 times. Are you nervous, sweetie?”
“Really?”, he sounds surprised and amused. I hear laughter tinkle in his voice.
“Ya. I have never met a guy alone. I am….scared.”
His sensitive side is on full display now. I can nearly see him turn sideways on his bed, snuggle up his pillow, when he said “Why, Tara? It’s me. Its your Manu.” His words wash over me, soothe me like he is holding me in his strong arms and caressing my hair. He continues, “You meet your colleagues Harish and that other guy, Ajay everyday, don’t you? You even scold them. I am like them no, Tara.”
I feel like there is something very heavy in my chest. I can’t even say an hmmm. I am scared that my voice will quiver. He probably senses that and continues, “…you scold me too. No one scolds me. They know they will get it back. See you are my tigress.”
He has done it again. He always knows how to get me to smile. When I am in a bad mood or even a sad one, he never asks what happened. Maybe he knows 1600 kms away he can’t change it but he always knows the lines that will force a laugh out of me. And with him I always throw back my head and laugh with abandon. Will he like that always, doubts cloud my mind again.
I feel relaxed after the little laugh his words invoked and he wants me to sleep now. It is 10.30 pm and I have a 7.30 am flight to take. The flight that will take me to his city. He says, “Tara, why could you not come earlier. How many hours more now?” I smile at that. I want to tell him that I am very nervous but I am really looking forward to meeting him. I have thought about this so many times and it was always a nervously happy moment. But I don’t tell him all this. “9 hours will go away in sleep, Manu. I’ll see you at 9.30 if the flight lands on time.”
He says, “It better land on time.”
There is a very warm feeling that creeps into a woman when a man who she likes tells her that he can’t wait to see her. It makes her feel aware of her self, of her sensuality and her own emotions. It is a very nice place to be. I was there in that moment. He made me feel wanted, beautiful and sexy, too.
“Wake me up when you are in the cab. Okay?”, he says.
“I need to check-in by 6:30, Manu. I will leave by 6:00. Why do you want to be woken up so early? I will wake you up before takeoff. Airport is an hour from your home, right?”, I tell him. He can never have enough sleep. I know him. One minute he would claim he is not sleepy and insist let us talk, three minutes later there would be soft snores. Sometimes I get mad at him for this. Not because it matters a lot, it is just fun to scold him.
“Wake me when you sit in the cab, please.”, he stresses. “Whyyy?” I don’t want him to sacrifice his sleep for me but he is adamant. “I will talk to you till you get to the airport”, he says. “It is Mumbai, i’ll be safe. Don’t worry”, I insist. “Wake me up as soon as you get into the cab. And now sleep. Don’t miss the flight please.” I smile, say our special good night and hang up. That voice at the back of my mind asks will tomorrow night be the same too? A knot tightens in my gut with that realization.
I had taken a bus to Mumbai on Saturday evening and got here today morning. The bonus is I get a day with my bestie and also an early morning flight tomorrow. I could have taken a direct flight but from Indore I would have landed in Bangalore with just 3 hours before I have to take a return flight. Manu and me, we are meeting for the first time tomorrow; and I don’t know if we will ever meet again. So I am travelling this longer route. So even if tomorrow is the first and the last, I want to spend as much time as I can with the man who makes my heart sing, whom I have effortless compatibility with and the only man to tell me that my voice is sexy. I have been called sexy before but never has the voice featured on that list. I can’t but adore his simple choices. There is something very lovable about it.
We have spoken about this so many times – how we will be with each other when we meet, if I would like the way he behaves in real, what if he doesn’t like me or I don’t like him, will the chemistry be the same as it is on phone, and so much more – but nothing prepared me for the butterflies in my stomach that have refused to stop fluttering since the tickets were booked. I am too anxious to sleep. I think about him and me. Together. He is taking me around to his favorite places in the city, most of which restaurants. My Manu is a lovable foodie. He wants to take me everywhere he goes besides work. It is a warm, fuzzy feeling. Heady too. Will this last till my last day? I close my eyes and as the scenes playing out in my mind, sleep finally starts taking over.
Let me know in the comments how do you like this 1st chapter.