Friday, February 29, 2008

The Confession… A Short Story

8th January, 2008

Sneha started telling Armaan about the letter at a very vulnerable moment. Although she knew it wasn’t necessary: Armaan would forgive her anyway. No, she was not afraid of losing him. It was just that she felt like talking about it at that very time, when she was confident that Armaan would give her the best of what he had.

Armaan was shocked. She’d expected that. But she also knew that he would not judge her until she told him everything. So she expected the astounded silence to be followed by a spate of questions. And she was right.

“Why Sneha?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I wasn’t thinking straight. Or maybe I wasn’t thinking at all… I myself don’t know why I did it…”

“What happened?”


As she started telling him all about it, Sneha felt herself transported back to the first days of her friendship with Somesh. If she said that his friendship was not dear to her, Sneha would be lying. Somesh was a very nice guy, and the two of them had much in common. Sneha enjoyed his company immensely. She cared for him. And she liked him a lot.

But that was it. She liked him purely as a friend.

Initially, his sentiments towards Sneha were also the same. Somesh and Sneha had spent some truly memorable times with each other. They both loved being together. Over the time, though, Somesh changed. Sneha realized that he just wasn’t the same friendly guy any more. The hints of wanting something more than just friendship grew quite insistent, but she chose to ignore the intuitive signals that were gnawing at her heart. She did not want to lose his friendship. More importantly, she did not want to hurt him. Distraught, she started searching for ways to tell him that they had no future together.

It was not as if Somesh did not know about Armaan. She’d told him about Armaan on countless occasions: about how much she loved him, about how badly she missed him, and about what Armaan meant to her.

But somehow, Somesh just could not control the desires of his heart. He did not want to cause a crack in her relationship with Armaan. But at the same time, he could not help expressing his desire for her.

Armaan asked her why she did not severe all contacts with Somesh at that point. Sneha could not explain. She loved Somesh in her own way. She was not someone who befriended people easily, and once befriended, she could not let go of them easily. And Somesh was a very adored, loved and cherished friend of hers. She did not want to lose him. She did not want to hurt him, for fear of losing him.

She could not say “yes” to him, because she was already madly in love with Armaan. She could not make her “no” firm enough either, because it broke her heart to disappoint him.

Gradually, Sneha’s twin desires had begun to wear her out. Somesh started losing his cool too. So they fought – over things that appeared small to him, but were significant to her… over things which were trivial to her, but utterly important to him. Where there was a sweet, understanding friendship between the two, there now reigned only animosity and misunderstandings. Where there was happiness, anger and heartache held sway. And then came a time when they both started ignoring, avoiding each other.

The physical distances between them did nothing to improve matters. Sitting in two different corners of the country, they virtually had no way of sorting things out. For all the help that cell phones and emails were, they usually managed to convey quite different meanings than what was intended. When communication between them came to a stand still for months at a stretch, Sneha actually thought that their friendship had come to an end. There was no hope of reviving it. But she wanted to give it one last shot.

With great trepidation, but a faint ray of hope in her heart, Sneha decided to meet him for one last time, in a last ditch attempt to save the friendship. Quite to her surprise though, Somesh spoke to her like old times, and together they planned a dinner at his place. She could not deny it – Sneha was ecstatic!

Things went on quite smoothly during the dinner. Much to her joy, Sneha found the old fun and companionship back in their friendship. Soon, the watch lay forgotten by their side, and they were swapping tales like old times! She did not even realize that it was well past mid night, and that she was supposed to have left long back. When she did notice the time, it was too late to leave.

In fact, she would not have noticed the time still, had it not been for the sudden change in Somesh’s behaviour. Subtle, yet certain. Her heart skipped a beat. She tried to bring the situation back to normalcy, but by then, the air had changed. At that moment, Sneha knew that it was hopeless, that she had no power to stop him tonight.

He said he did not want her just out of physical desire. It was “the way he felt” for her. And that he was just listening to his heart, not logic. That he himself didn’t know what he wanted out of this, or whether he should term this to be a one-night-stand. And also that she should not submit to him just because he wanted her.

There was so much that she wanted to tell Somesh at that moment. But words failed her. She could never give voice to her feelings for Somesh. But she wanted to tell Armaan, for she knew that Armaan loved her far, far beyond what Somesh did. And Armaan wouldn’t judge her. He would understand.

Why did she give in to Somesh, even though she did not want to? Why did she do something that was squarely against her lifelong principles? She didn’t know how to justify or defend what she did, or what happened that night. She didn’t even know whether it was right or wrong. She just knew that she had breached her own principles. She had broken her beloved Armaan’s trust. Yet, her heart felt no burden of guilt… She had, indeed, listened to her heart. And her heart had told her that she should make Somesh happy, just this once.

So she allowed him to pleasure her.

But from the moment he touched her, she felt violated. She could not respond to his strokes, his caresses or his kisses… she felt no desire for him, no pleasure in what she was doing. And yet, she did not ask him to let go of her. He stroked her, caressed her and kissed her some more, and took every pleasure that she had to offer to a man. And it felt like a dream-come-true experience to Somesh… but for Sneha, it was a nightmare.

But she allowed him. She thought that once it was over, she could get him out of her system… she thought she’d no longer think about it. But that was not to be. Day in and day out, she found herself thinking about that night, the injustice she’d done to Armaan. And about Somesh’s voice, dripping with love. Somesh’s words rang in her ears. The burden of guilt weighed upon her at times… at others, her heart was full of a light feeling, much like the one which invades the heart when you do something good.

Torn between the plethora of emotions, Sneha realized that if she were to retain her sanity, she would have to tell Armaan about the night of passion with Somesh, and tell Somesh about why exactly she had done whatever she did that night.

She knew talking to Somesh would make things a lot more difficult. So she wrote a letter to him. And Armaan… she could talk to. So, here she was, pouring her heart out to Armaan.

“I’m sorry Armaan… I know what I did was wrong. But I could not stop myself. Perhaps I was weak, perhaps I wasn’t thinking straight… I know I could’ve stopped him if I wanted to… but I could not. I’m sorry about that”, Sneha pleaded. “Will you please forgive me Armaan? You know I love you and only you…”

Armaan could not speak… Sneha’s tear streaked face was looking up at him… Her eyes were full of an unspoken fear of losing him, her trembling lips pleading for his reassuring kiss…

He loved her. And at that moment, he loved her a lot more.

“I can’t deny that I’m shocked Sneha… but I can’t also deny that I’d perhaps be a lot more upset if you hadn’t told me this yourself. But are you sure that you don’t feel anything for Somesh?”

“Of course not Armaan. He’s just a friend. I love you Armaan, only you…”

At that precise moment, Armaan chose to put all her fears to rest. He gently wrapped her in his arms, slowly wiped the tears from her soft, pink cheeks, and started to kiss her trembling lips, as if to say, “I love you Sneha… and I can’t live without you…”