I never said ‘I love you’ to him, neither did he. Frankly speaking, I didn’t know what love felt like; was it different from what I felt for him? We had known each other for quite some years. We weren’t exactly friends. What do you call a relationship which is beyond friendship, but doesn’t dare to cross the door to love?
Every morning I used to ask myself – ‘What is it that I feel for him?’ My heart always kept mum. And my head would say – ‘You’ll figure out…it’s never too late.’
I asked him one day – ‘What is our relationship?’
‘It’s like white roses. God didn’t know what color to paint them, so he left them uncolored. Let’s not try to paint them red, or yellow, or blue.’
We weren’t best friends, but we shared secrets; secrets that you even hesitate to tell your closest friend. We weren’t lovers, but we knew each other, we could read each other’s eyes. We never kissed, but our unspoken words weren’t opaque to each other. What I felt for him was immortal, yet unnamed.
Soon, it was time for him to say goodbye. We didn’t promise to stay in touch, rather we didn’t promise anything to each other. He said goodbye with a smile on his face, and I smiled back – ‘Shall we meet again?’ I asked.
‘I’ll send you a white rose if I ever wish to see you again…send me back a white rose if you wish the same.’
‘…and if I don’t wish to…?’ I asked playfully.
‘then never send anything…neither a false hope, nor a promise that you won’t fulfill.’
5 years passed; As I opened my eyes this morning, I remembered his face. I smiled and got off the bed. It never felt wrong to cherish our relationship even after being married to another man. I looked back at my husband who was sound asleep; I went over to him and kissed him. As I came out of our bedroom and headed towards the kitchen, the doorbell rang.
It was a bouquet, a bouquet of white roses.
I took it from the man; signing the register, I closed the door.
‘…I’ll send you a white rose…’ the words came flashing back to my mind and my heart skipped a beat. I looked for his name inside it and found a small envelope pasted on the backside. I tore it open and a folded paper popped out. I opened it with trembling hands.
I finally sent you the white rose! You must be wondering what made me send them. Actually I had a dream. I saw you in it…you asked me – ‘What is our relationship?’ I didn’t have an answer to it. It’s strange, isn’t it? I don’t know why but I just can’t get the question off my mind since then.
I got in touch with one of your college friends. As we decided, I didn’t ask her anything about you except for your address.
I hope you get it why I sent the flowers, right?
…do you wish to see me again?
I folded the paper and put it back inside the envelope. I sniffed the flowers; they smelt like him. I removed the old lilies from the flower-vase on the center table and put the white roses inside it. As I started adding water to the vase, my husband came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist – ‘who sent these flowers?’ he asked.
‘Someone I knew long back.’
‘A friend…or an ex-lover…huh?’ he asked jokingly.
‘Someone who didn’t know what color to paint the white roses…and left them uncolored. But it’s too late, now these cannot be painted red, or yellow or blue…’
– Chirasree, a dreamer.