Thirty years have passed, how can those days, those nights, when we first went to Lalazar, drift away from our memory? It still dwells in the deepest subconscious, like a fantasy.
That vast meadow, with some fine hotels on the top of a mountain, was the center of delight for visitors. It was frequented by travelers in summer and invalided in winter. That was the end of February, so all hotels were deserted. We were the only guests staying in a small cabin adjacent to the main building of a locked hotel.
There had been some movement of sightseers during the day, but in the evening, before the sun went down, everybody would have disappeared.
Early in the morning, on that day, some fleecy clouds floated across the sky, occasionally veiling the rising sun, but towards the forenoon, it cleared and shone gaily on the bright verdure. The azure sky was glistening, just like your blue eyes.
The air passing through the thin leaves of Aleppo pines and the juniper trees was making a melody, in harmony with the strings of our hearts. The bright light of the rising sun from the far horizon was coloring the clear water of the river, running along the bottom of the ravine, wine red.
The sun was smiling lovingly at us. In the middle of this heart-pleasing scene, we were sitting on the lawn, having breakfast. The light sparkling from your luminous eyes was more intense than any light.
The deep red bands in the corners of your moist eyes, the only sign of wakefulness of the whole night, were revealing that the churning water in this lake was still making waves like river Kunhar. I thought that if a little more time passed, my feet will glissade away again in this rising flood. You leaned back in your chair, staring up at me and whispering endearments.
While spreading jam on toast, I mustered up the courage to look into your eyes while ignoring the entire world. You were wearing a polo shirt and royal blue sleeveless sweater stretched tightly over your shoulders and across the back. The strong flexed biceps and the roped muscles of forearms were rippled with your tinkering.
The sheen of sweat on your forehead and the gap between your quivering lips made me more confused. The deep tipsiness of last night’s romantic rendezvous made me gasp.
I thought, ‘it’s just the start of a long day; how will it pass?’
I served the slice of bread and psyched myself up while preparing the tea. But you had perceived. The trembling of my diffident body had exposed the concealed craving.
How could it be camouflaged!
Your eyes were fixed on my face. You rolled them mischievously and said, ‘Take the tea, then we will kick off a new day with ……. Hmm.’
I could hardly contain myself.
‘Why are you constantly staring at me? Calm down and finish your breakfast.’
‘Don’t you know that no other thing is looked at as carefully and closely as the Rukh e Mahboob’ (face of querida)?’
Your answer made me even more stimulated, but I quickly took control of myself and looked into your eyes,
‘Rukh e Mahboob is adored in the whole world by lovers. This veneration has the requirement that its coquetry and blandishment should also be esteemed.’
‘Order! My lord.’
You stood up from the chair and bowed down while putting your hands on stomach.
I felt mischievous, ‘Sit down and have a think, again!’
You were silent for a while, then smiled, and started nodding your head forcefully in confirmation.
I spoke confidently,
‘You will maintain imperturbable equanimity when I say no. If I don’t have desire of it, you will remain serene.’
‘That’s it. That’s all! Such a weak term of the bet.’
We started laughing.
‘You will never disturb me.’
Let’s play another game. A game of endurance.
A contest of patience.’
‘Let’s play a game, today. When we will be inebriated, both narcotized in foreplay, the competition will be of patience.
Let’s see! Who restrains oneself and who becomes impatient?’
‘Oh, a wicked game! You want to play?’
‘ ji Hazoor, a wicked thing to do.’
‘A wicked thing to say and a wicked thing to do? Yes! I accept your challenge.’
We started laughing.
‘The jeep has arrived.’, The driver told.
‘Today’s tour is very long, so we should move now.’
We left immediately. Beyond Jal Khat, the road was not constructed yet. While traveling on rocky paths and shingle roads on an uncomfortable jeep, we reached LuluSar lake. Looking at the seven colors of the rainbow in the clear icy water, you said,
‘The same colors will lighten up our lives.’
Valleys, ravines, waterfalls, lakes, the crags, and cornices of the mountainous pathways: climbing the mountains of Babu Sar Pass, but there was no sign of fatigue.
Thirty years have passed with you, but the vivacity, humor, and charm which struck me on that day still fill my heart. All day you were humming mischievously,
‘Muqabla, muqabla, Laila, O Laila.’ (Competition, competition)
On our way back, we got off at Naran Bazaar. After some time of window shopping, you stopped a jeep and asked the driver to drop us at the hotel. We hopped on the front seat.
As the evening lost its brightness and darkness covered the universe, your face was glowing brightly like moon in that gloom.
Now you were singing loudly, ‘Muqabla, muqabla, Laila, O Laila.’
I also joined you in this chant.
Then, I don’t know what happened, suddenly a shy smile appeared on the driver’s face. He covered his mouth with his hand but ended up faking an outburst of coughs to keep from laughing out loud.
When we reached the hotel, he refused to accept the money. Going up the stairs toward our cabin, I asked,
‘Why he didn’t take the fare?’
Your answer sent a chill down my spine,
‘We made him enjoy the game.’
Even today, when I think about it, I feel ashamed.
And then the wicked game started. There was a restriction of restraint, but the heart rate was increasing moment by moment. It was hard to experience desire while at the same time controlling it. I wished to play coy, and you were doing the unholiest of hollies. Insobriety was overwhelming the heart and mind. No decibels, drinks, or drugs, but waves of stupefaction were passing through our sweat-burnished bodies. Your rapport triggered the release of hormones from my glands. Its chemical cocktail with juices, flowing by enhanced arousal, was increasing euphoria and the desire of bonding. Bitter-sweet sensations flooded my body.
You kept on saying, ‘kissing and canoodling is women’s art, come on, try your skills.’
And you yourself emerged highly skilled in this field, also. Then that particular pinch, after which any woman loses her control, slipped from your fingers and my restraint was broken down. My pelvic bones got heavier with the dancing itch between my legs. I shouted!
‘Oh, oh, oh, I’m on fire
I’m on fire,
Only you can cool my desire.’
Whatever had held us apart, whatever had restrained our bodies before, was now gone. Breathing became loud and shaky, then my body, like a cathedral, broke out into ringing.
We fell back on the small bed, staring up at the ceiling and feeling the presence of a world that meant nothing to us just a moment ago.
As I breathed heavily, I said,
‘I lost the game.’
And you said,
‘Yes! Ye! I am the winner.’
You pulled my hand, kissed its back, and whispered,
‘The truth is that I dodged you by foul play.……
I have lost this wicked game.’
We both burst into a peal of spontaneous laughter, both were accepting the defeat in this wicked game.
‘I lost the competition.’
‘No, it’s me who lost.’
Then you jumped on me and said,
‘No one has lost.
Love is the only game,
both play and both win.’
Thirty years have passed, and you have never given me a chance to implement the condition which I imposed upon you. There has never been a single moment in our entire life that I could try it. You didn’t provide any opportunity for its trial.
It may have happened but whenever I thought to refuse, I get seduced by spotting the tipsiness in your eyes, all the constraints evaporated and we both —.
Courtesy : Reedsy