They were both as different as chalk and cheese. He had grown up in an orthodox, aristocratic family, proud of their tradition and lineage. She had grown up in a laid-back Christian household. Her mother was Eurasian and her father was a Christian. She was happy-go-lucky, he was upper crust. They met in their university during their post graduate studies in English literature. She chose literature because of her love for classics. He chose literature because it was the easiest way to get a postgraduate degree.
When they first met in the college fresher’s party they didn’t even like each other. They rubbed each other the wrong way. She thought he was too cavalier and he thought she was not in touch with reality. But fate had other plans. Alphabetically destined together, Christy and Christopher ended up sitting next to each other in class.
The first time he evoked a positive, if incredulous, response from her was in their stylistics class where they were asked to write an original essay, in the prose style of Francis Bacon. Christopher turned out a tongue-in-cheek satire that could have made it to the wackiest of books, called “Of Eggs!” Interesting, she thought, considering that all of Bacon’s sifted essays had titles like Of Travel, Of Love, Of Envy, etc.
The first time he viewed her differently was when she incisively cut through the opposite party’s defense in an impromptu class debate on the validity of English Literature today. She won him over completely when he saw her laughing and playing hopscotch with a group of kids in the neighborhood.
They had their first date a month later. He wanted to take her to a coffee shop. Instead he took her to his family orchard, with a picnic table laden heavy with food and fruits plucked fresh off the orchard.
Later with her girlfriends she had to face a barrage of questions.
“He took you to his orchard for a first date?”
“Where do they make these guys?”
“Is that his idea of romance?”
“Why are you grinning from ear to ear?”
“He kissed you, didn’t he? Did he? Did he?”
“No, he did not” she stated emphatically, even as a cushion landed on her.
“He loves the greenery, and he wanted me to share it with him”, she replied, continuing to beam at them all. She had never been so happy in her life. Everything about him was strange, different and exciting, waiting to be explored. He was so mysterious and yet, so loving and she couldn’t wait to spend the rest of her life with him.
Christy and Christopher were as unlike as it could get. They were undeniably different. Their backgrounds, their upbringing, their culture, and their outlook towards life were all different. But though poles apart, it seemed like the magnetic laws were soon to start applying to them. The force of attraction was too strong to repel. They were soon quite inseparable.
She invited him home to her family Christmas dinner, and things didn’t go very well. The differences in their family environments were so huge, they didn’t even talk about it for two days. But then they did. He broached it and she rationalized. Nonetheless, they confronted it as if it were happening to someone else and tried to tackle it by making their own rules.
However, love was to soon overcome this hurdle like a surging wave.
She was supposed to meet him in the library at 3 pm. She was a little late. She entered the library breathless and looked for him at his usual cubicle. It was empty.
“Thank God, he hadn’t come yet.”
She sat down to catch her breath and wait for him. With a book open in front of her, she happily slipped into a happy reverie of all their moments. The things they had shared. The words he had said, he had turned out to be quite the poet. She tried to take some notes but gave up, she was too keyed up. She glanced at her watch. It was 3:30, he still hadn’t appeared. She was losing patience and tried to relax by reading the book. Two chapters later, he still hadn’t arrived. The library had suddenly emptied out. Now she was beginning to worry.
She stepped out of the library and saw a group of students.
“There’s been an accident!”
“What? Who? Where?”
“Two guys from the English department… a truck…. someone…. the guy driving… had died.”
“PG English class?”
“Yes, PG English!”
Her heart stopped. Her mind went numb. She raced to the department. Cars were revving as everyone was in a hurry to get to the hospital. Nobody would meet her eye. She hitched a ride to the hospital with one of her classmates.
The rushing wind blew askance not just her hair but her tears as well.
“God, let him be okay. Let him be all right.”
And then it struck her.
He had never known… she had never told him how much she loved him. And now was it too late? She couldn’t believe this was happening. He seemed so much larger than life… and now… “Where was he?” Silently she mouthed her prayers earnestly, fervently. They were shown into the hospital room. Nobody had died. Their classmate lay all bandaged up with a broken rib and a badly wounded leg. Their friends clustered around his bed. “Christopher’s just gone to the orthopedic section. He’s waiting to consult the physiotherapist, something about his knee.”
She went looking for him beyond the radiology section and turned towards the orthopedics. And then she saw him. He was sitting there all by himself in the reception area on a bench. No great harm done… just badly bruised. And then he saw her. Their eyes met, the relief was mind-blowing and before she knew it, she was in his arms.
They were both speechless. Words could not convey what they felt. But the moment communicated itself. She didn’t feel self-conscious. She just felt like she had come home. And then she felt him… chastely, but oh so tenderly, kiss the top of her head.
“I love you, I love your heart beat,” she told him looking down at the hospital floor. He was silent for a long time… till she looked up into his face. And then he whispered, “And I love you more than you’ll ever know.”
Christy and Christopher got married, and are still happily married against all odds and are the proud parents of two children, a boy and a girl.
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