“Clubs” he said, “are depressing” and after a small pause he added “to me”.
Those words came out without providing any context, except that he had seemed lost in thoughts for a while now. It has already been four hours since we left Boston, having slowed down by the snow, we drifted into different thoughts and possible different worlds, though confined in the car.
We almost reached end of route 89, heading towards the Bus stop in White River Junction.. In a few minutes, I would be dropping him and will have to head back.. In a few minutes, I may be seeing him for the last time.. In a few minutes, I was hoping he would ask me to stay back.. As we got near that junction, I was fighting with hope and hopeless thoughts..
His words, were not particularly aimed at me, but I was the only other person in the vicinity, stranded in the car with him in a slow moving bumper to bumper traffic.
He reformed the statement..”There is something depressing and disgusting about clubs and meeting people there!”
“Why?” The question definitely formed as a reflex in me, but I couldn’t muster to say it loud. The implication of the statement was engulfing my senses. The senses were combating the shock of the statement and the fact that we met in a club. The fact that we visited more clubs, danced in the clubs.
He didn’t need my prompting to continue voicing his thoughts..
“I am not sure why I even go to gay clubs, they always make me sad.. and the thought of finding love in the club is ridiculous. Of course, People there find love every other night, even if that does not last long. Everyone has slept with a few and is always looking for something new.”
Even if he wanted me to say something, I wouldn’t have been able to. Luckily, or unluckily, he continued..
“I am not saying I am any different from them. But I used to be different. The idea of love was meeting that one person with whom I could spend the rest of my life with. And I thought I had…. ” his voice trailed into silence, and I knew his thoughts wandered again, may be around his forbidden first love..
“Isn’t it disgusting to imagine yourself kissing a person who has kissed half the people in the room?” I wasn’t sure if that question was pointed at me, I held my silence..
I am pretty sure, he was thinking “Yuck”.. his whole body twisted and turned which is usually associated with an disgusting or repulsive situation or thought or smell or taste…
He was silent again, but the words he let out started echoing in my mind very loudly. It was hard not to feel that he intended those words towards me, was that whole “yuck” thing about me kissing the black jacket stranger on the night we first met? but then why did he kiss me eventually? why did he accept my proposal to date? Is his venting really about propriety or is there something much deeper than that?
The most mundane task are a blessing in disguise to pull us out of the concussioning thoughts. Driving through unknown roads was a blessing. I crossed the bridge at the end of 89 and asked him for the directions. If not for want of driving directions, I would not have been able to speak another word for a while..
Turning to last page of my notebook he held in his lap, where he had earlier scribbled the route, he said “take the exit onto I-91-N”. I obliged.
He looked out the window, there were big bill boards advertising the malls and the food places near by, he looked at them and said “I think i know how to take you from here” and put my notebook onto the back seat..
It was not long before, we parked in front of a Chinese restaurant adjacent to the bus stop. There was a sign saying, parking only for customers, but we parked it anyway. Who would come out on a stormy night?
The bus was an hour late, people were scattered around the waiting hall in small groups with their luggage.. May be, it was the warmth of the crowd, it was feeling suffocated with the many layers wrapped around me. A stark contrast with the fierce cold just outside that revolving door through which we walked in, where i needed more layers to keep me warm.
I wish I could have waited for the whole hour, but my car that has been so resourceful these past couple of days was outside, parked illegaly, unattended in the snow.
It would soon be covered with snow and the tyres would slip, if i tried to take it out and besides i was longing for the solace of aloneness to get away and fully reflect on the recent revalations from him..
I was with his luggage, as he got back from the enquiry booth…
“They are all waiting for the same bus”, he said “you should get going”.
I handed him the bag, I was carrying.
“Call me once you get home. “, he said.
Waved my hand and walked out towards the door into the freezing cold. Even though I had my gloves and the jacket removed, it didn’t feel that cold. The parting had taken away all the warmth that I had started to feel inside…. The cold bye, was severe compared to the cold of the storm….