I had an epiphany today. I finally understood why I will always be alone.
It is not that I do not enjoy my solitude. Indeed that is the most important part of my life. While the internet is bursting with posts on how you need to love yourself and learn to enjoy your own company and wind down by yourself, etc I have been blessed with the unusual privilege of being able to do exactly that whenever I can. I have had the fortune of not being tethered to more than 2 people and that too for some months. One died, the other left. I decided after that I do not need to look for partners. That will be decided by karma.
I am 35 years old. Partner-less. Unusual by the standards of our society. I work in a library in Central Delhi, living out my life amidst one true love- books. Books of the yore, books of contemporary times. Books capturing people in their varying emotions, time in its passage, places in their varying degrees of beauties. Books whispering stories. Documents whispering secrets of the mankind. Archives like no other in the country. I have been in charge of the orientation of new members and researchers among other things.
One balmy June morning, this man barged in through the massive oak-wood doors of our library. He was a researcher at the nearby natural sciences facility. He demanded to see the director, saying that he had not received the required assistance he needed in navigating the library and he needed to procure some research material at the earliest for an ongoing project. Seven days, he said. He had only seven days.
Tall, imposing, beautiful. Piercing dark eyes, and this lyrical enthusiastic voice- a kind of voice that I had never heard before. There was so much rage, so much enthusiasm, so much brilliance in that one figure that it was difficult for me to take my eyes off him. Such urgency to get that work done. 7 days.
Day 1, I tried to explain to him how our library actually worked. The membership procedure, the orientation and why these rules could not be broken. He beseeched me to help but his eyes were defiant. I told him I would see what I could do. Maybe I could use my employee privileges. But I was unsure. I understood the urgency, but this was a job I loved and if anything went wrong I would have put my job at stake. He sat me down and explained to me how his project would change the way we looked at human beings and society and how this information was crucial to corroborate his theories. He asked me about my job and showed an interest which not even my employers had shown before. He asked me about my background and what got me where it did. He asked me why the books mattered and he told me why the research mattered so much to him on a personal level. And there between yellowing pages and musty smell of old books I could feel a dormant passion stirring. The burning desire to go out and grab the world by its lapels.
Day 2, he convinced me to help him. He said he would even share credit with me for his work. He said that I would be like a bridge to society’s betterment if I did this. He sat me down between the stacks and talked about his life struggles, then mine. We had coffee later.
Day 3, I woke up feeling love-addled. Like I was on an edge, on the edge of falling in love. Slowly then all at once. Infatuated with his charm. Infatuated with his passion. Infatuated with that pair of dark eyes that looked at you like it knew your soul and that sun-kissed voice that spoke to you to prise out secrets. I heard my phone’s ringtone after a very long time. He called me. It was a Sunday. I took a decision.
Day 4, I decided that I had to meet him and see if I actually felt like putting in my employee privileges and job at stake, if we actually had the chemistry we imagined. I dressed immaculately for a change. A pocket mirror found its way in my bag. I fast tracked his membership application meanwhile. In the world of red tapes and cronyism, something had to give. How long could they hold up the society for so long?
He entered like a storm that pushes you to action. Hurried, urgent movements. His archives were classified. Till he could not procure those he had decided to go in for collateral research. I had him flitting around under my supervision the entire day. All at once, he was a child and a man. All at once he seemed to encompass the way my life should have worked out. All at once, he encompassed all my desires. I began to wonder about his context. His loves, his lies, his taste in music, his family. I began to wonder if he was tethered to someone or consumed by lust for someone. I began to wonder how he spent his time. I began to wonder what made him happy. I began to wonder about his favourite colours. I feel into a deep comforting love with the idea of love.
Day 5, they said that he required proper authorization to fast track applications. That would also take time to procure. It was time to work on my passions and to achieve my desires. A clearer signal could not be received. All that had to be done, was done. I discreetly took out a form and filled it out in my name and stated the reason that I had for accessing these classified documents. I put it in and without bothering to follow up with the status of the application but then, soon after took Jenny of the classifies archives section for lunch to this restaurant she was eyeing while he got a full access to the archives section. I also decided to help him spend the night at the library against the rules.
Day 6, he found what he needed. He thanked me. He said he would leave now. He said he would meet me for coffee someday at the chic new cafes nearby.
I overcame my inhibitions only to grab hold of his hand and blurt out, “Are You Married?” He gave me a strange look. I had exposed my vulnerabilities. I had taken the leap of faith only to be consumed in the chasm. He found what he needed. I didn’t.
Day 7, I had an epiphany today. After Jenny gossiped about our lunch, my shenanigans were discovered. It reached the Director and I was immediately suspended for unauthorized use of the archives. For 2 months- without pay- while my case was reviewed for further action by a disciplinary committee. I was not sure what lay ahead next. I was not sure what would happen if I lost my job. I was not sure if there was another place willing to accept a person like me for a position that I truly enjoyed.
I show my insecurities too soon and passion consumed me too soon. And for this reason, I will forever have to enjoy my prison of solitude with all comforts taken care of but not in a position to escape.