I met Ishaan at, well, a party. But not really the same party. My friend was celebrating his 25th birthday at a new bar, and Ishaan was there partying with his friends, celebrating being back in town after four years.
We bumped (yes, literally bumped) into each other while getting a drink at the bar and flirted for a few minutes. I got called back to my table, though, so we didn't really get a chance for formal introductions. I saw him again while bringing the cake out before midnight, so I asked him to join us while we did the whole birthday song singing ritual thing. He did, but it was a party after all, and I kept getting dragged or called away every time we tried to have a conversation.
While leaving with my friend, I heard him call out name and catch up to me. Two of my best girlfriends were on my both sides and not letting go - and totally giggling at the situation… Or maybe it was just the alcohol?
We clearly couldn't talk properly then, so he just asked for my number. My best friend jumped in at this point and gave it to him. He said he would get in touch and maybe we could plan to meet up again... And then he left.
Over the next few days, we texted, we talked on the phone...for hours at a time. I was very much not the kind of girl who did this kind of thing, but he was sweet and I was happy. So it went on this way for about five days, at the end of which we planned to meet for dinner.
I obviously thought it was a date and dressed accordingly. He picked me up from my house, we drove to this beautiful restaurant and got settled in. It was going really well until about half an hour in, when he got visibly nervous about something.
When I asked him to tell me what was wrong, he took a deep breath and finally said, ‘I really, really like you. And I definitely feel a very strong connection here. But there's something I haven't told you. My situation right now is kind of complicated... I still haven't broken up with my girlfriend. But I totally intend to!’
While he was saying all of this, I was completely quiet. I was half laughing at this situation I had found myself in and also totally not surprised that something like this happened. When have things not gone drastically wrong after seeming perfect, hmm?
He proceeded to tell me in detail how he had been with her for a year, but recently they had grown apart - since moving cities, actually. He proposed trying to make it work long distance, but he hadn't even heard her voice in the last three days. He had made up his mind about breaking things off before he met me, but he was also adamant about not doing it on the phone. He was going back to Delhi in a month and that's when he planned on talking to her.
I thought about it all - about how I had actually known this guy for just five days... Did I really believe his story? After all, how would I know if he had really broken up with her? We had no common friends or anything. He wasn't even on Facebook!
‘I hope you realize this isn't a date then. And there might not be one, even if you do break up with your girlfriend,’ I said finally. ‘You can't assume I'm going to be here as soon as you're single. Break up with her if you want, but please, for God's sake, don't do it for me.’
We finished our dinner and he dropped me home. I was still friendly - but not flirty anymore. A wall of uncertainty had gone up around me and he knew exactly why.
We kept in touch over the next month. I ended up meeting a few of his friends regularly too. One such day, about a month and a half later, one of his slightly shady, womanizer-type friends said to him teasingly, ‘Yea, yea, now toh you're a khula saand, why aren't you having fun like the rest of us?’
That's when I found out that he had ended that relationship exactly when he had said he would. He just hadn't mentioned it to me...
Three weeks later, we finally went on our first proper date.
Three months ago, we celebrated our two-year anniversary. And we plan on celebrating many, many more.
* Names changed to protect privacy.
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Published on Nov 24, 2016