Read The First Time (Love in No Time #1) Online
Authors: Bitsi Shar
The First Time
(Love in No Time—I)
Map of India (see Delhi in the center—500-year old capital city)
For all of you who want to or have loved wildly, never thinking anything is too much too soon.
To RGV, director
. Thank you for the cover photo! You rock!
(Disclaimer: Any resemblance or reference to persons or animals, living or dead, is purely coincidental and unintentional. This is a work of fiction)
August 31, 1996—Chanakyapuri, Delhi
I couldn’t see his face. His psychedelic helmet hid a good part of his face, except for those eyes. No, there was nothing special about those eyes. They were neither small nor big. They were regular eyes but with the blackest pupils I ever saw. They were always this shade. They never became any other shade except when he was devouring my pussy. In that armor style, gaudy helmet, I couldn’t see anything of his face. So looking at his eyes was useless. They didn’t give anything away because they couldn’t from the five hundred meters that separated us. But maybe it was the turn of the head; that angle from which you look at something or someone with that unacknowledged knowledge that they will go missing at some point in the time you are living and breathing in—that this look and that turn of the head will recede into a memory and stay there for an inordinately uncomfortable time, a disproportionate fact to that momentary moment.
I raised my right hand in a semi-goodbye. He raised his index finger in a semi-response, caught between possibly an acknowledgement and a denial. And then he was over it, the moment to say. The scooter he sat astride over came back to life, smoke plumed and gave the Delhi haze its spotted darkness. His head turned one hundred and eighty degrees. He was looking at the zigzagging traffic, trying to find a squeezable space for his scooter to merge in. My eyes followed him, till they couldn’t anymore. He was gone . . . and I was going too . . . very soon.
One year earlier . . .
He left the scooter running as he called out to her, rather loudly, a pitch born of and carrying a medium degree of impatience. He was getting late for work and agreeing to give her a ride to her university now didn’t seem like a good idea. But he didn't have to call out twice. He never had to call out twice, ever. She was at the gate, opening the latch in one quick movement and then securing it behind her in another. And then she was climbing in the seat behind him, her arm automatically going around his waist. And his guts clenched, spreading the tremors to the inner sides of his thighs. His dick got warm and then even warmer. He knew he liked her. She never made him wait. Maybe that is why, at least that is what he discussed with himself, and he offered to give her a ride more times than he did anybody else. Her university wasn’t out of his way. His work and her university were separated by five miles of pot-holes or twenty minutes of jangled ride—your choice.
Being fifteen minutes late to work on certain occasions was hardly grounds for probation, even less for suspension, given that others always arrived punctually late by at least an hour. So he liked her enough to give her a ride and somewhat jeopardize his new job with Dabur India Limited, India’s premier beauty and health company. But he liked her hand around his waist even more, every time. He always dropped her at the outer gates of her hostel. They never lingered. A quick goodbye from him and a thank you from her and they left each other to meet on a different day for the same ride. He looked forward to that arm again wrapped around his waist, its warmth seeping into his extremities (that mattered) and leaving him slightly shaken.
* * *
I had called him from the hostel phone. I was needed at home. My parents were in Goa on a business trip. My eighty nine year old grandfather and two adolescent brothers were at home, left to fend for food in the absence of my mother. My grandfather was too old to cook. My brothers were too young to cook. Patriarchs old, or in the making, did not cook in the Sharma household. By the same logic, women in the Sharma household were never too old or young to cook. If the older woman, and in this case my mother, was not available then, work or no work, I had to go nurture the Sharma men. So I called him without analyzing why and wherefores. A job needed done and I was brought up to be a good, nurturing Indian girl. Besides, it was my grandfather I was worried about even though he was a man of very few needs. He could eat two slices of white bread with red apple slices and maybe a dash of ketchup on the side as his “light” dinner. Or slowly devour a dal soup albeit a watered down version with two white bread slices, lightly toasted this time. He ate less and less at dinnertime each year he lived just that little longer. He remained worried about his flimsy digestion and the morning time uneasiness that followed from not following his strict/ time tested and age-appropriate eating regimen. Cooking for him his basic stuff was not going to be a problem. The problem was my over-energized, finicky adolescent brothers who liked to eat but had a taste only for Nirula’s pizza and vegetarian burger. Dal or roti would not do for them what a Nirula’s masala pizza would. So I called him to see if he could pick me up after work, though I didn’t ask him if we could make a pit-stop at Nirula’s for my brothers, also his “social” friends (as in he often played cricket and soccer with them in the park behind our house).
I wanted to ask this en route, giving him less of an opportunity to say no to me. But then it came out in a hasty gush on the phone. He seemed hesitant at first but then said “yes,” having resolved an “issue” rather quickly and breathlessly on the other side of the phone. “I’ll be there just before 6:00—so please be outside when I arrive. I don’t like to wait. You know that. Ok?” I was outside when he arrived, standing in the steady drizzle that had begun almost half hour ago. I didn’t want him to wait for me like he said. I didn't want a ride home looking at a back stiff with resentment against me for not following a simple request. Yes, he could get like that. His shirt-incased muscle lines spoke better than his mouth when his belly simmered over small issues or insignificant moments.
So I chose to stand out in the rain, getting wet, knowing well that I would get even wetter on our forty-five minute ride home and that he would neither acknowledge me standing out in the rain following his directive nor needlessly apologize for the wettest ride ever. But I also knew that in the end, as he is dropping me off at the gate to my parents’ house, he would slowly raise his index finger and drag it down my water-stained cheek while searing me with his blackest eyes. I knew his finger would be so warm against my cold wetness and I knew I would wish so hard that it was my vagina rather than my cheek that was being warmed by his penis-like index finger.
My vagina clenched as I saw his familiar frame on a familiar scooter turn the corner to my hostel. He saw me standing there, came up, turned the scooter around and I quickly hopped on. No words were exchanged. My arm went around his waist, tentatively at first. I didn’t want the wet nylon of his rain-jacket to press against his dry skin and produce an unwelcome shiver while he drove. But the welcomest shiver passed through me as I felt him take his palm and press mine tightly on to his belly and he held it there for what seemed like a mile. I was smiling stupidly. I know I was. This was him saying “hi” and “sorry” at the same time. This was also my opening.
So I reached forward and asked him softly in his ear, “Could we stop by Nirula’s to get some pizza for home?” He quickly nodded and I felt warm again and again I smiled, stupidly of course. I loved a scooter ride with this man on a rainy day!
Sure enough there was a long line outside of Nirula’s. Three pizzas for two hungry boys at home was at least a 30-minute wait. I looked at him. He smiled. This was my cue to put in the order after which we retreated to the back wall to wait for our order. As we waited, I watched the people flowing through this tiny space. These were mostly young, college going students, mostly couples who were at Nirula’s to romance over “western” food,
Nirula’s was a designated “western” space where you could perform that desired otherness tentatively yet excitedly. You could eat your burger with ketchup and mustard and for a moment become (in and through that act of consumption) a white boy with enough swag to light a generation. You could imagine that the girl sitting with you eating her pizza was the quintessential white girl with enough “oomph” to set fire to a generation. Together, as a couple, you could become the
, the sexy other, the other not afraid to imagine an expressed sexuality. You could imagine kissing each other silly and not just to wipe that errant mustard drop at the corner of this lip or that. You could imagine not fearing being recognized by some-one familiar, a friend, a relative, a family member, who would profess to be offended with your gumption—how dare you use food as an excuse to recognize yourself as needing anything but food and air to survive?
The place was buffering every second with unexpressed emotions. You almost expected everyone to break into a Bollywood song and dance number as release of that which could neither be formed into words nor enacted as prose between consenting adults without the privilege of a social consent. Two young women in relatively short skirts but high decibels walked in and as they waited in the line to place their order for a large size banana sundae (it wasn’t difficult to overhear them), their eyes settled on
—yes, the same him standing next to me like he had been petrified.
I looked from the women throwing him looks to him looking at them looking at him. His pupils darkened as I watched and darkness swirled around the region around my heart. He was paying attention. He didn’t move or say anything. Only his pupils darted and his upper lip curved into a smirk. Again, the dance of momentary chemistry swirled around me but this time I felt like an intruder, not the one engaging in this dance. My tear ducts contracted and squeezed. I suddenly needed to absent myself from the scent of foreign chemistries, emanating from unlikeable bodies.
While the bodies in question and under fierce judgment from me made no attempt to give into the wafting scents of their formative desires, I did not like how he was responding, even if imperceptibly, to siren calls in a goddamn burger joint! I turned towards the main door and I heard, “number 22.” My pizzas were ready, thank goodness! I grabbed the pizzas and without looking at him walked out the door towards where his scooter was parked. I didn’t even look up when he casually walked up and then ever so slowly wore his helmet. I knew he was looking at me. I just wanted to cry then, no howl at the pouring sky for absolutely no reason.
I also ust needed to get home and take another day to challenge my new found insanity regarding this man. I turned my head to the side to deflect his searing, insistent look. And then I felt that finger again, this time at my chin, prodding me to turn my head back towards him. I still refused to meet his eyes. He prodded my chin again, silently asking me to look at him. This time I did but emptied it of any moisture or emotion that might give me away. I saw him lean in till his face was too close, too close for me to escape those pupils and their unfathomable depths. It was my turn to be petrified.
But I still felt it when he moved his index finger across my lower lip, left to right and right to left, ever so slowly. Then he took his thumb to do the same, ever so slowly. Finally, he took both his finger and thumb to pull at my lower lip, one tug but hard enough for me to feel right into my gut. His eyes turned blacker, if that was at all possible.
I don’t know what my eyes were doing but I am sure they were betraying me—telling him all that he needed to know about his affect on poor
. And then he put his thumb in my mouth and without a heartbeat to spare I sucked on it, hard. I felt his warm breath bathe my face as he pulled his thumb and replaced it with his wet, wet lips. He pressed hard.
The rain came down as we stood there in the middle of the “do not trespass” sign called public culture and engaged our lips. And then he came to before I did. He swiped my face with his finger to acknowledge as if what just happened was real and then turned to start the scooter. I climbed behind him, balancing the now soggy pizza boxes on my lap and without another thought slipped my other arm around his waist. I felt him look down at my arm but he didn’t touch or feel. He just said, “Hold on tight, babe.” And as he made the turn towards the main road, my smile came back as did the wetness in my panties.