SWASAN OS – INTERTWINED
A love triangle.. Ik, A common topic 😛 😛
It’s different though…
Hope you like it…
WARNING : IT’S A SERIOUS STORY WITH NO HUMOUR AT ALL, SO PLS, IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SOME FUN, DON’T READ… .
How does it feel to lose the love of your life?
The one question after Shona’s death that I’ve never quite been able to answer.
How long does it take, to figure out if someone is the love of your life?
We were together for slightly over a year. I was twenty one when she died. I’m twenty three now. By now, I’ve been without her for two years. That’s twice the time that I was with her.
Two years, to me, right now? It feels like forever.
And for these past two years, I’ve been turning the same agonising question over and over.
Was Shona the love of my life?
The answer to that question is… I don’t know. That is the problem with living – you never really know, until it all ends. You never really know who the love of your life is, until the very end of your life.
A part of me suspects that if hers hadn’t ended so soon, she would have been mine.
She could have been.
But the thing that really kills me inside, every time, is the thought that I might have been hers.
Swara doesn’t remember the night Shona died. I envy her for it, sometimes.
I can’t stop.
The night that Shona died – it was all my fault.
Shona and I argued on the night she died. It’s getting easier to say – she died. Shona died. My girlfriend died.
No. My ex-girlfriend. She was my ex-girlfriend when she died.
The night started off okay. Shona and I were going to a party – I don’t even remember whose party it was, just that it was a big one. I remember feeling irritated. I was often irritated those days. I didn’t know when exactly, but Swara had started avoiding me. My relationship with my best friend was rapidly going down to the dumps and I didn’t know why. I found out why that night. And when I did, I wished I hadn’t.
That night, Shona had cajoled Swara into coming to the party. I’d wanted to pick Shona up, but she’d pointed out that Swara wouldn’t be able to escape as easily if Shona drove her herself. Shona had noticed too. She had been trying fix things between us. I almost wish she hadn’t.
I had been against coming in separate cars.
“Shona! It’s dangerous to drive in these regions in the night. What if you drink too much? What if you get hurt?”
She just smiled at me with that amazing warm smile of hers. God, I loved her smile. They always seemed to make everything alright.
“Don’t worry, Sanskaar! If I do drink a lot, Swara can drive us back. Or if my twin is too intoxicated too, Then you can drive us back too, Can’t you?”
To my dying day, I will remember her smile, the way she looked up at me as she said those words. I should have driven them home.
I should have driven them home.
I wasn’t that surprised when I met up with Shona at the party and found out that Swara had managed to give Shona the slip before I had arrived. This had been becoming the norm. Swara was avoiding me. She had been for a year now.
Shona was concerned.
“Why did this happen? Sanskaar, You’ve got to go talk to her.”
We didn’t spend much time looking for Swara. There was no need. The party had just started, but she was already drunk out of her mind.
Shona looked shocked. We had never seen Swara like this.
“I’m really worried, Sanskaar. Go talk to her. Find out what’s wrong please.”
“Trust me, I will.”
I went to Swara who was chugging down yet another drink and hauled her away to a corner that was private. She struggled, but I managed to bring her to the kitchen.
“Swara! What the hell is wrong? Why do you have a problem with me?”
She looked at me blankly.
“Problem? Whose problem?
“Your problem! Why are you behaving like this? What the hell is wrong with you?”
She turned away but I held her arm and stopped her.
She shifted and looked at me, her eyes flashing. “Do you really want to know what’s wrong?”
I should have seen the spark in her eyes and known that nothing good was coming. I should have left it well enough alone. But I didn’t.
“I’m your best friend. Of course I want to know what’s wrong. Tell me.”
And as I stood there, staring her down, she leaned into my face and snarled, “What’s happening is that I love you, damn it! I loved you long before Shona!”
I staggered back shocked. I looked at her and uttered a “What the…”
A wounded noise by the doorway made me look up. Then I was moving, reaching for Shona, trying to explain. Shona was stepping backwards, away from me, a horrified look etched on her face.
I looked at her expression. “Shona! Wait. Listen to me.. ”
But Shona didn’t wait. She turned and ran.
“Wait,” I heard Swara echo weakly from behind me.
I turned around and faced Swara. A red hot pulse of anger went through me.
“Did you do this on purpose, Swara? Did you know your sister was there? YOUR TWIN? Did you want to hurt her? Are you that jealous of your sister you have to destroy her relationship too?”
“I’m not lying,” she whispered.
I didn’t for a second believe her.
She was lying. She had to be. We had been friends for almost all of our lives – and she chose now, the exact moment when she knew Shona was watching,to ‘confess her feelings’?
Maybe she had forgotten, but I had not. Swara, Shona and I had known each other since we were 4. I knew all about the twins. But Swara was my best friend. Or at least she used to be. Before, Shona and I developed feelings for each other, Swara was the one who knew me better than anyone. Just like I knew her.
I’d lain beside her on the floor, listening to her complain about how perfect her twin sister was, how inferior she felt next to Shona. Shona was better at everything. She got better grades. She was nicer. She had more friends, more boys after her… Even their own parents, Swara had told me, preferred Shona over her.
Once, when we had been ten, she had turned to me and asked, achingly, “Do you like Shona more than me, too?”
Obviously I had scoffed. I didn’t even like Shona at that time. “Of course not. She’s such a girly girl. She’s boring. I’ll never like her more than you.”
“You better not!”
Sometimes I had the feeling that if Swara hadn’t loved her sister so much, she would have hated her. Maybe a part of her did.
“You were the one who told me to be with her,” I reminded her, my voice sounding harsh even to my own ears, but I couldn’t stop.
I couldn’t believe that Swara, of all people, my best friend, could do this to me.
“Are you regretting it now? Do you think I’m stealing your sister away from you? Or that I’m with her so much I don’t have time for you? Because if you remember, you’re the one who walked out on our friendship first.”
“I don’t want your friendship if you’re with her,” Swara choked, shoving past me to stumble out of the kitchen.
I stood still in the aftermath, trying to process what had happened. was that it? She no longer wanted to be friends because I was dating her sister now? If I was on Shona’s side, I could no longer be on hers? Did it always have to be a competition?
I rubbed my head tiredly. Ofcourse it was a competition. Swara never received attention from her own parents. Shona was their darling. I doubt even Shona knew exactly how Swara was hurting everyday. And even I had added to that hurt.
Hands fisted by my sides, I strode through the house.
I found them both outside, Shona bundling Swara into the passenger’s seat of her car. She slammed the door shut on Swara’s lolling head just as I reached them.
I grabbed Shona’s arm when she turned to go around the car. “Shona, listen,” I said, “I didn’t…”
“I know you didn’t,” Shona said softly. She wouldn’t look at me even though I was trying hard to catch her eye. “I heard everything.”
“Then you know there’s nothing–”
“It’s over, Sanskaar,” she whispered. “It has to be.”
The world seemed to spin over my eyes. “Why?”
“I love my twin. I can’t be with someone she loves. I can’t be your girlfriend anymore.”
I was thrown. “She doesn’t mean that. She knows she’s just my best friend. She was just jealous that I spend more time with you now. Shona.. I don’t think any of it’s true.”
Shona shook her head. “She would never lie about something like that.”
In that moment, I hated Shona. Did our relationship mean so little to her, that she would throw it away just like that? Based on one impulsive, drunken lie told by a hurt, jealous sister?
A sister who had thrown away our seventeen years of friendship with the same cavalier attitude?
“Fine,” I remember saying, clenching my jaw hard to stop the boiling pressure behind my eyes. “Go. I don’t care.”
It was then, when I was stomping away, that she said the last words she would ever say to me. “Sanskaar…” She sounded like she was crying, but I was too angry to turn around to make sure. “I’m sorry.”
And my last words, ever, to Shona were, “Go to hell.”
About two hours after they had driven away, I got a call. I was drunk when it came that Swara and Shona had been in an accident.
When I got to the hospital, Shona and Swara’s parents were there. They had seen me, smelt the stench of beer on me, and looked at me as if I were dirt. Then they’d told me that Shona was dead and Swara was out cold.
I stayed long enough to make sure that Swara woke up. But when her eyes opened and I saw the same light brown eyes that Shona, just earlier that night, had used to look up at me and say, then you drive us home, my lungs froze up. I couldn’t stand there and look into those light brown eyes and know that Shona would never open hers again.
Shona was dead.
Shona was dead because of me.
Because I had stomped away, like a child, instead of driving her home.
Because she had broken up with me.
Because Swara had confessed her so called love to me.
Because Swara had somehow, somehow gotten it into her head to screw up my relationship with her sister – the sister she had always been jealous of.
And because it was easier than hating myself, I started hating Swara.
It was over 6 months later that it began to dawn on me that perhaps Swara hadn’t been lying.
I love you, Swara had said that night.
I love you.
Two sisters falling for the same guy. That’s every guy’s dream, right?
It was a blo*dy nightmare.
I don’t know when it occurred to me. We never saw each other anymore. I channeled all my rage and hurt into sports and she had sunken into something that she wasn’t.
She had become a complete extrovert concentrating only on boys. She did nothing in college except flirt with them and go back home.
Once, unexpectedly we met each other when we realised we had parked our cars together. I looked at her tear filled eyes and for the first time, registered the raw pain and longing in her eyes.
She quickly looked away and left in her car but not before muttering a hurried “Sorry.”
It had been the first words she had spoken to me since that fated night.
As she left, I realised something.
Maybe it was selfish. But that, I think, is what loss does to you. It makes you realise, all too acutely, just how little you matter in the grand scheme of things. That death can come and touch the corners of your life at any time. That if someone so close to you could be gone so suddenly… you could be next.
And it is this realisation that makes you selfish.
Shona was dead. Gone. But Swara… Swara was here. She was the closest I could ever get to being with Shona again.
And if she loved me…
I needed… I needed someone to love me.
And then in the next vein of thought, self-preservation kicked in – No.
She couldn’t love me.
I needed to believe she didn’t love me. I needed to believe she had lied.
Because if she hadn’t lied that night… It would’ve been all my fault.
I didn’t want to see her anymore. I took an early transfer and shifted colleges. I completed my undergrad and won a sports scholarship to another college for postgrad. I accepted the offer and reached there.
That was when I met her again. I didn’t see her face to face. But I knew she was here too. Lots of stories were exchanged about her. She was immensely popular with the guys. They all spoke about her flirtatious charms and her hotness.
I didn’t know why I cared. Just that I did.
At yet another party, I confronted her about it and she told me off rudely. But later, The moment she had tried to plead with me, I had known. She hadn’t been lying the night Shona died.
The truth had sunk in then.
It was my fault.
It was all my fault.
Swara really loved me and I had sent Shona to her death.
It had taken us some time but we eventually learned to lean on each other for support. Swara slowly lost her flirting ways and became the old Swara I knew.
She changed me for the better too. I stopped becoming bitter at the ways of life. I learnt to appreciate the little things in life and learnt to confide in my best friend again.
When we went home for the holidays, it was damn weird for people to see us together.
I know what they said about us, when they saw Swara and I walking together now, down the same streets where Shona and I used to walk hand-in-hand. And I know how it made Swara feel. She pulled her hand quickly out of mine every time someone so much as glances at us. She turned away from me, mid-conversation, when someone walked past. And, although I know her relationship with her father was slowly improving, she never, ever took me home to dinner.
I know people – my own parents, specifically – think this is a summer fling. A special mourning of sorts. The kind we used to do. The kind that stops when we go back to college for the new semester.
They don’t understand that we’ve been mourning Shona for over three years now.
They don’t understand that if we don’t last, it will not be because of geographical distance.
Sometimes, I find myself thinking that we should just end it. Cut our losses and run, far, far away. Find something new, something – someone that isn’t a constant reminder of this chapter of our lives.
Yet… I can’t stay away.
Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with her. Ironically, she doesn’t believe me. I see her casting quick glances at me sometimes, wondering. I know she goes back and forth in her own mind, making lists, making excuses. Hating me one moment, loving me the next. But she stays with me. Just like I stay with her.
I know she wonders how long love born out of guilt lasts.
I don’t know, but I wonder how long guilt born out of love lasts.
I miss her.
Especially on summer nights like this, so close to the night she died.
On nights like this, I sometimes feel an overwhelming urge to get away. Away from everyone else. But more specifically, from Swara.
I know. I know that she’s different from Shona. Even with those haunting light brown eyes, they don’t look remotely alike.
And no one knows better than I do, how different they both are.
Swara is, still is, my best friend, my closest confidant – the one girl who understands and accepts every part of me, even now. Even when I don’t deserve it.
And Shona… Shona is my…
My dead ex-girlfriend.
They are nothing alike. But in every line of Swara’s face, I sometimes still see… the lingering ghost of Shona’s smile.
Big light brown eyes, looking up at me – then you drive us home.
When that happens, I have to close my eyes and look away. Swara knows. It’s in the curve of her lowered eyelashes, the droop of her down-turned lips when I look back at her.
I look down now, at the watch on my wrist that tells me it’s midnight. It’s the one Shona bought for my birthday before she died.
Swara hates this watch. She thinks I don’t know, but I do. She thinks I don’t see the way her brows draw together and her eyes dim whenever her gaze falls on the watch. She thinks I don’t see the way her heart breaks every time she reaches for me and her hand brushes against its strap for a brief moment. She thinks I don’t see the way her fingers tremble, just a little, before she snatches her hand back.
But I do.
I know she thinks that this watch is the symbol of my relationship with Shona, that wearing it every day is the only way I can stay close to her.
A part of me thinks that, too.
When I was still mourning Shona, the grieving part of me needed to think that.
But the other part of me, the part who was Swara’s best friend before he was Shona’s boyfriend, knows the truth. This watch has always been Swara’s, even before I believed she loved me. This watch is a reminder, from her to me, every time I thought I couldn’t go on, to go on. It saved my life every day. She saves my life every day.
Swara thinks I don’t know, but I know it must have been her who thought of this present. It would never have occurred to Shona.
I sat on the beach now, thinking how it would be if I could just get lost in the waves.
How easy it would be, to simply walk into the waves and let go. Let myself sink. Let myself be with Shona again.
I imagined myself doing it. Lowering myself deeper and deeper into the water until it filled my nose and I couldn’t breathe anymore.
And then I imagined seeing Swara, a few feet away, vanishing into the water the same way I had – and my chest tightened so much it felt like I was drowning again. Not Swara, I remember thinking. Not Swara too. I can’t lose Swara too.
If Swara had died that night, maybe I wouldn’t be here now. It would’ve been so easy. Dying is easy. It’s the living, being reminded of the dull ache in your chest every second of every day, when you walk past the place that used to be your special spot, the way you absently take out your phone to text a person who will never, ever reply again – that is excruciating.
They’re wrong – the people who say that time heals all wounds. It doesn’t. Some wounds cut so deep that you never fully recover from them. Some wounds leave permanent scars. Some wounds cripple us so badly that the only thing we can ever hope for is to hold on and keep breathing, to the best of our ability, one day at a time.
I get to my feet and dust the sand off the back of my jeans. Then I take one last look at the lulling waves. They’re lapping softly at my feet, beckoning. But I turn away.
Swara is waiting for me.
It’s been six years since Swara and I have been together. I asked her to marry me two years ago and now we have a child.
Nightmares still haunt us. Both of us lost someone who touched the very core of our lives. But we resolved to move on. Swara got over her hatred of the watch. She accepted that Shona and I had been together but now.. Now, I loved her truly.
I got over my dreams of her light brown eyes. I learnt to love Swara for who she is and not for who she was. Not because she was Shona’s sister but because she was Swara.
My best friend, my love, my wife and now the mother of my beautiful daughter Shona, who has those enchanting light brown eyes, just like her mother and aunt.
We had made our peace with that night and learned to be happy in our own way.
Time may not heal all wounds but it does heal.
I’m sorry it became such a serious story. I personally love this one. but it’s a very different genre for me, so I don’t know if you’ll like it. I just hope you do.
I thought of having it between Ragini, Sanskaar and Swara, but then decided against it. I needed twins. Besides, Swasan is Swasan 😛 <3 <3