-Wasim Khan

We’re dating. June and me. Unofficially.

Dating unofficially? We come close but maintain a decent distance. Distances, they bring us together, keep us together. Distances are evil too, sometimes they scare the hell out of us but then proximity isn’t any nicer.

Listen keen and close. You’ll hate yourself if you miss anything.

It was a beautiful day, a kind of day I’d been wishing for. Thunder and lightning. Grey skies overcast in the morning. Fierce winds. Birds that had just spread their wings were returning to their nest. The weather of the morning was defying time of the day. Lots of birds were heard between thunders before it finally began to pour from the sky.

That day, too, I went to college. Little did I know I was going to bunk classes.

June and me, we both love rain. Whenever it rains, we stroll in the silent lanes of the valley, the lanes in proximity to the Central Zoo. They’re especially calm. Sometimes she persuades me to bunk classes. Rest of the times I have to find some pretense to be out with her, in the rain, together. We take a single umbrella, hers. Why spoil things carrying an umbrella myself? Even if I have an umbrella in my bag, I never tell her.

When we venture out from the dry shelter of college, it’s always her holding the umbrella. Being a bit shorter, a couple of inches actually, her hands find it difficult to hold an umbrella for me. So, I grab the umbrella from her and hold it for the both of us. After a while in the rain, in the lanes, I put my hand on her shoulder and pull her closer. And say, “June, we’re both getting wet.” Her umbrella is the perfect size. Big enough to accommodate us both, and too small to allow any distances.

We’ve been out a lot of times. Talked about everything from the reflections that the little stream of water throws at us, to the smell of the soil, the sound of downpour, the overcast skies. Everything, yet we keep discovering little, amazing things on our silent strolls. What we cherish is the company of rain, each other’s company, and wall paintings. I sometimes wonder what she thinks of me. More than friends or just friends? For the million times she is on my mind, do I ever visit her thoughts?

Before we return to the college, we make it a point to drink tea at a tea shop in one of the silent lanes. Vauju makes nice tea. And, cheap too.

When will I make the dating official? She doesn’t confess and I’m scared. Let’s keep it slow, I am waiting for her birthday. When is that? Why do you think I call her, June?

A version of this article appears on our Medium Page.
First published on Aug 31, 2016.