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THE WISTFUL POLAROID

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Kabir was sitting by the window, staring out at the empty streets. There was a time when these streets would be filled with traffic, the loud honking of vehicles could be heard day and night, the daily hustle a part of life. But, now it felt like everything had come to a standstill. It was just another day in lockdown. The rain poured heavily outside, there was not much to do considering the ongoing pandemic. Seeing as  he did not have much to do, he decided to clear out his closet, a task that he had been putting off for quite some while. He set to work. As he was going through his drawers, he came across a  box. It was filled with Polaroid pictures which had been taken over the years , back when Polaroid cameras were a trend. Sorting through the photographs, he came across one particular picture that brought to his mind a distant memory, of the day when the picture had been taken.

2 years ago,

Kabir had liked a person for quite some time. With some support and encouragement from his friends, he had finally mustered up the courage to ask the person out. Imagine his shock when his proposal was accepted .  Aayush, was a classmate and they had talked occasionally but it had never progressed further than that. Aayush, accepting to go on a date with him was nothing short of a fantasy.

Kabir should have known that the perfect date after all would only be a fantasy. The date had been disastrous. Kabir  got stuck in traffic because of which he reached late. Then, he had clumsily flipped the glass of water and watched  it spill all over Aayush. Just when he thought things couldn’t get worse, he realised that the customers around them had been giving them the disgusting looks. He knew that inspite of Section 377 being revoked,  homophobia was quite common but he hadn’t expected people to be so upfront about it. His heart sunk in his chest. He felt himself go red due to embarrassment and definitely knew there was not going to be a second date. As they were leaving,  suddenly, the sky rumbled and  lit up with lightning, as the dark clouds started rolling in. Before they could make sense of what was happening they were caught in the heavy downpour. They rushed to find themselves some sort of cover, which just happened to be a bus stop. Kabir  couldn’t help but think- ‘ Could this be any more unromantic!’ . It didn’t look as if the rain was going to stop anytime soon. Kabir and Aayush huddled together because it had gotten very cold. As he looked up, he realized how close their faces were. Their gazes locked onto each other. Kabir could feel his heart thudding against his ribcage at the close proximity. Both waited with bated breaths, to see who would make the first move. In that moment, Kabir  couldn’t help but notice how attractive Aayush looked, as the water dripped from his hair and his face tinged red because of the cold. Kabir’s gaze shifted to his lips. They looked so alluring so soft, like the delicate petals of a flower and the raindrops on them resembled the morning dew on the soft petals. His gaze settled on his eyes, which were sparkling with an unspoken emotion, a silent promise. Their faces slowly inched closer, but when their lips were less than a centimeter apart, Aayush stopped, searching Kabir’s  eyes for his consent. He must have got his answer, because less than a second later, Kabir felt soft lips brushing against his and when they finally met, the world around them disappeared, all that mattered was them. Kabir felt himself being pulled closer, as Aayush encased him in his arms and held him as if he was something that was meant to be cherished. Although it was cold, Kabir felt warmth surge through him as butterflies swarmed through his stomach.

In that moment, he forgot all about the disastrous date and everything felt absolutely perfect.

BACK TO THE PRESENT

Kabir, suddenly felt arms go around him. He turned his face sideways and looked at his partner, Aayush.

 “ What are you looking at”, Aayush enquired.

Kabir just smiled and motioned towards the picture that was in his hand. Aayush, couldn’t help but laugh as he remembered how the terrible the date had been, but he would not change it for anything else in the world. That date was the reason he had this beautiful, clumsy human being in his life. Since that date they had made it a point to carry a Polaroid camera whenever they go out to capture all these memories for the years to come. The past two years had been tough, considering the amount of hate and disrespect they faced due to homophobic people, but they knew that until they had the love and support of their near and dear ones and as long as they had each other, they could overcome all the hurdles. Both of them stared at the photographs nostalgically, reminiscing their past memories and falling even more in love with each other.

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