Story : The Trip (Part 2/2)

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Read the first part of the story here

Shouvik used to have long conversations with Shambo over phone and after a few days during one such conversation Shambo said, “My other friends do not even receive my calls. They always give me a call  and even when I give them a call they disconnect it and call me afresh. You are the only one I always have called on my own, my love.” From the next day Shouvik always dutifully disconnected Shambo’s calls before calling him back. After all he was the lucky one to have finally found his love in such a desirable person.

A month passed by. Whenever Shouvik asked Shambo to meet him, he always had some excuse ready and the two times when he finally could meet him, he was already with his partner. ‘How could Shouvik be so selfish so as to tell Shambo to be only with him for even a minute, leaving his friends or his partner whom he himself had come to like a lot?’ Shouvik always consoled his agitated mind.

In the third week of June Shovik went ahead with his tour to Prague for three weeks. The day Shouvik returned back to home, the first thing he did was to call Shambo and tell him excitedly about what he had brought with him for his beloved. Shouvik had not seen him for almost a month now and he was dying to see that smile. Shambo sounded very happy but excused himself when Shouvik asked him whether he could visit him in the afternoon.

Shouvik decided to give Shambo a surprise. After taking his lunch hurriedly, though extremely tired, he ran to take a taxi and within ten minutes he was knocking at the door of Shambo. He liked the look of surprise in Shambo’s face as he opened the door. Shambo expressed his delight holding the beautiful fridge magnets, the intricately designed shot glasses and a special gadget that Shouvik had bought after searching for long. As Shouvik settled down on the bed he noticed that calls were coming in Shambo’s mobile. Shambo went outside and then came back with a man, “He is a physiotherapist. You know Shouvik, I have a terrible back problem. So I had to call him.”

“That is a bad news. Let me talk with him. Don’t worry dear, it will be alright,” Shouvik was extremely concerned.

“No, you do not have to talk with him. He has been there for a long time. He will take care of it honey. You better go back to your home and take rest. How will you be able to sit in the drawing room alone, after all I would have to close the door while taking the physiotherapy no?” Shambo sounded concerned.

Shouvik looked at Shambo and then slowly left, but not before noticing the discreet signals between the eyes of the two men. Was really there any place for him in Shambo’s life?

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Months passed by, the two were only talking about love and relationship over the phone. Many days after getting refused, he would notice a new pic of Shambo with some new man in his facebook page. His calls were often disconnected even before exchanging any pleasantry. Finally one afternoon Shouvik lost his cool. “Why don’t you meet me Shambo?” Shouvik finally sent a message.

“I remain busy with my work. I also can’t leave my other friends. Are you not satisfied that I love you so much? I would have to quit my job to be with you full time. But will you be able to take care of me?” a message came back.

“I want to see you Shambo. My whole body and soul craves for your company. I want to take you in my arms and kiss you,” Shouvik wrote back.

“How can you get all these things so easily? Don’t you know good things come with a price? Do you know how much my partner spends on me apart from taking the full responsibility of my household? ” came the reply, astounding Shouvik. He never thought that love had a price tag. He could not sleep that night. Next morning, with his eyelids feeling heavy like a stone and with fire burning in his head, he messaged, “I did not know that a kiss has a price, I did not know that you have to pay before touching someone you love. I have loved you Shambo and crave for you. Why don’t you understand that?”

He finally received a call, almost three hours later when he was sitting in his office. “How could you write such a thing to me? You heartless. None of my boyfriends had ever said such things. I should not talk with you anymore. But before ending the relation I want to give back you all the gifts you have given me so far. I want you to come to my home right now,” Shambo’s agitated voice commanded.

Shouvik felt perplexed. Maybe Shambo never meant that. After all, one asks for something from his most loved one. Does anyone ask the man on the street for his needs?

He hurried to Shambo’s home perspiring profusely, heart pounding with tension. As he entered, Shambo pulled him inside his bed room and threw him on the bed. Then he kissed him passionately. “So have I asked you to pay for this? How could you hurt me so much?” Shouvik felt a sense of shame engulfing him. He should not have done that.

“The electricity bill has not been paid this month. Please can you pay it while going back to office? I am feeling tired. By the way here is also my account number of my Allahabad bank account which is solely in my name. Do one thing. Deposit 3000/- . I need to buy a new pair of shoes for my office. Would you mind it honey?” Shambo’s voice was laced with passion as he put his hand inside Shouvik’s jeans.

Months passed by. It had not been an easy journey and often he was made to feel that he was not worthy of such a good looking man except for the instances when they went for shopping or to dine in fine restaurants. On these occasions he felt much better as the flow of money from his credit card had resulted in a warm hug, an occasional kiss.  Shouvik bought Shambo his much awaited Apple iPad(which he had demanded), gifted him branded clothes. He loved his company and was regularly reminded of his luck, that among hundreds of suitors, Shambo had chosen him for that special place in his heart, though he never found the place in his bed. How could he love Shambo only for his body?

Finally after more than a year had passed by, as a last resort, Shouvik planned for a trip to Turkey in June for his beloved Shambo when he had received a prestigious Visiting Scientist Fellowship from Turkish Govornment for a month. The plan was meticulous and they flew to the exotic city of Istanbul. On the flight, Shambo took Shouvik’s hand in his hands and kissed it, sending him to heaven.

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Shouvik was now feeling better after checking into the room of the four star hotel in Antalya. He was hoping that his beloved would like the room. Though he kept bleeding deep inside, there always was a faint hope inside that his love would be reciprocated, that maybe this time he was going to be felt wanted in the darkness of night.

Shouvik had planned this tour with hope of a new beginning and after a week, he was already feeling extremely low. When he wanted to sleep in the night holding Shambo close to his chest, Shambo expressed his displeasure even accusing him of trying to molest him, saying that he would not be able to get a proper sleep. When Shouvik wanted to kiss him, he said that he had lost all his physical desires and had been devoid of any sexual drive for many months. He again reminded Shouvik whether he actually loved him or had taken him this far only for physical intimacy?

After another sleepless night waiting to be wanted, Shouvik was sitting on the bed. The mobile rang. He heard the voice of Shambo in hushed tone “He is here, call me later……don’t be naughty….haven’t you seen my body enough?” “Ok baba, I am going to take the shower.”  It was not Shambo’s partner, Shouvik knew instantly . Whenever he would call he would also make sure to talk with Shouvik.

Shouvik was trembling. Faint sounds were rudely entering his ears through the sounds of the open shower, however hard he tried not to hear them. “Taking shower, ….can you see me? …another week and then ….dying to be in your arms….”

A solid dark cloud of pain was engulfing Shouvik. The room was feeling suffocating. He rushed to the window opening it with all his strength. A whiff of cool air, a beautiful tune floated through the open window  ” So I won’t let you close enough to hurt me, No, I won’t ask you,  you to just desert me, I cant give you what you think you gave me, it’s time to say goodbye …..”. Adele, he instantly recognized his favorite singer’s voice and finally after so many months of intense struggle his mind was made up.

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Shouvik was sitting in front of the man who in every sense had to be his foremost competitor. They had talked for hours. “Shouvik you do not deserve this. Get away from all this.” Shouvik looked out of the window. Maybe he always knew it but how could he explain to anyone “I braved a hundred storms to leave you,” again Adele.

THE END

Pratulananda Das

Prof. Pratulananda Das is teaching in Jadavpur University, Kolkata from 1997 and holds the position of a Professor of Mathematics in Jadavpur University from January, 2011. He came out openly as gay in 2014 and is now actively involved in different LGBT events

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