It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you…. sorry. Let’s not make it a professional disappointment letter. But truth be told my heart is heavy today. As heavy as it has been in a decade. And that is saying something, is it not? I realize I might have said a lot about my feelings so far, but this is different. This is like a claustrophobic strangle around my neck and my eyes, a choke of pain and tears, a thud without a sound, pressing me down further and further away. I feel like I can never be normal again, as normal as I was at least. I wasn’t like this; I was an optimistic person, what happened? Where did I go wrong? What did I do wrong? I don’t mean to say I have not hope left in me. I have. Hope is what keeps me alive after all but the hope that is in me is itself skeptical, I need a promise, a certainty that things will turn around, that life changes for good sometimes too, and that this hope that I have, the hope that I want is going to be right, and I am going to be wrong, that hope will win and I will lose. For the first time I want to lose. I want my life to prove right. I want to be the person that I was. I want to be the person that I loved. Don’t get me wrong, I still love myself, but I loved me more when I was happier. I kind of miss my old self.
My old self that believed in love. There, I used it, the word called, ‘love’. Which brings me to a book that I read recently. To take my mind away from life, I dove into fiction as usual. Little did I know these fictional words would shake me up just as much? It was a rom-com after all and what possibly could have gone wrong? But it did. The book furthered the confusion of my mind and my heart. It is a usual romantic comedy where a chirpy woman full of sunshine falls in love with a sullen, moody, broody, mysterious man and they end up happily every after. But it still disturbed me in ways unknown. The whole book revolves around unspoken words, mistaken meanings, miscommunication, misconceptions and a lot of assumptions. I get it that as a writer one needs their characters to make certain decision to proceed with the story and I can get along with that. What I don’t understand is why let the book be unfinished. I am not talking about open-ended endings, there was a fair end to the amazing and intelligent plot that it was. I am talking about half truths and half conversations. I was a part of all of their lies, their fake smiles, their putting up an image of them not loving each other, I would have wanted to be a part of their truths too. I would have wanted to read when they actually tell that they remembered each other from years before, that she loved him and not someone else, that he hadn’t stopped thinking about her for years and not just since they had started fake dating. The transition from fake dating to real dating seemed incomplete to me. Not once in the book have I found them speaking the truth, of what they really felt. I would certainly have liked to be a part of when things cleared up, when they finally cleared the mess that they created, the truth, wasn’t that the whole point of the hypothesis on truth. I would have wanted to know more what went between I love you in Dutch to their recreating their first kiss. True, there were conversations. But they were bland, indirect and not as real. Sure, there were mistruths and lies, and one could have bore that had their been a closure. The story ends abruptly, not rushed but incomplete. I understand the book was from the heroine’s POV, but any book that has two protagonists, needs both sides of the story. We do get the gist of their feelings, but we are not part of them wholly. We are a part of the wrongs and the forced kisses, not of the real ones. Not once did I feel the hero’s feelings were justified. A man who can show love with his actions, will admit to his feelings if given a chance. His background story is left midway, giving only highlights of his education and career. Why? His feelings and emotions are all boiled down to dimples and stiffened arms and straight-line lips. I fall in love with the character but not how the writer finishes the book or grounds his persona. Antagonistic and unapproachable that he was, he was not just only that. There could have been so much more that remains unexplored. My love for that sullen character remains strong, I loved the funny conversations and every single time they meet, every time they kiss, or she sits on his lap, or he holds her hands, or even simply looks down at her. Only I can’t quite understand why choose to eliminate the feelings of a very significant character and overwrite them as understood without spoken. A mysterious character needs to finally speak up in a rom com after all.
I understand I have been going on and on about a book which you might have not even read. But do you see the similarity Neel? Do you not notice the sullen broody looks? Do you not see how may be your feelings has not once been spoken? While mine have been put on display, free to be played with. Neel, I cannot decipher your feelings anymore, I did and I used to when I could see you in person, but not anymore though. It is getting difficult by the second. I cannot do this anymore, I cannot. I told you, I miss myself. I need to be proved wrong, I need my life to prove right, I need to prove hope itself. I no longer can go on like this. And the truth is, the whole truth is that I do not wish to.
I remember a lot of things you said to me in person but there is one thing that I clearly remember, that still stings my ears ‘what do I know of love?’ and you are right, what do I know of love? But what I know is, this is too much. I need, I deserve a closure. And as I write this I picture you the last time I saw you in person, when you waved good bye, when you stepped closer, looked into my eyes and kissed me on the cheek. I didn’t cry. I didn’t cry in front of you. I didn’t cry as you left. I am not crying now as I write to you for the last time. I am not. I don’t think about your smile, your face, your voice, your touch, your presence, your comforting words. I don’t. I am not. Truly. Because Neel, you were right. You are right. What do I know of love?
Read More: Dear Neel #10
PS: The book I am talking about is The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood. Also, thank you for being a part of the Neel series. I assure you, Neel, and all my words were fictional. But just as the sun, I need to bid goodbye to Neel too.