‘Hey. What happened?’ I speak, once i stood next to Brandon.
He looks at me, then away to the ground. Muddled.
His eyes lids are half pulled down, pupils contracted, reflecting light dimly with only dusky hue of lime on the background. His lashes are clumped together on lower margins and there are blotchy stains marked against his light skin where he must have rubbed his hand.
‘Brandon’ i call again. This time squeezing his arm.
‘Don’t’. Brandon pulls away from me. ‘Don’t’. He repeats.
I freeze. Did i expect this? Did i not know it coming?
‘I know’ he says. ‘I know’.
I stand still. He picks up his gaze and fixes them pointedly to my eyes. ‘How long were you planning to not tell me?’
His tone. It wasn’t loud, he was not shouting. Brandon is loud when he is angry. I have seen him be angry. A number of times with James. He can shout. But, he wasn’t loud with me.
He was restraining it. His voice was resonating with rage. Tightly sealed on his lips.
I turn away from him. I could not answer this.
Brandon speaks again. More assertive this time. Against his clenched teeth.
‘Carem, turn around!!’. He snaps with anger when i don’t respond.
I jump with fright at a safe distance away from him. This wasn’t him. Brandon wasn’t Will.
‘You slutty bitch. Do you now how much it hurts?’.
He breaks in tears now.
Still unsure of how i should be behaving, I stare at him, at odd display of his emotions. I am still on denial that truth had come out. That Brandon knows. My mind is still processing.
‘How would you know? You are heartless’.
‘And i thought, things could change…’.
He laughs then. On his own. Wipes his eyes roughly with his palms and sits down on the ground.
Extending his legs and stretching his elbows on back for support, he questions, looking up and at me, ‘Is he that good?’
‘Come on. i am listening Carem. You need to give some answers’.
I still don’t reply. What am i supposed to say?
‘Carem. Answers’ he insists.
‘I am in love with him’. I reply, in faintest voice i could produce.
‘Love. Did you say love?’. Brandon repeats, in a louder tone. He chuckles unpleasantly with a half drawn smile at the idea of it, then hisses, ‘Don’t joke with me’.
‘That’s the truth’. I reply.
‘Its not the truth.’ He strongly disagrees.
‘He is twice the age as you. He is married, unfaithful and using you for sex. Don’t tell me your standards are so low that you are in love with a man of that category’.
‘He is not married’.
‘Carem!’ He gets up abruptly from where he was sitting and walks towards me.
‘You had sex with him. It was good. You think its love.’
He affirms it again, pressing his both hands against both my arms. ‘It was good and you think its love’.
‘Its not about sex Brandon! I love him! I loved him way before i started seeing you!’ I scream now, pushing his hands away. He had crossed the limits. Nobody tells me, my love is adulterated. Not even him.
‘Have sex with me. And i will show you a good time’. Brandon steps in still, forcefully kissing me.
‘What are you doing?’. I push him back.
‘He is a wrong man.’ He replies, wiping his lips. ‘I thought you had come back to me this time for real’.
‘I am sorry..’ I stammer, realising i had hurt him.
‘Don’t move’. He holds up the arm half way between us on air, straightening the palm up.
‘Stop. Carem. No more. ‘
He crouches down on the ground, pulling his head in between elbows, resting on his knees then. ‘James had seen you with that guy. He told me, he didn’t trust you’.
‘I saw you two kissing. I know, where you disappeared for 12 days’.
‘You thought i didn’t know… I knew everything even before Mia told me’.
‘But i love you..’ he sobs, pulling tight his hair. ‘I thought you’d be through him. I hoped you’d be. And we could fall in love over again.
I slump down. How foolish is Brandon to be in love with me? A girl like me? A cheat. A liar. How could he let me tag him along? Why would he do that to himself?
‘I am sorry Brandon.’
My throat lumps with pain as i say that. ‘I know Will is a wrong man. He is unfaithful. Selfish. Mean and fickle. But i can’t help it. I love him. So much. Do You know how that feels?’. I begin to wail. I was never getting over this overpowering feeling of control he had on me.
‘It hurts.’ He replies gazing at me. ‘You are unfaithful, selfish, mean and fickle. But i can’t help it.’
We sit there, two fools, sobbing peering at each other at an arm distance.
Love was fickle. At least for us.
The light of his eyes grew dimmer as i watched him. If there was a switch off button to feelings, i could use, i wouldn’t have thought twice to do that for him. But i cannot.
All i can do is pray. To pray for Brandon to find love. A true love. If there was any. Even if it meant giving my share. And so much happiness, that his emerald pair of eyes always glowed brighter than these stars that are staring at us now, from a world so far away, where perhaps every one are happy and have their perfect-forever-together.