Hey guys! I am Mehnaz (and you can learn the rest from my Tablo profile bio).
This is my first novel on Tablo (also available on Wattpad), so please continue with the story if you like the first chapter and show some love.
You can follow my profile to stay updated and read my other projects when I upload them.
For now, I plan to update the story every three to five days. I go to college and have other works as well, so if I feel pressurized, I will update the story weekly. I will include details at the end of every chapter.
Do leave comments if you would like to ask anything or suggest any edits. I cannot wait to hear what you all think of the story.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. PLEASE DO NOT COPY ANY PART OF THE STORY WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. The story is copyrighted and is going to cost you a bit of a pain if you do so. :)
Also, all characters and places used are fictitious and any resemblance is involuntary.
"Our love was like eternal sunshine, like an everlasting bloom, like a warm sanctuary. You promised to be there with me, forever and ever.
Then life scrubbed us raw, and leaving you felt easy.
I battled the darkness with broken shards of my own heart, and I bled bled bled...
But when I reached back to my sunshine, all I got was pain and thorns."
"Loving you was the reason of my life, and I wanted to spend every waking hour of my existence in your arms.
Until one day you wrung my heart, seeping out all the love from it.
I was lost and broken...but one day, I learned to love again."
The loud chime of my phone reverberated through the silence of the dimly-lit room, pulling me out of my light stupor. I rolled on my bed, reached over and took it from the nightstand, hastily silencing it.
After the first moments of drowsiness passed, I realized that I had just stepped over the threshold of my twenty-third year on this earth, and I was living in the first moments of my birthday.
I couldn't believe I was already twenty-four.
Tonight was one of those sleepless nights. I had tossed and turned for an hour, and then had set the alarm twenty minutes back in a desperate attempt to wish myself a happy birthday, lest others should forget this very special occasion of my life.
Rolling on my side, I faced the other half-other empty half-of the bed, which would have been warm and occupied by Jeremy had he been here. But the desolate half of mattress with crumpled sheet indicated that he had sneaked off to his space again-the little corner of our small apartment that he had turned into his office-and was probably bleeding from his fingers, hoping to cram thousands and thousands of words onto blank word documents.
I wondered if he remembered my birthday.
Jeremy never kept his phone around while he wrote, said that the incessant chimes of notifications distracted his flow. So the option of being notified of my birthday by his trusty calendar app was completely out of the question.
A message lit up the screen of my phone, followed by another one. I squinted in the darkness, my eyes stinging from the sudden burst of light. The first message was from mom, back in Denver.
"Happy birthday honey love from mom"
Such a sweet and innocent message. I smiled. The fact that she had finally learnt to type on her phone without making a mistake amused me. My mother was afraid of technology as any typical woman would be scared off by a hefty spider, and she had almost had a heart attack when cellphones started taking over our landlines. She was especially bad at texting, and always tapped the wrong letters in the process. But she was always too tired out from the typing to go back and correct her mistakes. As a result, her messages would always appear as the first broken string of words spoken by a toddler; sometimes worse.
I wondered how many minutes were spent after this small wish.
The next message was from my colleague and kinda-best-friend, Barbara.
"Happy birthday. Have my treat ready. Tell me how the sex went ;)"
I sadly smiled at my screen, and then raised my head ever-so-slightly to look at the closed door of my bedroom. No sign of Jeremy. Nothing. I slowly sank back into the bed, hoping to fall asleep to dull the rising ache in my heart.
After a few more moments, when I was certain that Jeremy had totally forgotten about my birthday, I heard a faint movement outside the door, followed by a flurry of activities, and then the door creaked open.
Jeremy's face peeped in and looked about. His gaze fell on me, and his face split into a smile that could light up an entire room.
"Hey babe," he said softly, "You're awake!"
I smiled back and scrambled up, pushing the cover away from my body.
"I couldn't sleep much," I told him, "Just worried about something at work."
Jeremy pushed inside the room with a tray in his hands. I saw two paper cups on it that likely held the orange juice I had bought yesterday, and on a plate sat a lone chocolate ganache pastry.
He turned on the lights of the room, flooding it with light that made his presence more prominent.
"Happy twenty-fourth babe," Jeremy put down the tray on the bed, then crossed over and kissed me lightly on my lips. It was a small, fleeting kiss, but it left me longing for more.
"Thanks," I murmured. My eyes went back to the tray, which also seemed to carry a candle and matchsticks.
I smiled again. He might have been late by a couple of minutes, but he had not forgotten my birthday.
I watched him pick up the matchsticks, and waited patiently as he lit the candle and placed it into the pastry. The small candle was slightly tipped and not even centered, which gave me a twinge of unease.
It's okay, I told myself. It's just a candle. It does not have to be perfectly placed.
The bed dipped as Jeremy sat down beside me, pushing the tray close to my crossed legs, and it's then when both of us realized that he had forgotten to bring a knife.
I swallowed and took a deep breath; anything to prevent myself from ruining this almost-perfect moment.
"Ow," Jeremy scratched his head, "Seems like I forgot the knife."
I looked at Jeremy's face for a couple of seconds, clearly knowing what he was thinking. My temper had not been in the best state for the past six months. Jeremy always argued that I was becoming more annoying day by day. I knew I was, but it was for obvious reasons.
The Jeremy before me now was not the same boy I had fallen in love with all those years back. Junior year of high school, Jeremy was the most creative boy of the bunch. He participated in National Spelling Bee once, and always returned acclaimed from all writing contests. He had a lovely face framed by a beautiful pair of glasses, and it took me only one month to start feeling butterflies in my stomach when I saw him.
But now, this Jeremy, was quite different from that person. He had become forgetful, and remained absent-minded most of the times. Our fights had become more frequent now, and I wondered whether a crack had started to form in our relationship.
I stared at Jeremy, and knew what he was thinking. He was assuming that I would furrow my brows immediately, and would accuse him of forgetting everything. In return he would accuse me of having a fetish for making every silly thing perfect, and just like that, this moment would be ruined, etching one more scar on the slate of our relationship.
But I was tired of fighting. I was tired of the endless tirades between us. So I gave up this time.
"It's okay," I grabbed his hand as he started to get up, "It's just a pastry."
Jeremy looked at me in surprise, but quickly shrugged it off. Shifting closer to me, he clapped as I blew off the candle. Then he gently pulled it out, picked up the pastry, and then held it against my lips.
I took a small bite of the rich chocolate goodness, all the while staring at those blue blue eyes of Jeremy. He looked happy, genuinely happy.
He ate the other half of the pastry, and then pressed a quick peck on my cheek, "I have something for you."
My heart leaped, and a mixture of joy and dread swept through my mind. I felt happy that he had found the time to grab something for me, but was fearful that he had-yet again-chosen something that I would probably hide in my closet or drawer and never bring out. This was another awful part of our relationship that never ceased to hurt me. When I picked gifts for Jeremy, I always made sure that it would be something consistent with things he liked, like writing pads and pens and books. But when he bought anything for me, it would always be something out of his whim. Most often, I would return them to get myself something I liked. I always felt less significant when receiving those gifts from him. It made me feel that I wasn't even worth his five minutes' thought.
Jeremy opened the wardrobe and brought out a cardboard box, apparently sealed. I waited as he placed it into my hands. Amazon. I crossed my fingers now, seventy-percent sure that I would hate whatever the drab, brown box held.
Surely enough, it was an e-book reader. I pursed my lips as I brought the package out and started unpacking it, feigning excitement all the while to match the one plastered all over Jeremy's face.
The box produced a white rectangular reader that I had no interest in whatsoever.
"Like it?" Jeremy took the e-reader from my hands and started turning it on. I sat there with my hands in my lap, not sure how to react.
"I have been saving up to give one of these to you," he tapped on several buttons and the screen to fix the settings, "I remember how you liked reading when we were in high school."
I let out a small sigh. Jeremy was the bookworm in high school, and I was one who seldom read. To get his attention, I had made up fibs and had presented myself as a devoted reader.
Again, I had been reading much less frequently for the past years, and whenever I read, it was because my courses at college demanded reading outside course materials. Jeremy seemed to take my actions too seriously, which resulted in this.
I wanted to point this out to him, but the words 'saving up' started to make me feel guilty about even wanting something more valuable from him. He was going through a rough time in his career, and he did not earn as much from his job as an Assistant Editor at a local magazine as I earned from my PR job at a prominent PR firm. Life in New York could get really tough at times, and he was going through one of those.
So I tried pushing my disappointment at the darkest corner of my mind and tried to conjure a brilliant smile, "I like it babe, thank you!"
Jeremy handed me the e-reader-now running in full gear-and planted another kiss on my lips.
My mind darted back to Barbara's message. Tell me how the sex went.
I couldn't tell if it was Barbara's message that made me do it or if I really wanted to be close to him now; I turned and pulled him into the kiss, and it deepened as Jeremy pulled me closer and wrapped his arms around me. Desire rippled through my flesh, reaching all the way to my core in erratic vibes. My hand found his hair and knotted in it, and just when I was about to push myself on his lap, he broke the kiss.
The sudden shock of his absence in my arms startled me, and I panted and tried to steady my breathing. Jeremy's lips innocently tugged at the corners.
"I should go back to my office," he quickly stole a glance at the clock on the wall.
I started to protest, to tell him that I needed him now, that I wanted the doubts of our relationship to be erased from my mind; but the words were cut off by the palpable excitement rolling off of him.
"I have finally been able to finish writing the tenth chapter, and have started the eleventh one! Frida, I think I have found my flow again, and I want to push through the block and finish the novel this time!"
I nodded tentatively. At this moment, I did not care what he was going to do. He was gone most of the time these days anyways.
I watched Jeremy walk across the room and out the door, closing it softly behind him. Darkness fell into the room again from his absence, even though the lights were turned on. I stared at where his figure disappeared, trying my best to stifle the dejection that slowly filled me.
The e-reader lay cold on my lap as memories from our earlier days filled my mind. Those happy days felt like a deceiving mirage now, with no hope of ever turning real again.
Was this it? Were we meant to be together only for this long?
Hot tears trickled down my cheeks. If we were unhappy in this relationship, then there was no point of dragging it on and making whatever was left of our relationship even bitter.
I struggled with myself some more, tried to convince myself that I still loved him, but the tug was not there anymore. Instead, I felt a strong resolution being rooted in my mind with each passing second.
This was it. I had to talk to Jeremy soon.
© 2015 Mehnaz Tabassum All Rights Reserved
Chapter first published on July 17, 2015