“He called it quits.”
He wasn’t surprised. Just that he always forgot to keep his hearing-aids on. He wasn’t into gadgets. Except for books, the world that he lived in involved his bed, and the flat screen television that I had specifically purchased for him. He liked his TV time. Football seasons and cricket championships were the times he would never let go of the remote control, unless I yelled my lungs out, to have a discretionary power over them and watch my only favorite medical-drama sitcom. He gave away the thing; only asking for the scores meekly once in a while. My grandfather; my ‘only’ constant companion since I was a baby.
“He doesn’t want to go about it anymore. He is over and done with it grandpa!”
He leaned closer. I saw his eyes trying to figure out the words I blurted out. It was hurtful to repeat something as hurtful as I was repeating. I had just been off from a fledgling relationship that vouched me lifelong affection.
“Rob broke off grandpa. He doesn’t want to tag along with me anymore!” I screamed, still trying to keep my voice down. He repeated my words slowly, comprehending the meaning implied by each syllable; literally and intricately.
What should I say about these two men I am talking about?
One being the first ever man who went on to become my one and only long-lasting friend. The other one? My first romantic object of fascination and, adoration. Well, I would be an outright liar if I say he was my ‘first’ romance. Many came but never stayed. I thought he would stay. But well, he too didn’t. But my grandpa? He has stayed. For more than two decades he has been there. He was a surgeon. And he was my inspiration to pursue medicine as a profession. I took it up because I wanted to be like him. Aggressively incising and treating insipid to insolent medical cases, my grandpa was all that I could dream of becoming someday. I remember my childhood days; when he would stand before me, back from his ward duty and surgeries to babysit me because Mom was taking evening classes at the University. I would imagine this halo around him. It would make him look like God. I have always loved my grandpa. I still do. At least, a lot more than I ever loved Rob.
And no. I don’t harbour affections for Rob. Not anymore.
“I definitely want to give Edinburgh a chance. My applications are in processing stage. They are impressed by my records! Especially the other case involving trauma in the….” We both were talking over the phone. Rob had suddenly become a part of my life. Out of the blue, we had become friends. The fact we were two very different people was neither a warning nor a concern to either of us. He was an engineer, working in oil rigs and made big money from the firm that hired him. He was always a patient listener though. I mean, how would a doctor and an engineer communicate anyhow? One talking about drilling it deep, while the other defining sutures of the bleeding flesh? Nope. We spoke about other things.
“So when are you planning to make it abroad?”
“Well, around the coming year. The fellowship committee is reviewing my candidature for now. And if all is well and good, I would fly off!”
“You deserve it all girl. Good for you!”
“It still isn’t an assured gig Rob!”
“Well, you underestimate yourself anyway.”
We gelled together quite well. Though his infrequent insensibility irked me now and then; my work would not let me be involved in ‘matters of the heart’. We did have a fallout while we were ‘befriending’ each other.
I remember how he had reverted back,“You know what? Stuff it boss. I can’t take your whack right now.”
I ‘wasn’t’ a certified wacko though. I was a doctor by profession. Are doctors ‘whacked’ out? For real? Well, daft ones may just say so. Rob was a self-centered, narcissistic megalomaniac.And maybe more! But I was ignorant then; to people and their genial and congenital traits. I wasn’t a people person ever. I was almost becoming a mixture of a philanthropist and a misanthrope, notwithstanding the fact that I was healing people.I was a recluse and I enjoyed my seclusion through a many more constructive involvements like Mozart, Friedrich Nietzsche, Aung Saan Suu Kyi and Bruce Albert’s cell biology. Books were my best friends until ,I became a doctor.
Nevertheless, Rob was the chalk and I , the cheese. And we were in this make-belief world that we condescended to give ‘us’ a shot on the basis of our apparent conjugal compatibility. That is what he thought. He thinks like a complete douche-head though. But well, how more reasonable should I have expected him to be? Yet, how exactly did he begin dating me?
(…..to be continued)