Read To Me Again
– A Short Story –
“Read to me again”, he said to her, as if it was his last wish.
She got up and walked to him. He was seated on the couch with a glass of whiskey in his hand. She knelt down in front of him, held his hand, and kissed it softly.
“When did you stop dreaming? I want you to dream again Adrian” She paused, “I love you with all of my soul.”
Adrian took a small sip of his whiskey, and closed his eyes. Her words had consumed him.
“We are a dream; you and I.” He touched her hand and allowed their fingers to intertwine, “We are a never ending dream and if I had stopped dreaming…” He paused, “we would not be here, together again.”
She smiled again. Ramana did not believe in earthly love. She believed in a love that was eternal; an endless journey, which would never satisfy one’s thirst for physical and spiritual pleasure.
It was a rainy day in Istanbul. Adrian lived on the second floor of an old apartment, not too far from Taksim Square. They would often start their day at the local cafe with a cup of Turkish black tea, served white feta cheese and Bazlama.
“I am worried that one day you would want to possess me. Just like how all the men out there imprison their loved ones. The idea of wanting to be with one person for the rest of your life is a prison that kills love. We are better than that, Adrian”.
This time, he smiled.
He had nothing to say to Ramana. He knew she was right. Something deep inside him agreed with her. But his temptation of wanting to be with her, and living together under the same roof had clouded his rationality.
Ramana swung between work in Rome and Paris, while Adrian was mostly settled in Istanbul. They both knew that living together was never an option. This, however, was not the reason as to why they did not live together. Their love and passion for each other was so explosive that someone was bound to be hurt.
They would stay together for one week, every three months. It did not matter where they met, as long as they were together. In that one week, they’d have a go at everything; from attending small concerts, to visiting art galleries. Often they would not even have sex. Their connection was so deep that they did not need sex to remind each other of their love for another.
Adrian loved watching her read. Ramana would often bring along a new novel that she had bought, and read it to him. He would rest his head on her lap, with his eyes closed, as she read to him.
This time, Ramana had brought The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak. Adrian had become very fond of Shams of Tabriz, and would often imagine himself as Shams. He wished he could be more like Shams; in order to love someone without wanting to possess them.
“I have to wait another three months, I guess. I will be patient.” Said Adrian.
“Adrian… I will miss you.”
Adrian smirked. “Come on now, get up. You gonna be late for your flight.’
Ramana got up and kissed Adrian on his forehead. She grabbed her black suitcase that was on the kitchen counter. Adrian also got up, and walked over to the balcony. He could never say goodbye to her.
Ramana left The Forty rules of love on the kitchen counter. This was the first time that she had left one of her books for Adrian. She opened the front door, and stepped outside.
“If I had to die today, I want you to remember that I spent the best of my time with you…” she said, knowing that Adrian wouldn’t hear her, and then closed the door.
Art work: “Romantic Reading” by Connie Renner