It was just a blur a mirage of black and red. 'Wow! he thought - she must be a runner' . Just out of curiosity he decided to study her ......... amazing form ....... great composure ...... and her pace was just starting to bother him -- cos hard as it was to admit - he was struggling to keep up with her. Should I give her a race?? He was wondering ...... Naah! its already lap 13 .... I am tired ...... but then his male conscious countered .... 'Don't give excuses - if you can't compete - then at least be graceful in defeat!'
Duh! Defeat my ass! Lets find out what shes made up of - Okie girl u gonna find it hard to go past me again! He shifted gears - paced himself and in what he thought - went right past her with breezing speed. Ha! Howz that cheezmoza?? To his surprise the answer came quicker than expected - before he could revel in his pseudo victory - she went past him again - faster if not anything.... And so it began ... he would lead .. only to be overtaken again ..... a sight to see! Finally some 8 laps later they couldn't keep up the pace - she slowed down to a walk ...... THANK GOD! He exclaimed - Wow I was almost killed!!
As he reached her .... she said "You run good!" . "You are not too bad yourself" he commented back ... . but then something was bothering him ........... Ummm what is it??? and then it struck him ..... "Hey! You aren't out of breath! You stopped just to end it!!". "Yup smartie!" she smiled tapped his head and went racing ahead again ......... "Oh No! not again!" ........ somehow he caught up with her - "Dinner at 8 if u don't go past me in a lap" -- Oh ya! theres no way he would have let her take that lap - though easy it wasn't - he had to give it all he had .... Dinner followed ... and a close friendship developed ... before they knew they were in love with each other. For some reason though none had taken the effort to take it to the next level.
This week-end was important - he was gonna ask her to marry him. He had gone over it a hundred times in his head - the exact words - the expressions - everything - yet - his senses seemed to fail him at the moment. Saturday afternoons have an anesthesia of their own - this afternoon was no exception. Lying stretched on the floor - he looked at her - Wow! she could look gorgeous in the most simple clothes. And then he looked her up - as a man would - without hesitation - without shy - without holding back - her toes - the red paint - incredibly sexy - her feet - perfect and smooth - her legs - Oh ya! her legs curving up - her waist - so slender and elegant - hiding the strength of an athlete - her breasts - so firm - so soft - he couldn't move past them. She seemed to sense his eyes on her body --- For she laughed and mockingly kicked him in the stomach - with an expression of fained annoyance.
" I could do 20 push ups with you on my back - you know that??" She couldn't say why - but she decided to call his bluff. "Alright! your lucky day today Lets go".
Maan... now I really got to do it. She laid on his back - embracing him - her arms under his - pressing herself onto him - knowingly - deliberately - to throw him off balance. Isn't gonna work --- he thought - a deep breath and he started.
She was impressed by how effortlessly he lifted her off - 8 .... 10 .... 14 ...... he was slowing down now .... 15 .... then his whole body shivering .... 16 .... she thought ... Oh! Dear me! He isn't gonna make it! He's never gonna forgive himself for that. He wouldn't bear the humiliation ..... 16 ... and then as he went down .... he was caught midway ..... knowing if he further went down ... he wouldn't come up ..... 'Common u idiot! Be a man! you said 20 - four more ... common .... FOUR MORE???? he thought to himself .......... her mind was racing too............... and then it struck her ......... His shoulder ...... ofcourse his shoulder ...... he was ordered by the doctor not to stress his shoulder ......... she could count four separate veins on his shoulder now ........... he was shaking ..... holding her ....... still......... She knew she couldn't just get off ..... He wouldn't take a no contest ............. I have to do something .... and something quick ..... she thought ........ and then she did it ... by instinct ... not thinking....
She flung herself off his back grabbed him hard and kissed him on the mouth .... fully .... passionately ..... as she had never kissed anyone before...... a moments pause ... and he responded .......... bliss! heaven!!
And in that moment - all her doubts were cleared - as life offers sometimes - an explanation when you least expect it ........ she was hesitating in asking him ..... the future of their relationship .... wondering why he hadn't asked her .... but she wasn't pushing him .... partly because she herself was in doubt .. her independence was by far the most important thing in life ..... What was it that she would want to see in a Man - before she decided to take the risk??? She didn't know it - she couldn't put it in words - but right then she knew - she had seen it .... When she was mid air ---- on #16 ...... she knew it -- if she had not broken the lock -- he would have held her --- mid air -- till his shoulders broke or his muscles tore - and when they did -- as they would --- he could not have forgiven himself ....... EVER.
THAT was what she had wanted to see in a Man -- someone who would kill himself before breaking his word --- undeniable pride -- unquestionable soul -- and she knew -- if not him - she had to ask him - that she wouldn't find it again ....
He was thinking too ..... what was it that had just happened ......... why was he suddenly so so happy and light ......... what was the cause of his care-free ....... then he remembered --- she had broken the lock at #16 -- she had yielded - yet in a way that didn't make his victory look alms --- in a way - where it didn't matter if there was a win or a loss -- she hadn't pushed him into a loss -- knowing she could do it -- knowing he was powerless -- she had preserved his pride - -- protected his dignity -- and yet hadn't claimed anything --- hadn't asked for appreciation .... and there he knew .. and then he admired ... What strength must a character have to render a loss - when there can be victory -- and yet not show it!!!.... and in that moment he knew ... he had to ask her .... cos he wouldn't be able to live without her .... not after that.
Their lips parted .... their eyes met .... they smiled .. in joy .. in completeness. So many questions - so many doubts --- but all cleared -- in a moment's grace.