It was the second consecutive hour since he sat on that chair, staring at her as she slept dreamily on those sheets. She had every right to be in Dreamland at that time; they had spent a larger part of that Thursday celebrating the second month anniversary of their relationship. The food had been rich, the drinks top-drawer, the words heartwarming, the kiss magical, the bonding activities serving their purpose. The night had begun to age by the time they returned to his apartment (the route to hers was dangerous to ply by dusk), and sleep was the most rational thing to do.

Not for him though. His mind was in no mood to exercise any rationality. Too much flowed in his heart to be drowned by sleep. His gaze was fixed on her, as he felt his heartbeat accelerate once more. He wondered how his emotional intoxication rose with each passing hour. He was the type who always placed logic over emotion, always put his rational mind to work, always had something to say, always philosophised. But not when the issue came to what he had for her, no.

A hundred thousand words could not quite explain what he felt for her. She was by no means his first love, but he was too far gone to even try putting his emotions in check for a minute. He couldn’t help but fix his lovestruck eyes on her once more. There was something about the way her hair fell on her face, about the way she reached for the pillows, about the way her body slowly turned. Stroking an imaginary ring on the finger of his left hand, he took a deep breath as his mind dwelt on all it could actually dwell on for most of its active hours – her!

Like Moses over rocks and seas, like Jesus over storms and fig trees, such was her power over his emotions. No, she didn’t have to lift a hand or say a word. Her eyes and the way she placed those dark soft lips conveyed scores of messages. It was still early days in terms of what they shared, but he felt like a tree on which a love-shaped heart had been permanently carved. Of course it was too early to compare what they had to a garden, but the first few flowers had certainly been fixed, and little by little, inch by inch, they could water it with what flowed with their hearts, and while measuring up to Eden would look like a lofty aspiration, there was no harm trying.

He could still recall every detail of how they met. It had been a youth conference the year before, where they had got acquainted and she had exchanged contacts with him. Usually such interactions and bonds inspired by three-day events would fade out in less than two months, but this was different. Somehow they maintained communication, somehow they got to know slightly more about each other. He had grown fond of her, but for a long while had doubted if she’d ever take him serious. Then came one evening, one casual discussion, one moment of courage from him, and now they were here.

They didn’t exactly share too many similarities. His complexion was something close to light, she was a tiny shade away from dark. He was your typical conservative reserved young man, she was extroverted and cynical with a naughty edge to her. He was born in late Spring, she came to life in mid-Autumn. His mounds of flesh, falling short of a chubby look, had come to meet her slender frame. Yet it was those differences that knit them so closely. Like opposite hues on a colour wheel, they complemented each other. Being an artist, he loved to think that the union of black and white created something much more beautiful when compared to the union of white and white.

With each passing day, the fact that a lot had changed in his life since their hearts took the Love Road was brought to the fore. It was a question of what she was not to him rather than what she was. She filled in the role of Lover, Sister, Bestie, and Muse. The start of their romance had coincided with his rediscovery of his passion to paint again. Two weeks into their relationship he had realised his first artwork in almost two years, which had garnered lots of positive reviews. Ideas kept springing up after that, and his new works reflected his new outlook to life – beautiful and worth sharing, as opposed to his older works which featured dark and gloomy impressions inspired by previous disappointments. Songs like ”Goodbye My Lover” and ”Dreaming With A Broken Heart”, which graced his music playlist, had been replaced with ”Your Love Is A Song” and ”She Is (Everything)”. For him, she was all he wanted, yet that which he never knew he needed.

”I love you”, he screamed in his mind. And just as if she could hear him, she let out a smile in her sleep. That smile he now lived for. Just as he lived for the moments her hair got entangled in his face. He looked forward to those mornings when her fingers fit into the holes between his fingers as they said their graces, and those evenings when he could just lean into her and forget the world after a long day. Nothing else mattered. With each minute came an increased yearning to be there for her in every way. He wanted her thoughts to belong to his ears, her worries to his shoulders, her shivers to his arms. Whether God approved of every single thing they did was of course a debatable issue, but he prayed to Him that everything would work out between them.

He was approaching his fifth hour on that chair. No moment on it had been wasted, not for him. When it came to thoughts or words or deeds for her, no hour was ungodly. But Nature wouldn’t be denied. After reluctantly turning down the lights, he crawled into bed, brushed her face with his lips, held her warm body close and shut his eyes, hoping to meet her in his dreams.