I’m on a date. Not with the man I love. I’ve loved once & probably never will again.

From what I’ve learnt about you from our constant virtual chats on the internet, we’re in the same boat. Your love story never started because she never said yes. Mine ended when I caught him cheating on me. My love for him never ended though. Neither did yours, for her.

Is our date really a date? What are we doing? I look at you awkwardly gulp the wine, trying to make small talk with me & all I can do is remember my first date with him. All smiles & giggles. Coy glances & flirtatious talks. But, you’re nothing like him. You’re just a mess. You’re probably wondering what it would be like to have her sitting in front of you instead of me.

We’re only two lonely lovesick strangers looking for love. So, what if we don’t love each other? Is it wrong for us to seek love from others when we have been forsaken by the ones we love?

The most fortunate ones find love from the ones they love. The rest of us cannot afford to choose & consider ourselves fortunate to find any love at all.

I look into your eyes. You look into mine & quickly lower your gaze & start fidgeting with your spoon. I smile.

We talk about the weather, our favourite places, food, books, authors, movies, dreams, fears, aspirations.

You tell me that you want to get over her. I tell you that I can help, but I cannot compete with her. You assure me that I wouldn’t have to. You know I wish to forget him too. We’d help each other. Are we using each other? Perhaps, but we don’t mind.

We split the bill & leave the restaurant. We bid adieu & I start walking towards home with faint steps. Another lonely night awaits me. Another sleepless night tortured by his thoughts & memories. The picture of him in bed with a stranger.

Suddenly, I feel a tap on my shoulder. Turning around, I’m relieved to see you again. I don’t want to spend the night alone, you say. I smile.

We walk together to your home. Just two forlorn people looking for an escape from loneliness.

Your room is comfortable. You come close to me. Close enough to feel your breath upon me. I do not push you away. You lower your mouth upon mine. I do not resist.

Your mouth tastes nothing like his. Yet, when I close my eyes, I can feel his lips on mine instead of yours. Are you thinking about her too?

Your hands wander on my tingling skin. Do I remind you of her? You hold me tight in your arms as I rest my head on your chest. Do you wish to hold her instead?

I’m grateful for the warmth of your skin. We fall asleep soon enough. Did you dream of her? Can we ever do this without thinking of them?

Can we ever love again? We’ll never know unless we try, will we?