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My dearest Galileo,
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted you on the first day of this year. It was terribly hot that day but the moment I caught your sight, I felt like it rained over me and my heart expanded with joy! You were in a group of three. I was delighted to spot you all, my gifts for the New Year. My gaze was fixed on you as I squealed and screeched with excitement. I immediately ordered Alex my friend to stop the bike we were riding on. He didn’t know of my love for you and what it means to me to see you in flesh and blood, in your lovely brown coat, walking down the road and in such close proximity to me.
Despite the big group, I was drawn to you. Your friends seemed lovely too, but it is with you that my heart connected. The others made me happy, you brought me great joy.
My very first instinct was to walk to you with my arms flung open, to embrace your warm body, stroke your neck and whisper words of affection into your ear. But alas, I will forever regret that I did none of those. I stood there watching you, wishing to pour out my love to you but paralyzed in my action fearing a lot of stupid things – the people on the street might get me wrong, you might get me wrong. I know love has its own language and I tried to speak to you, maybe you heard me too? But I didn’t want to intimidate you. Watching you was a blessing and I took as much of your warmth as I could and gave you mine, in the few minutes of our togetherness.
I remember last seeing someone from your family over two decades ago, on a street in my grandmother’s village. Perhaps that was your grandmother? I remember being very amused at the sight of her but I didn’t know so many lovely things about her and about you as I know now.
In a moment, everything seemed worth it and I would do all of that again if it held the promise of another meeting with you. Taking the journey to Pondicherry wasn’t easy. I was travelling alone with half my mind wanting to go back home to spend the New Years with my family and another half asking me to continue on my journey for the reward of a ‘special experience.’ Listening to that other half, I put through the dirty advancements of a lewd co-passenger on the bus who almost made me consider getting off at a remote village at 2 am and head back home. I tolerated him all through. Contrary to what I imagined, I missed my family terribly but then there was the sea, also promising a ‘special experience.’
And along came you.
Over the last two years, I have tried to answer one question to the best of my feelings but I am afraid none who took them could completely understand what I meant. The most basic of those questions – ‘Why do you love donkeys?!’ always made me feel grateful that I do and I know why I do. Having loved you dearly for years now, none of those reasons to love you make any sense any more. Love is the most natural feeling that fills my heart at the very mention of you.
I wish I lived in a world where it wasn’t so strange to express my affection for you, where I didn’t have to think so much about the social awkwardness of embracing you, where I could take you home, bathe you in river water, clean your hooves and kiss your forehead. As I stood beside you, I imagined and deeply wished I could do all that. That I could just abandon everything behind me and walk the world with you, slowly and gently – admiring every inch of the beauty of this lovely, beautiful world.
This life of mine seemed like a joke that I couldn’t do what I longed to, for there was little reason that made sense behind my not doing so – my inability in taking you with me and having you for life. As I write to you now, I wonder if you could listen to my heart speaking to yours. Will you remember me when our paths cross again? Will you forgive me for being a coward? Will you let me hold you gently and apologise? Do you like the name I picked for you? You’re my Galileo – sweet, gentle, warm and kind.
I will come back soon to your place to look for you. It will be a miracle if I can find you but hope is the sweetest thing. This world and its mighty forces are very kind, they might once again bless me with a sight of you. I will abandon my baseless, absurd fears the next time and stroke you gently, communicating my love to you through my touch.
I cannot forget the look in your eyes which held in them a sense of melancholy. I am imagining your eyes getting brighter now as you stare at the sky and the stars, feeling my love for you at this very moment. I love you my dearest Galileo, I will come fetch you wherever you are in the world. If I should fail here, I will not be failed in the Heavens. We will walk those beautiful gardens together and I will never leave your side.
I did not move an inch until you walked away from me, following your friends. I felt delighted that there was a hesitation in your strut. Maybe you wanted more of me too but this is life and one has to keep walking but as I said, the world is kind… and maybe you will find me and I will find you, walking towards each other – this time not as strangers but as friends.
Sweet Carrot Love and Gentle Strokes on your Neck, Your Friend.
(in the picture, taken on 1st Jan, 2011, is Galileo)