“Kisses,” she told me, “are spoken in the language of the soul.”
The sea has a way of bringing out the best in people. That day, when I met her after she returned from a family vacation to Cox's Bazar, it was evident that the sea had worked its charm on her. Like she needs any, the voice inside my head had pointed out.
Summer had just arrived, but the heat was already unbearable, and the humidity made it worse. We were sitting at our regular spot – a roadside bench somewhere in the university. The shadow of the trees around provided a temporary respite. It was her idea to buy coconut water from the vendor who parks his cart nearby, and truthfully, it worked wonders in cooling us down.
I waited for her to continue and explain the notion, although I must admit, it was mostly out of a fear of making a fool of myself in front of her; I never possessed the eloquence she does. But when she didn't elaborate, I asked, “Who wrote that?”
“Just a thought I had the other day while I was at the beach.”
“Wow,” I was genuinely impressed. “That's like poetry to my ears. I'm sure your boyfriend would appreciate that philosophy.” If there was a smile on my face, I hoped she didn't notice the pang of envy it was concealing.
“Nah, he's more football and tech than poetry and philosophy,” she said. It upset me a tad that she didn't seem at all disappointed by his apparent lack of interest in her philosophies.
There was a certain calmness in her kohl-adorned eyes. Her milky complexion had taken refuge under a fresh red-brown layer of tan, resulting in a bronze colour that I liked better on her than her original skin tone. Her otherwise smooth hair was frizzy, but she didn't seem to mind and let it be; it fluttered every now and then with the breeze and every time that happened, my heart seemed to miss a beat.
“Okay, tell me more about this language of soul thingy you speak of.”
“Hmm. It's very difficult explaining it this way. It was an abstract thought,” she took a deep breath and her gaze shifted skywards as she tried to collect her thoughts. “You know what they say about the four elements? I think kisses can connect the four in a way nothing else can. And when that happens, you start speaking the language of the soul. There's no hindrance in communication, and you feel complete…as if all the pieces of the jigsaw are in their right places.”
Sitting there with her, I had no doubt that she was a concoction of all the four elements of nature in the right proportions, and I didn't quite need a kiss to know that. She looked at me suddenly, causing me to almost choke on the coconut water I was gulping down. “Does any of that even make sense?”
“Are you secretly Paulo Coelho?” I asked.
An involuntary smile appeared at the corner of her lips and crawled across her face to evolve into a grin. Wasn't that all I was aiming for? To make her smile?
She hit my arm. “Be serious, jerk.”
“Okay, that does make some sense,” I said. I never really thought about kisses that way, but at the moment, staring at her big black eyes, I was sure of something else.
“You know what,” I said, “Maybe the language of the soul is better spoken not in kisses, but seated under trees with a daab in hand.”
She smiled ever-so-slightly. “Well then,” she said after a brief silence, “Maybe the scorching sun is a blessing after all.”
Arman R. Khan is an engineer, a caffeine addict, a dreamer and a culture enthusiast who takes life one day at a time. Follow him on Instagram @arman_rk or on fb.com/arman.r.khan