I opened my eyes and felt burning pain in my chest. The room was warm, and I was tucked in comfortably in a huge king sized bed in one of the nicest hotel rooms I’d ever been in.
I missed Daniella. She left two days ahead, and I was doomed to spending two lonely days in Delhi. Our friend in the city had an accident and could not come to see me one last time, so I made sure to speak to as many people as I could at the hotel, making friends who’d forget me five minutes after I left, leaving insignificant impression on people who would never remember my name.
And emptiness crept in.
I’d been eating at the hotel restaurant, indulging myself with overpriced meals that surprisingly tasted wonderful. But I wasn’t that surprised; so far every meal I had in India tasted like heaven.
The country had been kind to me, oddly mean at times, and strangely humorous.
Daniella and I had our celebrity moments, as boys and girls came to us wherever we went, asking for selfies and romantic photos. The latter we denied mostly. We didn’t want to end up on some random guys’ Facebook profile on the caption of “With bae.”
Some girls touched Daniella’s hair, as her hair drew many attention and stood out in the crowd.
We had fun there though, living like citizens and having a blast shopping at the street markets. We had our little adventures here and there, each city held memories for us, and every block and turn remembered our faces.
We met wonderful people who had found us on Facebook and befriended us, and we also met people who amused us so much that we could not help but pray that distance would solve our problems.
Everything, put together beautifully, came into a picture perfect of a complete puzzle masterpiece.
And I knew I’d miss it.
Now, by the end of the day, I would be at the airport, and to be honest, I had no idea how I’d spend the rest of my day.
I lied on the bed for hours, changing the TV channel every ten minutes, wondering what kind of better things I could do outside.
But of course, when you’re staying at a hotel that’s 10 minutes away from the airport, you can’t really go anywhere else.
So by 11 I checked out of the room, and headed straight to one of the hotel restaurants. I was the only one there at the time, since the restaurant opened at noon. The manager knew me already by then, and he let me sit down and offered me some coffee while I waited for the kitchen to start working.
I took out my sketchbook and started doodling. The first thing that crossed my mind was the trains in India. And how once, Daniella and I waited for a train for almost four hours. We were on our feet, then sat on our bags, and then back on our feet the whole time. So I started doodling two girls waiting for a train.
One of the waiters stopped by and asked, “May I watch you sketch?” I let him.
Later on, he asked if he could buy the drawing, but I told him it wasn’t for sale. My heart ached a little, a part of me thought it’d be a good idea to just give the drawing to him, but another part of me wanted to keep it, as it was my souvenir to myself.
A reminder that little magical moments happened. Even just us waiting for the late train.
Maybe it was the last day that got to me, that I grew sentimental.
At around 3 pm I left and headed to the airport.
There wasn’t much to see on the way there, as it was only from the airport hotel to the airport. The taxi driver was quiet, and every question I threw him, he responded with a grumpy “Uh.” I’d learned the hard way that some people thought I was from North India, and that I pretended to not understand Hindi and acted like a tourist.
It was other airports where they held me back for a while to test me and check my ID. It was some TV commercials with an actress who looked just like my mother.
And I understood people hated pretenders and liars. Even those who looked it.
But no matter how rude people could be there, I still wished I could stay longer.
How much more of Delhi I’d like to explore. How many more little moments I’d be missing. And how much more of the clouded, polluted air I’d, for some unknown reason, miss.
Then I got to the airport and fairy tale ended. No more Delhi, and no more other cities. No more Hindi spoken around in few hours, and no more cheap henna cones around.
No more India.
But I knew I’d come back. I’d be back for more adventures and tales. I’d be back for more random encounters and strange fictions.
And I’d have India again.