We were driving down the road out of Rishikesh. It felt like an oven in the car. The air was thick full of tension creating the suffocating heat. Sarah, Sonu, and I were on our way back up to Vashisht/Manali the lovely himalayan mecca. Its was to be a long drive. When I say long, I mean like maybe 14 hours long or so. Sonu was sullen and driving like he was in an aweful mood. Sarah and I were still pissed from his behavior the night before.
That is how we began our next phase of our trek across india. It was kinda sad that it had come to this. India really forced us to face our "lessons"! The big lessons we really needed to learn.
9 months after my trip to india I would read a native american card that described me. One of the things it talked about was how I have the tendency to give off sensual energy that gets me into trouble. I would laugh at this description and think back to Sonu and this car ride!
As we were driving down the road, swirling up into the mountains I had the feeling that I couldn't take this any longer! I demanded that Sonu pull over so that we could work this out. He really didn't want to pull over and tried to ignore me. I can be stubborn and determined when I want to be. I DEMANDED that he pull over, and told him that we would call his company and ask for our money back or a new driver if he didn't. I guess this worked because on the side of the road with pain in his eyes Sonu tried to tell us that he was fine, everything was fine, really there was nothing wrong.
There was clearly something wrong in the little ecosystem that made up Sonu, Dana, and Sarah. We could all feel it. The pain in Sonu's eyes was screaming about it. We wanted Sonu to understand that we loved him. We had paid hundreds of dollars, at the end of our trip when we did not really have that much to spend, to have him drive us up the mountains to our destinations. We did this because we loved him, and wanted his company. We wanted to help him, feed him, hang out with him, take care of him, and have fun with him. In America you don't have to pay to spend time with your friends. They just take off of work. In India there is no taking off of work when you are poor and the money you bring in helps to feed a house of about 10 people. So, we paid our ridiculous american dollars to have Sonu with us.
I wanted him to understand that I really loved him, but not like the love of my life. I loved him in a way that doesn't have a simple explanation. Everything in my being wanted to hug him, to hold him in may arms and tell him that he would find himself, that he would find god, that he would find love one day. I believed in him, in god, and in love. I believe still that all those things are available for every person in the whole, wide world to find! But, I also wanted him to understand that I was not his love. I just wasn't. I was a huge crush, something you crave and want so bad that it drives you mad. Somewhere entangled in a crush is a twisted version of love but it's not real love. The huge love that takes time to grow and develop and even longer to get over. Sonu had been searching for someone to love. When we met him he had told us all about this woman Sunita who he was in love with, his "girlfriend". We later found out that they had met once and exchanged phone numbers and never really talked again. She had gotten engaged to someone else. Sonu just really wanted love. He wanted her love, he wanted my love, he wanted someone's love. He wanted some arms to hold him and make him feel safe. I wanted to make him feel safe but he was not my love. He sensed my care and wishes to tend to his vulnerability. That sense he was picking up on, our friendship, and his need to fall in love just made me the focus of his obsession.
In that car that day, we all came to an understanding. Sonu understood that we would not be together in any way more than friendship, but that friendship was a huge and wonderful offering. I came to understand that my mistake of kissing him once had made it complicated. I could not undo that moment and would have to put up with his melancholy from time to time. We came to an understanding. We made peace.
And so, we drove swirling up the mountains for hours arriving too early to check in to our hotel. We all cuddled up, wrapped in our himachal shawls in the seats of the car and dozed until morning.