Hello everyone. Hope you all are having your time. Well, I won’t bore you anymore, the One Shot is here…
“I will marry you.”
A little boy declared with an outmost sincerity an eight years old could possess. Next to him a six year old girl smiled a pinch of red blooming her chubby cheeks.
Life was cruel. There never was an easy path for me to follow. Single father’s effort in filling the void in my life couldn’t be able to comfort my growing years. In the name of living I only lost things precious to me. I was broken. Waiting to be fixed.
He was the only solace. Breath of a fresh air. Only man that I dreamt of. And for him, I didn’t exist as a woman he would go after, because, we’re the best friends.
“How’s it?” Standing In front of a full length mirror he asked me the obvious.
He was the sun for me, only this time I find it real hard for me to look his way without tearing up. He looked great in his wedding suit. I wiped off the sneaky tears quickly, fearing his attention.
“Do you think this thing is doing justice to this heavenly personality?”
As always he was so self observed to know anything else. He dumbly waited for my answer to feed his arrogance and I give it to him, covering my face with two thumps up as I say, “Best groom.”
I realised then, for certain, life still is cruel.
My happiness was shortlived, as always. His friendship was a blissful dream that lead me far too away on my own. Only he was oblivious to my one sided love and I prefered it that way. Being near was enough for I feared losing him. I just watched him having his ways with women. My horror came and get to me finally when he announced his decision to marry his girlfriend of two years. The day after tomorrow is his wedding. Heartbreak is hard to contain. He must be enjoying his bachelorette party when I was regretting the moments I lost. I should have at least try confessing my feelings.
Just when I was trying to drown my sorrow in a bottle of haziness he has to stand on my doorstep dipressing me even more.
“You didn’t come.” He stumble in and rest his head on my shoulder reeking alcohol,”I waited for you.”
“Why are you here?”
I shook him to his senses, he only snaked his arms around me securely and I could only despise the flutter it resulted.
“I don’t know.” He inhaled on the crook of my neck making me shudder. “I was thinking about the whole thing, and it only made me more nervous about the changes that are in the line. Then, I thought about you. And I just wanted to see you.” He went on in his drunken stupor.
“You can call it off then.” Words escaped.
“I’ll have to marry you then.”
Though the words were meaningless but it surely tugged on my hearts. If only…
Dreams on fire and cover by hinge, my life now was about to take a turn.
“Should not you be happy right now Mr. Groom?” I stood next to him.
“I don’t know anymore what to do Rags?” He released a deep sigh before staring dead in my eyes.
“Man up buddy. Its your D-Day afterall.” I ruffled his hair but it didn’t erk him like usual.
“Everything will be fine.” I added. He only stare at me. Patting him on the arms I turn back to leave but stopped by his voice.
“Don’t you want me to call it off?”
His eyes were begging me to differ.
“Will you do as I say?”
His posture tensed for a while. I can say he was battling inside and it pained me to know I was the reason. Though he wasn’t coming straightforward but I know that I’ve been caught.
“Its time guys. Ragini! Please escort the groom down to the mandap.”
His mother shouted from somewhere outside. He hunged his head guiltily and for me, it was my queue to stop. Stop hoping for impossible to happen.
“Now you should stop asking my say on your matters Lucky. Women tends to get jealous easily. Kavya will definitely not like it.”
I couldn’t stand anymore to see his sorry face.
It was unexpected, his visit. I was supposed to disappear without a hint.
“So you really are leaving.” He eyed the luggage by my side accusingly then looked back at me, “Without even telling me.”
He was appalled, hurt even more. It was difficult for me to stand him anymore. Losing him was enough, I at least wanted to keep my face in front of him, but, he knew the part of me I preferred hidden all along.
“For a change.”I smiled.
He only stared, disappointed.
” How many days will it take? Your change!” He lowered his gaze to ground.
“I’m not sure.” Saying I picked up my bag but he snatched it away standing in front of me like a wall.
“Why do you have to go at all?” He asked desperately.
“Suddenly I can’t seem to stand you anymore.” I let out a forced chuckle.
“It’s because of me right?”
My breath hitched and line of sight wavered. Do I want a confrontation?
“I wish you a happy married life.” Ànd for that I need to go away.
I couldn’t look at him anymore. And when his hand came up to wipe at my cheek I realized I was crying. The want to lean on his hold was grave but I choose to step away as if his closeness was suffocating me.
“I need to go now.” Saying I took the luggage bag from his hold and walk off towards the cab.
I wanted to look back but the feeling of him standing there hurt was painful. I was almost inside the passenger seat when pulled back to a hard chest. I could feel him trembling and it only break my heart even more. I try to turn around to face him but he only tightened his hold around me.
“I need to go now lucky.” I try to turn again.
“I don’t want you to see me like this.” His voice break in between as he rest his head on my shoulder.
We remain like that. Without a word. Tears streaming.
“I’m sorry.” He whispered.
And like that he was gone before I could even say my goodbye.
Two Weeks Later.
The crowd and noise of the bar was a headache. I manage to sit still after a couple of pegs but then my focus diverted to a group of teenage girls discussing about their distressing love life. It went beyond control when one of them talk about her one-sided love.
“I know he loves me. And I’m gonna wait until he recognizes it.”
“Ridiculous. Just come out of your fairytale kid and go tell him. Once this moment runs out you will only left to regret.” Before I know I was on my heels.
They stared at me weirdly.
“You don’t believe me. I’m the live example.” I laughed maniacally.
They scattered out avoiding me like a plague.
“Kids this day can be really dumb.” I say occupying my seat again.
Someone sighed beside me and when I look over he was already staring at me.
“Uhh you? Do I know you?” I asked little black dots appearing on my vision.
And before I could ask anymore I was blackout.
I can’t seem to have any energy left in me. And its about time my legs would give out. I could leave the hotel bed after 2 days of hangover and only wanted to say thanks to my saviour who tended my drunken self. Everything blurred suddenly and I was revived back to life with a pull.
“Are you mad or what?” Someone yelled.
I blinked and black spots turn to a tiny hospital room.
“How are you feeling?” A beautiful doctor asked.
“What happened?” I try to sit up.
“Don’t.” She stared me disapprovingly. “You fainted in the middle of the road due to malnutrition which means you didn’t take care of yourself well.”
It was embarrassing. I didn’t know how to respond to that.
“Let’s just fill up this form okay.” She break the awkwardness and I went along.
She was shocked to know that I was a nutritionist, I was embarrassed to say it myself.
“How did I end up here?” I asked hesitantly.
“Because you’re a walking suicide machine.” A familiar voice cut in.
I look up to see that oddly familiar face again. He checked on the saline tube and check the heart monitor.
“Its not like I wanted to die there. Though it would be better if I died there.” I whispered the last part inside my breath but he catch onto it pretty well.
“Failure in love life is not the end of your life its just a key to unlock the new chapter of your life. Instead of being pathetic you should know when to let go.” He held my gaze thoroughly.
“I’m not pathetic.” I gasped though I wanted to scream that.
“Thats good. I just hate those parasites.” He smiled sarcastically and left the room.
I was speechless. Am I really that pathetic?
“Please forgive him, he can be really rude sometimes. And he did save your life.” She smiled sympathetically and left.
After all rude man actually punched the sense inside.
Maybe life still has its other side waiting for me.
“It’s been two weeks already Sanskar, now is the high time you visit your home for once.”
She was irritated but I couldn’t care least.
“I’m busy mom.” I flipped another case file on the pile on top of my desk.
“You were not here at Laksh’s wedding, they are coming back this Friday. You should at least give your blessing to them.”
“You should keep your side of deal mom.”
“I’m hanging up. Bye mom.”
I sighed flipping the cellphone on the desk. Although she is understanding all the time, she can be persistent sometime. Coming back to India was mom’s wish and not going back to that place was my condition. 20 years of exile only increase the distance even more. I didn’t want to go back there because it was worthless at this point.
Cellphone pinged with a message. I grabbed it up off the desk.
‘We’re doing a ritual for your Dad this time, its better if you came.’
I toss the phone again on the table. I couldn’t focus on anything anymore. It was almost like those time when I used to feel so lonely, hurt and wronged.
My dad was my hero. He was fighting with his advanced cancer when I was sent US for studies. Leaving here was Dad’s decision because he didn’t want me to see him die a painful death. And not getting to see him for the last time, his will. For the last 20 years, I lived in agony. Unsatisfied with the decisions. I feel wronged in so many ways. And it only ripped my soul every time. The damage was too much to fix anymore. It was beyond repair. Because I didn’t want to forget anything.
Because I didn’t want to be fixed.
All the exhaustion break down at once. The day long checkups and medical aids sucked all the energy. I fell limp on my back on the chair. I had selected a village for my first medical camp in India and I could say people here were taking it nicely.
I was ruthlessly brought back from my thoughts as my nosy colleague has to barge inside just then.
“Sorry to disturb you handsome, but volunteers from the NGO are here.”
Kavita Sharma is a bundle of energy. She can he nosy and unmindful about my privacy. Even after the stressing day she was bouncing on her heels. I nod at her and she disappeared behind the door.
“You???” I couldn’t believe my eyes. “What is this suicide machine doing here?”
“She is one of the volunteer from NGO Sanskar.” Kavita whispered nudging me on the ribs.
“Hello. I’m Ragini Gadodia. I’ll really like to work here with all of you.” She only stare at me.
Did she recognise me?
“You can still reconsider. We’re really good without additional trouble in disguise.” I smiled sarcastically.
It was a head on and I guess she got it well enough.
It rained like there is no other day. The cabin was a sight to see as water was leaking from everywhere possible. I felt lonely. Scared even. I could only feel the burning heat.
“God Sanku! You’re burning.” I heard her somewhere in between.
My one and only friend. My Ragini.
I could see her faint outline and everything was a blur. Suddenly a light pierce through the darkness. It was still raining outside but I felt relieved seeing her beside me.
“You alright?” She asked scooting closer.
“After all you’re also a human.” She smiled touching my head. “Your fever is down. I guess I can go now.”
“Stay.” I grabbed her hands and add, “Its still raining.”
“It was raining when I came.” She reasoned and stood up.
“Please.” The word stumble out without my knowledge. “I don’t want to be alone.”
She stare at me for a couple of seconds before surprising me with a hug.
“I so wanted to slap you right now you know.” She sobbed on my chest.
“What did I do?” I encircled my arms patting her head.
“You hid yourself and gave me a hard time. You tortured me. You chose rude way to teach me how to let go. Its not fair.”
Inhaling her soothing fragrance I asked, “Why are you crying?”
“I don’t know. Why didn’t you tell me that it’s you?”
“Because you had forgotten everything about me.” It was an icy response to my own ear but she didn’t push it further.
Her embrace gave me the sanity and for once I felt complete.
I look down on my watch for umpteenth time. I was supposed to be with someone else, I thought as I looked over to my friend in his dishevelled state. How much I wanted to leave here but I couldn’t ditch him at need.
‘I’m sorry, something came up. Lets postpone the dinner tomorrow.’ I press the send button and sighed.
“You wanted to say something lucky.” I break the odd silence.
He tensed for a while then heaved a sigh.
“Do you still love me?”
I coughed involuntarily and he wait for me to stop.
“I’m sorry. Let me rephrase it. Can you wit for me, if I say I love you.”
My breath caught up on my throat, he only worsened it when his hand caught mine.
“Lucky, its not funny.”
“Do you think I’m joking right now? Just give me an honest answer.”
I searched in his eyes for mischief but he was downright serious.
“I’m sorry Lucky. I have someone else.”
Everything went silent but it oddly felt soothing than the words.
“My bad. I guess, I lost my chance then.” He said hoarsely and turn around to leave.
“Lucky…” It break my heart to see him sad but I couldn’t do anything other than apologizing.
“Save it.” He said as if he knew what I was going to say. “I won’t run away like someone. Its just I can’t seem to stand you anymore at the moment.” He let out a humorous laugh and left.
I could only watch him from the back.
I read the message again and again. Something important as in Lucky. Sure enough her important business has to be Lucky. My sight was burning with jealousy.
“When did you come?” She asked.
“How did it go? Your important business?”
She flinched back with the sharpness in my tone and watched me skeptically.
“Look I’m sorry…” She tried to explain but I cut her up.
“Come on, don’t say that. You were totally enjoying when he held your hand. You think I’m replaceable, right? Don’t tell me you are thinking of going back to him? After all he was your first love. It must be a dream come true for you…”
I went overboard, I realized it when I was slapped across my face. She was heaving in anger. I was in jealousy.
“You are the only person to humiliate me this much.” She was on the verge of tears.
But red hot jealousy was gnawing at me. I was acting up for all the injustice on my part.
“And you push me down to nothing. When you were the only one I could think of, you fell for someone else. Do you its fair.”
“We were just kids then.” She interjected.
“But I kept my words and its only you. Ironically, you its not the case for you.” I said pointedly.
And that’s when all the hell break lose.
“You know what, I’m done with your accusations. Just get out.”
She heartlessly end the conversation and I could only leave with my tarnished self-esteem.
A month later.
It was like a miracle to stand in this place let alon seeing her in front of me. It only take me a blink to cover the long distance after the phone call with my mom.
She stood there beautifully, graced in a traditional outfit. But I didn’t like that she was looking beautiful for the fact it was to show someone else. It was awkward after our last fight. We didn’t talk after that. I wanted so badly to reach out but I was hurt.
As if breaking the ice in between she smiled.
“Don’t smile.” I growled.
“Why?” She asked confuse.
“You cannot smile that beautifully if you’re dressing up to show someone else.”
She let out a chuckle.
“I didn’t thought you would come. Your mom surely knows how to pull your strings.”
“Off course I was suppose to come back to you.” Then I see her smiling again, “uhh you’re annoying.” I huffed. “I’ll have to crash this alliance.”
“Why, I really like this man.”
“Dare you say that again!” I warned her. “I can be really possessive if you want to see.”
She put up her hands in surrender and let out a chuckle.
“Stop irritating me. It will make me curse him to no end. I just wish him worst luck. After all he isn’t getting here anything at all.”
“What if I accept it?” She challenged.
And the next moment she was captive in my hold.
“You won’t.” I whispered over her lips.
She shuddered with the close proximity.
“You will refuse the alliance.” I whispered dominating her senses.
“Okay then I’ll say no to your mom.” She pushed me with a mischievous smile.
“Buddhu! You are wishing yourself worst luck of the era.” Her laughter covered my senses.
I was happy. But not sure if its not a dream. I pulled her into a hug and inhaled that soft fragrance I was missing so much.
“I missed you.” She whishpered kissing my jawline.
I answered with a light kiss on her lips, she reciprocated with an equal passion and deepened it.
“I love you.” I whispered breathlessly breaking the blissful kiss.
She smiled out of breath and rest her head on my shoulder.
“Then what should I do with that refusal thing?” She was teasing me.
I only tightened my hold around her and say, “Of course, I’ll have to marry you.”
Thank you so much for reading.
After a long time. Hope you’re having a great 2019. Best wishes.
SPREAD POSITIVITY, TA…TA…N KEEP SMILING DEA…S.