There was a chill in the air that evening. She pulled her overcoat a little closer to her, hugging herself, that cold autumn day. She needed to keep herself for breaking apart... Atleast not in front of him. Her throat ached and her eyes stung. She hadn’t slept a wink in the night and she felt like she would cry any moment.
The lump in her throat turned more painful when she saw him. He stood at the other end of the empty basketball court. Her breath seemed to catch as she saw him. They walked slowly towards each other… A walk that seemed to take forever when all it took for a few ticking seconds. As she started taking the steps she could feel herself changing. Her happy, funny and perpetually laughing mask seemed to be out of the closet. She pushed away the thoughts and the sleepless night and smiled a bright smile.
He looked at her with eyes filled with a sea of emotions she couldn’t fathom. He looked at her with a desperation she didn’t want to thaw at the cold that settled around her heart. She wouldn’t ever let him see how much she ached on the inside.
"Are u ok?"
No I am anything but ok. She took d basketball and started to dribble away from him. Refusing to meet his eyes. "Yes of course I am you dummy!!! Why do u ask?"
He appeared in front of her out of nowhere, taking advantage of her being so tiny, blocking off her escape. He took d basketball with no difficulty and put it out of her reach, like the way one would do with a child.
"Heyyy..." She frowned. She cussed. He smiled and that nearly drove her crazy.
"Will u talk to me?" He said turning serious again.
She sighed. Resigned and defeated. They turned and walked to d edge of the court. Sitting down on d steps near d court, he began, "Are u upset with me?"
Yes I am. "Of course I m not… What makes you say that?" she said.
He said in a rush, "You wouldn’t pick up my calls... You wouldn’t reply to my messages.. Where have you been?". His eyes seem to burn down to the depths of her soul, willing her to say the truth.
I was hurting... U hurt me. "I was busy"
"So busy, you couldn’t reply back?"
Do I even exist for you? Can you even see how much I love u? "Areee baba... I was tied up all day. I m here now am I not??"
"You aren’t upset about me being with her are u?" He asked with a worried face.
Yes. I m so upset I can feel my heart break. "Nooo... Why would I be? You are happy. And that makes me happy. You crazy idiot!!"
"I love her a lot. She makes me so happy I can’t imagine being with anyone but her. She makes me feel things I didn’t know I could feel again"
A headache seemed to be building up.. tapping away annoyingly at d inside of her temple. Why was she even here? She should have listened to her best friend. She should at home, in her bed, shut away from d world... she should be alone. She felt something die inside her at his every syllable. She just smiled.
He looked away. Smiling foolishly. She wondered what he thought about? What would she be doing right this moment. What will she say when he proposed to her that night. What would she wear? How she would look in d flowing gossamer veil of white at their wedding? Something that felt horribly like tears prickled at the inside of her eyes. His joy seemed to vibrate out of him… touching everything around him. It made her feel like someone had driven a knife all the way down to the deepest corner of her heart.
Everything screamed at her to tell him about what she was feeling.
I love you so much it makes me crazy to think about you with another woman. I have loved you ever since I saw you first day at college. U had looked so wonderful in your white shirt and blue jeans it had made me go crazy. All these years I was your best friend when every single day I wanted to be more. I wanted to be the woman you imagined spending your entire life with.
It took her super human strength to speak.
“I am happy for you Sweetypie.... You deserve the best. She is very lucky she got you, you know.”
He looked at her then, smiling widely, the crow feet at the corner of his eyes. She wanted to look at anywhere but his face.. and yet she couldn’t stop from falling into love. All over again. With those eyes and that foolish smile. No matter what her mind screamed, she couldn’t look away. He came closer, drawing her in a hug. Kissing d top of her head. She allowed herself a few moments more to dream. She inhaled his scent.. of soap, shampoo, cologne and him. She held him tight because she knew maybe this was the last time she was holding him that way. She squeezed her eyes shut, ordering the tears to hold themselves.. just a few moments more.
She mumbled “I love u.. I love u more than she does.”
He laughed. The rich sound echoing in the empty quad. He ruffled her hair and said “Of course you do. I know you do jaan. You'll always be my number one. You know tat, right!!”
They broke apart and he held her still, smiling at her. She smiled at wooden smile, willing herself to get up and leave.
Please make me stay. Please Please hold me once more. “I need to go. Ill seeya later ok?”
He got up too, snatching the ball and putting in a layup. He said “Ok. Ill call u about what happens tonight. Though I know what the answer will be. You get to be my best man ok??!! Hahahaha..”
She could no longer smile.. starting to walk away from him.. the basketball.. college.. He called out, “Oye.. say Bye atleast!! ”
She waved without looking back. Every step she took seemed to put more distance between them than anything else.
As she reached the edge of the court, he called out again, “Nothing changes.. I love u too ok?”
She stopped in her steps and this time she could stop the tears that came. She nodded and waved again. He couldn’t see because he was already on the phone.
She started to walk again. Putting her hands in her pockets, as the breeze started to pick up. As the day started to get colder.
She whispered, “Everything changes.”
P.S: DO NOT DERIVE ANY CONCLUSIONS OUT OF THIS.