Being A Stranger

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 2 (v.1) - Back to Basics

Submitted: September 09, 2017

Reads: 41

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Submitted: September 09, 2017

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Chapter-2

IGI Airport, New Delhi

The jolt woke me up when the airplane hit the runway. 'You can use your mobile phones now', the announcement was made and I switch on my phone to see a text from him.

'I'm at pillar number 17'

I re-read the previous text and ponder over the last line, 'I know you don't want me to, but I am coming to get you'

If I had received this text few weeks earlier, I would have been ecstatic. But not anymore. Something has changed. I've changed. I'm still wrapped around in the fragrance. I'm not sure if it's good. Don't do this girl, don't think about him, it's stupid. Someone down here is waiting for you. Do the right thing.

My almost-one-sided-relationship was here to pick me up. I saw the text on my phone again and took a deep breath. I can still remember the last time I saw him. 

It was a hot July evening and seeing him on my front porch was just like a miracle. His tall, muscular figure, all 6'2" feet of him, dressed in the baby pink checked shirt that I once adored, his faded blue jeans that he bought while shopping with me, his brown leather boots that he adore. I never thought this day would come. I never thought he'd actually think of stepping into my house. But there he was, my Almost-One-Sided-Relationship. My mother knew all about this and was hoping that one day we can actually move past this awkward phase and get into a real relationship, that would finally lead to a marriage. How obsessed she is with me getting married, it's disturbing.

"It's good to see you again", he was beaming. Little did he knew how badly I wanted to see him. I was battling my tears of joy and my voice was chocked. I gestured him to come in and my mother made us the obligatory tea. "So, long time huh?", I asked. Did you miss me?

"Yeah I know right. Must be three months or so I guess", he said. Ten months, fifteen days.

We talked about how our "three months or so" had been, mostly talking about work. Not ever mentioning what happened between us. Just two old pals catching up. Why did you ever leave?

Just as my mom joined us for the tea, he got up to get something from his bag. "Aunty, the real reason I came here today is this", he held out a box. Not a usual plastic or wooden box, but a luxuriously wrapped one in golden silk with green ribbon tied over it. With that he handed over an envelope. I already knew what that was. Please tell me it's not what I think it is.

"You're getting married", I spoke out without realizing I was saying that out loud. My mother first looked at him, and then at me. She didn't know what to say. "Congratulation dear, finally someone trapped our wild bear", I smiled broadly and took the box and envelope from his hands since my mother was too stunned to react.

Two months before his wedding, I got the news that the wedding is off from our mutual friends. We decided to meet him, wondering he might be in a bad situation right now. And before we knew, our meetings became more frequent. First with the group and then just the two of us. Just like old times, when we first started hanging out with each other in college. At that time we knew we were becoming more than friends but it was a mutual agreement that things won't go beyond this. Four years passed in a blink and last day of college was here. On our last day we went to our favorite place for lunch when he said it for the first time, "I think we should take it forward". I liked him too. But I was just not ready. It was awkward.

We hardly spoke over the phone after returning to our home and soon we were out of touch. Four amazing years, now a just a good old memory. One year later, we met again at our convocation. We partied all night, the whole group. And then I felt, I was ready. I wanted to be with him. How could I ever forget how good it felt to be him with, just to be around him. We were lazing out in the garden at dawn, talking about old times. I knew it was now or never. "I think we should take this forward", I said in a low voice. I was sure he will jump with joy. It was exactly the opposite. He frowned, looked confused as if he couldn't understand which language I was speaking. "What?", I asked. "I'm in love", he spoke finally, almost in a whisper. I could feel the knot in my stomach. He was in love and I just rejected him without ever knowing that. I should fix that now, "I..I.." I was thinking hard to say something to make it upto him. "I'm sorry. I mean I'm in love, with someone else", he looked deep into my eyes as he said it.

Ten months and fifteen days passed, I got the invitation. Four more months passed, his wedding was off. Now we were hanging out again. One day after work, we decided to meet up at the coffee place. "Don't you think we missed out something important in past few year?", he sipped his coffee. "Missed something? Like what?", I asked.

"Like we click so well, we have been friends for so long....maybe it's a sign or something", he waved into the air as if drawing an invisible rainbow. I know what he's going to say next. I know him so well. He's ready, again and I'm not, again. I'm happy with my life right now. I'm about to get a promotion, I'm moving to another city, I'm travelling far & wide and there is absolutely no space for anyone else in my life right now.

 "You know what's a sign? This.." I showed him my phone. I can't let him say something that I can't answer. This is not a good time to make any promises.

"What's this? Singapore?", his eyes scanned the flight ticket on my phone. I raised an eyebrow and shrugged. "Oh okay, you're taking the next trip?", he finally got it. "Yes I am", I smiled. This was the best thing to do. Just dodge the question. I do like him, but that's about it. I am not in love. I need to take the next trip, alone.

And here I am, at pillar number seventeen. Waiting for him. "You know you didn't have to do this", I said I got into the car. "I know baby, but it's worth trying", he said as he drove into the traffic. "Yeah right", I rolled my eyes, "And by the way, what's up with all this 'baby' crap? I don't like this", I snapped. "Woah, slow down queen", he laughed. We sat in silence for few minutes when he finally spoke up again, "You've changed". I didn't say anything. I've not changed, just a little less than what I used to be. I lost a part of me back at Singapore, I don't know how I'll ever replace that.

Back home my mother is waiting for me with a hot cup of tea. I often wonder if our old house was ever featured in those 90s movies where the head of village usually resided. All white, minimal windows, perfectly mowed lawn with sparse flowers and large, white front door with white shiny floor underneath. My mom is really particular that the floor stays white all the time. I shoved my backpack into the large ugly chair in the lobby and headed straight to the tea. "How was the meeting?", My mom asked. "I heard it was raining in Mumbai, how did you get to the airport? I asked you to avoid the local trains", my dad spoke before I could answer mom's question. I totally forgot my lie. Okay, let's rehearse. I was gone for an office trip, for a meeting at our Mumbai Headquarters. It was raining but I had started early. Two of my Delhi colleagues, both women, we're traveling with me. "Yeah dad, it was raining heavenly but the we managed to get to the airport before traffic got worse", I lied, one more time. Can I ever tell them the truth? I guess no.

I am still unpacking my bag when dad asked me to sit with him. I wonder what's wrong. He only calls up to sit after dinner when he wants to have a serious conversation. "How are things between you and Rohan?", he had his serious-look face. "Dad, we're just friends", Dad, please don't discuss this with me.

"From what I see, it should be more. You have been friends for quite a long time now. And from what I hear, he's not getting married. Maybe you guys should consider it. He's the right guy for you. Shall we ask his parents?", dad said. "No dad, please don't. That's just pointless", I pleaded. Dad, please don't make it harder for me. My dad is not the biggest fan of my independent lifestyle. He likes that I am doing well, but he thinks I'm too arrogant about that. I try to talk him out of this 'Right Guy' thing but he never budges. After a long debate my patience was running out and I snapped, "Dad, I don't want to talk about this anymore. It's not gonna happen." Maybe my lack of patience is the reason why he thinks I'm arrogant. He looked hurt and furious. "You know what young lady, this attitude of yours isn't healthy for you. Why can't you behave like a mature girl. You are so aloof, you always are so....so detached, too full of yourself!", he is now talking at me. I figured it's best to shut up now and rolled my eyes. "I feel sorry for you. You are incapable of love my dear", he took a deep breath and left the room.

'You are incapable of love', Wow, did my own dad just said that to me. That hurt.

At breakfast next morning, it was my mom's turn to have a talk. She started her favorite conversation. "So listen, listen carefully okay? Don't get pissed. Your aunt came to visit me last weekend". I rolled my eyes. O God, not again, please.

"Mom, I've told you a hundred times, I'm just not ready", I begged, but she won't listen.

"I know honey, but this time it's different. At least see the photo, here. His name is Suven", she slapped her phone onto my lap with picture of a 'Suven' starting at me. You look good Mr.Suven, but I'm still dreaming of the dark eyes that left me spellbound when I was drinking Bintang. 

 


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