[This short story love is selected for Love’2012 Story Writing Competition]
This is what I call a perfect Date, a beautiful day with my beloved, a movie, and finally a candle light dinner. This was the best day in my life. She was in a red shining dress, and I was in my black suit. Everything as I ever wished for. I called for the final ceremony – a lovely goodbye kiss followed by the payment of bill.
“Bill Please …”
To my disappointment the waitress came a bit early. I was a bit too shy to kiss my beloved in front of the waitress. So, now I was waiting for her to keep the bill on the table and leave.
“Thank You” – I said with a smile, indicating her to leave.
But, I was really surprised to see this … “You look exactly like my aunt”, I said to the waiting waitress.
“I don’t just look like your aunt, I’m your aunt” – saying this she poured the glass of water on my head. I was pondering once what had happened; by this time she poured another glass of water.
I stood up from the chair and was about to shout.
“How could you …”
She stopped me in the mid way and said –
“I’m already late; I didn’t have time to prepare food. Bread is in the kitchen, eggs are in the fridge. Have it before going to school”
Perplexed by such a statement I looked around me to find myself curled up in the bed with a pillow.
“Yes aunty …”
Feb 15th, I was not sure to wakeup or not. Yesterday there was an announcement from “Private Bus Owners Association” – “From today midnight, we are going on a strike, marking the protest against hike in the price of petrol and diesel”. As a Higher Secondary Student, I should really welcome this moment, but I don’t. I love going to school, and there are reasons too.
My aunty was in such a hurry that she banged the door to close. I could hear the sound in my bed. Others had already left. I was left out with my uncle’s mother, who is very weak to do something for me. Finally I woke up from my bed & headed towards my destination, The Kitchen.
I went through the hall, reached to the cassette player and took the cassette with sticker “A R Rahman Hits”. I’m always a great fan of Sir Rahman, as I always was. Today it was going to be very special, as the food becomes very spicy with his music. Reaching to the kitchen, I took the egg and started thinking what to make – “Egg Burgi”, “Egg Masala”, “Pepperoni Egg”, and “Egg Paneer” or something else. Finally I settled up with the Simplest Omelet, as that was the only thing that I know. But, I would like to say that I decided Omelet just because I was left out with only two eggs. If I had more, I would have gone for something better.
As I just started, phone rang – a welcome disturbance for me…but not for Sir Rahman.
“Hello …” was my usual starter.
“Hi Alex, How are you going today”, a female voice enquired from the other end.
Well! I never expected such a question, but was getting interested in.
“I’m going fine, but … who are you?” my curiosity increased.
“Sorry, this is Jessy. And I’m not asking how you are. You heard about today’s Strike? So how are you going to school”
“Oh, I’m not sure, but I’ll find some way. How about you?” was expecting some favorable reply.
“I can make it up to the city, but from there to school, I have no idea. If you don’t mind, can we go together?”
I could not have a better chance than this.
“Yes, Sure. I’ll call you once I reach there.”
We decided a common place to meet in the city, and hung up the phone.
I didn’t waste much time in the home, got ready as soon as possible and left my home. And, by this time, my aunt was backing home.
Then it was a race with the time. Somehow I got a cab and rushed towards town. Within half hour I was there at the meeting point. She was not there up to now. I was eagerly waiting for her. Each moment was like hours to me. And, frankly speaking, a bit nervous as this was the first time she’ll be travelling with me.
I really need to have some new way of interaction with her. The conventional ways are a bit boring. And, I may not get another chance to impress her.
“Alex, how long you had been waiting?” somebody asked me from behind.
To my relief, it was her. Though I waited 10 – 15 minutes for her, but it was worth waiting. She was looking gorgeous, as she always was, and today a bit extra as she was coming with me.
“Just 5 – 10 minutes, how did you reach here?”
“Few buses are still taking trips in my route. I got down at the other end of the road, and walked down here.” She replied.
She continued “Let’s look out for some cabs which can take us to school”.
I thought she would be interested in asking me about how I reached here, or probably something else. But, it was not just my day.
The strike made life miserable for everybody. Most shops were closed; people were staying away from the roads. Few schools were also closed. All those things proved good for me as there will be very less rush to catch the transportation.
Finally we got a bus which could take us to the School, and we got in.
“Why you kids are going to school today?” Conductor enquired as if it was a public holiday.
“Two Eravu …” I gave him the money.
I was becoming the proud owner of two bus tickets. I have travelled in bus many times, but this time the tickets were much more worth than their cost.
Conductor issued me two tickets and continued his usual fare collection.
Only few people were standing, and I could see Jessy very easily. Soft, shiny hair, almost up to her waist, was catching the wind. It was flying in the air as if calling me towards her. Every time she turns on sides, I could see her spectacles, an additional thing, even without which she was no less a queen. Her anklets, bracelets, earrings and everything so beautiful, so lively on her. Her hair, still little wet of taking bath, neatly combed, without any fuzz, with a small knot just behind her neck was as usual having a Magnolia Flower.
My dream world was short lived. Really hard to believe that half hour and nearly thirteen kilometers passed by. We were in front of our school. We got down and started walking towards school.
Our School, a small building – painted in white, was behind a church – a ship shaped church. So for most of us going to the church was a routine before getting to the school. This day was no different, we entered the church prayed for a while and left for the classes.
Walking through the narrow lane, just besides the main school building, towards our class, I saw something on her middle finger of her left hand – a golden ring. This was unusual; she never had that ring before.
“New ring?” I asked her.
She looked at me, and with a smile she said –
“My Boyfriend gave me, good na …” she continued towards the class.
“Yes, it’s beautiful”, other than which I could not tell her anything.
She was the only one girl who didn’t know that I love her so much, or probably she knows, but was still pretending as if she doesn’t know. I had been so close to everybody that each and every person in the higher secondary section knows my feelings for her, and that includes her elder sister too. But that never bothers me.
The strength of our class is 41, but today it’s very less. Only 14 are present. Even the staff room was looking a bit empty. Jeeba Miss, Suma Miss and Tajudin Sir were absent. So, I was happy that we will not be having class for Computer, Hindi, and Maths.
Class started as usual at 9.00 Am. Joshy Sir, who was more like a friend to me, entered the class for chemistry. He wasn’t looking too interested, as he will have to take all this things again when everybody is present. We could see the uneasiness on his face. Going through only the main heading, he was just passing the time. Sometimes listening, sometimes playing, chatting even we also passed the time. Finally after 40 minutes H2 and O mixed up and became water, which we drank during the break after the first class.
Next was English, and Shoba Miss was the best person to handle this. A number of short stories, which were very interesting to read.
As I was sitting in the first row, I just turned back to ensure that Jessy was there.
“Look in front. I’m here. Everybody is comfortable in their places” – Shoba Miss Strikes.
I couldn’t do anything other than smiling.
Shoba Miss taught us “How to Prepare a Perfect Cup of Tea”. I didn’t understand why people waste their time in writing such things, neither do I understand now. The water boiled and we finally prepared tea in 40 Minutes.
A welcoming break after such a boring chapter. Shoba Miss was not to be blamed, as the chapter itself was so boring. I went out and took a deep breath, was enjoying the freedom from the Tea. Felt so relaxed. I leaned towards a pillar and just hugged it. This was nothing special, as I loved my school very much.
There could not have been a better timing for my teachers, Shoba Miss and Resmi Miss were talking and coming out of the staff room, and they saw me.
“What happened to you?” – Resmi Miss.
“Nothing” – I replied getting away from that pillar.
“Should we talk to her for you?” comment from Shoba Miss.
I was very close to all my teachers, so this kind of comments is usual.
“Get in Class, I’m going to start” Resmi Miss said with a teasing smile on her face.
“Miss, Please.” though I don’t like anyone teasing me, but this was a sweet one, which put a little bit smiles on my face too.
“Ok, Ok. no more teasing, get in.” Get In.
Resmi Miss was there for Physics. Newton’s law, Kirchhoff’s law, Tuning fork, Kinetic energy and all such stuffs. As most of my friends were absent, class was not so interesting. I still listened to whatever she was giving, just that I don’t want to make her uncomfortable. After all such a good relationship was on stake.
As soon as the Physics was over, Monte Christo and Edmond Dantes stepped in. Sarla teacher was handling novel. Neither Monte Christo nor his friends could entertain us. But as Sarla teacher was one of the most senior teacher, we thought of paying some attention.
In all the classes, my concentration was short lived. My mind would go back to the same golden ring on her hand.
“Would she be having a boyfriend?” I asked myself.
“No, she won’t be having one. She is such a simple girl” my heart supported me.
Brain had a different answer – “Why can’t she have a boyfriend? If you can love her, why can’t she love someone else?”
I thought of making it clear today itself. I will not get a better chance than this. There will not be too many people to tease me even if something goes wrong. That was the biggest advantage.
The bells indicated that it was lunch time.
“Let’s go out for lunch” Vishnu called me. As there were very few boys today, they were planning to go out for lunch.
I wanted to go, but then stayed back as I wanted to talk to her.
“I’ve brought food. I’ll have it here” I said.
Seeing my cold response, two of my other close friends also decided to stay back with me.
In fact, I believe, they knew that something was going to happen.
We washed our hands and started having our lunch. I was having it from their boxes as I hadn’t brought. One of my friends Kiran was sitting in front of me, facing me.
“What is it?” asked Kiran with his gestures.
“Nothing!!” a whisper in his ears.
“Something is wrong with him” told Stanley.
Once the lunch was over, we washed our hands and came back to our places.
“Let’s go out” Stanley called both of us.
“I’m not coming, you carry on!!”
“Something is really wrong; we are not leaving you alone.” They decided to stay back.
Jessy was having lunch with Pinky, another good friend. She also knew that I was crazy about Jessy.
They finished their lunch and went out. A while after they returned back to the class.
“I should take this further” – I thought.
“Pray for me” I told my friends.
My friends couldn’t understand what I was talking about.
I stood up from my place and started towards Jessy. My friends guessed what was going to happen. Both of them being my friend, escaped from the scene. Both the stupid’s were standing near the window and watching me.
I could not think of anything else. Mind was going blank at times. That 10 Meter distance was like the longest distance I walked in my life. It was like miles. All kind of thoughts was blinking in my mind. “What if she says YES”, “What if she says NO”, “What if she complains?”
Crossing each raw of benches was like a milestone for me. Finally I was in front of her. Pinky started looking at me.
Pinky being my close friend, I was comfortable with her. So I started –
“Pinky …” I never felt this tough to call her name.
“Tell me …” she said.
“Hmm…” I was not getting anything to tell her.
“You want something?” She got that I was not comfortable.
“Yes…Yes…Hmm…..a little bit time” I replied.
Pinky got confused with this.
“Time, you want my time?”
“I mean, I need to talk” I said.
“Tell me what you want to tell” Pinky thought that I wanted to speak to her.
“No, No. you are mistaken. I need to talk to Jessy” – I cleared.
“Do you want me to go out?” she asked.
“No, that is ok. Even she will be comfortable if you are here”
Finally I made a start –
“Jessy, I had been thinking over this for long time. And I thought I should be telling you this now.”
“Thinking of what?” she interrupted.
She got what I was about to tell. She understood my nervousness. I was supporting myself on the bench and desk nearby.
“Please do not interrupt … I will not get that flow again” I requested her.
Saw a smile on her face.
“Ok, go on” She said.
I started once again.
“Jessy, I had been thinking of this thing for a long time, And thought that I should tell this now. From the day I saw you for the first time, I’m crazy about you. Whenever I see you, it’s… it’s like an energy booster for each and every cell of my body. It was not being the early comer in the class that I enjoyed; I always wanted to see you coming into the class every morning. It was not sitting on the first bench, but sitting there and thinking of you sitting behind me that excited me. Except you, everyone here knows my feelings for you. You are in the each breath I take. I can’t think of a day without you. I’m sorry to say this, but you have got such an innocent and beautiful girl that I can’t stop loving you. I’m in love… I love you.”
Heart was beating very fast as if I just finished a marathon. I was looking at her eyes for any reaction.
The smile which was adorning her face had almost vanished. Without any reaction, she stood up from her place and went outside.
“Pinky, was that too bad?” I asked her.
“You messed it up, stupid” an expected reaction from my good friend.
I felt alone in the whole world. I couldn’t see anything in front of me. Had no idea what to do next.
Tears could no longer stay in my eyes. Drop by drop even they left me alone. Step by step I moved towards the Church. Now it was only HIM who can console me.
Half an hour later, I was back to my normal state and started back to my class.
Class had already started. Resmi Miss was already having some discussion in the class.
“Miss… May I?” standing at the door.
“Where were you?” Resmi Miss asked.
“Not well, was in Church” I answered.
She got that something went wrong with me, so didn’t ask anything further.
Class was not any different, except her. She was not even looking at me. She was too much into books.
I got settled at my place. After sometime only, I realized that madam is not taking class. She was just having a casual chat with all, stressing on the upcoming exams and important topics.
Those things were as if it is not for me. Not a single statement got my attention. On the back of my mind I was still thinking of the past few minutes.
In the midst of all this, I heard my name being called.
“Alex…” Resmi madam called me.
“Yes Mam…” breaking my silence, I answered.
“You are dreaming?”
“No Mam, not well, so…” I defended myself.
“Ok…So, I was telling that Class is over and Joshy Sir will come here to speak to you all” saying this, she left.
As soon as she left, Joshy sir stepped in.
“You all know that today is bus strike, and we don’t want you all to get late. So you all can go home now. And no roaming here and there. Last day I saw some of you playing in the ground after the class.”
Everybody was happy except me.
As routine, while leaving also I would go to church and spend five minutes there. Today was no different. I directly went to church.
My prayers were not heard. I sat in the church and started complaining.
Within few minutes she was also there. She sat just in front of me. She didn’t speak a word. After few minutes, she started to leave. She reached the door, and turned back.
“You are not coming?” She asked me.
“Ya…” replying her, I started from there.
We stood there in bus stop for next ten-fifteen minutes, but without any exchange of words.
After almost twenty minutes we got a bus to the town. Though it was a bad day for me, I couldn’t stop looking at her. I took two tickets to the town. We reached there in no time. Once we reached town, we had to walk little bit to get bus to our destination.
She was thinking something and walking in front of me, and I was enjoying her beauty.
“Can I come with you?” I asked her, though without hope.
“Today there will not be many busses to your place, so thought of giving you a company. And only If you are ok with it” – I clarified.
Before she could reply, her phone started ringing.
“Hello Mummy …”she answered.
I think, her mom was too concerned about her daughter.
“No need, my friend will come with me to home, so no problem, don’t worry….. Ok” She disconnected the call.
She looked at me with a smile, and continued walking. I took it as a positive answer for me.
We reached the other bus stand. To our surprise, a bus was just to leave. Suddenly we both got in.
“Don’t take ticket for me.” She said.
I thought, she was still angry on me.
But her next statement made me happy –
“I mean, don’t take ticket. I’ll take for both of us”
A journey of ten-fifteen minutes. We reached a place where I could see few grocery shops, a lane which leads to temple, a banyan tree which looks very old, and a primary school.
She turned back and said “Get down here.”
I nodded my head and got down.
We walked few steps in front, then a left turn which was a very small lane. We continued walking.
“What were you praying in church?” She asked me.
“I was just… Complaining about something” I replied.
“Am I included in that Personal thing?” her question.
“Please…” I was getting nervous.
“Am I included in that Personal thing?” she repeated.
“Yes, it was about you.” I responded.
She kept silence on hearing this.
“And, what did you pray there?” I asked her.
“I prayed to God to fulfill your dreams, that you may get your so called personal thing” She replied.
She stopped in front of a gate.
“I didn’t get you” I told her.
She opened the gate and got in as if she was not listening to me.
“You will get it soon kidoo” she replied with a smile and started walking towards her house.
I was still standing there and pondering over what she said.
As she was standing in front of the door, she ran back to me as if she forgot to take something from me. Still standing on the other side of the gate, she said.
“And, this ring, it is my Dad’s gift to me on my birthday. So don’t worry, I don’t have a boyfriend”.
“Thanks for being with me till now. Be with me always” She whispered into my ears, and ran back to door.
“Bye bye kidoo…” she shouted on her way back to door.
I smiled and started walking back. As I was moving, I heard this conversation between Jessy and her mother,
“Where is your friend?”
“She is staying on the next lane only; she was in a hurry, so left”
Smile bloomed upon my face. I said “I’m in Love”.
[Feedback is something I Love]