This short story is participating in Write Story from Picture India 2012 – Short Story Writing Competition.
Avantika stood by her window sipping on a cup of hot masala chai she had just made for herself. She watched the snow come down ever so gently. Boston had just been through the worst winter blizzard of the decade. She had been forced to stay put in her apartment for 2 days as the driving conditions were hazardous. She looked at her car, covered entirely in snow. “Crap, I will have to shovel it out tomorrow morning. God I hate Boston.“
Avantika had just learnt driving. She did not have much experience driving on snow. She was terrified at the thought that she would have to drive to office the next day on the ice covered slippery roads. She dialed Bipin’s number. As usual it went on his voice mail. She sighed looking at the phone and hung up without leaving any message. By now she was used to this. Bipin would never pick up her calls. She would call multiple times a day and every time the call would reach his voice mail. She needed someone to talk to. “This sucks. Why am I so pissed off?He does this all the time to me. Why is this bothering me so much now.“
Avantika stayed alone in a small apartment near her office. She was a loner at heart. Never made many friends at work. Had no social life. Since she had left India two years ago, to work in US, the only person she kept in touch was Bipin. They were seeing each other since their college days. If she talked to anyone about her life and about herself in the past seven years, it was Bipin. She was happy with her life. Bipin was at Charlotte, NC and was a very social guy. He had found a nice friend circle at Charlotte and was busy with his daily life. For last few months he was giving very less time to Avantika as his work load had increased. Most of the times he would be working or be with friends somewhere. It was easy for him to ignore her calls. And he did not regret it at all. Avantika looked at herself in the bathroom mirror. “I have tried calling him five times since the morning. Is he really ignoring me? Or is it just me? This is crazy.” She watched a movie till 2 o clock in the night. But she was waiting for a call from Bipin. She was angry. She wanted to yell at him when he called. From the corner of her eye, she was looking at her mobile, which would ring anytime and she would vent her anger at him. She slept off on the sofa watching the movie. Bipin did not call that night.
Avantika got up in the morning with her eyes swollen. She hadn’t slept properly for quite few days in a row now. She looked at herself in the mirror. She looked horrible. “Probably he does not like me anymore.” After shoveling snow for half an hour, she managed to get her car out of the parking lot. The traffic at Boston was expectantly slow moving and driving was difficult as visibility was practically zero. It was still snowing heavily. Avantika was weary, yet she wanted to go to office. Her mind was restless. She desperately wanted to divert it to something else. “He must have been with Gauri yesterday. They are only friends, but then why did he not call me? And he is roaming around with that b**ch very often nowadays. How insensitive can one be? Should I not be important to him than any other girl? Is it wrong to expect that? God whats happening to me? Concentrate on driving Avantika.” She thought as her car slid slightly at the traffic signal.
Avantika’s mind was now into a loop. She was stressed out. Still she could not refrain from thinking about it. Her phone beeped. It was a message from Bipin. “Baby, sorry I was not well yesterday. Puking n all. Did not even get a chance to check my mails. Forgot the cell inside my bag. Will call asap.” She thought of calling him. “Why should I call? He always thinks of himself. Is he so oblivious to my feelings? Or am I going crazy? After-all he was not well yesterday.” Suddenly something came to her mind like a lightening bolt. She had logged into his account last night to check if he was alright. She was worried about him. But she had seen his mails being checked and he sent a mail to Gauri also. That had assured her that he was just busy. “Why did he lie to me? Is Mrunal true about him and Gauri.” Avantika had a friend in Bipin’s group which Bipin was not aware of. She had told Avantika that Bipin and Gauri flirt too much for a normal friendship. And that they are together most of the times.
“F**K YOU BIPIN” she shouted at her best. “If you don’t want to be with me then just tell me so. Don’t f**k around with my mind like this. I know you have lied to me.” She heard him for a while. He tried explaining. Avantika was mad with rage. She wanted to tell him that she knows more than what he thinks she knows. But she could not do it. She still wanted to cling on to Bipin. She had no one else. She hung up after some more arguments. The journey to office seemed unending. She threw the phone on the passenger seat and clasped her forehead with her right hand. She was feverish. She never noticed when she had started crying. A sense of self pity crept all over her mind. “Am I so pathetic? Am I so alone that he can treat me like a pet dog. Hell , a pet dog gets more attention. ” She wanted to tell him that she will not take this. She wanted to give it back to him. She dialed his number. He answered the call. As she tried to argue she heard him saying “ That’s too much Avantika. Please don’t start it again today. I have been so sick since yesterday and haven’t rested in a while. Please stop this non sense.“
She hung up. She sensed the hatred in his words. That hurt her more than the words. She was not important to him anymore. “He wasn’t sick yesterday. I read his mails. He was talking to his friends. That bitch Gauri. He was organizing an event with his friends. Am I that unimportant to him? Why did he lie? Does he know that I already know few things? Has Mrunal told him that?” Avantika was driving herself mad now. She reached office. She spent her day thinking only of one thing – “Why me?“. Bipin did not call or text even once.
She was driving her way back to home. “I should let go. I should learn to let go. Why cant I accept the fact that I can loose something or someone?” She never realized when she took a wrong turn. She was now on the wrong way on a ONE WAY elliptical ramp. When she saw the huge truck coming right into her, she had only few seconds to react. She shouted as her car skid on the ramp border. The roaring horn of the truck alerted a cop patrolling nearby. Her car was upside down. The truck stopped and the driver called 911 for emergency. The cop switched on the police lights and blocked the ramp.
She opened her eyes. Something warm was running up from her chest towards her face, into her eyes. She could see the police lights from the broken glass of her side window. Her head almost touching the damaged ceiling of her car which was lying upside down in a heap of snow. She felt a sharp pain behind her neck. The cold wind ran into her wounds making them even worse for her. Her efforts to move her body proved futile. She could only move her hand. She saw her mobile lying next to her hand. With great effort she unlocked it and dialed Bipin’s number. She wanted him by her side. She wanted him to tell her that she was going to be fine. It went to his voice mail. She looked at the phone with great pain. She tried leaving him a message, but her voice was choked due to the blood gushing out of her mouth now. She was in great pain. Then the mobile rang. She saw it without moving. It was message from Bipin. “Baby , I am stuck. Call you later.“
She managed a smile.
She was finally relieved from her misery.