The red in her eyes were clearly visible. So was the nose, looking almost like a chilly pepper.
“Are you crying? Again?” I asked with a frown.
“No, look; I am laughing in mirth.” Anya’s voice was sarcastic as she sniffed her nose inside a tissue paper and threw it away carelessly.
The empty tissue box was deserted on the floor of her room, and the used tissues covered the empty spaces of the room, making it look like it had snowed just now.
“Hey, your sarcasm is not needed here. I’m just concerned.” I said as I collected the tissues with the tip of my fingers, nose wrinkled in disgust.
Friends… God, what you do for them!
“What’s it this time?” I asked after I finished cleaning and slumped next to her.
“It’s Karthik, Nithya.”
Like I expected!
“What did he do now? Did he not call you for your birthday exactly at 12 ‘o clock? Oh he did. Then what?” I sighed in desperation.
Anya was borderline psychotic (no offense, but really, that’s all I can come up with) when came to her relationship with Karthik. It wasn’t like Karthik didn’t love her; because he did and they were engaged, for God’s sake.
“He didn’t reply to my message yesterday.” Anya sniffed again.
“And you wasted all those tissue for that?” I screeched as I threw my hand up in irritation.
God, if I could, I’d kill Anya now. Friends, I had to repeat it again and again to control my fury.
“What if he was with another girl at that time?”
“What time did you message him again?”
“At 2 in the midnight.” Anya looked slightly sheepish at that.
“Anya. I am going to murder you. You messaged him at 2 and expected him to reply? And if that isn’t enough, you cried and emptied the entire tissue box.”
“What, you won’t understand love.” Anya said like a petulant child; poked her tongue out at me before she walked away.
I stood there frozen. Memories I tried to bury deep inside poked back its head, smiling mockingly at me ‘You can’t escape.’
“Mom, I can’t do it anymore mom. I want to walk away from here; he isn’t going to come back. He didn’t love me like I do.” I saw a hysterical girl, with tears along her rosy cheeks, hugging her mom as if her life depended on it; maybe it did.
There was a small smile at my lips as I stared at myself in the mirror. I looked grown up; and my eyes, they looked sharp, but lacked something important- life.
“I don’t want to get married mom; look, at me, I’m just 21.” The girl said; she had pretty black eyes, long waist length hair, and even if she tried to be serious, she couldn’t help the bubble of laughter.
I studied my face again; there were no traces of laughter there; the permanent smile wrinkles I had once were already diminished. I looked strict, like a teacher and I looked old when compared to my 24 year old.
“Guy, you need to stop this; you know this is child marriage.” The girl spat at the guy she was supposed to get married to. He looked at her as if she was insane.
“Aren’t you over 18 already?” His deep brown eyes crinkled at the side and he looked as if he was struggling to stop laughing; at the girl.
She glared at him; she found him handsome, of course she did. But he was a jerk. Why would he laugh at a lady, if he was a true gentleman?
I laughed lightly. It was a pleasant memory- the one that never failed to make me laugh, no matter what.
“Mom, dad, listen to me. Will you? I think he has an affair with someone. He might have even impregnated her. What will I do then?” The girl whined miserably.
“Who? Me?” The guy stepped in front of her and she looked like a deer caught in the headlight, before she ran away.
I laughed again, though it pained me to do so; sometimes even happy memories would give you pain and tears.
“I am going to run away; I’ll do it.” The girl threatened. But nothing happened.
She fell finally in love, before the marriage. She spent every moment talking with him in the phone, or talking about him. He became her world and she, his.
I stopped myself. The pain was bothering me. I was going to cry again, if I started thinking more. I stopped my thought and stepped inside the bathroom; with the shower I took, I washed the memories away.
Anya came back with a smile; so I assumed she had solved the problem between them; if there was even a problem.
“Hey you looked like as if you’ve just seen the ghost” She said as she watched me.
“I just did.” I pointedly looked at her and she laughed. Anya had a nice laugh. She reminded me so much of someone I loved.
“Are you alright? Really? Your eyes look red and puffy.” I didn’t answer as I slumped down on my bed, staring at the empty white ceiling.
The hostel room was pale, white; it looked more like a hospital, gloomy and depressing. Or maybe it was just me.
That night when I slept, I had a vivid memory of a pale eyed girl, wrapping herself in her mother’s arm, crying ‘Mom, why did you do this to me mom?’
Someone shook me awake. I was drenched in sweat and Anya was staring at me in concern. After a moment or two, we just went back to sleep; nothing said.
The next Saturday I was laying head down on my bed, when someone shook me and pulled me up from my relaxing posture.
“Have you ever planned to tell me?” In her hand was my most prized treasures- photographs.
“Who’s this?” She pointed the man with brown and brooding eyes. His laugh lines were gone too and he looked kind of harsh in the photo. She didn’t expect my answer, I was sure by the roundness of her eyes.
“Your sister’s fiancée, you said?” She repeated again and I nodded to confirm. Now her eyes were doubtful as if asking why you had his photo.
Well, technically he was my sister’s ex-fiancée; when she decided to run away like she had told us, mom and dad were devastated- but not more than Akshay, her would-be-husband.
No one expected it, not even me. We all believed she was finally happy.
She was 2 years older than me, and was always close to me. She told every little thing from the moment she met him, up till yesterday; the day before she took part.
“So what you doing with his photo?” She asked when she noticed I wasn’t going to answer.
“When she left days before the marriage, I replaced her at the stage. And because, he loved my sister, and he couldn’t bear to have me as his wife, he left me, just a month after. She left; he left; and here I’m.”
When I finished, there was nothing inside me; only a plain emptiness.
“You know Anya, I know about love too. It’s a pain and when you fall for the wrong person, it can tear you apart, limb by limb.”
I closed my eyes and smiled sadly.
I was trapped inside this weird love, unintentionally; and even if I wanted, I couldn’t move past.
I was stuck, forever, with a guy who didn’t know whether I existed or not; the guy, who, I’d never know still existed or not.