Four fragile months had passed. She felt she grew weak, with every new dawn. She was scared to wake up, every morning was a constant reminder that she had to breathe again, in the same planet that stabbed her heart..
“She is growing so pale, and that day isn’t far when she might actually turn bloodless” sighed Kingsha.
“She’s already a living ghost” added Nihant. The café around them buzzed with life and light yet something in this group was missing; the soul of it was gone.
The evening Neal took her out for a “stroll” changed their dynamics forever. That evening all four, sat in anticipation of a call from her, whom they knew would gush about everything that happened, to her best friends once she was back. But things don’t turn as expected, do they? Their excitements were ushered down by a news that broke in unexpectedly.
“Hey, you guys come over quickly to the dorm, Anwesha…..” the voice trailed, “is not doing well”.
That was it. Their heartbeats were synchronized with fear, anxiety, shock and a crippling pain. They wanted to rush out, see her, but it was as if their reflexes stopped working for a moment.
Nisakshi was the first to break whatever they were facing right then, they moved out together; in silence.
Abhinav had gone around the lake, late that same evening to soak in some fresh air, all he could take in, was the sight of an unconscious Anwesha lying close by.
“It was just excess trauma, her brain couldn’t channelise so much stress and thus the mild show of nervous breakdown”
This was the medical explanation, the rational one was far beyond imagination of anyone who knew her. But people keep guessing all the time, and sometimes they are near the mark.
Since that day no one heard her speak or saw her smile, it was as if being alive was the most painful job, and she was being burdened with it each new day. The group asked and tried to cheer her up in every way possible but she would just not change. No one could contact Neal either, he would never show up for classes, and his cell was always unanswered. He became an undeclared culprit, and the hostility was just too clear.
“Good morning” said Aditya, his smile wearing off from his sleep starved eyes, “all set to be the topper?”, he chuckled.
“I never topped” she said aloud, it was always Neal. It was just then Aditya realized his mistake, tears were already brimming up in her eyes.
It was a bad joke, a worse reminder.
“Umm, ok, please don’t cry, I was just, sorry, I mean today’s the last exam of our college life, so…I…” he mumbled, staring directly at the ground underneath.
“Students report to the examination centers” the microphones in the corridor buzzed; relief, he thought.
She walked into a room, being a stranger amidst all the people she knew for four years, she had to do this, she at least could try, try writing her last exam. Every single moment of the last four months she craved for him, at least for a sign of his existence. But Neal Chatterjee had turned into an apparition who haunted her dreams and gave her sleepless nights. Yet somehow those were the best thing of her life, right then. Her soggy pillows deserved a special treat each time her subconscious mind came into play. Drenched in blurred nostalgia, in something that was never her’s, she cried, each night.
“You ok, dear?” a voice broke in her thoughts, “oh you look so terrible” he said, as she looked up.
It was Professor Mukherjee, her favourite teacher in all those years. She nodded, that she was alright, the truth was blatant, no amount of explanation would change it, and she knew that. He gave her the sheets and moved on, she returned to her broodings. That was pretty much how she managed to sit through those three hours, writing answers, wiping off tears. She was broken, nothing could alter that.
There is something excellent about time, it passes no matter how sad or glad you are, kind of a stoicism, which appeal to the great men who appreciate it. Three hours were over, the exams had ended, and ecstasy had laid the basis of a celebration, which was to last for quite sometime.
“Anwesha hang out with us tonight” screamed Kingsha, over all the noise that was enveloping them, “oh please do?? Please please??” the request was genuinely earnest.
“Cant, sorry, have schedules at home”, she answered in a mechanical tone that seemed to drown all the excitement around.
“Fine” Kingsha, stormed out.
She smiled, at the thought that she has officially pissed everyone; even her best friend was tired of her. Was it entirely her fault that she had turned into a virtual drug addict? Maybe not. She was addicted to the pains, her heart would be empty without it. Thoughts like wrinkles heavily sedated her, cutting her through from everywhere to everywhere. She had been walking for sometime, and she didn’t pay enough attention to where it led her, when she did, she froze. The lake was glistening in the mauve twilight. But that was not what bothered her, it was someone else.
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