‘Shit!’ I murmured involuntarily as I started at the charcoal grey ceiling fan whirling above my head. I had been finding it difficult to quietly lay down on my cozy mattress and have a good night’s sleep since the past few days. So tonight I decided to assay the conundrum and dawned onto an appalling revelation. It was evil; it was horrendous; it was love! I felt something alive – shivering; beating. Like something dropped accidentally had cleared to the antebellum. Oh, I was in love for sure. And worst of all was the girl I had fallen for. And that moment on I knew it were to be a tale of twisted fates, an exciting crime of uncanny powers governing the universe, saving time to roll dice and have a good laugh at my game. The wrong woman at the wrong time – my best friend’s fiancée.
Tooke and I have been friends for a long time. He was one of the many whom you call by their last name long enough to temporarily forget their first name. Many had come and gone, but only Tooke stayed. And most of it attributed to the fact that he was inclined to the dumber side. The smart ones never liked me; I reckon they saw through me. Tooke’s thoughts were limited to a transparent sheath; he never analysed the game of words. His logic was simple; his life was sober. He barely left town, and I, after my years of struggle in the city, only wondered what wrong it was to live a simple life, unattended by worldly complications. He loved me, but I cared less, until the day he spent all his savings planning a surprise birthday party for me. Any imbecile would’ve understood how much I hated little milieus, but Tooke did it anyway. I have felt a stronger bond with him since. He has a small brain, but a big heart.
Six months ago, he introduced me to his fiancée, Katy. I felt nothing exciting about her. A bleak body to support a thin face mounted with a dull cascade. A sharp nose coupled with eyes hidden behind lenses. She exuded a character quite unlike Tooke. She seemed smart. I would meet her occasionally with Tooke out on dinner. She was one sanguine person, immensely happy of everything imaginable. About a month ago, she called me out to spend some time. Tooke was not informed. Life had turned blasé she said. There was nothing new to discover; except me. I was a shroud of enigma to her. An unscathed gift box that could be holding anything. So she wanted to know me. To get inside the box, a new world to discover a new catharsis. I was cautious; she could have fooled anyone with her words, but not me! I worked on minimizing further trysts, but was only partially successful. She told me her philosophies and asked me mine and then she did something that no one does – she listened. Meetings grew frequent and I had started looking forward to them.
A few days ago she told me, hers was an arranged marriage and if someone was to carry her away, she wouldn’t utter a word. I knew not the correct way to react, and hence I’ve been having sleepless nights for a while. The following morning, I met her at Tooke’s house. She lacked her radiant smile. When Tooke went out for work, she nervously sat down and confessed that she felt something for me. Something unnamed. It was a sigh of relief followed by a horrific awakening. How could this ever happen to me, the most logical person I’d ever known! I said nothing and walked away. She begged for words; I mulled over the entire day, locked in my room. It was not possible to outrun her soul in my mind. Her skin was pale, her large eyes shone bright sans glasses and her voice was an instrument of harmony. Finally I confessed my feelings to her late night. Her voice felt joyous over the phone.
Time passed and this feeling grew. I found it hard to look at Tooke’s innocent face. I felt the jitter. My voice shook, my legs shook when I stood before him. But I simply could not gather the strength to confess. Also, he would never understand the dilemma that I faced. He was too dull to notice it anyway. And he was with someone not close to his perception of life! Katy was smart, beautiful and everything that Tooke could never even dream to be. I could run away with her, or stage a double death. I could do anything to be with her. I was at par with Katy, in a synchronisation difficult to attain even by the nobles. And most importantly, Tooke did not deserve a woman like her. He was stupid, just the same as the world. Something needed to be done, and fast.
I told Katy the same. This could not go on forever. A vital step was necessary to break through. She nodded her head in agreement. She knew what I was talking about. ‘I will take care of it tonight’ she told me on Friday. The air of satisfaction in her words tamed me, helped me calm down, like an injection of a psychedelic. Katy was a smart woman, and I trusted her with her actions. I knew they would be solid; sensible, quick to pronounce a much needed result. I slept peacefully then. It’s Saturday the 20th of May today and I sit on the same white immaculate sofa that I sat on yesterday, but Tooke is gone. I am attending his funeral. And I cannot help but smile as I stare at her face across the hall, careful enough not to be noticed.