“Sruthi” We shook hands and sat in the coffee lounge. As Neethu suggested, I left my past behind. I wore a black dress that Karthik hated, I booked a table on the aisle side which he disliked and I went late which used to irritate him the most.
“I am not really good at complimenting someone. But black looks good on you.” I smiled but hated the compliment.
Surya was fidgeting in his seat in an awkward manner. I sat still but my confused mind was still wondering what was going on. “I know how embarrassed you must be feeling. I am myself feeling uneasy at this moment.” He interrupted my thoughts cloud. I smiled again.
“Do you drink coffee? My day is never complete without one.” Every little thing in our world oddly has some memories attached to it. You can’t help but recall them every time you encounter such little things. Such was coffee to me. “You needn’t hesitate if you don’t like it.” he said.
“I don’t drink coffee at all. Will prefer some smoothie to coffee.” I replied. Good bye coffee.
“Okay. Cool.” The waiter took our order and left.
“I heard you’re a trained classical dancer.” He was trying to make a conversation.
“I learnt Bharatnatyam” I replied instantly. One rude acknowledgement to his statements. Some feeling from inside was not letting me be myself. He then continued to share his details and interests. I tried my best to look engaged in that conversation.
“Are you really this silent always? Or am I so boring?”
I quickly put a smile and nodded my head in denial. Surya got ready to leave as we finished our drinks. “Anyway, I wont trouble you much. Thanks for coming.” He walked me till my bike and I came home to see my anxious parents waiting for a good news. Apparently except for my approval, the match was almost fixed. I told them I’d need more time and the phone buzzed promptly. SMS from Neethu. “Come downstairs ASAP.” Before I could text her yes, it buzzed again. This time from Surya and it read “I am not sure if I can tell you this now Sruthi. Our meeting was nothing more than a formality to me. I have made my decision already. I have always liked you ever since I came to know you. I just badly hope you’d say yes to this.” I literally ran to Neethu to tell her the news. Not because I was happy or sad. I was mixed-up. As always.
“How was the meeting?” Before I could even talk, “Did you even open your mouth?” She asked.
“How do you always get it right Neethu?”
“I am your mirror.”
True. Probably God knows that we need a mirror to look what is inside us. One reason why he sent people for us to befriend. Mirror on the wall never judged me on how I looked and neither did Neethu on how I thought. I told her about the sms from Surya. Neethu smiled warmly.
“I brought a special gift for you. You can use it for sometime but you have to give it back and never ask for it again.”
“Is that even a gift?”
“There it is.” She pointed towards the park that was opposite our apartment. “Come back in an hour. I shall wait for you.”
It is so hard to guess what Neethu is up to sometimes. I heaved a deep sigh and went inside the park. To my wild horror, I saw Karthik there. Could this be something related to her gift? After greetings, Karthik let out the dreaded question.
“Did you like Surya?” I was startled. It was Neethu’s plan.
“I just met him once.”
“Will it take 389 days for you to make a decision?” He remembered the exact number of days we were in a relationship.
“I mean I need to talk more.”
“Does he like you?” I showed him the sms.
“No surprises here. ” He smiled and gave my phone back. “He is smart, well-read and your parents like him too. What else would certify a person to be your ideal partner?”
“But all that doesn’t mean he will keep me happy.” I tried to reason with him how difficult it is to let someone take his place but Karthik’s argument, like always, had a point.
“Can I give you one honest advice before we disperse?”
“You needn’t ask.”
“Love him Sruthi. That will keep you both happy.” I raised my voice to interrupt. “Do not ever say love happens just once. That feeling is perennial. How do you think people are even surviving in this world? True, I was angry when we broke up. I only detested the reasons that are not letting us be together. Go search for your lost love in Surya.”
“And what if I cant?”
“Love him more. Till you can. Actually I am very sure you will. I have known you for so long.” he smiled. I started to feel easy when he said that.
“Promise me that you wont hate me ever?” I asked like a baby as my eyes glistened.
“Never, as long as I love you.”
I held his arms and put them to my eyes.Is there a better way to say thanks to someone? You get to see the vast blueness of the sky only when the clouds clear. Such was my situation. I let out a hearty smile which was guilt-free. I ran to Neethu and hugged her tight to show what that gift meant to me.
“Now text your hero that you like him. And remember to give whatever you’re asking for. It always works when in a relationship.”
“I shall.” I said aloud firmly as I began texting Surya.
For a change, a new love story began with the title “And they lived happily thereafter.”