I am walking out of the mall, looking at the mannequins dressed up in red and black for Christmas and New Year. What a lovely sight to see. I look at the couple posting outside the beautiful mall decor. They look lovely together, I am looking at the happy smiles and the cold chilled wind touching their faces. I am engrossed in them and I just get hit by a stranger and my phone falls down. I gasp and the stranger picks up my phone, handing it to me.
I look at you enraged and all of it melts away.
“Hi” you speak and my eyes widen up in amazement. It’s you.
“Heyy uh haha” I chuckle nervously and I shake your hand.
We met on the first day of college just like this, and my phone fell off in the hallway. I am amazed at this coincidence years later. I wonder how many phones have I changed since then.
“How are you? Where do you work?” You ask me and I check my phone, thank god it has no scratches, just like when I checked it in the hallway.
“I am good, How about you?” I look at you happily, seeing a known face in all this loneliness and crowd. I have lost touch with you.
“Coffee?” You ask me pointing towards the Starbucks on our left. I deny.
“No no, I was just about to leave!” I say looking at you intently, mesmerized, the way I looked at you that day, you looked good, I have never seen someone so good-looking. I was smitten by you the very first day.
“Cmon, We can have coffee!” I look at you, I see your face lit up. You are the same, as you used to be. I am taken aback by all the times you asked me out for lunch, coffees, concerts & movies in college.
“Sure!” I say, walking behind you, timidly. I never wanted to be one of those girls you always went out with. I wanted to be special.
“You know you should say Yes sometimes. Come out of your misery for once!” You tease me, remembering all the denials I have given you in all the college years.
You always asked me as a friend and I always romanticized you as something more. I am embarrassed and all I can think about how good you smell and no wonder all the college girls used to drool on you. How could they not, you looked good, played basketball, and were incredibly charming. Who would not want to date you? I too.
You look polished. You order for me, you always knew what I liked. Maybe we could have made a wonderful couple, but I was afraid, what if you and I were not meant to be together. I never asked you out and you, I never knew about you, I was just another college mate. Probably, who would want me when there are hot chics around you anyway.
We sit in the corner and you look at me, making me feel like the same teenage girl when we used to sit together. I keep looking here and there, sipping the coffee, listening to you speak, and an insanely romantic indie music fills the vibe. You tell me that you married and I see the ring on your finger. Time really flies fast.
We part and we exchange numbers. I head out with the leftover coffee, waiting for the cab and looking at the couples around. I wonder how would I and you looked together had we dated. I call the cab on the road and I sit, thinking about your face, how it changed. You look really happy in your marriage.
My face sank a little when I heard, but still made a happy face, just like when in college, I used to be immensely happy when you offered to go out with me, but I denied, cause I knew, you were way out of the league for me and I won’t be your someone special. I really wanted to be.
I congratulated you and I still remember how your face lit up when you told me about her. Lucky girl! You have been a heartthrob of the college, and I never expected us to happen. But all I am engrossed is in what if I tried and what if you said yes! You probably had never said yes! I wonder how did you meet your wife.
The phone is constantly ringing, and I wonder why the cab driver won’t pick up. I am lost in your thoughts looking out the window, just when the cab driver’s phone rings for the 5th time and I look at the rearview mirror to see what’s wrong soon apprehending it’s my phone! It’s your phone with me. Oh crap! I answer the phone and it’s from your wife. I pickup to not be a part of a secluded husband affair and as soon as I pick up your wife speaks
“Honey where have you been, I have been waiting for you, Happy Fourth Month Anniversary Love! Come soon.” I immediately disconnect the call and your phone is locked, how do I call on your number, stupid me, how did I bring your phone along! Holy Moses!
I ask for the driver’s phone and she is a good person, she gives me the phone. I call on my cellphone and you pick up, before I can speak,
“Vrinda’s phone, who is it?”
“Hey, it’s Vrinda, I have your phone, I am so sorry, I bought your phone along. I am coming back at the mall.”
“No no, I have left the mall, I was heading out to the India Gate, can we meet there, and please unlock my phone the pin is 1401, call Divya and join us on a conference call.”
“You think it’s a good idea? I am scared! She is going to kill me for creating blunders on your Anniversary!” I do not want to get caught up between you two!
“Ok! You meet me at the India Gate, I ‘ll be there in 5.”
I disconnect the phone and hand it back to the cab driver “Thank you, please take me to India Gate. How far is it?”
“15 minutes from here” she says taking back the phone. I wonder when will I learn to drive. She drives smoothly.
I unlock your phone 1401. Such an expected lock screen password! I rummage through your gallery, I look at your pictures. I miss the days spent with you. I look outside and I feel like having missed the chance to have fun with you, what if I said yes to all the outings with you. Could we have been closer? Could we be, what you and her are right now.
I get down at the India Gate and find you standing outside your car. I knew India Gate was your favorite ever since college. I wondered why were you so addicted, and why would you always roam about here. You look happy from afar. I want to just keep looking at you.
I throw away the coffee disposable in the bin and walk towards you, all apologetic. I hand you over your phone and take mine. You smile. A smile to die for.
“I don’t know, how did I take your phone, I..” I speak and you laugh. Your laugh, it always had my heart.
“It’s Okay!! I also took your phone.” You say being the same comfortable creature that you are, crushing all my anxiety away.
“You should go home, she must be waiting. I am so sorry to disturb your plans.” I say gulping down the mouthful air, in the cold chilled wind, looking at you, all lights and a beautiful view, everything taking my breath away.
“Yes, where do you live, let me drop you home and I will be on my way.” You say charmingly and I am about to deny as usual denying everything that comes out of your mouth and you say
“Please! Let me, I always wanted to go out with you!” I look at you unbelievably. Oh god! I blush a little and I agree.
You always a man of chivalry open the car door for me. I sit and you drive. We talk and I realize you always liked me all through college, it wasn’t me. Who knows you are lying, it’s so convenient to say that when you are married. Thank god we aren’t married, you would have ditched me on our anniversary and be roaming about with another chic out there. I laugh at my own imagination!
You ask me what’s wrong, why did I laugh! It’s safe to confess now, you have a ring on your finger. So I look at you and I say, what I have hidden all these years from you.
“You know what, I have something to tell you.” you look at me amazed as you turn down the volume of the songs playing on the stereo.
“I always loved you, from the day I met you, spending moments with you, every single second I have been in love with you. Of all the times, you met me, you saw me or talked to me, not a single second was without love for you. I always wanted us to be more, to be something special, to be forever, and to be your only one, but I knew it wouldn’t happen. I missed you when you said you’d come but didn’t turn up, I never had the courage to tell you that I missed you so much because I loved you so much. I know it’s hard to believe, but I was completely in love with you. I don’t know how, why, or where. Just I really loved you.”
I look at the road, unable to face you. There is drop dead silence.
“Vrinda, I loved you too! You won’t believe me now, I know, but I did.” I look at you driving and your eyes on the road.
You turn up the stereo volume and you drive. There is silence between you and me. I know not what to say. I am sad and you drop me home. I wave at you. You leave all happy, as you always have been and I wonder what if I asked you out, Would we have been together? With each other? At this very moment?
Maybe in the next lifetime, or maybe somewhere in the parallel universe, you and I are together, with each other, with you kissing my cheeks, holding my hand, and celebrating our Anniversary.