She sat on her balcony watching the rain fall. She was lost in thought. It had been a week since she had talked to him. A week since he had called or texted. She had given up waiting two days ago and had sent him around a hundred messages and had tried calling him even more, His phone remained switched off. “Crazy Guy” was how his name was saved on her phone.

She was worried now. She had known him for eight years. He loved her for all eight of them. She’d fallen for him for the last three. She had let him in for a month, opened her heart out to him, she didn’t know how or why. Then she built up that wall against him in her head, again not knowing the reason. He loved her, always wearing a smile on his face, never showing the tears he was crying inside every time she pushed him away, never giving up.

“Don’t stop; Make it pop, DJ blow my speakers up…”

Her phone ringing knocked her out of the trance she was in.

“Anamika Calling” was displayed on the screen.

It was her best friend. They had been friends since they were toddlers. The memories brought a smile to her face.

“Hello Annuuuuu”, she spoke, as she accepted the call.

The voice on the other end sang,” Happy Birthday To You….Happy birthday To you…. Happy birthday dear idiot…Happy birthday to you..hehe… So how’re you sweety?”

“I’m good dear one. How’re you?”

“Hmmm I’m okay. But your voice doesn’t sound good. C’mon tell me what happened? Oh please don’t tell me you guys fought again, I’m tired of that.”

“Ayy no no we aren’t fighting… it’s just, well… I haven’t heard from him in a week.”

“He didn’t wish you??”

“No that’s the thing..”, She then explained how his phone was switched off.

“Hmmm Don’t worry na! He’s probably just busy with something. I’ll ring up his house and let you know what’s up. Okay? Happy happy?”

“Yup…Happy happy”, she said smiling as they exchanged their bye-byes and cut the call.

She tried him again. A computerised voice answered,” The number you are calling is currently switched off”, she cut the call uttering one of the few swear words she knew.

She missed him badly now. She needed to see him. She wasn’t happy happy. She kept fiddling with her phone. Checking his Last Seen and re-reading his messages. She sat there holding her face in her hands thinking about him. She was worried, however badly they fought, He would always talk to her in a day at least. She couldn’t remember the last time he was absent from her life for more than a day or two. Her thoughts rolled back to her last birthday in College. The memory remained crystal clear:

She sat in her room alone waiting for midnight. She knew he would call and she wanted him to wish her first. There was only five minutes left. Did he forget? She made it a point to kill him if he forgot.

Midnight came and went.

Her hostel mates came in with a very smelly concoction of curd and egg and bathed her in it. Everyone called her wishing. By the time everything was done it was around one in the morning. She bathed, in water this time, wore clean clothes and placed herself on her bed checking her phone again. There wasn’t even a text message from him. He had forgotten.

*Bang* Bang*someone was rapidly knocking on the door whispering her name and asking her to come.

She recognised her friend’s voice. She wondered what was wrong and quickly opened the door. As soon as she did so, her friend grabbed her hand and dragged her to her room. She kept silent to her repeated questioning of what was going on.

Her friend stood her at the window facing the main road. She could make out the outline of a car parked on the lonely dark road and the outline of someone standing near it. She recognised both of them. It was him. Her friends had gathered around her but they weren’t pointing to the car or the ground even, they were pointing to the sky. There were a bunch of orange lights floating around. Twenty Two of them to be exact. She stood there speechless until her friends now pointed in the direction of the car, their “oh my gods!” and “wows” didn’t register in her head. Her thoughts were focused on the wall opposite the car which was now illuminated by its headlight.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETHEART”

A flex hung there, it was simple and beautiful. She felt a few tears grace her cheeks as she picked up her phone which had just started to vibrate.

“Heyy”, his voice called out from the other end.

She dropped her gaze to his silhouette on the road and whispered,” heyy”.

“Happy birthday sweetheart, I’m sorry I’m late. It took longer than I expected to light all the lanterns. I wanted to put your photo on the flex as well, but then thought better of it. I hope you like it babe. “ He was gasping.

“I love it. Please calm down. Idiot. Mmm “, she whispered.

He laughed.

She joined him.

She stood there and they talked for a couple of hours until he asked her if he could go.

“I need to get back dearest. I don’t want to go but I have to.”, he told her reluctantly.

She didn’t want to let him go. She wanted him to stay. But she knew he had to go and she told him. “Go now then. Or else, I Won’t let you go. Go. Gooooo.”

They exchanged their goodbyes and waved to each other as he left in his car and she made her way to her bed.

Idea Customer care calling on her mobile snapped her out of her day dream. She rejected the call and grumbled something. She needed to see him. Now. She knew what she could do for that. She went back to her room and turned on her desktop, navigating to the folder she had kept hidden so well. It was her folder of him. His photographs, His writings, everything. She missed him badly. She browsed through them, lingering long enough on each them to loose herself in the memories they held.

He had always been so caring. Always being there for her. Always taking care of even the little things she never even thought about. She couldn’t help getting angry at herself like countless times before for pushing him away. She closed her eyes and tried to calm herself reciting her reasons over and over again. He was from another religion; her family expected her to marry someone her father would eventually find for her. Anything else would be hurting her father and betraying his trust in her and hence, she had kept him at arm’s length and planned to do so until he came asking for her hand in marriage and her family accepted. She wished that would happen, but somewhere inside she felt they would never do so.

“ That’s a good photograph”, Her father’s voice called out from behind her referring to the selfie of him and her at some restaurant, Brightly displayed on the monitor.

She stood up tensed. She had forgotten to shut the door and being lost in thought she never even heard him approach. She just stood there staring at him, waiting for all hell to break loose.

“Move aside”, He said sternly.

She did so, as he sat in her place and went through the contents of the folder, pausing to look at her every once in a while.

After a very tensed half an hour he got up and started to leave.

“Dad..”, she called out.

He stopped at the door and turned around to face her,” who is that boy? Isn’t this the guy who was behind you in school?”

She hesitated,” He’s just a fri-“

“The truth.”, he said sternly pointing his finger at her.

She stood there silent staring at the ground, tears slowly dropping down her cheeks.

He stood there reciprocating her silence before asking her in a calm tone,” Do you like him?”

She looked at him even more tensed then before,” i.. I don’t know…yes…but I would never go against your wishes.. I’m sor-“

“stop.”, He cut her off. “I can’t believe you’ve liked someone, For years judging from these photographs and I haven’t even known about it. I haven’t even met him once. Invite him over, I want to meet him, we’ll decide the rest after.” He continued smiling.

She stared at him confused. She couldn’t find her voice. She just stood there dumbstruck staring at her father leave the room smiling after finding out she liked someone. It took her a few moments to accept it, but then she was overwhelmed by a rush of happiness. It was over; she didn’t have to hide her feelings anymore. He would surely win her father over as he had won over everyone in her life he had met.

She was ecstatic.

She jumped on her bed and tried him again over the phone. The same computerised voice greeted her again. She cut the call and texted “Need to meet. IMP. Wer r u? Miss u Badly.” She added quite a number of smileys and pressed send.

She dialled Anamika and waited for her to pick up.

“Anuuuuu”, She started speaking as soon the call connected. “Dad found out about him. He saw me looking at pictures of us and all. He wants meet him. Everything is okay. We’ll probably get married soon. Yayy!”

She eagerly waited for Anu to respond. After a few seconds of silence she heard, “I..” and then the call was cut.

She was confused now. Anamika had been his friend since long. She should’ve been shouting in glee. She tried her again, a few times, there was no answer.

She sat on her bed wondering why Anu was behaving so when the doorbell rang.

She made her way to the front door and opened it to find a guy standing drenched in the rain.

“Venky?? What are you doing here? why are you standing in the rain? Are you crazy??” She asked surprised.

Venkatesh was his friend from college; she had met him quite a number of times.

He stood there silent. He didn’t speak nor did he look at her. He reached into his jacket, pulled out an envelope and handed it over to her before walking back out into the rain.

“is this his birthday surprise? Venky?? I need to talk to him..”, She called out.

Venky paused for a moment, without turning to her he shook his head and walked away again.

Her confusion at Venky’s behaviour disappeared as soon as she saw her name printed in a font she recognised all too well. She knew it was from him.

She made her way to her bed and opened the envelope, excited about his surprise, wondering whether it was an invite to a dinner or something similarly romantic as was his style. Instead she found a letter and it read thus:

“My dearest Sweetheart,

How are you my love? I hope you’ve found a solution for that little problem at work. If not don’t worry, I’ve briefed Venky on it, He’ll handle it.

Please E-mail any photos you have of us to my Brother along with anything I’ve written, if you’ve saved them that is. That would certainly be good.

I know I’m confusing you, I am sorry. I just don’t know how to start. Words have failed me yet again when it comes to you.

I met with an accident a few days ago. Some bus rammed into the car. I woke up in the hospital. My condition is bad; I can see it written on their faces. My doctor is a great guy though, he told me the truth. He told me I should start with my goodbyes. So here I am dictating my goodbye to you as my little brother scribbles it down. I’ve instructed him to type it out using my favourite font.

Most of everyone is here. Don’t blame them for not telling you sweetheart. I forced them into not doing so. Anamika doesn’t know. I know she wouldn’t be able to keep it from you. As much as I’d like to see you and hold your hand again, I don’t want you to see me like this. I’m sorry.

I first thought of writing a letter saying I never loved you and that it was just a game to me, but then I realised that was a stupid idea since you aren’t stupid. You would’ve easily seen through my ploy of trying to get you to hate me so you wouldn’t feel sad when I am not there anymore. This letter will only reach you once I’m no longer living. I’m sorry dearest; it has to be this way. My last love letter to you.

I know you love me. You should give me more credit than to think I am ignorant of that fact, after all I am someone who can almost predict what you would say most of the time. I would’ve loved to hear it once but I understood what you were going through and so it didn’t matter to me. The wall you built after that beautiful month you spent as mine, it did hurt but I never loved you less. I held on as I always did. I love you too much to let go even with you pushing me away. Your love and devotion to your parents is one of the best things I love about you. I wished to meet them one day.

I will not ask you not to cry. That would be stupid. Cry. Scream. Let it out. Grieve for me, but never let it consume you.

I’ve made you a million promises. I am sorry I won’t be around to keep them. My friends and my family have already agreed to take care of a few of them. Accept what they do, for they do it in my stead. It’s what I want. A last request if that’s how you want it. It’s the only way I can leave here in peace with my only regret being we spent the years we could’ve been happy together worrying about a future that just isn’t there anymore.

Enough of that. I have something to ask of you, the better part of my soul. It won’t be easy nor will you want to do it, but you have to move on. For me. No, don’t say no. Don’t say you won’t. you can. You have to. I’m sorry.

Find someone. There will be a guy who is better than me out there. You will find him, once you are out there seeking him. When you do, love him. As much as you can. Without holding back. Without building a wall. Do this and I promise you without a doubt he will love you possibly more than I ever can. Live, enjoy your life. You live for me too now. Do the things you’ve always wanted to do.Visit the places you’ve always dreamt of. Take care of everyone you love. You’re my strong sweetheart, you scan do it. For me.

Visit my dad every once in a while, he’d like that.

I’ll watch over you from wherever I am now and I’ll wait for you here. that’s a promise.

There’s just one condition, you’re only supposed to come here in about eighty years after living a full life. i don’t want you coming any sooner.

I’d like to flirt with the sexy angels in peace please.

You are indeed the love of my life dearest. It’s time to part now. Goodbye my love. Take care. I love you.

Eternally yours,

THE CRAZY GUY

 

She stood there motionless staring at the paper she held, tears rolling down her beautiful cheeks. She stood there reading it over and over again trying to believe it, but she couldn’t. She didn’t want to. She wanted him. She needed him. She loved him. She stood there and the only thoughts in her head were about him and the time she had. The time she wasted. The life she dreamt of and had taken for granted.

We spent the years we could’ve been happy together worrying about a future that just isn’t there anymore” , His voice kept repeating these lines in her head over and over again.

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8 thoughts on “The Present: A Short Story

  1. “we spent the years we could’ve been happy together worrying about a future that just isn’t there anymore.”

    one of the thoughtful sentence I ever read.. 🙂

    Sad.. But, you penned it very well.. 🙂

  2. If this is a true reflection of your inner self I better start looking for a new car
    But on a serious note – please do check for typos and of course do a spell check
    The mushiness brought a catch in my throat, but I guess that was because of the loss
    And thank You for your consideration – but no one could ever replace however many times they visted

  3. Awesome job!! but from the beginning i could predict that he was probably dead! but anyway you are very talented and i can never write as wonderfully as you have.. 🙂 Do write again! Will love to read it ..

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