A short story
Shruti smiled as she came out of the lift. Amit smiled back. He looked at her admiringly as she walked slowly toward him, reading a paper in her hand. He looked at her. Does she know what effect she has on him, he wondered? Her blue duppatta hung lazily on her shoulders. She adjusted it and then moved her hands over her hairs, pushing her hairs away from her face. In no time, the hairs were back on her face, just a streak. Actually they looked beautiful on her face that way. Was it a style or did they naturally hung over her face making her look even more beautiful? He never knew.
“Am I late?” She smiled. Her smile could make a thousand lamps light. Was he getting poetic?
“No! Not at all. I have just been here for 2 minutes now.”Of course waiting for her was never a problem even though he did not like to mention the remaining 33 minutes.
“I am sorry to call you down. But I guess I didn’t want to talk about personal matters in the office” She said as they both walked out of the office to the nearest tea house.
“Oh! I understand. You know you can trust me.”
His heart was beating faster. Was she going to acknowledge her feelings? Was she going to propose? It was not her job. It was his job to propose. Its already been 6 months since they met. He knows her quite well and the reverse was true as well. I guess she understood what was in his mind but he did not know what was in her mind.
He ordered two teas like he always did. They both sat at the corner table like they always did. She was fidgeting with her hairs.
“So, tell me” He started sipping the hot tea.
“I have known you a long time now, I guess six months?” She started. He nodded. He knew the months since the day she had joined her project to the present days. He had the habit of counting the days when he was happy.
“You are my best friend. The one friend, I can open my heart to. I want to trust you with a secret and need your help” She continued. He smiled. He waited with bated breath to what she wanted to say. Was this going what he always hoped for? Was this going to be a realization of his dreams?
“I am getting married to my childhood friend”
Without reacting at all to the news and smiling as always, he blurted out “Congratulations”
The smile never left his face. His face had no connection to his heart. He heard glass breaking somewhere or was it his heart? He kept smiling but somewhere deep inside he wanted to shout, he wanted to cry, he wanted to run away from her.
“You are like my brother. that’s why I wanted to break the news to you.” She continued.
“Don’t! Please don’t do that” His brains screamed inside Please stop! Not the “B” word, not again. Please! God! Not again. Why? Why every girl I like has to make me her brother? Why?”
“My parents would not agree for this wedding so we are going for a registered marriage” She was still speaking “I would love if you stand as a witness from my side”
“Of course! Anytime, anywhere! Just tell me where to come and if you need any help with the marriage, I am there” He smiled enthusiastically. She smiled knowingly. She knew she could trust him. She knew he would help her.
By the time they came out, she had planned a lot of things. He went through the whole thing with a smile. An hour before he was happy, an hour later the world just seems different
Some people never have a love story
2 Months Later
“Congratulations” He wished them.
“Thanks! It would not have been possible without you.” Shruti was happy.
“Actually it wouldn’t have been possible without his signature” Her husband chipped in.
They all laughed.
Oh! The act of rubbing salt on wounds.
After a round of customary greetings, the groom and the bride left for their home. He stood on the pavement waving as they moved away in the car. He stood there looking at the direction they went. Another chapter ended. Another girl gets married. Another chance of being the Knight in shining armor, the only difference was the princess is married to someone else and he is left with the best man’s tag.
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride
He smiled and rephrased it, Always the Best man, never the groom
6 months later
“Do you have time?” She asked from over the cubicle partition, smiling. He smiled back.
“Give me 5 minutes” He told her.
Sheela had joined the project after Shruti left the project and the job, when she moved with her husband to another city. Sheela was sweet and a nice girl. As he worked in the same module as her, they interacted a lot, especially the last few times they talked, when their talks moved beyond the boundary of office work.
He finished the work and locked his computer. It was almost the end of the day with no meetings now. People were a little relaxed. They walked toward the cafeteria
“Thanks” she said as they walked toward the cafeteria
“What for?” He looked at her. He was beginning to like her, especially since the last few days. His heart was beginning to heal from Shruti’s loss. Had he moved on?
“For listening to me. I mean, its been days since I had a heart-to-heart talk with anybody. Not even with my closest of close friends”
He just smiled. There was nothing he could say. Actually this was the first time in months since he had talked, actually talked with anybody.
“I feel I can talk to you for hours. Like you are the best friend I have” She said as they reached the cafeteria.
This was good. Actually this was turning out to be really good. She was kind of accepting that she liked him. This may turn out to be positive after all.
“Coffee?” He asked as they neared the serving counter. She nodded.
He motioned her to have a seat. As she moved toward the corner seat, he ordered one tea and one coffee for her. She liked coffee while he hated it but it didn’t matter much. He kept the tray in front of her. She sipped coffee and looked around. Nothing in particular but lost in her thoughts.
“It was getting unbearable for me to keep all these feeling inside me, like they were choking me” She explained. He nodded as if understood. His mind had started building castles in the air. Here was the girl of her dream, again. One he could connect.
“Its like you are like a brother I never had” she dropped the bomb. Somewhere in the cafeteria, somebody dropped a plate. A loud crash was heard. She looked in that direction. The person who dropped the plate looked at the broken pieces and shook his head as if not believing what just happened.
He sat there facing her, looking at her with tea in his hands. What crashed now? The plates or his dream? The castles vanished into thin air.
“I am so lucky to have you as my friend and my brother”
“Of course! Anything! Anytime! You need help, you know whom to call?” He smiled at her. “Listen! Why don’t you head back to work. I will join you after I complete a small task here.” She agreed. He got up while she started toward the door. He looked at her, smiled at himself.
Its true! Some people never have a love story!