She couldn’t help checking her BBM updates. She waited for his message to arrive. They were going to meet up for the first time after the break-up. The long-distance had taken a toll or maybe the 5-year itch had. They had mutually broken up 2 months ago. She had handled herself pretty well. She wanted to see if he had done the same. Somehow she felt they’d get back together that evening. She hoped for that. It was past 6.30 PM and she had to catch a flight the next day. So she decided to make the first move. He gave explanations like old times. He said he could not call since he was travelling and his cellphone was running low on battery. They decided to meet at their favourite place in 30 minutes time.
She realized how badly she wanted to see him. 30 minutes is a very little time for a girl to get ready for a guy whom she still loves. She wore his favorite dress. She dolled up at the speed of light. They shouldn’t have parted ways she thought. She should’ve held him tight the way he held her – through thick and thin. She reached the place right on time. He was waiting already. The way he always did. She saw a silhouette of his. She knew it was him. One can recognize his/her love even in the death of the darkness she thought. They walked towards each other. No hugs, no hand-shakes… nothing. It was awkward. “You’re still the same” he said. “Likewise” she said.
She had to shop for a couple of things so they walked towards the store. They went to a store and she gave the shop-keeper a list of things she wanted him to fetch. The store was too crowded. But all she could see was him. All of a sudden she asked, “So, when are we getting back together?” Boy! She hadn’t thought she would ask him that so soon. But he tackled it well. He smirked and said, “Let’s see.” She felt the negativity in his smirk. Her hopes of getting back together faded with every moment.
As they walked their hands brushed. He immediately apologized as if it was a crime. She had not expected this reaction. They continued to walk on the heavily trafficked road. She was constantly looking out for him. She felt he was not the same guy she fell in love with years ago. He had changed. He did not care about her anymore. The awkwardness only increased with every step.
They visited the temple they always did. This was the same temple where she had prayed for him. He was the only thing she had ever asked for in her life. “Let this relationship be the way you want it to be.” she prayed to God now. They left. He asked her how she would travel home. Her friend, who was supposed to pick her up, was caught up elsewhere. She had to wait. That only meant more time to spend with him. She asked him if it was okay. They decided to see his best friend and eat pani-puri to pass away time till her friend arrived.
They walked on the same roads. They walked together. She was not afraid of people looking at them. She wanted to flaunt him the way she used to. He had been her trophy boyfriend all these years. She wanted to feel that belongingness again. She wanted him to feel that they still had a beautiful future ahead. She wanted him to feel that things could happen if he wanted them to happen. They kept quiet for most part of the walk. He hardly spoke. She spoke and she knew he only pretended to listen. Talking to her now felt an obligation to him…just like the relationship was. They realized that they had nothing to talk, nothing to share. The distance between them had increased enormously.
They went to a pani-puri place nearby. Every date started or ended with pani-puri for them. It was a custom they’d followed all these years. But unlike before, that day they were not afraid of being spotted together. Everything was over. No unconditional love, no relationship…nothing. They were just 2 people standing together trying not to act like strangers. That was the last time they were going to follow their custom. They had their last pani-puri together.
They reached his best friend’s place. They spoke about our individual lives, work etc. But she did not pay attention. She was not in a mood to talk. She just wanted to hold hands with him. She wanted to shake him hard and ask what was wrong. She wanted to tell him to stop playing games with her. But he did not feel the same way any more. He was strong. He had moved on and the past was just another word for him. In a while her friend came to pick her up. She asked him if she could hug him one last time. He gave her a formal hug and she left. She did not have the guts to look behind and wave him a final good-bye.
The walk had said it all. She’d revisited their entire relationship in that one walk- from prayers to pani- puri. She realized that she had been too adamant to let him go. But now she had to. He was no more into her. They were never going to be together. She’d always treasure him. The last walk had ended so had the relationship and so had her prayers. The final good-bye was done unknowingly.
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