Dreamy Eyes7 mins 493 7 mins 493
The alarm bells never woke me up, but their crashing sound did.
“Damn it, man! That’s four for this week! I really should reconsider the ‘waking up on time’ clause in my time table or I’ll be broke before the first fortnight.”
The sleep had fled pretty far to be lured back, even by the warmth of the blanket (or the fact that I was already late for school and should probably just skip it altogether). So, cradling the remains of my ‘chrono-watchman’, I got out of my cozy retreat.
After wrapping up the last rites of my fallen well-wisher (which was merely dumping it in the old storage section of the house), I just threw on my uniform in the hastiest but shabby manner possible and rushed my lanky, tall build to the breakfast table.
“No breakfast either,” I sighed, as the mess just pulled down the shutter on its counter as soon as I touched down. ” It’s going to be one long day…”
But my demeanor, as well as the mood, was far from the statement. Despite wrecking my fourth alarm clock of the week, being late to school for the third consecutive time and missing breakfast (Pancakes, the only thing those amateurs in kitchen were so good at that I was ready to forgive them for the biohazard they served us for the remaining two meals of the day ), I was far from being disheartened. As I rushed to my class, there was only one thought ramming around inside my head.
“Would I be able to get a seat near her?” ‘Her’?
Yeah, ’Her’. The epitome of grace, the summit of beauty, the definition of confidence, Lady Completus. One glance at her would suffice to invoke faith even in the most orthodox atheists. Such was she, God’s unadulterated handiwork. But the eyes were what that stood out the most. Out beautifying a doe’s neither too hazel nor too hickory, just the right sorrel. A gaze into those longer than a few seconds and you would warp from reality into a character traversing the million tales swimming in there. My first encounter with her, unfortunately, started with eye contact, what followed was she trying to piece together an answer from a random jargon of consonants I could muster in response to her questions
“Hey! You’re that guy who plays for the school basketball team, right?” “Hmmmm?!......Yhhh…..hmmmm.”
“Oookay, do you mind if I join you for a practice session? You play really well.” “Hmmm..Th..ks”
“So should I take that as a ‘yes’?” “Hmmm….yyyss”
“Cool! I’ll see you in the evening, then.”
She had almost put a stamp on my impression in her head which read “speech impaired, acromegalic imbecile” when I sputtered an indistinct but audible…
She smiled that pearl lined smile of hers and nodded in acknowledgment, and went her way.
I stood speechless and motionless in the corridor as if an android had shorted its lithium-ion cell. “You know, you might as well just tell her. The whole world knows already.”
Somehow, Ishu never failed to be an audience to my self-inflicted humiliations. How could today be any different? And so there he stood smiling at me with an air of pity
“I don’t know what you are talking about”
“Sure you don’t, but before convincing me of the fact you should convince that shade of crimson which you are turning into. It’s been a year and it’s not funny anymore. This is serious. How long are you going to gestate this sentui of yours, before it finally emerges?”
“I can’t. It’s impossible. Have you seen her? She is way out of my league. Me buying a Rolls Royce with my monthly savings is a far more optimistic statement than her saying ‘yes’ to my proposal”
“How can you be so sure of that? Look, it might be one of the possible outcomes but that should not be enough impetus for you to risk it for “being too late”. And trust me, mate, the regret you are going to feel for waiting too long would be far worse than the one you would feel for letting it out before her now”
I nodded simply and went on, leaving Ishu shaking his head, disappointed. Deep inside, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep this up for long. I had to let the steam out before the boiler exploded.
The evening arrived and so did I, at the basketball court. I loved the game, but I never felt this enthusiastic before a practice session. Sadly, it was short-lived. As soon as she entered the court, my hormones turned coat. Satan continues to surprise me with his tricks, every new one dwarfing the preceding in diabolicalism. If there is anything true about Satan, it is that he is the possessor of the most sadistic sense of humor, and I am his favorite template for its demonstration.
As we divided teams, she (as chance would have it) got segregated into mine. We started the game and so did Satan. Repeatedly missed opportunities of scoring baskets and the equally matched capacity of conceding them started to have their toll on me. Although everyone was to be equally blamed for the pathetic performance that we were putting up, on that fateful day, I had to take it out on a single person. And when she misjudged a pass, and it went out of bounds, I let it loose on her. Not to mention the sky-high decibel level that my voice reached compounded with scathing taunts and tear-inducing sarcasm, I had just reduced “The Lone Beautiful Girl” of my class to tears. Satan had dealt his trump card, much pleased with himself and swelling with pride at the new record reading his Devil meter was displaying. She stomped off the court, crimson with rage.
It took me only a moment to realize the horror of my deed, but a moment which came too late. The sun had set, both on the horizon and on my hopes of being friends with her. The hundred-meter tread back to my place never felt so long to me before, as I ambled back, lost in a maze of thoughts which led to the only and inevitable implication…
“I have lost her, for good”
But the serotonin in me wouldn’t let me give up so easily. Overnight, I had devised an elaborate scheme to bridge the abyss between me and her. I couldn’t wait for tomorrow to arrive. It was the most restless night of my life, worse than the one before the declaration of the annual result.
“She left last night. Her Dad’s work got transferred to Pune. It was on cards, you didn’t know?”
Ishu had that nonchalant look on his face as he dropped this molten lead shot in my ear. My stomach was in knots as I tried the hardest to come to terms with this news. I staggered back to my seat; trauma masqueraded as a feigned injury. The world started swirling, turning into a muddle of melancholic grey and finally climaxing into pitch-black nothing, as I dozed off on my seat.
A year had passed, but the memory of that incident was still as vivid in my head as if it happened mere hours ago. I hated Ishu for being so bitterly true about so many things. Although I had come to terms with the fact, it was not enough to take away the haunting. The regret was rooted deep. I tried to pull my head out of that barrel of misery, trying to distract my mind lest it slumped back to being a wretch. To that purpose, I logged into my ‘facebook’ account which had been lying dormant since its inception a year ago. The inbox read “1 new message”, I clicked on it nonchalantly, but it was the contents of the message and its sender which turned around my world forever…
“Hey, it’s me. We were classmates, I hope you remember. We didn’t part on such a rosy note I’ll give you that, but I don’t like holding grudges against anyone. We should be friends, rather. Don’t you agree? Or is it too late for that?”
“Never again…”, the thought breezed past as I typed into the message box, grinning genuinely for the first time in a year. The smile had finally found a reason to stay with me….