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Old Friend

Old Friend

4 mins 9.8K 4 mins 9.8K

“Eeesh it sounds like pebbles are falling from the sky,” I grumbled for the umpteenth time. My car had died about 15 minutes ago while I was returning home from office. Because of a new project, I had to stay late even when it had started to rain. So basically, I was in my car, late night in an empty highway with heavy rainfall and thunder to keep me company.

Uff…..

I sat up straight when I saw light from the rear view mirror. There was a car coming along the highway. I quickly got out of the car and waved to the car for help. The car slowed down and stopped. When I neared it, the windows rolled down and I jumped slightly out of my skin when I saw a smiling old man inside.

His smile seemed as if he was seeing something very funny.

He had a blue coat suit on. His hair was white and he didn’t look as he if he had time to drive a comb through it. Anyways, as I was standing, drenched in rain and staring at the smiling old man, the guy seemed to chuckle when he asked me in a weird voice. The first thought on my mind did not register the question he asked me but rather was stuck on his voice. It sounded thin…and kinda sing song like.

“Do you need help, young man?”

“Uh…yes sir. My car broke down. If you could give me a lift to the nearest petrol pump, thatll be a great help. Please sir.” I had a talk a little loud over the heavy rain.

“Of course! Come in!” his eagerness sent a cold shudder through me but I was desperate, so I got in.

The car started moving and my heart thundered weirdly. I was feeling colder by the growing minute and the guy kept smiling while driving.

“What’s your name, boy?”

“Abhinav. Thank you so much for helping me, sir. I was stuck there for quite a while.”

“It’s all right. “

“What’s your name, sir?

“Robert but my friends call me ‘Robert’. “he chuckled at his own joke and I joined in with him to keep him happy.

He looked at me by turning slightly and said, “I’m very happy today. I’m meeting my childhood friend after 13 years!”

“Wow. That’s amazing.”

“Yes! I’m going to pick him up from the airport right now!” he fumbled with his coat pocket and extracted an old photo of two young men.

 I took the photo and smiled at it politely. Before returning it, I noticed the name under the photo ‘Robert and Himanshu 1989’

After a few moments of conversation, a comfortable silence filled the car. I was shivering with cold by the time we reached the petrol pump. Robert dropped me outside the petrol pump and I thanked him profusely when he said, “If you ever need my help again, just call me.” He produced a card from his pocket that felt very wrinkled and old, but I accepted it happily and ran towards the petrol pump.

The next day, I woke up when it was already afternoon. Last night’s dilemma had tired me and I had reached home when it was almost already morning. I yawned and switched on the tv before going to freshen up. The news reporter on was talking about a plane crash that occurred last night. I was taken aback . Wasn’t Robert’s friend arriving at the airport yesterday?

I quickly searched in the pockets of the clothes I wore last night for Roberts’s card. The old wrinkled card was simple with his full name and contact number.

I typed the number on my phone and called.

“Hello?” a woman’s voice came on the other end.

“Hello. May I speak to Mr. Robert?”

“What? Who is this?”

“This is Abhinav. Is this Mr. Robert’s contact number.”

“This is Mrs. Robert’s contact number. What is the purpose of this call?”

“Mr Robert helped me last night. May I speak to him?”

“……..is this some kind of a joke?”

“Excuse me?”

“ I am Mr Robert’s widow. He’s been dead for 13 years. You must have dialed a wrong number.” With that she cut the call. I was still holding the phone to my ear, mouth agape as I heard the news reporter saying the names the people who could not be saved. Among those names “ Himanshu Jain” stuck to my ears.

“I’m very happy today. I’m meeting my childhood friend after 13 years!”

“I’m going to pick him up from the airport right now! “


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