Friends Forever

Friends Forever

7 mins 3.2K 7 mins 3.2K

I paced upstairs, the exhausted strokes of legs desperate to put me up on to the third floor, where I reside. I wiped down a stream of sweat from my forehead; so tired I was that I wanted to throw away my shoes, bump on my soft couch, put my legs in the cold water, and then watch something on T.V with a huge mug of cold coffee.

The most unsuspecting thing was waiting for me there. As I pushed the door sluggishly, I found a young girl who had occupied the long couch. Myriad snacks amid a teapot were kept on the table. She moved up a biscuit from the plate, slowed down to bite, but as she looked at me she ceased. The woman next to her, with a potato chip in her hand was second one to look at me; she was her mother. And my cousin sitting opposite to them was the third; she was only there to deliver them hospitality. Diaspora of the third floor, at a sudden, was filled with smiles and ecstasy on my arrival. However, I was still there… frozen, progressively struggling to recognize her. I was amused and confused.    

Very soon I was delighted on revealing her as ‘Neha’, my childhood friend. I was seeing her after twelve long years; she used to be my neighbour and lived in just next to me. I bowed to touch her mother’s feet and she rewarded me blessings. All this while I was hunting for Neha from the blur edge of my sight.

“Hi” –said Neha. She had turned up so beautiful, and hardly could I reply back with a shy “hi.”

I was bound to sit with them so as to showcase my guest etiquettes. I quickly borrowed a chair from another room, albeit there was enough space on the long couch beside Neha where I sit, sleep, eat, watch television, and play mobile on. 

“It is been so long I am seeing you..... You were so little” – Neha’s mother said. As she said I got a flashback of little Neha, when we were kids those days.

“You have changed so much” – She said after a pause.

We could feel the impact of time; I gazed at Neha and realized that time had transformed her into a spellbound beautiful girl.

She fixed her long strand of hair lock behind the ear that was residing on her glowing cheeks, and glared at me with a flourishing smile.

Like every guest, Neha’s mother too began with queries regarding my studies when suddenly there was a loud noise of television from my parents’ room. It was her little son, Rahul, watching a cartoon serial.  “Rahul....” – she screamed.  And instantly he reduced the volume.

Neha’s mother stood up, and then my cousin, as they had plans to see other old friends in the neighbourhood whom she had not met for years.

As they left, I was left with Neha.

“Do you remember me” – Neha.

I frowned, “Of course I remembered you.”

Her probable intention was to tease me.

She laughed, and fixed the hair lock back again, slowly and gently. She looked very beautiful each time she did this.

“You look tired” – she said.

“Yes.... ” – I breathed out.

“Can I get you something......?   Cold-drink.... or anything” – She asked, as if I was her guest.

She disappeared before I said anything and came back with a bottle of cold-drink from the fridge. The two liter bottle was too big to pour with ease, she bowed and poured gently using both her hands, while her silky hair retreated from her shoulder to my face and electrified my hair follicles with goose bumps. She was so close to me, I inhaled her intoxicating fragrant body, with a long breath.

Five big pieces of samosas in a plate were turning me restless, my hunger was on cliff edge; I insisted her and successfully persuaded her to partnership the share. I sat beside her, pulled the table with eateries, close enough to jam our legs; she was annoyed and amusingly frowned at me, pushed it back a little with her full strength.  

With the first bite of samosa I began ‘Do you remember....’ digging out a memory of old school, and interestingly she had a good stock of old memories that I had nearly forgotten. Each time she began with ‘Do you remember’ and said something, a portion of my brain untouched for years was reenergized. In no time the somosas were over. She scored two and I was ahead by one, and then she served the cold drink again. 

“Do you remember.....?  On the last day of class eighth.... I met you after our last exam..... It was the last time I saw you” – I resurrected one of my best memories with her.

“I do remember.... how could I forget.... the stupid thing you did...” – she said with a blushing smile.  

I could not stop myself smiling as well, I was in the flashback of that moment, ‘the stupid thing’ that I did was to propose her after the exam at the school gate. She had not replied anything except for her ferocious gruesome look, which was enough for answer. The most tragic thing that happened was that her family had shifted to another city the very next day, as her father had got transferred.

All of a sudden a red and green design grabbed my attention.

“What tattoo you got on waist.” – I asked.

It was a tattoo meagerly visible on her waist between her top and jeans, to show me up she pulled up her top a little and stretched down her jeans. She adjusted her legs and stretched the jeans a little.   Tattooed skin was out now; it was a beautiful red rose with two green leaves. 

“How it is?” – she asked.                         

It was glistened with moisture, scintillating with light, I was infatuated, bemused and enticed, brought my finger tip so close, about to touch it, but before, she reaction back with a little shiver and curtained it back, I was out of its conjuring influence.

“I am sorry” – I apologized to my daring.

“It’s all right.... ” – she said.

“It is beautiful” – I said.

She replied nothing.

Just to shift the topic, I moved to check the tea pot, I found it empty.

“It was over.... I will make you another one” – she said

She took the tea pot, and I followed her to the kitchen. She asked me for the tea and sugar, and to her surprise and my embarrassment I was unable to locate them in the maze of so many small and big boxes. I was checking them one by one, by hit and trial. She stopped me, and with few good guesses she got them.

“Wow.... You are a genius.” – I said.  

The tea was ready within five minutes, ‘cheers’...... I knocked my cup to hers; she was holding her eyes on me waiting for my response. I savoured the first warm sip, and it was really nice.

“This is the best tea I’ve ever had.... I was longing for it for long ...... great tea!” – I said, exceeding my flattering limits.

“Thank you”

“You are dish expert.... I could guess now” – I said

“Am not so good in cooking.... but I love experimenting in kitchen” – she replied.

“You will be a good wife...... whoever your future husband would be.... will be a lucky guy” – I said.

She was silent and her evergreen smile had disappeared. I was puzzled as what I said was only a complement. She was silent.

“I want to know one thing.... What is your answer for my twelve year back ‘stupid thing’...” – I asked.

“May be I would have accepted you...” – She said, her enchanting smile was back on face.

“If that ‘stupid thing’ has happened today one again, what would be your answer.....?” – I asked, and breathed heavily; it was an indirect proposal and my heart was palpitating faster. 

“It is too late now” – she said

“Got boyfriend?”

 “Noooo....” – after a big ‘no’ she said – “But it is impossible now..... I wish we had met a few more times.” – She said.

I stopped after a long sip of tea, listening to her with my hands wrapped around the warm cup. She unfolded a heartbreaking fact; she was married just last month. I was flushed from romantically high note to a deserted lover in a wink. 

By then Neha’s mother returned from the nostalgic tour… she seemed to be in a hurry.

“Rahul....” – she screamed, but her effect was vain. Then a level next, she turned off the T.V and emerged in the room.

Before getting into the car, Neha turned back, her sparkling eyes were more readable, she brought her hand forward, I did the same…we touched each other’s thumbs; it was another memory of very childhood when we were friends; it was for our everlasting friendship. 

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