QB Short Stories

The Remembrance

I stood heaving near my new apartment’s door, one hand on my waist and the other on the wall for support. It was the third time in one year that I had shifted my room again and the taxi driver had just helped me carry some of my big luggage till the end of steps. No, he wont help me take it to the first floor, else give him 100 bucks more. I had to do it on my own.

I wasn’t just getting accustomed to the locality or the new rules set by the last two owners. It was my wish after all, if I had to keep my shoes scattered outside my room or inside, or if I wish to get a TV cable connection because as a single soul I am dying getting bored, or even if I come at 10 in night (Gross, being 22 and still I should come back by 7pm?).

I craved for independence and that was the prior most reason of dropping out of the institution hostel. Why not, I mean making hot water or ironing a crumpled top was like the biggest crimes there because – except phone or laptop chargers no electrical appliances were allowed! I am quite adjustable, but sometimes I turn to be feverish to such rules.

The last bag was in and now I had to just pile everything to one corner of the living room and go set up bed to sleep. It was almost 9pm and I didn’t feel the appetite to have anything now. My phone beeped with messages in WhatsApp. Ah! I wish I would delete my WhatsApp sometimes, but I can’t… because that was the only way to see him sometimes, actually his recent pictures. He wasn’t being much active in Facebook since few months and even I never had that much of time to search and check his activity.

It had been a year now, I had left last from Delhi and shifted to Pune for my job but his memories were still fresh in my mind. I sighed and took my phone, scrolling down the conversations searching for a familiar name to flash by – Alaan.

As soon as I realised that there was no messages again from him, I felt too sick to arrange anything any longer. So I just shifted to my cot, put my cosy rug over it and lay down there. Tears were starting to take place in my eyes, I was tired and didn’t want to cry but his name alone was enough to make my time go in pain. It was a year now, since the last we said goodbye in my room back in Delhi. Since then, as promised, we never spoke again. Never!

A year back I arrived in Delhi as a trainee under the HGS Company. Aashi Agarwal. Yeah! That’s my name. I hardly used to smile much nor was I interested in conversations with new people. For me getting over with the training and starting over with my job was the only thing that mattered. Usually training in any company would be rather for just some six months I guess, but here along with training we were being certified with a diploma even, so a year.

I had few friends, very few, but I liked to hang around them. We would laugh, crack silly over-the-boss jokes, go out shopping or have lunch together. My life consisted of that much until I met him. Alaan was a fellow trainee and quiet arrogant type. He seemed as if people should bow to him each time when he would walk through those office doors. I was happy; I wasn’t the only one who didn’t smile usually, as it felt he never smiled. We were never supposed to talk, never for sure, until both of us landed up one day in the same assignment.

One of us had to do the speaking part first, and as per I knew he would never start it, neither would I. So, I just acted as if he never existed. But one day, he just walked over to my room and knocked on my door. I was enjoying my summer leisure to the core; a messed up me finally dragged myself out of the bed and opened the door. I was awestruck. He was smiling at me maybe he was trying to hide his laughter over the smile. But God, he looked cute!

“Do you mind discussing our assignment over a cup of coffee?” he asked me ignoring my broad-eyed half jaw dropped face.

I just managed a nod. What would I do then? I didn’t expect his coming over there all of a sudden.

“Great. I’ll wait for you downstairs. And yeah, your friend Sam helped me get your address.” He smiled again and turned around, quickly climbing down the steps to the front door. I banged the door shut, swearing to God, to cut Sam’s neck the very next time I see him.

The day turned out to be good. Neither did I ask him why he came up to my place nor did he show any resent over it. It was as if we had this silent understanding conversation inside our own heads. We spoke about our assignments and slowly by the noon time we started taking walks around in parks and talking about our personal lives.

He told he doesn’t get much friendly so soon as he has had ego issues earlier and with his past breakups he isn’t come out of the sarcastic-I look any more. I related to him about my ex boyfriend who cheated over me two years back with my own cousin, due to which it was hard for me to stay back at home as we belonged to a joint family type. Finally in the evening, he took for an early supper and dropped me back to my room, both of us regretting how soon the time just flew by.

The days changed after that and we were getting closer each time. Soon we would be found holding hands and crossing the roads, lying down in the parks and taking selfie while half-hugging each other. I used to feel safe with him, not like myself, like the old lost me and I knew he felt the same. But neither of us wanted to admit it because we knew once the training gets over we had to go separate ways.

We had chosen our work states long back and I had given Delhi my second preference after Pune, while he had made Delhi his only preference. Even if we went into a relationship we couldn’t keep it going long as per both didn’t want the long distance relationship stories. But then came that day. He told me later that he had been planning for that day a long while now.

When I entered my room that night after work, I was shocked whether for real it was my own room. It was decorated with flowers, lamp lights everywhere, and in the middle he stood there in a white shirt smiling half nervously half amazed I guess. I couldn’t stop blushing and petrified at what was happening and was going to happen. He slowly walked towards me and went on his knees; my eyes were starting to fill already. My heart was racing, this wasn’t supposed to happen and now that it is happening what should I say?

He took my hand and said “Aashi, I know this is stupid and we have discussed earlier this is not going to work out, but trust me I have no other option than doing this. I am not asking you to stay with me forever, but at least for the days to come I want you with me. I have already got way too much attached with you and I know it’s going to hurt us later but I feel its best to listen to the heart now and do what we feel would make us happy this moment. So, will you be mine, for the time at least until we are together. Please?”

All that time, I was taking sharp breaths, trying so hard not to cry. But for the first time, I was immensely happy and terrified. I didn’t think of the future and nodded a yes. That night we lay in each other’s arms, kissing each other and smiling yet inside feeling sad about the future.

We were going mad, that’s what our colleagues said us. But for us, we were in love, madly. After office, we would rush back to his flat, dump over our things, start kissing each other, then breaking off it to have dinner first and then save the rest for the night.

The best part would be waking up in his arms, when he would be smiling over me as I would moan against his caresses and whispers against my hair telling me “Wake up, wake up, my baby”. Then the shower together, getting dressed, rushing back to office, grinning at each other over our cabins and waiting eagerly for the day to get over again. Weekends we would go for a movie or just lie lazily in his flat playing around or watching TV. It wasn’t much happening but for us, it was more than we could ever ask for.

Time flew by too soon, 8 months of our training and 5 months of our being together was over. Both of us knew as we flipped over the calendar pages, but we never spoke about it. Just before two months of our training period getting over, we received letters of acceptance from our respective selected centres of HGS. I saw I had been selected in Pune, but I wasn’t happy. I looked over from my letter and found him staring at me. He was smiling, with those sad eyes he still managed to smile and I smiled back.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. We lay with our backs to each other pretending that we are in deep sleep. I couldn’t resist myself any longer and I started crying. I tried to keep my sobs down but my body gave way and I started trembling too. He turned towards me and was shocked to see me crying but unable to speak a word he just pulled and hugged me tightly. I cried harder and I could feel his heart racing. We didn’t exchange a single word, we just lay there all night, me crying, he hugging and trying to pacify me. We slept like that.

It was hard to speak for the next few weeks. I was growing silent, unable to face him. I stopped hanging around in his flat much time now, few days of the week I would stay in my own room. He tried to speak to me first, but unable to decide what he wants too, he decided to stop trying. A month was left now and we all got busy with our paper works and presentations. Two weeks flew by as such, both of us watching the calendar pages tearing and time clicking away.

One night I lay in my room looking at my cell phone, thinking whether to call him or not, when the door bell rang. He stood there looking half-petrified as if something bad had happened. Before I could ask him a word, he ran towards me and hugged me tightly. I was almost unable to breathe for a few seconds. Regaining myself soon, I hugged him back.

That night we lay on the bed exhausted after making out, when he kissed my forehead and looked into my eyes and said “Aashi, your one of the most beautiful women I have met in my life so far”. I smiled at him back and kissed his palm. He pulled me into a close embrace and kissed me as if it was the last. I gave in closing my eyes, with a tear drop trailing its way down my cheeks.

I opened my eyes, it was dark. I looked around trying to find him sleeping next to me, but no. It was a different place. Pune! Oh, I had drifted off to sleep thinking about Alaan. My cell phone beeped now like a hundred times. I checked it, calls from mom, calls from friends, messages in WhatsApp. Why so many? No, I don’t feel like talking to anyone right now. I exit everything and opened gallery, opened his and mine last selfie and stared at it for a real long time.

He was probably happy now, happy with her, his present girl friend. Yes, two months back Sam had called me and said me about Alaan getting committed with a new colleague, Kasis. I said Sam, I was happy that he has moved on, but after the call I had cried immensely and not been to work for 2 days. Maybe, I should just delete the pictures and his number. It might give me some relief. I managed to delete his number but unable to do with the pictures, maybe I’ll do it tomorrow and I just threw my phone aside and slept.

Next morning I arrived at my office, half-drowsy and hungry and I looked as a mess. I dropped in my stuffs at my table and sat on my chair. Rubbing my eyes hard and yawning, I noticed an envelope saying Aashi Agarwal. I slowly took it and opened it. “Please God, don’t throw me out of work, I promise I’ll try waking up earlier” I was praying continuously inside. My hands trembled as I read the first line of the letter “Transfer Request Accepted”. My cell phone beeped again, half-minded, I took it. It was Sam.

“Aashi, did you get the news? Our HR told you are coming back to Delhi. The Transfer request you had applied for a year back from Pune to Delhi finally got accepted when Seema left the job. Congrats Buddy. Huh… Aashi”

After he told my name after like 4th time, I managed to stir back to the real world and the only word that could escape my lips was “Thanks”.

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