The girl who loved him and broke his heart.
It was a classic torrential downpour. The kind of rain that makes you wonder if you will ever see sunshine again. She was standing at the entrance of the bank, still deciding if she should wait for the rain to stop or just make a run for her car. Her inner voice was at its sarcastic best “Are you seriously waiting for Mumbai rains to stop”? Her heart responded with a quick plea, “Do you really want to get these Steve Madden shoes wet?” It was the typical situation. All her life, she has had to deal with the bickering between her heart and her brain. She decided the best thing to do was to ignore both of them and focus on good music like she always did. As she dug into her purse to locate her tangled Apple pods as dear to her as her life, her eyes glanced at the road.
That’s when she saw him. He was there. She blinked her eyes to see if he would disappear and she could believe that she imagined seeing him. But he was right there, flesh and bones, running towards her to the very same building for shelter. Even in that torrential downpour of Mumbai rains, she could see he hadn’t changed a bit. With the leather jacket, the dark blue jeans, and the expensive shoes, he looked every bit himself as she remembered him.
When their eyes finally met, he came to a sudden halt, giving both of them time to process the sparks. That moment, everything came flashing back to her. Everything! The first time their eyes met, the first kiss, the first coffee, the many coffees that followed, the mornings she woke up next to him, the first time he said “I love you”, the first time she panicked, the first time she cried for a guy, the fights, the insecurities, his promise that he wouldn’t leave her no matter what… everything! All of it came back to her in a flash.
“Ahmmm! Hi!” he said, breaking into her thoughts. “Is this really you or am I dreaming? Wow!”
“Hey! How have you been? Long time!”, she replied, still blanked out.
“Great! Better than great actually! Really long time, 5 years, is it?”
“Yep! Seems like a lifetime ago,” she lied comfortably. Masking her feelings was something that came naturally to her.
“Really? Those restless eyes, Steve Madden shoes and a serious relationship with Apple pod. I don’t think it was a lifetime ago, clearly not much has changed. I see the same girl.” he smiled. It was the very same smile that made her go weak in the knees a long time ago.
But that was a long time ago, she thought as she gathered herself together. She came back to the moment when he pulled out his HTC and said, “I’m in the city for a few months, before heading back to the U.S., give me your number, I’ll give you a call”.
“My number hasn’t changed, but I see your contact list has. Here you go. “ she said in a bleak tone as she handed over her card.
God! You just cannot take the sarcasm out of this one, he said looking at the sky. “So, I see no ring. Are you seeing someone?”, suddenly came the trick question.
“Does it even matter?”, she wanted to scream at him, but instead found herself mouthing the words, “No”. She later wondered who said that. It most definitely couldn’t be her. Of course, she was seeing someone. She is always seeing someone. Well, no one could ever be him.
Her “NO” seemed to have made him extremely happy, he said, “Great” beaming at her. She beamed back, involuntarily. “Damn it!”, she thought. “I have absolutely no control over myself right now.”
But there he was, smiling at her, his tall-self towering over her, his big black eyes sparkling. She had to gather every bit of resolve to not fling herself at him and kiss his eyelids like she always did. It was the most comforting feeling in the entire world for her, nothing could beat that. Not even Biriyani on a hungry day.
Something inside her said, “you know you suck at small talk, go give him a hug, what are you doing?” and for once, she decided she is just going to do it. Just as she was taking one step closer, his HTC beeped, and his eyes lost hers. He looked at his phone, shook his head and said, “I have got to take this one. It’s important. Its work.”
And in that microsecond, it all finally came back to her. “I have got to take this call”, “ I have got to work late tonight”, “Its important”, “Its work”, “That promotion means everything to me”, “Right now, my priority is this project, why don’t you understand”, “I’m solving a crisis here” .
As she saw him turn around and start talking on the phone, she stood there, still as always. She remembered the numerous times his work seduced him more than she ever could. She remembered why she wasn’t happy and why he wasn’t happy no matter how hard they tried. She remembered the love they had for each other being “not enough”. It wasn’t the first time he had walked out of a conversation because of an “important” call. She made her choice 5 years ago, and so did he.
She stood there looking at him talk with a sense of urgency, like he always did. She took one last longing look at him, smiled to herself, hid her iPhone deep in her purse, removed her Steve Madden shoes, and clutching them in one hand, she started walking towards her car letting the rain drench her completely and wash her feelings away.
She realized she could not stop smiling, and that instant she knew she loved him and she will always love him, but she will forever be the girl who broke his heart.