One step closer.

He woke up that day knowing that yesterday was a reality. He didn’t want it to be. He could have done without the kiss, without his lips on hers, without taking in the whiff of her cologne. It was the first time he felt vulnerable to the world he was going to face. He took a while digesting the fact that yesterday wasn’t a dream, that yesterday he didn’t kiss someone goodbye. Someone kissed him goodbye. With his unshaven stubble and messy hair, he looked like those forlorn lovers who spent days and nights in their bed scared of the next rejection. He felt exhausted.

There are those situations in life when the fabric of nature seems twisted out of its real shape. It’s when you are withheld by the innumerable trivialities, which as inconsequential, seem to fade away with time robbing you of your vitality and virtue. Just like the fabric loses its elasticity after stretching it to its limit, you feel less contended and devoid of energy. Though it had been only 24 hours, Karan was brushing his teeth like he had seen the mirror for the first time. With the brush in his hands, he fell into deep contemplation as his reflection stared back at him. Was he really the stretched fabric fabric now? His phone buzzed and he came out of the reverie.

‘Hey man, you up?’ It was Akshay. They shared maths class together.

‘Just woke up, give me a minute’, he rinsed his mouth with Listerine. It was a new day and he wanted to look lively unlike yesterday.

‘I haven’t got whole day Karan, meet me down in 10’, and the line went dead.

There was a stark bluntness in his voice which caught Karan off-guard. He didn’t pay much attention and got ready. Maybe he wasn’t the only one having a bad day.

Akshay was as big from inside as he looked form outside. He smoked like a chimney and drank like a pig. But he was always there, lending a patient ear whenever needed. Karan waved his morning greetings to the watchman and strode towards the front door. Akshay stood at his usual place; the base of a lamppost which had been cemented so many times that even King Arthur would find it difficult to wield the Excalibur had it been there instead of the lamppost. A cigarette dangled carelessly from his hands.

‘You sure do have a death wish, don’t you?’ said Karan as he lit up one for himself.

‘Says the one who just got dumped?’ he replied with a chuckle.

Karan had called him last night and shared his burden right away. Instead of providing a shoulder to cry, he had told him to piss off and sleep because his Wi-Fi was acting weird as he couldn’t download Baywatch. He didn’t mind as long he was listening. Yes! Even guys bicker a lot at times, without alcohol!

Karan thought about it once again. She told him she needed time to sort things out. But was he willing to do it? He brushed that thought aside as they made their way to college. It was a good day to start something new. The noise of the bustling traffic made him realize time and again about the nature of life. Like Frost said, it goes on! Engineers would never appreciate the hidden beauty of his words. But Karan did. He wanted to be a poet that day.

It was lunch time and Karan left his seat to have a cup of tea at his usual spot. As a final year engineering student, Karan could say that even they needed a sense of belonging somewhere. It didn’t matter if it was a remote corner of the canteen. It was his spot. As shitty as it might sound, he knew it was true. That was when Cheryl approached him.

‘Hi Karan, you look like you need company’, she chortled as she took a seat right opposite to him.

Karan raised his cup of tea and looked at her. She was glimmering with her shining silver top and black slacks which complimented her pixie cut hair cut. She resembled those ballroom dancers who performed while the orchestra played in the background. Butterflies fluttered in his stomach.

‘I am talking to you, Karan’, she said impatiently.

Karan wasn’t listening. He turned back and scanned the room to look for other dancers. No. Bad call! No luck. He swerved his head back towards her slowly and said-

‘What’s up shiny’, with a mocking smile on his face.

She ignored him and asked-‘You coming for prom next Sunday right?’

He sipped his tea. ‘Isn’t it a bit too early for prom?’

‘Well, they called some professionals. I thought it can’t be half bad if I shake my leg too.’

All right! So prom was near and he didn’t know about it. It made him more sad now that he knew he didn’t have a partner. He nodded as she asked him-

‘Don’t tell me you didn’t know. I thought you would be out shopping with Krutika.’

‘Who needs to go shopping when I can undress you right away? He couldn’t say that out loud. Remember Karan! You are still a loose fabric. You are on a break. His head echoed. She bought back memories of her. Memories he could never forget. Memories he would never forget.

Suddenly, he knew how he could save his relationship and get over this infatuation over Cheryl.

He lunged forward towards her, almost knocking his cup of tea, and kissed her left cheek. She was taken aback for a moment and was about to ask the reason behind this sudden display of affection when he hurried across her without saying anything. She didn’t want to accept it but she liked the adrenaline that pulsed through her right now. She was still dazed when Karan called from behind-

‘I wanted to do that the very moment I saw you. You look fabulous. Give me ten minutes and I will tell you why shouldn’t you lose that outfit’, and he turned back again and dashed towards the auditorium where the dance practice was going on.

It was a good day for Cheryl at least.

Kartik Dulloo

Growth Hacker | E&C Engineer | Spell-Bee Runner up | Part Grammar Nazi, Part Grammar Hippy | Failing Anglophile

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2 thoughts on “One step closer.

  1. I like being left hanging by a character’s spontaneous act. Spontaneity is attractive. Multitasking is anathema to spontaneous action. Let’s all practice it. New class: “Spontaneity for Daters”

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