(one more message alert)
-” What? Who? Oh, my phone. Huh! What's the time? One am! Why is she calling me now?”
This was my first reaction when she had called me. I took the call nonetheless.
-” Hello, ______ what's up so late?”
-” Nothing. I just thought of talking to someone.”
-” Well you got the wrong person at the wrong time.”
-” Were you sleeping?”
-” Can’t say I wasn’t. Weren't you?”
-” No, I was just thinking.......about you.”
This is when the strings in my crappy brain realized that I was talking to her, this late in the night.
-” I want to ask you something.”
-” Go on, you already destroyed my sleep.”
I was trying not to act super excited.
-” Can you please come down? If you have no problem, that is”.
Thank God my phone didn’t slip out of my hands.
-” Alright, but it better be worth my time.”
-” I don’t know if it will.”
-” Just kidding. I'll be down in a minute.”
(Line disconnected) I thought to myself, what was going on?
I freshened up, wore my hoodie, slowly opened the main door and went outside. To my horror, the lifts were off. Meaning I had to go down 10 stories before I could reach the ground floor. And so, I did. When my feet touched the last floor, I was already feeling numb due to the exertion. I looked up and there she was. Sitting on the table of the empty reception desk, dangling her legs. Her face half covered in by her hoodie. She also looked up and there was a considerable gap between our eyes locking and her lovely smile. She jumped off the table and walked to me.
-” Did I disturb you?”
-” If you don’t consider waking up a sleeping person as a disturb, then no.”
-” I'm sorry. I was feeling lonely. Felt like having someone beside me.” She gave a smile.
-” Well I'm glad that I was able to qualify for being that someone”. She looked at me with her well-known expression.
-” If you don’t qualify then who will?”
-” That’s quite flatter..........” I stopped mid-speech. She took my hand in her’s. In the bone-shatteringly cold night of December, her hand felt warm. Her soft skin against mine felt like silk.
-” let’s go for a walk, shall we?” she said.
As I stepped out of the building, the cold air of the night hit me like a sharp knife. But it was a pain worth enduring as long as it meant being with her.
We walked around the three high-rise buildings in our area again and again. We talked for a long time. Her words made me feel like she was sad or upset about something. But I didn’t ask in fear of ruining this beautiful night.
There was a small place for sitting beside our Mosque. We went there and sat down. We sat there looking at the empty benches in front of us. Suddenly I felt a weight on my shoulder. It was her. She had kept her head on my shoulder. I pinched myself and ensured that it was not a dream. Few moments later she wrapped her arms around me. Right at that moment a part of me wanted to lose myself in one of those Indian love songs. But the conscious part of me asked her
-” Is anything wrong?”
-” No, not at all." She was still hugging me.” I just felt like hugging a fat boy like my friend here would help me feel better.” she started laughing. It was the first time I saw her laugh this entire time.
-” Well I'm quite proud of my fats. They serve as a multi-purpose tool.” She started laughing even more.
-” We should get going. It is already 3 in the morning.”
-” Okay, let’s go.”
I climbed up the 6 floors with her to her house.
Before entering, she said,
-” Close your eyes.”
-” Just do it.”
-” Ok.” I felt a warm kiss land on my cheek.
-” Wohh..........” I stepped back.
-” I...........I’m sorry.” She stepped back.
-” No, it’s ok.”
-” Hope you will forgive me.” She closed the door before I could say anything.
The night could not get any weirder.
The next day, when I went to school, Obonti and Sarah came to asked where she was.
-” Hasn’t she come to school yet?”
-” If she had, we wouldn’t ask you” Sarah replied.
-” Matter-of-fact, why are you even asking me?”
-” She said she was going to talk to you.” Obonti said.
-” She did talk to me last night.”
I took out my phone. It was a message from her.
I know what you are thinking. After everything last night, I would have told you. But I took it too far.
I love you and I wish, I told it to you before. But now it is too late.
I can’t stay here any longer.
Hope you will forgive me. Goodbye.
I wish I could find her. But after that I never saw her again. I never even found a clue. Her family is as clueless as I am. It's like she vanished in thin air. And I still don’t know what to forgive her for.