Frustrated and angered by the situation and herself she dropped the mobile phone on to the sofa and dropping onto it sluggishly, with her dress erupting a static noise.
It’s been an umpteenth time she has told him not to call her or talk to her and blocking his number hasn’t stopped him from reaching out to her.
What does he want? God, how did I fall for him? He is so annoying? Was he like this or he has become like this or have I become so…argh?
Oh! With the thoughts draining her, she curls up and with holding her knees close enough, to draw comfort from it.
With closed eyes, her mind reels the day she walked out of his life, saying his parents are more important and he would not think twice putting them before him.
Wasn’t that what he said?
12th July 2006, A Romantic Evening
She was waiting for him on the campus and it was after a tiring day with loads to do and aching heels. She sat on the regular bench from where the view of the mountains was clear. While she was waiting, her mind was brimming with happiness from the relationship and the ‘guy’ he was. He was all she wanted – tall, dark, and handsome, with good amicable manners – a bonus.
She was happy that he was hers and she was his. They belonged to each other and how much ever they spent time together, it wasn’t enough and nothing they desired could come in between.
From in the distance, she sees him entering the gates and her heart skipped a beat. He also saw her from there and his lips slipped into a regular smile for an instant and then a frown appeared.
She didn’t understand the reason for the frown.
He reached her and sat a little away, which was unusual. He looked at her with deepened thoughts crowding his mind and asked, “How was your day?”
“Hmm…tiresome but looking at you I feel nothing but joy and the tiredness is so distant” saying thus she tries to move closer.
He stops her by putting his arm up and halting her from moving. With a question mark on her face, she looks at him.
He replies, “I won’t be able to say what I have come to say today, with you being so close to me. So, I am stopping you to stay where you are.”
With a shiver running down her spine, she moves away and waits for the blow to fall.
He continues, “We need to break up. I am not going against my parents and they are forcing me to marriage, I am likely to get married to a girl selected by them. I guess this will be the last time we meet. I hope, you will take care of yourself and be healthy. Promise me, you will do take care.”
With a blank look on her face and confusion running all over her and slowly the anger heating up in her veins, she just looks at him as if he was a stranger, slowly gets up from the bench and starts walking towards the gate, without a look behind?
I might repent this later, but this is what I can do now, she tells herself and walks off steading herself, keeping her head high and ramrod straight.
That was seven years back, he came back weeping, asking sorry, asking her to keep in touch with him, help him to understand his wife, make his life pleasant, asking advice on certain aspects of life, and various things.
She didn’t want to help, but somewhere her softness won over and she helped him or answered his phone and gave him her thoughts, mind, opinions, that mattered from her perspective.
Her friends did not like it, they kept asking her “What was she doing with him?”
“Does he deserve all the things that you do?”
But she kept, now it has to stop, she has finally decided it’s time to move on. The day is not far off, another week and when the results of the interview in another corner of the earth come through, she will leave behind and start a new life.
15th August 2014, An Interview for Asst. Professor in an esteemed University.
A panel of judges looked at her as she entered and took her seat. They thought she looked too young to handle students of their University.
After she had settled, they one by one started asking her questions and she answered without hesitation and straightness.
They asked her to take a topic and do the class for them, she did straightaway with a difficult topic which most lecturers and professors, find it hard.
She charmed them away and they looked satisfied with her answers and beyond belief, they thought she was the best pick for their University.
One last question, “Ms. Kiera, would you be interested in travel for few months as an exchange to learn the teaching methodologies from one of our partner colleges? “
She thought for a moment and then replied, “As far as I see, that would not be a problem. I can certainly travel.”
They promised to get back to her but asked for two weeks of time to wrap up the line of interviews and then announce the appointments.
Almost end of two weeks and the results should be positive anyway, they looked helpful. Sitting on the sofa, she turns to the laptop that is lying next to her and clicks the skype icon, and looks for her friend, finding her online, she picks a video call with her.
After several rings, she finally picks up with a sleepy face. Looking at her, Keira asks, “what’s wrong, girl, you are sleeping early?”
“Huh, hello madam, I live in the other half of the world where it is a night for me. I am supposed to be sleeping not talking to some loser on the other end?”
“Who’s a loser? Mind you, you only have me, you can’t afford to lose me?”
“Oh! I know how to win you back don’t put a big show. Tell me what’s up? Is that idiot still troubling you?”
“How do you know?”
“I know, looking at your face everything is visible.”
“Oh! God, why are you so far away, Lila. I can’t find another one who understands me so well.”
“Yeah, that’s what I am…” and both burst into laughter and their talks go on till Keira is sleepy and Lila has sat up on her bed.
Laughing at her friend who had dozed off, Lila switches off the call and returns to her sleep. Before sleep gets to her again, she just wishes, the job that Keira is waiting for comes through and she moves from that god damn place and starts a new life.
When Keira wakes up, she sees that she had dozed off on the sofa in a curved position and her body is stiff and aching hands and legs. Standing up and stretching enough, she walks around the house knowing not what to do or what is there to do, taking a moment to clear her head, she walks into the bathroom, to start off – a new day.
With hearing a notification sound on her phone, she lifts it to see a new email alert. Quickly, wrapping a towel around herself, she walks to the sofa and kicks her laptop alive, but since it was burning all through the night, she had to plug in the laptop. Leaving it charge for some time, she goes back to the bedroom to get dressed.
When she is ready to take the world on her shoulders again, she opens the mailbox on her laptop and looks at the email from the University with disbelief, and heaves a sigh of relief. She has been selected and they have asked her for joining date.
Suddenly, her brain starts working at full speed and lists various things to be done, if she has to move to another city.
Holding on to her thoughts, she shoots a WhatsApp message to her friend saying, “I cracked it. I am moving to another city soon.”
Present – 10th September
It is the Autumn semester in London, at King’s College. It’s a beautiful day and the wind is pleasant and the clouds are threatening to pour a breezy day.
It’s been two days since she reached here and had accustomed to the surrounding. Now, entering the college gates, she is welcomed by a row of trees and a lovely garden, and she is reminded of those beautiful stories of England from various authors in her mind and humming a small tune to herself and with a rhythm to her steps, she walks into the college.
Her dreaminess is cut short by a blaring honk from a car behind her, it startles her, and she runs hitter titter and stops herself from stepping onto the grass on the other side.
A well-built man walks out of the car in a huffed mood and an angry face, walking up to her as if he will throw her on the ground and beat her black and blue, he is growling with anger.
When he gets close to her, he stops and collects himself and his demeanor takes 180 degrees turn and he speaks so softly, looking into her big rounded brown eyes, that drip with fear, – “Are you okay?”
Confused she looks at his transformation and answers him back, “Yes, I guess so since you are standing and the car is standing there and haven’t run over me.”
Even at times like this, she can make fun of the situation, this triggers a roar of laughter from him and he looks so manly and handsome and dripping in charm. There is a small dimple that forms on the left side of the cheek. He looks like a man who took the time to create himself.
When he has controlled his laughter, he extends his hand, “Hello, I am James. Nice to meet you. I am sorry, to meet you in such circumstances, I was in a little hurry and you were in my way, a little lost, I guess. Are you new on the Campus?”
How do I answer him, thinking it over for a second, she tells, “Yes, I am starting a new semester here?”
Well astonished she is a student and not a staff, hiding his discomfort, he speaks, “Oh! You are a student. Didn’t expect. Anyway, what’s the major?”
“Literature”, says she.
“I see. You need to go straight and then turn left on the further end. The second door is where the classrooms start and the staffroom is on the 2nd floor of the same building. Then, I guess we will bump into each other whenever you don’t have classes.” – he said with a smile on his and moved away walking back to his car, with a slight turn of his head to look at her once more, and then with a wave of his hand he walked away…!
A little disappointed as to he didn’t ask for her name. She dust off the imaginary specks of sand from her coat, pulling her bag on to her shoulders she starts walking on the way he instructed.
Lifting her up she sees, a hand waving to her from the window of a car, she smiles at her and by the time, she reacts with a wave, the car has moved forward.
Entering the building and getting her day started she goes about doing her duties. She was allotted two classes for the Post Graduates and two classes for Under Graduates, in total about four hours in the day, and some days its six hours, but today only four.
She is exhausted by the lunchtime arrives and it is the first day, she doesn’t have anything packed for lunch, she decides to eat in the cafeteria and walks up to it. Hoping there’s something good for her taste, as she is defiantly hungry.
Looking around and deciding on what she wants to eat, she picks up the serving plate and walks up to the counter filled with stuff.
She pays, finds a corner and seats herself, and starts to dig into the meal when a voice from behind startles her.
“Ah! We meet again. I thought you were a student. Didn’t except you here.”
Knowing who it can be because there are a few whom she met and he was definitely one of them. Turning herself to the sound looks at him and answers, “Yeah, I guessed that you did think that of me?”
With a lovely smile, he answered “Sorry, for jumping to conclusions. Can I join you?”
“I believe you can, it’s a free country and nobody stops you from sitting at a table for at least seven people to dine on,” says she.
Shaking his head, he drops himself opposite her, asks her, “Do you always so cool about things or it is just with me?”
She looks at his twinkling eyes, and answers “Don’t think so highly of yourself. Relax, it was just an answer to your question is a little dramatic way.”
Choking on his food, he replies, “Okay, as you say.”
After a moment of awkward silence, she gets up to leave, when he says, “Hey, I don’t know your name. You know mine, that isn’t fair!”
“My name is Keira.” Says she and walks off, he looks at her retreating image and smiles to himself, life is getting interesting on the campus.
Two month later – Campus University Canteen
“Keira, I am waiting for an answer, you know right?”
“Is it too late to say no to you?”
“I am just asking…”
“I don’t understand. Why do you have to say a no? There are things that can be discussed, find a solution, make it work…etc”
“I know, but long distance, how do we do it?” with a smirk on her face.
“Yes, it is going to be difficult. Huh, wait a second, what did you just say?” with a confusion mark written all over his face he looked at her.
“I am thinking of saying no to the new requirement and will stay back. I wrote to India and moved permanently here as the people here, I mean the university likes my work and hopefully, I will be promoted in coming months.”
“Wow, that’s good news. But you gave me a heart attack. So, the thing between us…ahem is true?”
“What do you think?” said she and got up and walked away from him with a smile on her face and the heel of her shoes echoing on the wooden floors of the canteen.
“Keira, wait…till I catch you. You won’t go anywhere away from my arm hold.”
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