“I kept believing that she would change for good. But nothing of that sort happened. She changed from bad to worse. She started bunking lectures. She remained absent for days at stretch. When I asked her about it, she would say that she was sick. The only time we were together was during study sessions and sex. We would do it twice a week. Sometimes, the count went up to 4. I had started to believe that she was with me just for studies and sex. My love for her was getting shaped in to hatred. A mere glance at her face would boil my blood. I vented out all my anger for her during our intercourse. But that little slut enjoyed it. I believed that I turning wild, hurting her would make her aware of my anger but she seemed not bothered at all. This went on for three years until farewell. I broke up with her on our farewell day. I wanted to forget her and start my life again. I closed Rhea’s chapter in my life. My father and my mother were really happy with my success at BE examination. He had finally admitted that I had done the right choice.”
“You received a job offer at Delhi. You took it up and left Bengaluru and the memories associated with it. You started your life all fresh in Delhi.” Swati smiled.
“I missed Rhea a lot. There had been days when I cried. There were times when I was so desperate that I decided to call her up and beg her to get back with me. Rhea’s absence had created a vacuum in me. I wanted her to delete it forever. Though I wanted her back, I could never muster up courage to speak my heart out to her. I had landed myself nowhere. Yes! Work kept me busy during the days. But the nights were hardest. Payal entered my life amidst all this chaos. She was nothing like Rhea. She was intelligent, smart, kind and many more things. I fail to list out adjectives that describe her. She was a perfect marriage material. She told me that she would wait for me until the day I would be ready. She helped me in moving on and in the process; I fell in love with her. I proposed to her and we got engaged last month. My father and mother were happy with my decision. They loved Payal and so did she. Problems were born when Sameer invited me for his wedding.”
“Sameer- who is he?”
“My ex-roommate. I decided to attend his wedding. Payal couldn’t join me because of her work. I left for Delhi airport. It was still dawn when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi airport. The early morning February air was pleasantly cold. I was travelling to Bengaluru to attend Sameer’s wedding, as I told you earlier. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. This wedding was also going to be a reunion of our batch mates. I was really very excited. But what I did not know was that the reunion would begin much ahead of time; right in the queue in front of the airline counter. I was almost sure it was she. Same height! Same long hair! Same complexion! Curiosity had my eyes glued to her. And then about 60 odd seconds later, when she turned, she proved me right. My ex-girlfriend, Rhea stood two places ahead of me in that queue. We had never met after the college farewell.”
“Did you talk to her first?”
“No. She was the one who approached me. She hugged me and gave a peck on my lips. She started with her chatter.” Swati’s eyes were filled with anger. I knew everything that was going on in her mind.
“I did not kiss her back.” I explained. Swati was in no mood to listen to my explanation.
“Anuj, please continue your story.”
“Marriage days revived college memories- late night chats, teasing, drinking alcohol. All of us forgot that we weren’t in college for a while. Life seemed totally changed in Bengaluru. I felt alive. I started looking forward to each day. I spent all those six days with Rhea. We were behaving as if we were a couple again. Good things always come to an end. In the similar manner, Sameer’s wedding celebration came to an end. I was leaving Bengaluru yet again. But this time, it was different. I was leaving with good memories and Rhea’s contact number.”
“What kind of person are you, Anuj?” Swati snapped her question at me.
“Payal reacted in a similar manner. She was furious that I spoke and spent time with Rhea. I did not mention to her about the kiss. I also did not tell her that Rhea wanted to get physical with me. Swati, Payal asked me to contact her only after I clear my confused mind. She has left me as of now. I am all alone.”
“Anuj, what do you expect her to do? Stay with you when Rhea is the only person on your mind? Few minutes back, you told me that you had moved on. What are you up to?”
I had tears in my eyes.
“Anuj, those tears aren’t going to help in any manner. Remember what people say ‘Men don’t cry’. You need to speak up.”
“Swati…” I said and she disappeared like a genie. I realized that I had been hallucinating again. Swati is my dead elder sister. I walked up to my closet and popped in two pills. Just then, my phone started ringing. It was Payal’s phone call.
“I am outside your apartment. I am sorry.” She said.