He marched into the institute a few hours later. She was there in a meeting with the Director of the Institute, probably discussing the schedule for the next few days. The final entrance exam was around the corner and it was a crucial time for them.
He had no other option but to wait, probably for the night when it would be safe to call her.
And he did.
She picked up in one ring.
“Why didn’t you call yesterday. I was waiting!” His voice sounded irritated enough.
“Well, I did not wish to bother you.” Her voice was unusually soft, driving all his irritation away.
At that moment, he realised that only she had the power to calm him down after a bad day.
“Why do you say this?” His voice also going soft.
She took a deep sigh. “Well, yesterday he, Mr. X called while we were talking….”
Aakash tightened his grip on his phone in reflex. His worst fear had come true.
“He was telling me about his own problems. He liked someone right from his school days. I mean I know about her, like his love interest, and how she never reciprocates his feelings….”
This web of relationships were now confusing him.
“I don’t understand…” He spoke in frustration.
“Well, that is not important. What is important here is that as I picked up his call, all he could talk about was her. He went on and on as to how things have fallen apart between them so many times and then again came back to terms. He spoke incessantly for complete one hour. And not for once, he asked about me. Like not even that it had been almost 3 months since we last spoke. How things are going at my end? Nothing.”
Aastha felt miserable. “After feeding me all the so called details, I could almost hear his smile. Like someone who had finally dumped all the burden that he had been carrying for long like a garbage. I literally felt like a dustbin, ready for all the shit that he can offer. My mind went like ‘STOP’. No more of this. I am done away with this dumping thing. He better find someone else. And also that this relationship had been all about him, right from the start. About his life, his relationships, his ambitions and what not. I was never there. And I also realised how screwed up this all had been right from the start. So since last night, I am relatively at peace. Like I have been unburdened. I am so relaxed. I actually feel happy.”
The last line was something that her tone reflected too.
“But that still doesn’t explain why you shouldn’t call?” He was feeling relieved.
“You know he called and dumped all the things he had to say. I didn’t like that. I didn’t want to do the same with you. Like dumping all about him on you. Like I have been doing for the past 3 months, almost…..” She was stark honest.
Yes, she had been SHARING all about Mr. X with him. But was she dumping? No, there was a difference. He could explain. But he realised he could not do that so casually. They needed to have a face to face conversation.
Softly he just murmured, “Tomorrow after your class gets over at 1, meet me in the nearby coffee shop.”
“But….why?” she was surprised.
“Tomorrow. Okay. I’ll be there. I know it would take around 15 minutes to wind up your class. I’ll be there. Until tomorrow. Alright.” His tone was bordering on being authoritative.
He hung up after that.
Aastha didn’t like his sudden domination today.
“What does he think of himself? How can he speak to me like this? Just because I had been talking to him for so long?” She wondered and threw herself on the pillow.
“I will not go. Serves him right. Never. I’ll not go and meet him.”
She resolved only to have another weak moment following. “But why he couldn’t talk right now? What is it that he would say tomorrow?”
Tonight it was her turn to get restless and sleepless all night. Today she waited for the night to end. She wished that time just flies and she finally gets to know what he has to explain.