On the way to Coffee House as they sat in the very last row of the bus, Aivi said, “I think we should go out together and see how it works.” Ranadip looked deep into her eyes, failed to read the sincerity in them and tried to laugh it away but looking at her somber expression he realized she meant what she said. “No, I don’t think that that’s going to go well. We are friends who have just started to know each other. I hardly know anything about you…..” True it had been just two months since they met in their office and it had just been just a few weeks since they had gotten acquainted beyond the formal “hi”. She bit her tongue. However coolly she had pretended to throw off the proposal as a mere idea, the fact remained that there’s a reason why girls don’t usually propose-they are way too emotional for handling rejection. And here, yet though she was rejected, she had to maintain het outward cool appearance and pretend that nothing had happened. A fiend of theirs to whom she had to confessed her feelings about Ranadip just the night before also started pretending that nothing had happened. This was the first time that she was seeing him outside the office walls. She had imagined hundreds of things they could talk about in their first informal meeting. She had played their scenario a dozen times in her head hone of them in which she had been rejected. Soon they got off at the busy Sealdah station where a couple of Ranadip’s friends with whom he went to college were waiting. She had just tagged along with him in order to find an opportunity to let him know how she felt about him never once having given a thought of the hours she would have to put up with, the awkwardness of it all arising from that one simple rejection if it so happened. Meeting his friends, she thought she found the reason for her being rejected- Olivia. Olivia with her extreme openness of nature seemed to be really close to him-rather a bit too close which Ranadip didn’t seem to mind at all. With each step towards the Coffee House her doubts regarding the two got stronger and although she was amidst a group of six people, her thoughts were only on two- Olivia and Ranadip. On their way return, Aivi felt Ranadip was uncomfortable around her, a quick retraction on his part if his arms brushed against her hand, let aside holding her hand while crossing the busy road- a thing which he usually did until then without putting much thought in to it. A stiff good-bye and each boarded their own train. A couple of days passed and each to heighten their pretense of being completely normal each in the presence of the other they got decided to go for a movie with a couple of other friends. As luck would have it, in a group of five people they ended up sitting next to one another. Throughout the entire movie nothing much was said but the increasing amount of discomfort could be sensed each sitting stiffly within their own perimeter for fear of grazing even each other’s arms. Gradually when it increased to a level where one could touch it they decided to take the first step. Her feeling for him was ruining their friendship, and not only theirs, if things progressed as they were, the others would sense the discomfort too and gradually the group of friends would no longer be able to hang out together. Giving him time to reach home, she took her phone and dialed his number. “I was kidding- just pulling your leg, I am not into you, don’t get so worked up for nothing.” She said with a laughter in her voice and tears in her eyes. “I know” he said and disconnected the call. She took her pillow ready to cry herself to sleep when the phone beeped. “I love you too….just didn’t know whether you meant it, until you said you were kidding….” was the text message sent by Ranadip.
Picture Courtesy : https://pixabay.com/en/casal-shadow-in-love-silhouette-1127042/