I didn’t know a part of mine was dying to believe it but then another part kept reminding about that grief-stricken period when I was left alone in middle as a convict.
I looked back at him. He was still faced to the wall, perhaps thoughtlessly gazing at the picture of mine. His persuasion was strong and sharp-shot just like a boomerang freed from its bow. It threatened to intrude through the thick wall I had bricked around me and shake my void core with that familiar yet strange vibration. I felt breathless. I felt breached. I felt pulverized.
Still I couldn’t take the risk. I just couldn’t. I grabbed Preeti by arm and dragged both of us out of there.
The whole way to home, I was lost in thoughts and by the time I reached I had no more brain to cudgel at anything. Even I toppled on way to my room. I straight fell to bed and lumped into a steady ball.
When my eyes opened hastily and tiredly looking out, my ear was trying to distinguish the high shatteering noise from somewhere. It was Mom shouting out my name. My panic legs jumped off the bed in reflex and I ran downstairs.
“What happened?” I asked trying to make my voice louder than the thumping heart.
“Preeti called home and said you have some of her note and not receiving her call.”
“Oh!” My panicked nerves relaxed.
“Hmm...get freshen up and come down. I will dish up your dinner.”
“Dinner? Is it so late?” I scratched my head ruffling my bedraggled hair to more unmanageable form .
“It’s already eleven.”
She nodded wiping the kitchen counter.
“I’m not hungry, Mom. I’ll go to sleep again. I’m tired.” I drowsed over the fridge.
“Empty stomach will lead to fitful sleep. And again in the middle of night your grumpy stomach will grumble and you’ll have something cold from fridge. So it’s better to eat something hot and healthy now.”
I whined. The ache was still humming low inside brain.
“Okay. I will feed you today with my hands. Come now. No need to change.” She took out a plate from the utensil stack and served food. She fed me each and every morsel of food on plate despite my whining like a toothless toddler. My stomach was full and then only I was allowed to go to bed.
I rolled over the bed waiting for sleep to sedate me. My room was floating in semidarkness of orange night bulb. I rolled to my left then right and kept rolling till arms ached. Mom was wrong this time. Even if my stomach was filled, I was spared of sleep.
The things came again into mind. The undeniable questing of his eyes, the way his words pouted out those magical words; though at that time I deviated myself from him to Preeti but now in indefinite loneliness of my room I couldn’t hold over them. They were mincing my courage, macerating my hatred, rusting my steely will.
I laid still on my back and started to count the axes on the vaulted ceiling of my room. I counted and every time I forgot from where I had started and again I would start from the beginning. This continued for eight times when finally my eyes started to droop. I turned to my side, cuddling my red teddy smiled to sparse sleep.
My phone wailed then in two sharp cues. I didn’t want to check it. But then again it could be Preeti. Oh! She is such a night owl. Does she ever sleep? She would be worried of me.
I took out the phone from the gagging load under pillows. There were eighteen missed calls, all from Preeti and three messages. I entered into message box. The first message was from Preeti. “Hey ava. R u bzy? Cn I cm to ur house? We need to talk.”
The second message was from Preeti too. “Wass up gal. Y rnt u recivin d call. I m worrid. call bck asap.”
And the third was from an unknown number. “I’m really sorry ava. I nvr meant to hurt U. I nvr thot it could hurt u dis way. I knw I shudnt hav said U so. I’m really sorry. No force on U ever. Your wish is all that matters to me. Stay happyily. Won’t disturb U ever again. Sorry again. -Maddy”
The message was crucially heart melting one. Did he really have to do all this? Or all these were just a game that would end with a humiliation to me.
I typed another message. “I m fyn. Ws sleepn. Dnt wrry.” And sent it to Preeti. Should I message to Maddy too? Will he be worried? No! No need of it. I admonished myself from melting down.
In a minute another message reached. “ Thnk God. U r fyn. I m sry fr everything.”
I replied back. “It s fyn. Nt ur fault. u jst wntd me to b hppy.”
Then my phone rang. It was Preeti.
“Hey. Um..you are not sleeping yet.” I asked her.
“I was so worried about you.
“I’m fine. I was just very tired and slept straight after coming home. I was deeply sleeping that I didn’t know when you called.”
“It’s fine. You go to sleep now. You still sound tired. We’ll talk later.”
“Okay. Umm..Preeti. I need to tell you something. Wait a minute.” I forwarded the message of Maddy to Preeti. “ You check it. I thought you should know about it.”
Preeti remained silent for a minute. May be she was waiting for the message or reading it, I didn’t know.
“When did he send it?” She asked.
“Just two minutes back.”
“Actually I talked to him in the evening later that incident. He felt genuinely sorry. He really did not mean to hurt you. I have seen the exhilaration and excitement on his face while he was doing everything to arrange that place. He did most of the work alone. I have never seen anyone doing all these for any girl with so much dedication. Now also he is more worried about you, less about the failure of his hard work. I think he is serious. What do you think about him?”
“I don’t know. I mean..I just can’t decide. I don’t think I can rely on my instincts. They always fail me.”
“Okay. As he said it’s totally your decision and no one is going to force on you. But this time I agree with your instincts. I don’t know I think he really loves you.”
I sighed on those words. Now Preeti had tangled me more.
“I don’t know.” I had nothing else to say.
“Okay. Forget all these. Go to sleep. You need rest.”
“Hmm.. Goodnight. Sweet dreams.”
“Goodnight. Hot dreams. And take care.” She cheered at the end.
After the call I again resumed my endeavour for sleep. But this time sleep evaded from me. The whole night passed without any sleep.