This episode is a part of 3 Episode Series “The Lost Connection“. The Scenes are continued from the 1st Episode climax. Click here to read the 1st Episode and feel the bond of love that defines the journey ahead.
Somewhere among the clouds… (60,000 feet up in the sky)
The beep of the seat belt alert sounded in her ears to get her back to the reality she was physically in. As she searched for their memories together, she realized that she could not because all she could think of was what she had done.
He had bullied her. He had. He had laughed at her every day. He had laughed at her when she was alone…or did he? But he stood there. Watching. She had always gone back to him. She had always wanted to be with him. She had always wanted to be his friend. Even after all that.
But that day came, at last; when she had to leave, when she could not follow him anymore.
Her father had told her that they are going to move soon to a better home. She did not understand because her better home was, where he was. There. Near him.
She never understood why she felt so much affection for a person who had always been so terrible to her. Maybe, he wasn’t. Or was he? She was confused and it was then that her conscience slit open a slice of her memories to help her.
He had always called out for her. Whenever she wasn’t there, he had freaked out and banged at her door to come out. He had hit a guy for her. When the crazy guy from her class tormented her every day, he had beat him up and had told him to stay away from her. He had protected her but why was he always so terrible to her those days. She was alone. He could have told them to stop laughing. He could have treated her better.
“I am being a child.” She thought to herself as she tried to push back those memories.
But I was a child and it mattered. He could have been a better friend.
The impact of the plane hitting the ground jerked her body and made her thoughts unfurl and fly away. She watched them go as she switched her phone on sub-consciously.
Not a day had passed when she had not thought about him. She had tried to talk to him for years but she could not tell anyone. She could not have let others know that she cared. She could not have let him know that she cared. So, she remained silent. Her mother was in touch with Chitra for a while but they lost contact soon as well.
Phone numbers got lost. The places where they lived together got renewed. But their memories did not fade.
When she came of age and social media kicked into the generation, she tried to find him there. She had his name etched in her memory. How could she forget? Her obsession lasted for a few years but she gave up. She never thought she would but she did. He remained just a memory until then.
The phone buzzed alive with messages. She heard the announcement where the stewardess was telling them to keep their seat belts fastened. She did not hear the rest as she clicked open the notification and saw his face. Her brain blocked the noise around her automatically. It was not that she needed at that moment. All she needed was him. To look at him.
And he was gorgeous.
His skin was like porcelain and his hair as messy as it always had been. He had not changed at all. He was her old Akshay. He was wearing a black jacket in the picture standing next to a bike which she probably thought was probably his own. Bicycle to a motorcycle, she thought to herself and smiled looking at his goofy smile.
His smile was so wide, as it always had been, that it reached his eyes making them look like two half-moons buried in the clouds. He had little eyes which shined brighter than her soul. She kept on swiping as she found a picture of his, racing on a track. He was a biker? She thought to herself. Her heart stopped for a second and started beating again. Or one would call it flutter.
She did not think much as she went on to his timeline and clicked on confirm.
Somewhere in Chennai….(Year 2015)
He waited for the call to get connected and listened to the ring closely. His hands were sweating but he kept brushing his hair that it became messier than before. His heart was a mess. When he saw what he had seen, his heart had started pounding in his ears. He could swear that he listened to his palpable heart beats.
At last, the other end picked up.
“What’s up, bro?” Nikhil said into the receiver.
“She accepted.” He answered.
“This is not a movie, bro. You did not have to call me. Text her and ask for her phone number, you useless shit.”
A roar of laughter busted into Nikhil’s ears and he moved the receiver away from his ears, cursing.
“I am so happy!” Akshay shouted with excitement.
“You are never getting laid.” Nikhil replied.
“Hey.” Akshay typed for the n’th time Amren accepted his request and he deleted it again. “I can’t do it.”
“Oh. Come on. You are boring me, man.” Nikhil sighed and stretched his neck.
“She is not going to eat you up.” Nikhil replied to his silence.
“I wish.” Akshay said goofily.
“Whoa. You naughty, naughty boy!” Nikhil teased and they both ended up making dirty jokes aching with fists of laughter, forgetting the whole point of conversation.
A ping brought them back.
Akshay grabbed his phone to check –
“It’s…” Akshay began as he looked over at Nikhil’s slightly shocked face. “…her.” He finished.
“You are so dramatic.” Nikhil imitated Akshay and laughed again.
Akshay did not bother to tease him back and began typing his reply when –
“Before you say anything, I just want you to know that I am sorry.”
Tears started pooling in his eyes as he read her message, imagining her voice.
“I am sorry too.”
She gathered up her courage to do what she should have done years ago, to talk to him; to really talk.
“Hello.” She typed as she sat on the bed of her dorm. She pulled the blanket over her cold legs. She could not tell if it was because of the temperature or if it was her body’s reaction to him.
She plugged in her earphones and clicked on play.
She still had not pressed the enter button on her laptop to send that hello invisibly floating through the air in little particles to wherever he was.
She finally gathered up her courage and breathed deeply as her fingers moved to press send. She did not even have the time to wait as she saw him typing. Maybe he had been waiting.
Amren let out a sigh and craned her neck back to take the support of the wall behind. Maybe she was scared. Her fear came out in the form of tears. Her anticipation all these years had been brought to life. She realized why she couldn’t let go when he had been so terrible to her. She realized that her soul had been connected to his. And that there was no coming back.
What she did not realize was that that her hello had sent a dizzying sensation to his brain and that her hello had made him well up; that her hello had made him realize that they were meant to be together. That he shouldn’t let go of her, again.
She was not sure if he had heard her the first time, so she repeated again –
“Before you say anything, I just want you to know that I am sorry.”
And then she read with her blurry eyes and cried to her fullness –
“I am sorry too.”
Maybe, they cried more because of all the yearning they had felt for each other. Maybe they cried because they had wanted each other so much. Maybe, they cried because they had finally found their lost pieces. Maybe, they cried so hard because they were finally happy.
“Come on, bro.” Nikhil hugged Akshay as if he was a baby. “She is your lost piece.” Nikhil said, feeling elated for his friend.
Months passed as they gradually caught up on each others lives. They had begun to talk to each other and had fallen in love with each others voices so much that they hogged on to each other over the phone almost all the time, in every 5 minute break in their busy lives.
“Stop, really. You are making me jealous.” Nikhil said, one day as Akshay held the phone between his ear and his left shoulder to talk to Amren while he was working on his bike.
“Hold on.” Akshay said over the phone and –
“What?” Akshay asked Nikhil, holding the phone away from his mouth.
“I get it. I know you are trying to me make me feel this way on purpose. I get it. Now, you can stop.”
“What are you even saying? Do you listen to yourself when you talk?”
He heard Amren giggle on the other end and smiled a little himself.
Nikhil clenched his teeth and said –
“Hand me the phone.”
“No. Why?” Akshay asked, sounding surprised.
“I want to talk to your girlfriend.”
“No. You don’t. And…” Akshay blushed a little and said – “She is not my girlfriend.” Akshay replied as he tried to fight Nikhil from snatching his phone.
“I do. Don’t worry; I won’t try to steal your girlfriend.” Nikhil said, totally ignoring Akshay’s last bit.
And Akshay gave up as Nikhil put his full strength on to him and snatched the phone from his hand.
“Hello.” Nikhil said in a deep voice.
“H…hello.” Amren replied nervously. She wasn’t used to phone calls. She had hated phone calls. She had fought it all for Akshay, to listen to him deliberately but –
“You are going to scare her.” Akshay said as he brushed his hair nervously.
“Am I scaring you?” Nikhil asked over the phone.
“Are you dumb? You can talk, right?”
“What the…” Akshay swore and tried to get his phone back. As he failed in his attempt, he merely shouted –
“I am so sorry. He is crazy.”
“How long have you known my crazy pumpkin?” Nikhil asked, ignoring Akshay again.
“A long time.” Amren said, trying to sound confident.
“How long?” Nikhil asked like he was the interviewer.
“Ah. I see.” Nikhil replied. And then said –
“If you hurt him intentionally or unintentionally, I will never forgive you even if he does.”
“That’s it. Enough.” Akshay said, sounding defiant as he got up and grabbed his phone back. But Nikhil was done talking, anyway.
“Hey. This is Akshay.” He said to Amren, anxious.
“Yeah. Who was that?” Amren asked, shook to the core.
“That was Nikhil, my best friend, the one I told you about?” Akshay said questioningly.
“I am…I am sorry for whatever he said.” He said, walking to a place where he was a good distance away from Nikhil.
“No. It’s alright.”
“Yes. I am going to call him the scary guy.”
Akshay laughed at that and looked over at Nikhil who was acting like he was engrossed in his phone but kept stealing looks at his best friend –
“He just cares about me way too much.” He said.
“What?” Akshay spat.
“Yes.” Nikhil replied cupping his face in his hands.
“But why?” Akshay asked his friend, angry and empathetic at the same time.
“She cheated on me, man.”
“How do you know?” Akshay asked and regretted the question instantly as Nikhil looked up at him with swollen eyes. “I mean, are you sure?”
“Yes. I am. I was there.”
“I am sorry.” Akshay said as he hugged his best friend, taking all his sobs in.
“But you shouldn’t have hit her.”
“I know.” Nikhil replied, breaking into breathless sobs.
“She told me….” Nikhil continued, gathering himself up. “She told me that she is going to work late. It had been like that for months now. I tried talking to her but she always said she was busy. And we stopped making love like months ago. She started to ignore me but I thought it is because I don’t earn much.”
“I looked after Jenny every night, waiting for her to come. And Jenny always used to sleep before she came. She even stopped caring for her own daughter. And I, as the fool I was, thought she is really just stressed out.”
“Last night, she called me to tell that she will be late again. It was after midnight. I put Jenny to sleep and called her again to tell that I can’t spend the night. That is when you had told me that you were upset and that you need me at your place.”
Nikhil sighed deeply and closed his eyes to let the welled up tears to fall on his cheek.
“I was feeling…” He tried to continue but his voice got caught by the lump in his throat. “I was feeling bad for leaving Jenny alone, so, I lied to you that Yana is waiting for me and left your place.”
Akshay nodded again, his heart thrumming hard against his chest.
“I went to her place to check if Jenny is alright and if Yana had come back home. I did not call her because my phone had died. I wish I had called her.” Nikhil cried.
“No. It is better you didn’t.” Akshay replied, feeling sorry for his friend.
“It is not. It was horrible. The door was locked from inside. So, I figured Yana was back from work. I was happy that she was home and I did not want to disturb her sleep, so, I went to the backdoor and unlocked it, without making any noise. I walked to our bedroom and…”
Nikhil exploded with tears.
“..and she was there lying naked with him, making love to another man.”
“I am so sorry.” Akshay whispered, crying for his friend quietly.
“I did not want to hit her.” Nikhil said, his sounds almost muffled as he pressed his face to Akshay’s chest.
“I know.” Akshay said and a drop of his tear fell on his friend’s forehead.
text conversation between Nikhil and Amren….(chat 5)
Nikhil : I am sorry that I am ranting too much.
Amren: Please, don’t be.
Nikhil: We were happy. All of it just happened too fast.
Amren: Were you guys married?
Nikhil: LOL. Me and Yana? No. No, we weren’t.
Nikhil: Jenny was Yana’s daughter. When I met Yana, she was pregnant with someone else’s child. That bastard had left her after getting her all blown up. I hated him.
Amren: Anyone would.
Nikhil: You are a nice person, you know.
Amren: You are a nice person, scary guy.
Amren: Are you really laughing?
Nikhil: No. I am touching myself.
Nikhil: LOL. You are so funny.
Amren: So, you guys just lived together?
Amren: And what about your parents?
Nikhil: What about them?
Amren: Were they okay with it?
Nikhil: No. Of course, they weren’t. I just left. I left my family for her.
Nikhil: I SURE AM THE CREATOR.
Nikhil: Is your face really like that?
Amren: Yeah. I banged my face on the wall once and became a flat lay.
Nikhil: They cursed me for it. They told me that I will suffer. I did but she was with me and I was a guy crazy in love. I stayed with her.
Amren: And where did you go when…when she..you know what I mean?
Nikhil: When she cheated on me. You can say it. It’s not like it is prohibited to say that.
Nikhil: I stayed in my office for a few days and then my sister found out what had happened. She came to take me back home. They did not ask me a word and took me in. I am so grateful to them for being by my side.
Amren: You are lucky.
Amren: So, you are a youtuber?
Nikhil: Small scale.
Amren: But you are.
Nikhil: Haha. Yeah. But don’t expect my nudes in there. You won’t get any. I can send them personally to you. All you need to do is ask, baby.
Amren: You are disgusting.
Nikhil: How is my sugar treating you?
Amren: I am sending him the screenshots of this chat.
Nikhil: You. Cannot. Do. That.
Nikhil: Damn. You are evil.
“You should tell her.” Nikhil said assertively.
“Tell her what?” Akshay asked.
“You know what I am saying. Stop acting like you don’t know.” Nikhil said.
“I can’t.” Akshay hissed.
“Why?” Nikhil asked.
“She will say yes.” Nikhil said again to his friend who was quiet.
“You don’t know.” Akshay said clutching his hair in his hands.
“I don’t know what? I talked to that girl. She is all over you.” Nikhil said defensively.
“You don’t know man.” Akshay repeated.
“Then, tell me.” Nikhil grabbed his shoulder and pushed him.
He staggered a bit and looked down at the ground as he said –
“She has a boyfriend.”
to be continued…