In a Dilemma

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Prathana woke up from her sleep. Reluctantly, she stood up from the bed. She grabbed her cell phone and checked time, “11 am”. She carried herself to the washroom, where she saw herself in the mirror. She pitied herself. Her eyes looked red and swollen because of the way she cried all night. She tried to remember when she dozed off in between those silent sobs, but, she failed. Suddenly her phone rang. She didn’t feel like talking to anyone, so she ignored the call. She grabbed her toothbrush, towel and shower gel from her shelf and went to the washroom once again.

There she stood under the shower. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the touch of the water drops, which slowly fell on her body. Her tears disguised as the water droplets gently made its way from her eyes to the bathroom floor.

“Stop crying. This wasn’t meant to be. This wasn’t meant to be.” She tried to convince herself, but, the tears didn’t stop. Somehow she managed to control it. After taking a shower, she again held herself in front of the mirror and stared, “I saw him yesterday. He looked happy with her. Why do I feel so much pain even when he wasn’t even mine in the first place?” a teardrop fell slowly to the floor. She washed her face once again and tried to smile in front of the mirror. “You can do it.” She said to herself one more time.

Prathana chose to wear blue Kurti. “Blue is his favorite color.” She wore the Kurti and stood in front of the mirror. “This will do it.” She quickly took the Kajal pencil, “He liked it when I wore Kajal. I hope he is still my old Naveen.” She promptly did a touch-up and grabbed her bag. She was going to have lunch with her best friend and his girlfriend.

Prathana hasn’t seen Naveen for a long time now. Honestly, she didn’t know how to face him after the sudden disappearance from his life at a time he could use his best friend. Some feelings never fade away. Maybe that’s why seeing Naveen with his girlfriend gave her a heartache. Prathana hoped that the feelings would go away if she would stop seeing or talking to him, but looks like it doesn’t. As she got into the bus, memories started to rush in and left her with tears. She picked up the handkerchief from her handbag and wiped them.

She couldn’t tell him how much he meant to her; that’s the only regret she had. She thought her confession might ruin their friendship. That’s why she went away from him without giving him any reason. He tried to contact her but, she changed her number cutting contact with him. Somehow, after two years of ignoring one another he got her contact number from one of their mutual friends Kavya. She was a little tensed after receiving the text from Kavya. Kavya studied with them in college. Prathana and Kavya became close friends in these two years. She was the only person who knew Prathana had feelings for Naveen. Kavya couldn’t take it anymore and gave her number to Naveen in a hope to reunite them but, it was too late.

Prathana took her phone and opened her gallery. There was an album named after Naveen. The album contained pictures of them together from their higher secondary to last day at college. So many memories piled up in an album. She sighed; she blamed herself for being a scaredy-cat. She wondered what would have happened if she confessed her feelings, but, the otherwise side of ruining their friendship made her feel terrible.

Finally, here she is in front of the restaurant where she is supposed to meet them. She was scared to face the questions which she expected from Naveen, but she pulled herself together and opened the door to enter the restaurant. Suddenly her phone rang. It was Naveen.

“Hey, I see you. Come straight.”

She looked around and saw Naveen holding one hand to his ears and another waving at her.

“Yeah, I see you.”

She hangs up and makes her way towards him. He looked at her in awe.

“I thought you would ditch us.” He smacked, from the experience he had from me.

“Uh… no, I wouldn’t.” Prathana tried to make it sound normal.

“Gouri, this is Prathana. My best friend; I know you guys met yesterday through the video call but, let me give you a face to face introduction.”

Prathana sat down opposite to them. “Gouri, we studied together since 11th grade. She was this coolest person back then you know, we used to check out girls together and so much more.” Their eyes met for a second, and Naveen stopped talking.

“Enough about us. Tell me how you guys met.” She tried to divert the topic because she knew he was about to talk about her disappearance from his life without giving him a reason.

This time it was Gouri who spoke, “We met at this game zone back at my place Bangalore. One day my best friend ditched me to go to movies with her boyfriend, and I was left to play alone the VR games. I know I sound childish but, it’s VR yaar. Naveen was there challenging some small kiddos, and I decided to join him randomly because it was one of my favorite VR games at that game zone but, sadly we failed drastically that day to them. Since then, we were friends, but slowly we realized we were falling in love.”

“She is a video game developer Prathana, and we both work at the same place now. Me as an animator she as the developer.” This time it was Naveen.

“Oh!” She sighed.

Gouri excused them for a moment to use the washroom. She told Naveen to order two nans in case the waiter comes to take order in her absence.

“Naveen, I am …”

“Don’t Prathana. Just don’t… I know you would have an explanation for what you did. It’s alright. I am not judging you, alright?”

Prathana didn’t know what to say; she just smiled.

“So, what’s happening in your life? Met any husband material.”

“hmm… difficult question… Amma and Appa are looking for the “husband material”, but I am not ready yet.”

“Why? Are you in love with someone?” Prathana didn’t want to answer that.

“Uh… Me? No…”

“What do you think of Gouri. Remember what we used to say back when we were kids? I will only marry a girl if you say okay first. Remember?”

“Mhm… I do remember.” she smiled, remembering the silly promises they made back then. “I like her. She is pretty, smart and has long hair like you always wanted to be.”

He just sighed. Gouri came back by then.

“Did I miss anything?”

“He was just saying how much he likes you.”


“I think we should order something to eat now. I am starving,” said Naveen.

Time went slowly. They talked about what was happening in their lives. They had two years to catch up. She was happy that he found somebody as crazy as he is. When it was time to go, they hugged each other, “I hope you don’t disappear again.”

“I promise I won’t.”

Gouri hugged her as well and said; she had the most wonderful time with her. They exchanged number to be in touch.

“I will call you whenever I am back in Mumbai. We girls can have some shopping together.”

“Sure, why not?”

Acha bye. Getting late for the flight. Call us whenever you visit Bangalore. Okie?”

Naveen and Gouri got into the Uber they booked. Prathana stayed there and watched them go. She looked at the time; it was nearly 7 pm. The last bus to her place was at 7.15 pm. She rushed to the bus stop; luckily, she reached there on time. She got into the bus and secured her place at the window seat. Somehow she felt the burden slowly leaving her chest. All she ever wanted was his happiness, and he was happy and what’s more there to wish for?

She smiled as the wind slowly touched her hair. This time she didn’t have any regrets nor tears. This time she was healed.

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