GUT WRENCHING PUNCH

He checked his mobile. Stared at the blinking “11:40 P.M” at the lock screen and flipped it aside.

“Seriously??” he sighed and brought his head resting on his knees.

He knew they weren’t talking. Was not told why but didn’t mind. He knew it was coming. If she wouldn’t have done it, maybe at some point he himself would have taken similar step. This acceptance was a silent nod to her decision, which could have easily been his. It’s been not so long though. B’days have always been overrated. He was not that much into celebrating. But he did hope for the call. He had a chat with his bestie the other night. Told him about this inkling of his. This premonition of a ruined day ahead. And his bestie didn’t leave a stone unturned to prove him wrong. Nor his other friends. But heart wants what it wants.

He tried the laptop this time. “11:42 P.M” popped up at the bottom right corner of the screen.

He couldn’t help but curse under his breath. “Damn it! Why the time is running so slow? Why isn’t it past 12 already?” He was fed up of waiting for the call or a message anywhere across hundreds of platforms humans have invented to connect with each other. It’s silly how this increase in number, just strengthens the unnecessary voice of optimism inside a rationally sound man. As if optimism needs any support. Hopeless optimism in itself is a viral disaster. He was trying to curb it with the shots of realism. Practicality. And with the passing time, he felt it under control. He now just wished the time to pass, so that he could move to the next phase pass 12, of blocking his brain for a bit.

He reached for his mobile again to check time. It rang.

The name was not the one his eyes have been waiting for day long. It was his *bestie.

“Haan bol.” he picked up his mobile and answered trying not to sound disappointed. “Kuch nahi yaar. Socha last me bhi mai hi wish karu.” came an elated voice from the other end. Its been years since he wished him first. It does sound childish, but people do care who wished them first. And please, sometimes try to fix it up too..

He smiled. Happiness could be infectious too. “Go Ahead.”

“Wait, there’s someone else on the line”, and the voice changed into a female one. “Hello..”

His heart skipped a beat. “It’s her!” His mind screamed with ecstasy. “She did call! So they planned it up. Idiots! I had this feeling that something’s fishy!” It didn’t even last a second. Suddenly his excitement turned into anger. Not calling for so long and pulling a stunt like this, when he has been waiting all day! He cut the call.

His mobile screen flashed the name of his bestie 8 times in the next 15 odd minutes. He sat there looking at the watch waiting eagerly for the hands to walk past 12. He promised himself that after pulling such a stunt he won’t allow her the satisfaction of the succession of her plan. He won’t allow her to wish him before 12. Childish.

And the clock struck 12. The mobile rang again. It was time. He picked it up.

“Hello? Why did you cut the phone?” came a surprised voice from the other end. “I didn’t. Network error maybe.”

“And why didn’t you answer the next 8 times I called?” questioned his *bestie. “Umm.. I think it didn’t connect.”

“And it did automatically past 12?” the voice at the other sounded a bit angry which suddenly changed into surprise. “Whom did you think the other voice was?”

This question suddenly alarmed him. “Whom?”

“Don’t tell me! You ended the call after you heard the girl saying hello. It wan’t her you idiot! She was my colleague.”

He reached for words and found empty air coming out from his mouth. His lips were not making any sensible shapes now. The voice of his *bestie woke him up. “You managed to make your premonitions true.”

“Sorry yaar. Bring your colleague on the conference please.” he replied while deciding what story to spin. He had a nice conversation with her, apologising for the disconnection and thanking for her belated wishes. He said good night to his *bestie, who asked him to take care.

His room was filled with absolute silence. Eerie atmosphere. He never self pitied, but what happened a few minutes ago made him not only pity himself, but he could swear that he heard something breaking inside him. Like the shattering of a glass. He described the incident as the gut wrenching punch, twisted till the end.

He lied down on his bed staring at the ceiling. Few minutes later, his eyes were still focused on the ceiling but his mind had wandered down to her. He could see himself standing outside the window to her room, trying to peek in just to find, was it that easy for her to say nothing? He could see her sitting on her bed, face down with head rested on her knees. Couldn’t figure out how she felt.

He had two options. Either to think she did it purposefully and it didn’t bother her. Or that she did it purposefully and was as hurt as he was. He made his choice and closed his eyes.

Want to know what choice he made?

It changes every night.

Whatever makes it easier for him to sleep.

*bestie = Best Friend

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