Four days into the New Year and Aditya’s cell phone still beeped with all those greeting messages pouring in. He was never a fan of the New Year. To him, it was simply a change of the date in the calendar which people needlessly made a fuss about. Not only that, each year he nonchalantly deleted the messages that came in to wish him for the year, without even bothering to look at them. But this time, he took the pain to look at each incoming message with a hope to receive one from her. But everytime a name other than hers displayed on his cell phone screen, he felt disappointed.
It had been a week since Aditya last saw Kashish at her apartment. Since the time he left her flat, neither he received a call from her nor a text. Her silence and absolute cut out from his life made him restless. The nightmares of him being lost and chased in the dense forest began to reoccur. He didn’t want to go back to his psychiatrist for he believed he could handle the blow of losing the last important person of his life, all alone. But with each passing day, his belief began to waiver.
Here he was now, at his usual coffee shop, sipping on his black coffee and engrossing himself in those lines of codes that displayed on his laptop screen. It was when he was just about to compile the code, that someone shut the laptop lid down. He looked up in anger and the sight that stood right in front of him, made him go speechless.
‘Hi!’ Kashish said, as she took the chair opposite to him.
‘What are you doing here?’ He asked with indifference. Though a huge part of him was relieved to see her, he portrayed an indifferent persona to not seem weak.
‘I wanted to talk to you.’
‘After over a week of keeping me hanging?’
‘Yes.’ She said, ‘And I would like to begin by saying that I am sorry.’
‘Your sorry won’t give us back our lost eight days.’
‘But it would surely suffice the coming days of our future.’
He looked at her intensely and heaved a deep sigh, ‘Shoot.’
‘I know, I took quite some days but now I am sorted enough to know what I want.’
‘And what is it that you want?’
She paused for a moment and said, ‘To take one more chance at life, and love.’
‘So, you are ready to accept that I can love two entirely different kinds of people at different times of my life?’
‘I don’t know.’ She said, ‘All I know is that you love me now. It’s all that matters.’
‘Are you sure you are ready to leave Kaya behind and move ahead with us?’ He asked, feeling peace within his otherwise raging insides.
She took a while to be sure of her own self. When she knew that she was, she spoke those words. ‘Yes, I am.’
There was a complete silence between them for several moments that followed. None of them found the words to say next. If anything, they were surprised and amazed at how things had turned between them. They hadn’t seen it coming all these years. They hadn’t even pondered over the possibilities of being together as anything but friends. But yet, here they were now – important to each other and in love. After all, life is unpredictable. It changes its course when we least expect it to. But this time, the course their life took came as a pleasant surprise as against the hardships they had gone through in the past.
After being with all the wrong ones, in some corner of their heart, they felt that they were right. Right for each other, and right together.
‘So, what next?’ Aditya asked, breaking the awkward silence.
‘What you mean by what next?’ She hesitated equally.
‘I mean how should we proceed?’ He cleared his throat, ‘Are we in a relationship now?’
She laughed at his discomfort, ‘I assume we are.’
‘You don’t make fun of me, okay? I am just nervous. This was unexpected, whatever is happening.’
‘For me too.’
‘Yeah.’ She bit her lower lip, ‘Shall we go to the beach?’
‘Now? It’s dark already.’
‘But I want to feel the fresh breeze and be under the starry sky. It’s a special day after all.’
‘Then I assume the days of giving in to your requests have come.’ He said, getting up. ‘Let’s go to the beach.’
She smiled as she stood up to join him.
‘By the way, how did you know I would be here?’ He asked as they walked out of the coffee shop.
‘I know you since eight years now, Adi.’ She said, ‘I know you need black coffee and any random problem to code when you are unsorted or sad. And what could be the best place for it but this?’
‘Alright, I get it that you know me well.’
‘But what I didn’t know was that I am important enough for you to be dedicated your black coffee of unsortedness.’ She said with a wicked smile on her face.
He narrowed his eyes at her, ‘You want me to say that you are important, then here it is. You are important to me, Kash.’
She smiled wide, ‘Yay!’
‘Stop gloating now.’
She frowned, ‘How about you stop being an asshole?’
‘That’s possible if only you stop being stupid.’
She hit his arm. ‘Asshole.’
‘Since birth.’ He winked.
As they stood on the beach, with water touching their feet, under the starry sky, they felt at peace. They felt complete. Aditya wrapped his arms around Kashish, while she rested her head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat that roared louder than the waves that came crashing.
‘We haven’t said it to each other yet.’ She whispered against his chest.
Understanding what she meant, he said. ‘You say first.’
She looked up to meet his eyes, ‘I love you.’
He took a deep breath. He felt delighted for nobody ever said those precious words to him like Kashish did that moment. She had said those words with so much conviction and honesty.
‘Your turn now.’ She said, expectantly looking at him.
He nodded a no and said, ‘Some other time.’
She narrowed her eyes at him, ‘You bloody son of a…’
Before she could complete her lashing, Aditya pulled her into a deep, heartfelt kiss. Letting go of her a moment later, he looked deep into her eyes and said, ‘I love you more, Kash.’
She bit her lips coyly and hugged him hard. He hugged her back and kissed on her head.
And just that way, a new story began that evening only to be imprinted on the new pages of their life diaries.
“Life is as unexpected as a magician’s hat. We never know the next thing that would sprawl out of it. But isn’t that the point and beauty of it? The anticipation of the unknown? Then why do we fear the uncertainty? Yes, the show isn’t going to be perfect for its entire runtime. At times the tricks are going to fail, some other times they might not work at all. But that’s not how the show ends. It ends when the best trick has been pulled, when the hall is filled with applause, and when the magician is overwhelmed with pride as he sees the curtains fall. The only need to reach that end is to take one more chance – at failure, at hope, and at life, eventually completing the pages of our life diaries.”