I was standing six feet away from the edge of a deep trench. I had a piece of paper in my hand. It wasn’t blank; it had something written on it. The writing was not mine but it was a familiar one. I saw few numbers scribbled on the paper “4:44”. The dream continued in the Eastman colors and suddenly she appeared! She was standing few inches away from me. She was my ex-girlfriend “Riddhi”! I was chasing her throughout the dream but she was just running away. I asked her to stop and answer the pool of questions I have been keeping in my head since we broke up four years back. But she ignored all of it; she wasn’t willing to answer. Suddenly, the beautiful scene turned scary when I bumped onto a stone and was about to fall in a pit full of weird stuff! I woke up, gasping for air and with sweat on my forehead. I sipped few gulps of water and stared at the clock. I saw the numbers on my digital clock as 4:44. I have been seeing this number for the third time in the last three days in dream as well as for real. Out of curiosity I ran it through google and the results I found astonished me. It is called as “Angel number”. It indicated as an awakening, a transformation in one’s life. I wondered what it could be. Anyways, I felt relaxed on realising it was just a dream. There was hardly any time left when my alarm was about to ring. So I decided to come out of the bed. A week long journey was waiting for me, meeting old friends. I was mostly thrilled about this meet as she would also surely be there and finally I would get the closure if not the answers I wanted for all that happened between us.
It was still dark when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi airport. The early morning air of February was pleasantly cold.
I was travelling to Bengaluru to attend a college friend’s wedding. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. This wedding was also going to be a reunion of our batch mates. But what I didn’t know was that the reunion would begin much ahead of time; right in the queue in front of the airline counter. I was almost sure it was her. Same height! Same long hair! Same dressing style! Curiosity had my eyes glued to her. And then about 60-odd seconds later, when she turned back, she proved me right. My ex-girlfriend stood ten places ahead of me in that queue. We had never met after the college farewell.(The italic lines are lines from an author in TOI write India contest)
“Oh my god”, that was my first reaction. Though I had prepared a whole paragraph to say to her in case we met in the future but on sighting her for real, my memory became hazy. I tried to camouflage so that she doesn’t see me. Just when I thought I’m over her. There she stood in front of me. I had no idea whether I should just pop in front of her with a casual “Hi” or should wait for her to start. My ego wasn’t letting me to start first and why would I? She was the one who dumped me and broke my heart. Getting over her cost me endless sleepless nights, alcoholism and then finally a rebound affair. And to add to my miseries, an announcement was made. Bengaluru flights have been delayed by 6 hours due to heavy fog. Now situation was worse. And with the announcement been made I got an idea that sooner or later we are going to bump against each other. I wanted things to be natural so for a while I halted this chain of thoughts and concentrated on the novel I had brought with myself. Then after half an hour, I heard a voice “Sameer”. I looked up she was standing in front me. I tried looking surprised but she was the one who was wearing that sweet surprised smile of hers and I was the one with odd confused-looking one. I checked for “the ring” on her finger. And to my relief there was none. I was a bit relaxed. If anyone was to get married first between us it would be me. I told her that I was also going to the wedding. And then we went to the coffee house to sip some coffee. I had no idea how to talk to her as we hadn’t talk after our breakup. Then I asked something weird. “Are u single?”She was like “What?…Are you hitting on me?”I nodded in defiance.
“Ya I’m single. But don’t be flattered. I have been with two guys after we broke up”,she bragged.
“Oh really..I had also had like 3 girlfriends”, I exaggerated.
“Can we just keep past as past and move on. I don’t want to ruin the fun at the wedding so can we try having peace”. She suggested.
Our flight had been rescheduled after 6 hours till then we had nothing to do.
I always had two questions to ask her. “Where did it go wrong? Why did she dump me?” But this wasn’t the right time to ask as she already made it very clear that we don’t talk about the past issues and spoil the fun. We were glued to the cafe chairs for an hour now, had finished two king-size cappuccinos. Her phone rang and for like next twenty-five minutes and she was talking, giggling. May be it was her boyfriend on the other side. Why did I care! And I also got indulged pretending as if I was texting. I could still feel some spark between us in spite of being away from each other for so long. A part of me still longed for her. But there was no way we could fit together as with time we both have surely outgrown each other. She was my high school sweetheart. How could I forget how I felt our relationship survived and sustained even the steepest of ups and downs in the college era? But I could never understand why on earth she dumped me and that too on the farewell day. I don’t know why she chose that day! I worked out various theories and concluded so that she could bid me goodbye for now and forever. She has always been bossy. Always bossing me around, just announcing what she wanted to say and seldom heard me out. I somewhere knew that this will not work but still I put myself through that situation in a hope that things might work out, but that didn’t happen.
Then my phone rang for real and led me out of this chain of thoughts. It was my mother. I didn’t want my mother to hear her voice, so kept the phone close to my face covering with my hand. Riddhi was always a curious mouse and my act somehow caught her attention and now her eyes rested on me. Then she spoke “I thought you will never get over me.”Then there was a lot of flirting from her side as if she didn’t want me to move on. And as I had also some feelings cornered for her, I reciprocated. And that long time just flew by and we heard the announcement about our rescheduled flight. We both were too tired and dozed off as soon as we sat down in our seats and when woke up we had already reached our destination.
We both shared a taxi and reached our friend’s home. All of our friends were already there and anxiously waiting for us and not to mention, quiet shocked to see both of us arriviing together. For a while they got a notion that we were back together. Although I liked the idea but I cleared it soon enough and explained what happened. Then throughout the wedding ceremonies I tried to reinstate our relationship as being with her in such a romantic ambience brought out the old feelings, I once claimed were grounded for good. I tried to an extent that to refresh the old memories in a pre wedding photo shoot I wore the same outfit that I wore on my farewell’s day. I was surprised to know that it was still a snug fit. But she hardly noticed me and was flirting to one of our batch mate’s cousin. She didn’t see me coming. I was disappointed and to be precise “jealous”. I remained absent throughout the ceremony, put some cigarettes in my pocket and went to a solitary place to smoke it out. When I reached for the cigarettes, I also found a piece of paper. I could not recollect putting it there today and this was the first time I wore it after the break up day. It suddenly strikes me; it would have been there since the day Riddhi broke up with me. I opened it quickly and on seeing it I remembered my earlier dream. It was Riddhi’s writing.
When I finished reading it, I was numb for full ten minutes. I was suddenly standing in my farewell. Brain wise, I was the smartest guy in my batch so I was supposed to get the best package in the campus interviews. But luck didn’t favour and so did few other situations and I settled for the lowest package. I was disappointed but for me something was better than nothing. Riddhi didn’t even sit for interviews and as I recall, earlier she told me she wanted to pursue further studies and didn’t want to get tempted if she gets a good package. But after reading the letter I got to know the reason she broke up with me was that she expected I would get highest paying package and she now don’t see the future with me. And she wanted to settle as soon as we finished college. She didn’t want to waste her life working but loiter and have fun.
This letter opened my eyes. Had I discovered it four years back, I would have thought of leaving the package I got and without a job tried endlessly for a job that would suit her desires. I would have convinced her to reconcile and give it a second thought, cried and even pleaded without a tinge of self-esteem. She on the other hand would have made fortune out of my earnings! Although I didn’t get much at my first job but I learned a lot and had less workload which gave me enough time for the things in my bucket list! It all made sense to me now. Getting this four years later when I was a strong full grown tree and not a tiny fragile sapling was indeed god’s plan of keeping me away from a “materialistically selfish” companionship.
I could now see more clearly than I ever could. I rushed back to the wedding premises. She noticed me coming. She tried putting her hand on mine. I pulled back immediately. I told her it was good that I met her here. I got the closure I always wanted. To my surprise I also got the answers. They were aging in my suit’s pocket for four years now. Just as wine, aging of this letter made the letter clearer, more sensible and safer for me to take a gulp and not throw up. I told her I always loved the idea of her and not the person she actually was. My words didn’t bother her much and she went back to the one she was flirting earlier. But it all changed for me and with the letter in my hand I marched away from her, just like a soldier who returns victorious from the battlefield!