“Shweta look at him, he is so hot and he is looking your way, why don’t you go and talk to him?” my friend whispered into my ears. Can she make it any more obvious I thought! Giving exasperated sigh I get up to get myself a cup of coffee. Working in a law firm can be quite tedious with the amount of paper work one has to do. I just prayed to the sweet heaven up there that my colleague slash forced friend chooses to be quiet today. I am really not in the mood to mingle around. It’s not even a year since I went through a nasty divorce and here she is trying to fix me up with someone. I guess god up there was on a holiday because Sneha followed me to the coffee machine, giving me those puppy dog looks. I don’t think she is going to give up anytime soon so determined I turn to snap at her but instead I am left stunned looking at the person I did not half expect to see there. The hot fellow that Sneha was talking about, he is new in the office. I don’t realize I am frowning at the poor fellow until he had this question mark on his face as if asking what I have done to receive that look. Curse my friend’s antiques I am already proving myself to be mad. I fill my cup of coffee; I excuse myself as I give him a tight lipped smile and make my way towards my cubicle. I am not even halfway through the day and a headache is already budding, just great! Sneha gives me a sheepish look as if to gauge my mood and then slowly asks me “how did it go?” “Look Sneha I really appreciate your kindness but just not this okay? I am not ready, I want to clear the mess my life is right now. So please just layoff” I blurted, as my temper got the best of my tongue. I immediately regretted it when I saw her face fell as she mumbled a sorry and got back to staring at her computer screen.
Robotically I finish the work I was assigned for the day and when the clock strikes 7:00 pm I am off my chair, clearing my desk as I turn off the computer and arrange the files for the next day. At 7:05 I am out of that place juggling my keys to start the car. Driving through the lanes of Mumbai the place I grew up in, I am lost in thought, I know it is not very responsible of me to do so but with events that unfolded today I was helpless. I decide to treat myself with an ice- cream as I see the naturals board all lighted up. I park my car and walk into the store, the sweet smell of ice cream cones mixed with air conditioner smell hits my nostrils, believe me air conditioner has a smell! My stomach grumbled at the sight of delicious flavors displayed in front of me and the smell wasn’t helping me one bit. I ordered my usual chocolate chip in a cup and sat on the table in a corner. While I was devouring the ice cream I thought of times I came to this place and sat on the very same table. This place was a usual hangout spot for me and Kabir since college. I don’t know whether I treated myself to the ice cream or the memories this place gave me. This place has witnessed so many arguments, sweet gestures and clumsy actions. Kabir always teased me for the fact that I could never have an ice- cream from the cone without spilling it. We laughed at my clumsiness together; we were the partners in crime, best friends and then a couple-husband and wife. We were together since school so it was pretty normal for us to end up the way we did like a cliché romantic novel married and happily ever after. So it was a shock when I came home with two suitcases all by myself from LA without prior notice to my parents.
After marriage we settled in LA, we both had a good job there and opportunities for growth. After few months of our settlement Kabir lost his job, the reason is still unknown to me. And that was the only thing it took to change our happily ever after. From all cheesy romantic couple we went to the couple who is always fighting for something or the other. It did not happen overnight it was a slow process but it killed the spark between us. Since I was earning and he was at home he helped me with grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning, the work load in office increased which let to my slow withdrawal from house work. That is when his man ego came calling for him; the insecurity within him started cooking. We fought over little things like why I am late? Why did I make sandwiches for dinner when I promised biryani? They would appear to be grains of sand to the third person but can one filter it from water with naked hands? It is not that I did not try, god! I loved him. I still do and maybe always will but he fell out of love there was this seed of hatred growing within him, as he saw me as his competitor, someone who thinks he can do nothing. You can live with someone who does not love you but with someone who hates you? I could hold onto it no longer, might as well part our ways so at least someone is happy.
I walk out of the ice cream parlor with a smile on my face, reminiscing the times we spent always gave me the strength to go on. There were bitter ones too but the good ones overpowered those. I know I cannot love any other man like I loved him, just because we are not together so that we can have a peaceful life it does not mean Kabir means nothing to me.