“Hey, Hi! Do you wanna play?” asked Neha to her neighbor.
Neha and Dishant, her neighbor, knew about each other’s presence since early childhood. Both were of the same age, same class, same stream but different schools and then, college. They were never friends. As a child, Dishant was an introvert and never interacted with the kids in the neighborhood. He had confided himself within the four walls of his house whereas Neha was an ambivert. She had a bunch of friends who played with her every evening. It was once or twice when both played with each other.
As time passed, all friends grew up and became distant friends. It was, as if, growing up changed their friendship. Though Neha and her friends grew up together their friendship was never the same. Everyone fell apart and became busy with their lives. Neha, whenever found time, loved to play with her younger siblings and their friends.
One day, when Dishant was standing outside his home, watching Neha’s game of badminton, she asked, “Hey, Hi! Do you wanna play?”
Confused at first, Dishant didn’t know what to answer. It was a sweet gesture but, it was the first time, as far as he remembered, that Neha was calling him. He thought of denying it but said otherwise. Both played a game. But none of them initiated any kind of conversation.
Next day, Dishant was waiting for Neha to come out and play. Being busy with assignments and work, Neha restricted herself to her books and phone.
Few days passed and there was no commotion.
After a week, Dishant saw Neha playing badminton with her youngest brother. So, he went up to her and asked if he could join the game. Neha welcomed him warmly.
“Thank you,” said Dishant.
“For what?” enquired Neha.
“For letting me play with you.”
“Oh, about that! Well, friends can do this much. It’s not a big deal.”
“Friends! Yeah, right.. so, are we friends?”
There was an awkward silence.
Soon, Neha’s mother called her in for dinner.
“Sorry, I have to go. We will play tomorrow.”
“Sure. No issues. Good night.”
Bidding goodbye, Neha went inside. She could feel something jumping up and down in her stomach. She thought it was because of starvation, so, she started stuffing food. Later that night, when she was thinking about her little and weird conversation, she could feel the weird sensations.
Next day, Dishant was out with his dog, waiting for Neha. When Neha came out, her cynophobia made her scream at the top of her lungs, immediately, ran inside her home and shut the doors. Dishant tried to calm her down, but, his efforts went in vain. Neha was so afraid that she didn’t dare to open the gates of her home. Amused with the situation, Dishant stood there, smiling and enjoying the scene. He then, sent his dog back to the home and called Neha out. He was laughing hard, it was the first time when Neha saw him laughing freely. She was proud of being the reason behind his laugh.
The days passed, Dishant helped Neha in overcoming her fear of dogs. Gradually, she came to like his dog as well as his company. She often felt butterflies whenever she thought about Dishant. Whenever, Dishant was with Neha, he felt as if he was on cloud nine. Everything seemed to be working out for them. Both were falling hard for each other but were not ready to acknowledge these giddy feelings.
Dishant went on a family trip for a week. It was a sudden plan and he didn’t get the time to tell Neha about it. Unfortunately, he forgot his mobile at home, so, couldn’t call or text. Neha, for the first time, felt the vulnerability of losing Dishant. She tried calling his phone but initially, no one answered and after a day, it was switched off, she was missing him, his dog and his company. Helpless Dishant was too missing her. He wished to contact her for once. On the last day, he was desperate to return back home. Defeated by the overpowering love, he decided to confess about his feelings.
It was little past midnight when Neha heard the sound of a bus coming to a halt outside her house. Inquisitive to know the purpose of it’s presence, she peeped outside through a window. Due to bright headlights of the bus, she was unable to see anyone. Killing her curiosity, she lied down back on her bed, she was still thinking about Dishant. She hoped to see him soon.
Suddenly her phone beeped, it was Dishant’s call. She immediately picked up the call but said nothing. Both were silent and listening to each other’s sound of breathe. It was a treat for both.
After a moment…
“Hello, Neha?” asked Dishant.
“Neha, I missed you a lot. I am sorry. Please, say something, Neha…”
Dishant was feeling helpless. He ran out of his home and now standing in front of her house.
“Can you please come out of your house. Please, I am outside your house. Please Neha. I know I am at fault. I am sorry. Please Neha.”
She cut the phone and sneaked out of her home. When she saw Dishant, she wanted to cry, wanted to hug him and never let him go but she controlled her urges. She had questions brimming in her mind.
“Oh hello ! Why should I say something? Who am I? Did you tell me about your sudden disappearance?? No, so, don’t except me to say anything. I don’t wanna talk. I don’t know, why did I pick up your call. Anyway, good bye. I am not interested in talking to you anymore…..”
“I love you.”
Lost in her anger, she didn’t pay attention to his words.
” No, no, no… Don’t tell me these words. I don’t know you. ”
“Neha, listen to me.”
“No, why should I listen to you? Don’t be sorry. There’s no need to tell me anything. Just go wherever you want to go.”
“Neha, I love you.” said Dishant emphasising each word.
“Why are you being sor… Wait, what? What did you just say?”
“I love you.”
“Are you sure?”
“Damn sure… I can say this thousand times. Neha, I love you. Infact, I really mean it.”
“You can’t do this to me…. ” Neha was crying, her mixed emotions were flowing out. She covered her face with her hands.
“No, you can’t say these words. One day, you entered in my life, make me fall in love with you, then, you were suddenly disappeared that too for a whole week, whole damn week. And now, you are confessing your love. No, you can’t do this. This is not the way to confess.”
Removing Neha’s hands from her face, “Neha, look at me. Neha.”
She still had teardrops as big as pearls in her eyes, but, somehow, opened her eyes.
” First of all, I am sorry. It was a family trip planned suddenly. I wanted to tell you but my phone was at home. I didn’t remember your number, so, couldn’t contact you.
Secondly, I missed you a lot. I know this sounds cheesy but I am very serious, these seven days felt like seventy years. I missed you so much.
And lastly, I wanted to confess my feelings in a special way but you didn’t answer me on call. I couldn’t control myself and ran out. I love you a lot. I really do.”
It was a lot info for Neha, she took her time to let this info settle in.
“I am sorry, I made you worried. You must be tired after your journey. Go, get some sleep, good night.”
“Neha, that’s it?? Say something, anything. Look at me, I was never daring enough to say anything but, here I am, saying tons of things and you, who doesn’t keep anything in, is silent. This is not done. Say something, please….” Dishant was pleading, he wanted to know Neha’s feelings.
“So, what do you want me to say! I love you. Yes, I do love you. But, look, where we are… We are in the middle of street at 2 am or so and you want me to confess my undying love to you just like you did. Great, then, listen carefully, I love you Dishant. I really really love you and I missed you like hell… ”
Neha was in tears again but this time Dishant held her in his arms promising to secure his shoulder only for her.
This is not an ending but a beautiful beginning towards a relationship that will make it endure through thick and thin.