What on earth was he thinking?! He had a girlfriend and she was going with him to the movies; so what more did he even want? ‘In what damn way does it matter if I came along or not; not like he was going to leave her and be with me all time!’ Agastha thought. ‘He is nuts!’
Now somewhere deep within Agastha liked what he said to her but being practical, he was seriously crazy. And then the next thing Abhinav did, swept her off her feet. As Agastha spoke to her friends regarding the movie, Abhinav got closer to her, laying his hand on her right shoulder and flipping her hair behind, beginning to play with her earring saying, “Please come with me for the movie.” Surprised Agastha had nothing to say in return apart from just returning a smile; when just then one of the boys caught his action. “Bastard! Get your hands off her man! You have a girlfriend. Don’t forget”.
Agastha cracked up in laughter because she felt embarrassed and maybe Abhinav did too. She saw his face turn red. Maybe his eyes didn’t like what happened but then it’s a part of nature to just go with the flow and that is what they both did. Abhinav shrugged himself off returning some slang back as a cover up, after all he was a boy; and walked his girlfriend back to her class.
Sometimes Agastha would randomly talk over the whole feelings topic because it bothered her and she needed to get it out of her system. And the more she tried, the more she fell in love!
One night, in some random texting, Abhinav confessed that he couldn’t get his eyes off Agastha, the first time they met at the tuitions. Dumbstruck again, Agastha was happy because at last she got to know that he noticed her too. He seemed to clean bowl her most of the time and the wicket falls in such ways that even the third umpire would have no choice than to say “OUT”! Agastha had vague example to explain her situations and this was one of the best she could relate to.
It’s all unsaid and faint between them. Somewhere a connection was building up. The connection got stronger with the time they’d spend together just as “friends”. Agastha got attached slowly and she knew Abhinav was resisting because his hands were tied. Agastha was totally okay with it. She couldn’t expect him to fall for her in the slightest ray of hope because it would lead them to a lot of mess.
She respected his feelings in whatever way they were present for her and all she wanted was for him to be there beside her – whether it was as friendship or more). Seeing him every day was like an important part of the day, more like oxygen needed to survive and that was merely enough. If he couldn’t make a conversation or even say a “Hi”, it was alright because what really mattered was, ‘he noticed’. All these inner feelings mostly stayed with Agastha as her little personal secret and sometimes when she felt the utmost need to speak it out, Shazi would know then!
Time passed by; from April to May end, the ideal time for vacations. Summers are usually boiling hot in the Middle East, so it’s a break for everyone. Agastha learnt that Abhinav was leaving on vacation one week earlier than the rest of the school; and she seriously didn’t like that part at all.
So during one of the classes she sent him a text to meet before he left as he had not come to school that day and apparently his flight was the following morning! Maybe he found this inappropriate; hence he denied coming. Agastha left abandoned the conversation and allowed gloominess to take over the remaining day. Shazi told her that it’s okay and stuff because these things shouldn’t matter to her. Yet she was upset. Feelings have a weird way of conveying messages. They usually work in reverse to the mind; same as what was happening with Agastha.
In a weary conversation with Shazi, Agastha recalls her saying, “Abhinav will come” while she kept contradicting Shazi’s statement on the same. In the most aggressive tone, Shazi then made a very impactful statement, “If there is the slightest of feelings from his side for you, he will come.”
Agastha laughed, “Funny but trust me that will not happen!” because she knew how their situation was. And all she got in response was, “we’ll see”.
During the recess everyone walked out of the class, but Shazi storm back inside with a smile yelling on top of her voice, “He came!” And that lit Agastha’s face like a 440 volt bulb! She didn’t know how to react; except ‘Clean bowled again’ she thought.
“See I told you, he will come”, Shazi said.
Agastha smiled. Abhinav entered the classroom and Agastha walks out. When she returns back in 10mins, Megha is sitting beside him, holding his hand with a big smile on her face to express her happiness on seeing him there; but not worrying about the fact that she was there, Abhinav looks at Agastha in the eye saying, “I came”. Agastha was like, “uh…hi” And yet again he said, “I came” And again she said, “Hi” And yet again in bold language he says, “I C.A.M.E.” And in bold language Agastha said, “H.I.” With a lot of strain in her voice she walked away. ‘How silly is he?’ she thought. ‘In front of Megha and the group he’s telling me he’s come; such an embarrassment’. She looked at them sitting on the desks, chatting away and in slight despair hope it could be her there with him. Shrugging her emotions over the counter, she continued her talks with her group of friends.
Abhinav dropped Megha to her class 5mins before the recess got over. He walked towards Agastha. Usually she got cold feet when he came close to her. This time it was more than just cold feet. Abhinav closed in to Agastha right against the wall near the classroom door; he held her hand, “I’ll miss you” and as he gets closer, the recess bell goes off. Agastha sees their English professor walk down the stairs towards the class. Pushing Abhinav away, she says, “I miss you too”. Rushing inside the classroom with a smile speaking for her, Agastha’s day was definitely going to be better than anyone else there. That moment was one sweet memory. It still brings in a smile on her face when she talks about it.
It’s a week left for school to finish and as per Abhinav’s instructions, Agastha needed to get a yahoo mail ID so that they could keep in touch. After insisting for it at home with great nagging, it’s done! The days in school seemed so dull and it was as if time didn’t want to pass by. Two days later, Steffi; Megha’s close friend, begins to throw tantrums at Agastha. As confused as she could be, Agastha spoke to Shazi about this and came to know that everyone had a doubt about something going on between Abhinav and her. She blatantly denied it. Steffi persisted on conversations to know more. She tried hard to dig deep. But Agastha stood her ground. She didn’t agree to any allegation at all because there was actually nothing between Abhinav and herself.
Each day that went by of that one week remaining for summer break, was like a mini nightmare. Every day the same questions would be raised; so much so that people began looking at Agastha as a monster. Even those people who Agastha barely knew and who barely knew Agastha. After all it was the reputation of the stud boy and his girlfriend; so anyone who came in between technically would be looked upon as a monster. Agastha battled it. She didn’t budge an inch from what she thought and didn’t bow down to anyone’s inquiries.
Finally summer break was on, and Agastha had days to count until they were back to school; back to Abhinav and also back to all the controversies.
Little did Agastha know that from this vacation on, everything was going to change for her! Maybe for better or worse, it was going to inscribe a memory she wouldn’t be able to erase.
– Adelene Coelho