Are You Happy?

man waiting at airport

IGI Airport, New Delhi – Day
She sees him sitting in the lounge, waiting for his flight. He is busy reading a book, but for some reason he raises his head to check the boarding announcement and finds her looking at him, his eyes froze. His heart skipped a beat, he stands stunned. She smiles. He tries too, to some extent. She walks towards him.
She: Hi.
He: Hey.
Both (together): How are you?
She giggles.
She: I am fine…good and you.
He: I am fine too.
She: So where are you going?
He: USA. Just some work.
She: Great.
He: Saw your profile pics. You seem to travel a lot with your husband.
She: Yeah, we have gone to many places.
He: You happy?
She: Yes.
He: Seems like he takes good care of you.
She: Yes he does.
He: Good. He is a lucky guy.
She: You aren’t dating? Or marrying?
She: It’s been 10 years since that time…you…
He: Hey I am getting late. I have to go.
She: OK.
He: You look good by the way.
She: Thanks.
He: See you then.
She: OK. Hey can I ask you one thing?
He: OK.
She: Are you happy?
He: No.
She: Why?
He: My happiness died the day you left me.
She: Sorry…
He: It’s okay. I am fine. I am really fine (holding back tears)…I..ha…ve to go. Bye…take care…
He hurriedly walks towards the elevator, wiping his tears. She stands there looking at him…

Seven Birthdays

Seventh birthday cake


9:30 AM

Phone ringing, Kanishk sees the screen, its unknown number.

Kanishk: Hello?

Unknown: Hello Kanishk?

Kanishk: Yeah, who is it?

Unknown: It’s Latika here…

Kanishk visibly elated, his heart racing. It has been nearly two weeks since he has seen Latika in the college and was waiting for a way to talk to her.

Latika(continued): Happy birthday Kanishk.

Kanishk: Thank you so much but how you got to know it’s my birthday.

Latika: Kanika told me, I got your number from her.

Kanishk: Yeah she called me earlier.

Latika: Oh…anyways enjoy your birthday. See you tomorrow at the college.

Kanishk: Yeah. Thanks again for calling. See you. Bye.

Kanishk hangs up the call. His heart filled with euphoria. He is grinning ear to ear.



12:03 AM

Phone ringing. Kanishk looks at the screen. It’s Latika. He smiles and takes up the call.

Kanishk: Lati, you are a whole three minutes late. Rahul was the first one to call.

Latika: Sorry Kanu, next time I will be the first.

Kanishk: It’s okay sweetie, you are always forgiven.

Latika: So what’s the plan for today?

Kanishk: Let’s meet at the college and then we will plan something.



11:56 PM

Phone rings and Kanishk picks it up instantly.

Latika: Happy birthday baby.

Kanishk: Thanks baby but it is still four minutes to my birthday, you are a bit early.

Latika: I know, I wanted to be the first.

Kanishk(playfully): Why?

Latika: Because nobody loves you more than me.

Kanishk: Really?

Latika: I love my baby more than anyone.

Kanishk: I know baby but where is my gift?

Latika: What do you want?

Kanishk: You.

Latika: Me? Where and how?

Kanishk: Here at my room ASAP….and unwrapped.

Latika: Unwrapped? Naughty boy. Ok, see you there baby. I am coming.



12:25 AM

Kanishk waiting impatiently near the phone. He checks the mobile screen every next second. Phone rings. It’s Irfan. He talks to him.

12:45 AM.

He finally gives in, dials Latika. The number is busy. Kanishk is furious.

One minute passed. Phone rings, it’s Latika.

Kanishk(shouting): Whom you were talking?

Latika: Why are you shouting? It was my sister.

Kanishk: You were busy with your sister at this time? Really?

Latika: Yeah, I talk to her every night.

Kanishk: Really? You guys weren’t even on talking terms a few days ago. Anyways, aren’t you supposed to call me tonight?

Latika: Why?…one minute…oh my god. I am so sorry baby…I am really sorry. Happy birthday baby.

Kanishk: It’s ok. It doesn’t matter now. Now you sleep, it’s too late. Your entrance exams are coming up. Don’t waste your time and focus on your goals.

Latika: I know baby. Thanks. I am sleeping now. Bye goodnight.

Kanishk hangs up the call. Looks at the mobile screen. Unsure of her words, his heart knows something is amiss.

Ten minutes passed. He opens his Whatsapp. Finds Latika still online. He dials Latika, the number is busy.

He calls Latika again, this time number is ringing. Latika picks up.

Kanishk: Whom you were talking now?

Latika: A friend.

Kanishk: Who?

Latika: You don’t know her.

Kanishk: I know all your friends, tell me her name.

Latika: She is an old school friend. You don’t know her.

Kanishk: Ok, just tell me her name.

Latika: I can’t.

Kanishk: You can’t or you won’t.

Latika: I can’t tell you.

Kanishk: Why? I am your boyfriend goddammit. Just tell me the name. Who is he?

Latika: You don’t trust me.

Kanishk: What? I am just asking you the goddamn name. Tell me his name.

Latika: No. I can’t talk to you now. I will call you tomorrow. Bye goodnight.

Kanishk: Don’t you hang up the phone. I am only asking you the name. Just tell me the name. Then you can hang up the phone.

Latika: You don’t trust me. I am sleeping now.

Kanishk is on the verge of exploding.

Kanishk: Just tell me the name and then you can sleep all you want.

Latika: You are not reasonable at all. I don’t think we should talk anymore.

Kanishk: What do you mean by we shouldn’t talk anymore? I am just asking you a name, you moron.

Latika: If I tell you the name, we won’t date anymore.

Kanishk: I don’t care. Just tell me the bloody name.

Latika: I am tired. I am feeling sleeping. Bye.

Kanishk: You can sleep all you want. Just tell me the f***ing name.

Latika: No.

Kanishk: No? Seriously? You know what. Just tell me the name and I will not call you again. You can break up with me.

Latika: No. I am sleeping.

Kanishk: One more no. I will f***ing kill myself. I want the name.

Latika: Let me sleep. Bye…

Kanishk loses it completely.

Kanishk: Listen sweetie…are you choosing a name over your boyfriend? Is that name that important to you?

Latika: You are not my boyfriend anymore.

Kanishk: Yes, yes, yes. I don’t care. I just want the name.

Latika: Rehan!

A silence of 10 seconds.

Kanishk: Rehan? Rehan who?

Latika: That is not your concern.

Kanishk: Yes it is my concern. I want to know about him. I am your boyfriend.

Latika: You are not my boyfriend anymore. We are just friends now.

Kanishk: No, I am not your friend. I love you.

Latika: But I don’t love you.

Kanishk: You are only mad. Tomorrow you will call me and everything will be normal again.

Latika: Sorry Kanishk but I don’t love you anymore. I can’t see you tomorrow or later.

Kanishk: Why? Do you love anyone else?

No response.

Latika: I am sleeping bye.

Kanishk: Don’t hang up the phone. Just tell me. Is it Rehan?

Latika: Bye Kanishk.

Kanishk: Just tell me if you are dating him.

Latika: Yes, I am dating him.

Kanishk is heartbroken. He is in tears.

Kanishk: When this happened? What was my fault? Where I go wrong?

Latika: You love me too much.

Kanishk: Is that my fault?

Latika. Yes. I don’t want to feel bounded. I want to be free and your love suffocates me.

Kanishk: Is that so?

Latika: Yes that is how it is…Sorry.

Kanishk: It’s ok…I won’t bother you again…Bye…Take care…and thanks for the birthday gift…

Kanishk wants to hang up the call but the wet fingers do not have the strength to press the keys. He still hopes Latika will tell him that all this was a joke, a birthday prank played perfectly by her and she still loves him, only him.

Latika hangs up the call. Kanishk looks to the screen. It’s 3:50 AM. Last call duration 2 hrs 50 minutes.



10:30 AM

Phone ringing. It’s Latika.

Kanishk: Hello Latika.

Latika: Hi Kanishk. Happy birthday.

Kanishk: Thank you.

Latika: How are you?

Kanishk: I am okay. You?

Latika: Great.

Kanishk: How your MBA going?

Latika: Good.

Kanishk: Still dating Rehan?

Latika: Yes.

Kanishk: Does he love you more than me?

Latika: Nobody can love me more than you.

Kanishk: So why you are with him not me?

Latika: You still love me that much?

Kanishk: Yes and always…

Latika: Don’t…please don’t love me. You are a great guy…perhaps the best. Move on. You will definitely get someone who will love you as passionately as you love me.

Kanishk: I don’t want anyone but you.

Latika: Sorry Kanishk, I am not made for you. Don’t wait for me.

Kanishk: I will always wait for you.

Latika: I will not call you again. Please don’t wait for me. Goodbye…take care.

Latika hangs up the call. Kanishk tries again, she doesn’t pick up. After 30 minutes and 35 tries, her phone gets switched off.



08:00 PM.

Phone ringing. It’s Latika. Kanishk takes up the call.

Kanishk: Hello.

Latika: Hi Kanishk, Happy birthday.

Kanishk: Thank you Latika. How are you?

Latika: I am good. How are you?

Kanishk: I am great.

Latika: What’s birthday boy doing? So who called you first today?

Kanishk: Sonali.

Latika: Yeah, I saw your Facebook photos. She is very pretty.

Kanishk: We are getting engaged next month.

Latika: Oh…that’s nice. You look happy with her.

Kanishk: Yes I am happy.

Latika: More than when you were with me?

Kanishk: No, not that happy but at least I won’t have my heart broken for loving someone too much.

Latika: I am sorry. I treated you really bad. You didn’t deserve so.

Kanishk: It’s ok. It was my fault. I should have noted that I am strangling you with my love.

Latika: No, it was not your fault. I was wrong. Sometimes, we realize the true value of something when we lose it.

Kanishk: Yeah…Can I expect your call on my next birthday to remind me that I am one more year older?

Both forced their laughs.

Latika: Yeah maybe.

Kanishk: Bye…Take care Lati

Latika: Yeah bye bab…Kanishk…



02:00 AM.

Phone rings. A message from an unknown number.

“Happy Birthday”




A Story Of Two Best Childhood Friends

Two best friends sitting

Sawan Public School, Pathankot.

Leo Negi, 6 is a new student in the class, he is shy and sits alone on the last bench. After the school, he enters school bus but nobody gives him a seat. Finally Pujlis Kumar, 7 offers him the seat beside him.
Pujlis: What’s your name?
Leo : Leo and yours?
Pujlis : Pujlis.
Leo : What kind of name is that?
Pujlis : I like it.
Leo : But I don’t, I will call you Pulis.
Pujlis : Ok.
From that day, they become inseparable.

09 years later.
Leo, 15 and Pujlis, 16 are choosing streams after 10th class boards.
Pujlis: So what you have opted?
Leo : Same as yours, commerce.
Pujlis : But you don’t like commerce.
Leo : Yes I don’t, but you don’t like arts. Don’t worry, with you around I don’t have to study it all.
After the school, they race their cycles to the shopping center in the city.
They don’t have any money. They just roam the streets looking at the expensive things, delicious items, and beautiful girls.
Leo and Pujlis admiring the fanciest restaurant in town, The Venky’s.
Leo : Hey look at that fancy restaurant, they must have many tasty dishes.
Pujlis : Yeah definitely!
Leo : And boy! Girls in there are really cute.
Pujlis (looking at that way, nods his head): Yes they surely are.
Leo(determined): You know Pulis , one day we will own this fancy restaurant and we will marry very cute girls.
Pujlis(equally excited): And we will have two kids each, they will go to the same school. They will play together and we will just sit in this restaurant all the time.
Leo : Yes Pulis my friend, we will do all that.

Read the Heart Break Cafe series for more stories about friendship.

Two years later.
Leo and Pujlis are giving 12th class boards. It’s Economics paper.
Leo : I don’t think I am going to clear this paper.
Pujlis : At least try the two marks questions, you would pass the paper.
Leo : I don’t know any of them, I have written only seven one marks questions and five of them seems wrong.
Pujlis takes his answer sheet and gives him his.
Leo : Oye what if invigilator would come?
Pujlis : Then we both get expelled.
Leo : What if the examiner matches our handwriting?
Pujlis : I know how you write. I have been doing your homework for a long time.

They pass the boards and take admission in a college. Leo continues to be a brat and Pujlis manages to score well in all semesters.
Pujlis and Leo standing in the corridor. Some junior girls are passing by.
Leo : Nice nah? Whom do you like?
Pujlis : Naah no one.
Leo : Come on, I know when you lie just tell me, which one?
Pujlis : That girl, wearing red, walking in front.
Leo : Nice. What’s her name?
Pujlis: Nidhi.
Leo: Let’s go and meet her.
Pujlis : No no I can’t, I won’t.
But Leo drags him anyway.
Leo : Hi Nidhi.
Nidhi: Hi.
Leo : Nidhi, my friend here thinks you are an idiot.
Nidhi: Why he thinks so?
Leo : Coz he thinks you are too beautiful to date a guy like him and would choose some stud who drives fast bikes or some fancy car.
Nidhi smiles.
Leo : Is it okay for you if you would go with him for a coffee to show him that he is an idiot to think so and you are an intelligent and smart girl who appreciates good intention?
Nidhi : Okay.
Leo : Okay then, he would see you after the lecture.

Pujlis and Nidhi start dating soon. They get married after graduation. Pujlis finds a high paying job in an MNC while Leo goes for modeling.
They meet after a couple of months.
Pujlis : So how’re things going for you?
Leo : Just ok.
Pujlis: Why don’t you try in our company, I have many contacts?
Leo : Naah I hate corporates. They are mean suckers.
Pujlis: Why are you wasting your time on these things, you can do great things?
Leo : Don’t worry, I would do something soon.
Pujlis : Yes I know you surely will.
Leo : Anyways why don’t you come to our Ladakh trip, we will have great fun.
Pujlis : I don’t get much time these days. Nidhi is pregnant, so you know I have to be there for her.
Leo : Ok.

Three years later.
Pujlis have two kids now. He is in top management of his company. Leo is still struggling. He has left modeling and joined photography.
They meet at a cafe.
Leo : Dude where the fuck are you these days? No messages, no calls reply, not even picking my phone. It has been almost a year since I last saw you.
Pujlis : Sorry yaar, you know I have two kids at the house and then this high pressure at the job, I don’t get any time.
Leo : You are not even coming to trips, and this time you even forgot my birthday. You used to have fun.
Pujlis : Sorry about that.
Leo : Don’t be sorry, friends never say sorry.

Six months later.
Pujlis is very busy, he is heading a new project in his company. Leo holds a photo exhibition and calls Pujlis but he couldn’t come.
They meet after few days.
Pujlis : Hey sorry, I couldn’t come to your exhibition, I had an important meeting.
Leo (Furious): How come your project was important, mine wasn’t?
Pujlis : Come on, it was a local exhibition, I had a multi-million dollar project in hand.
Leo : So you are comparing now.
Pujlis(tired and frustrated): You are just playing around. You still live like a college graduate. You flirt around, smoke, drink and go on trips. You don’t have a stable career and you are not serious. Get a life and grow up.
Leo : So you think I am still a kid and you are a grown up just because you have this fancy job and a family?
Pujlis : Yes I think so.
Leo : If that is so, yes I am still a kid and I don’t want to grow up.
Pujlis : I don’t have to argue with you. I have to go now. I am getting late.
Leo : Where you are going, you just came?
Pujlis : I don’t know about you, but I have a family waiting at home. I have to be with them.
Leo : I thought I was a part of your family.
Pujlis : Sorry, I am really tired today, I just have to go.
Leo: Why don’t you simply say that you don’t want to be friends anymore?
Pujlis: Let’s not talk about it right now, you are mad and I am quite tired of this shit.
Pujis is about to leave.
Leo : Wait, let me make things easier for you. Since you are this big hotshot and I am just nobody, you don’t need to meet me again. I am never calling or seeing you again.
Pujlis just stands there, he hasn’t expected this.
Leo wants to shake his hand and hug him before leaving, he comes forward but stops.
Leo : Goodbye old friend.
Leo leaves without looking at his face.

Leo leaves the country next week. They stopped talking and lost touch with each other. Years passed. Pujlis becomes the owner of an MNC. His kids are in college. One day he gets ill and is told by the doctor that his days are numbered. He wants to meet Leo for the last time. He tries to contact him but couldn’t find him with all his resources. He dies a few weeks later.

Several years later.
A very successful Leo comes back to the country. He visits the city and goes to Pujlis’ house where is informed that he has passed away a long time ago. Leo feels sad and guilty for not saying a proper goodbye.
He thought to roam around the city before leaving the country again. He goes back to old school, college and streets where he and Pujlis used to roam as kids. All those wonderful old days make him nostalgic. He then crosses the fancy restaurant he and Pujlis want to own when they were young.
He reads the board it says, Leo’s Dream.
He gets curious and goes inside and asks the manager.

Leo: Excuse me, who is the owner here?
Manager: Sorry sir they are not around.
Leo: Where are they?
Manager: Sir, Mr. Pujlis died some time ago and his partner some guy called Leo Negi never visits this restaurant, I think he lives abroad.
Leo(to himself): Pulis you remembered.
Manager: Excuse me sir, who are you?
Leo: I am that Leo.
Leo signals him to the photo hanging on the wall. It’s the college time photo in which Leo and Pujlis are standing together and smiling.
Below the pic, there is a note framed in golden letters.

I know you will come here one day. I know you are mad at me and perhaps I deserve it. You are a stubborn person but would you still forgive this old friend? I am really sorry.

Leo(with tears in his eyes): Idiot, friends never say sorry. You weren’t wrong…perhaps I just didn’t want to grow up.


[Photo by Cole Hutson on Unsplash]

Those Eyes

Beautiful blue eyes
“With the hope to see her again, or least getting a glimpse of those eyes…again”

Place: Regimental Plaza, Nashik Road
Time: 6:30 PM

Leo and Chandu are standing in front of Pav-Bhaji center. Leo Negi, 26 and Chandan Singh, 26 are best friends since their graduation days. Both are products of Kendriya Vidyalayas, hence the ridiculous smugness on their face. While Chandu is undergoing his CA training and simultaneously preparing for PO exams, Leo is doing freelancing in content writing and screenwriting. On the relationship front, Chandu is currently single and has just escaped from a riotous marriage proposal while Leo is in a one-sided platonic relationship with a Korean pop-star.

Leo: Samosa Khayega.
Chandu: Nahi re tu hi kha, I am avoiding oily things.
Leo: Tu abhi se 40s ki life ji raha hai. Smoking karta nahi, drinking chhod di aur abhi oily cheezein bhi nahi khata. Kya karega aise jeekar.
Chandu: Tujhse toh lamba jeeunga. Abe chhod na. Tujhe khana hai toh kha, par bakchodi mat kar.
Leo to the Pav-Bhaji wala: Bhai ek samosa-pav dena.
Bhaiyaji: Ye lo, do chahiye na?
Leo: Na na bhaiya ek hi dena, ye lamba jeena chahta hai.
Leo has barely taken a bite, Chandu jolts him.
Chandu: Abe jaldi kha, baju ke juice wali dukaan mein ek mast si bandi aayi hai.
Leo: Sach mein, do second ruk.
He finished the samosa in one. Chandu is baffled by his speed.
Chandu: Tu itni jaldi itni garm cheez kha kaise leta hai.
Leo: Practice my friend, practice. Ye chhod, chal dekhte hain teri mast wali.
Our heroes make bold entry to Raswanti centre. Leo is moving ahead as usual; he scans the crowd of dozens and finds the girl, who could fit in the description of Chandu’s Mast Bandi, sitting on the third table on the right, with her mother. Her face is radiant. She looks at them. There is a vacant table on the left corner, both have to settle there.
Leo: Those eyes man!
Chandu: Maine kaha tha na.
Leo: Kasam se yaar, uski aankhein kamaal ki hain.

The boys are in no hurry to give their usual order of two glasses of sugarcane juice. While a plain Jane type girl sitting with her sister and father across the table is staring at them, they relish their visual sensory systems with the elegance of the girl, owner of the beautiful eyes. Her mother looks strict, the usual upper-middle-class woman, proud of herself.

The girl has her curly hair kept short and wearing a blue baggy T-shirt with black jeans.
Leo: Well dude, waise ye itni khaas bhi nahi lag rahi is angle se.
Chandu: Kya baat kar raha hai, itni mast toh dikh rahi hai.
Leo: I don’t know yaar, par yahan se dekhega toh uska face itna cute nahi lag raha hai. She is good looking, par itni bhi achhi nahi.
Chandu: Nahi re, mujhe toh bahut achhi lag rahi hai.
Leo: Abe dhyan se dekh, uski toh height bhi nahi hai. Tujhe toh heighted ladki chahiye na?
Chandu: Par mere ko chal jayegi.
Leo: Haan tujhe toh waise bhi kaam chalane ki aadat hai.
Chandu: Wo toh hai par is case mein main height factor ko ignore kar sakta hun.
Leo: Aisa kya khaas hai usme?
Chandu: Are uski aankhein dekh, main toh sirf uski aankhon ki wajah se usse shadi kar lun.
Leo: They are just blue, nothing much.
Chandu: Blue ke alawa badi pyari hain yaar, main toh unko ghanto dekh sakta hun.
Leo: Ek baat toh hai bandi sophisticated hai.
Chandu: Kaise?
Leo: The way, she is sipping that juice, her way of carrying herself, pure class I must add.
Chandu: Mere hisaab se voh intelligent aur practical bhi lag rahi hai.
Leo: Phir tera yahan koi chance nahi hai.
Chandu: Wo kaise?
Leo: Mere bhai, agar wo practical and intelligent hui toh tujhe kyun choose karegi, koi better prospect chunegi na.
Chandu: Haan wo toh hai.
The girl and her mother finish their glasses and leave for the cashier counter.
Leo: Khair jane de, waise bhi agle do saal tak tu shaadi karne wala nahi aur mera bhi 5-6 saal tak koi chance nahi.
Chandu: Wo toh hai. By the way, tujhe kaisi lagi?
Leo: 7 out of 10.
Chandu: Seriously 7?
Leo: Yeah.
Chandu: Mera ko 7 chalega, mere expectations jyada nahi hai.
Leo: Haan haan pata hai.
They finish their respective glasses and order for another round.
Leo: Aur bata Gaavde ki shaadi mein koi dikhi ki nahi.
Chandu: Abe yaar kya bolu kya maal-maal ladkiyan aayi thi aur do toh itni sexy thi ki puchhu mat, sab bhookhe nange unhi ko dekh rahe the.

Barely two minutes have passed, Leo has already forgotten about the girl. Chandu pays the bill at the counter while watching the girl with beautiful eyes to leave in the car as her mother drives away. He sighs, with the hope to see her again, or least getting a glimpse of those eyes…again.


I Hate You

a girl and a boy on cycles
“My silly boy. I really hate you…”

11.00 am. Moon, 16, dressed in school uniform sits on the last bench in her class. Her beautiful face is slightly red with anger. Her best friend, Rose sits with her, tries to talk to her.
Rose: Come on Moon, say something. You are mad since morning. Are you gonna spoil your 16th birthday like this?
Moon doesn’t reply. Her head still down on the bench.
Rose: Are you mad that L didn’t come to wish you?
Moon (angry): I don’t want to see him. I wish he comes under a truck.
Rose: Don’t say that. You love him.
Moon (Mixed emotions): No. I hate him, I hate him, I hate him.
Rose: Hey! See he is standing there.

L, 17, tall, fair, handsome stands on the door of the class. He smiles mischievously and waves at Rose and Moon. Rose waves him back with a smile but Moon twitches her lips.
Moon: Tell him that I don’t want to see him ever.
Rose (shouting to L): Sorry L, she doesn’t want to see you.
L still smiling.
L (shouting): Tell her that I have something for her.
Moon gets little curious and raises her head slightly.
Moon (whispers): Ask him what it is?
Rose (shouts): What it is?
L comes closer to her desk with his right hand behind him.
Moon raises her head, pretending to be angry.
Moon: So you finally remembered?
L (totally clueless): Remember what?
Moon: You are joking right?
L (still clueless): What I am joking?
Moon: Then what’s in your hand?
L throws the Maths textbook on the bench and breaks into a laugh.
L: Thanks for the book, I wanted to look at some of the theorems that I skipped last year…hahahahah. By the way, what you were expecting?
Moon throws the heavy Maths book in her school bag and digs her head down on the desk.
Moon: I hate you, I hate you, I hate you. Don’t talk to me ever.
L: What happened, baby?
Moon: Don’t show me your face again? I hate you.
Moon starts crying with her head still down on the desk. Rose signals L to leave.

05.00 PM. L stands with his best friends Alex and Dev in front of a gift shop. He selects a heart-shaped pendant from the gift shelf.
L (to the shopkeeper): How much of this?
Shopkeeper: Rs. 350 only.
L: That much? Come on, it says 25 percent discount.
Shopkeeper: That’s after the discount.
L: Ok fine.
L turns to his friends.
L: Come on dudes, pay up…please.
Dev: Why we do that? It’s your girl’s birthday, you should give her a gift not us.
L: Yes quite true and I am the one giving her the gift.
Alex: So why you are not paying up?
L: I am paying up. See. This is my 50 bucks. Now take out your 150 each.
Dev: But why we should pay up for your girl’s gift?
L: Coz you are my best friends and very very soon she gonna be my wife.
Dev: But she is 16.
L: I know that idiot. That is why I have to wait two more years.
Alex: But you still can’t marry her, you have to be 21 to be eligible to marry.
L: Yes true, that is why I am waiting 4 years, you idiots. Now silently pay up and stop asking utterly nonsensical questions.

06:00 PM. A visibly sad and dejected Moon opens her new school bag. This was her birthday gift from her parents. A new school bag, the last one was far more spacious and lucky for her. She hates her life. It is her 16th birthday, which she was expecting to be extraordinary. Or at least, memorable. But here she is; in her room, with her books doing homework.
She sees the Maths textbook and it reminds her what L did in the morning, which makes her furious. She throws the Maths textbook away on the table. While in the air, something falls from the textbook. Moon looks at it, it’s an envelope.
Moon opens the envelope, there is a letter. It’s from L.

My sweetest girl,
Wish you a very happy birthday my baby! I know you will be mad that I haven’t wished you yet but actually, I remember your birthday all along. I wanted to tease you a little that is why I didn’t wish you in the school. Anyways I have planned something special for you tonight. Here is the itinerary for our date.

07:00 PM: I will come to your house and shout your name while standing in front of your door. You will be inside your house doing homework but your parents will come out and not mention, dozens of other nosy neighbors.
07:05 PM: I will ask your father, his permission to take you out for a date. Of course, he will say no. But then at first, I will threaten him that if he won’t let me take you on a date, I will kidnap you. Then I will say him politely that, I am gonna marry you one day anyway, so let me take you out. If that doesn’t work, I will beg him to let me take you for a date coz it’s your birthday.
07:15 PM: He still will be reluctant. Your mother will stare me from the sofa, cursing me inside her head. She doesn’t like me much. Then I will assure your father that I will bring you very soon, finally, he will agree to let me take you out.
07:20 PM: I will take you to my favorite restaurant; they make the best pastries in the city. We will eat until we are full.
07:45 PM: I will take you to a movie show. There is a romantic Hollywood movie that is releasing today. I want to watch a movie with you holding your hand.
09:45 PM: After the movie, I will take you on a long ride on my bike to the highest point of the city.
10:00 PM: Under the full moon, and clear winter sky, we will watch our beautiful city glowing with thousand lights. The night will be a little cold. First, I will give you my jacket and then I will hug you from behind to make you warm. In the quiet night, we will be alone there and we will talk, talk and talk.
10:45 PM: You will tell me that we are late and your father is going to kill you, so I will speed my bike fast to your house.
11:00 PM: Your mom and dad will be standing at the door with their glaring eyes on us. Before they could scold you, I will tell them that tyre of my bike got punctured so we got late. Your father will want to scold me but when he will see the joyful face of yours he will let it slide this time but not without a last warning, which I will accept with a playful smile. You will go upstairs to your room as I will watch you.
11:05 PM: As I will come out of your house, you will be standing on your balcony. You will say I love you to me (in sign language) I will do the same. Then you will give me a flying kiss and I will accept it on my heart. You will say (in sign language) that if I will come closer to you now, you will kiss me. I will ask you, really? You will say, yes. But very little you know, I will look at the pipe running along with your house and climb it to come to your balcony, much to your surprise, where you have to kiss me. THEN YOU WILL KISS ME.
11:11 PM. Yipeee! I will be so happy, I will say you goodnight and speed my bike towards my home as you watch me from the balcony.
That’s our date for tonight baby. I promise I won’t be late. Be ready by 7. See you then.

Only Yours Love L.

Moon finishes reading the letter, a beautiful smile read on her lips and reflects on her pretty face. She kisses the letter.
Moon: My silly boy. I really hate you.

06: 55 PM. L is riding his bike towards Moon’s house. He is excited about the date. He sees the little gift box in the upper pocket of his jacket. He imagines that when he will take Moon to the highest point of the city in the night, under the moonlight, he will tie the pendant on her neck and when she will be happy seeing it, he will kiss her pink lips. He is very happy and can’t wait to reach Moon’s house. Before L could realize, his bike comes in front of a speeding truck and a loud ear deafening screech of tyres stops in silence.

06: 58 PM. People gathered around the accident site. There are shouts, cries, horns, and people talking.
A passing man on a motorcycle inquires to one of the bystanders.
Passing Man: What happened?
Bystander: Nothing, a bike collided with a truck.
Passing Man: Anybody dead?
Bystander: Yes, the boy on the bike.

07:15 PM. Moon impatiently waits for L. She calls him 15th time on his mobile. But there is no answer. Moon throws her phone on the bed.
Moon: I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.

On the accident site, under the tyres of the truck, the gift box is crushed and the heart-shaped pendant is dipped in the pool of blood…


[Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash]