He: “What time is your bus for home?”
She: “Why do you ask?”
He: “Do you have to throw a question at me for every question I ask? What time is your bus?”
She: “It should come to my stop at 10:30 PM. usually, it is never on time. By the time, I board the bus; it is always 11:30 PM. And of course, I am curious…..why do have to know all of a sudden??”
He: “What time will you reach your home town?”
She:“hmmm…..maybe around 8 in the morning. But, you haven’t answered my question and you are throwing a handful at me!!”
He: “Ok! I will see you off. Be ready at 09:45 PM.”
She: “For what joy? I mean, why? I have already asked my colleague to see me off.”
He: “A good friend, I suppose?”
She: “Yes. But I have called him only because he lives about 10 minutes from here. You will have to ride 15 kms on your bike from the city to see me off, which I guess is terrible, looking at the city traffic!!”
He: “You don’t have to worry about that!!”
He hung up, annoyed. The time was 9 PM and he was about to have dinner at the mess near his home. Somehow, the appetite had died after the conversation. After fifteen minutes of smoking oblong circles into the nippy night air, he threw the cigarette down, crushed it under his feet and then took his bike and rode off. He was going to see her, for sure.
She was surprised and confused at the same time. It had been more than two months since she knew him. They had met through a common friend and after weeks of cold war, jibes and darting glances, a strange friendship bloomed. They talked almost every day since the day, the first sms of ‘kalai vanakkam’ arrived in her message box. Yes, it was just friendship until this day opened up a new chapter of unspoken love that only soul mates seek in each other. She was overwhelmed. As she sat down to make a call to her parents, his number flashed again.
He: “Listen, I am already half way through. I am coming to seeing you off. Spare your friend off his brotherly duties today.”
And then, he switched off his mobile. He smiled. There was no way she could refuse, now. She sat there, staring at her mobile screen for a long time. After heaving a long sigh, she grinned. Needless to say, ear to ear!