I flick through the pages of a book. I’m at the fag end of the book. The book that I have been reading since a week. As I am reading, all of a sudden, I hear a vibrating sound near my book. I get startled. That’s what usually happens with me when I am deeply involved with something and I get disturbed.
“Amma calling” flashes in the mobile.
“Why is she disturbing me?” I think to myself.
I pick up the call and “Amma, I will be starting in another 15 minutes ma.”
“Ok my dear, come carefully. The road might be lonely” she says.
“Ok ma. I will take care.”
No matter how much I grow up, mom will always be a mom. For her, i am still that little girl wearing a frock and flaunting a ponytail.
But how much ever I scold her, she is my biggest support. Especially after what happened in my life.
It was tragic to say the least. I lost my boyfriend in an accident. He was the love of my life. And coincidentally, we met in a library.
It’s been more than a year since this happened. If not for the books that I read, I would have gone insane by now. The books provide a much needed escape from the pain.
My heart beats everytime I remember of him, the first time we met in the library, the bookmark he kept in the book that I was reading.
Yes, it all started with a bookmark.
I was about to read my favorite book back then. I picked it up from the shelf.
I always preferred reading at the library instead of taking the book home. Because, my home was near to the airport. So there would be frequent noise of the flying airplane. It will be good, but too much of it can make one insane. Especially one like me who doesn’t like a lot of noise.
When I sat down to read, I noticed that a very different bookmark was inside the book. It was pink colored. The kind that can attract immediate attention.
When I picked it up, I noticed that there was something written on it.
“Dear Mridula, happy reading. I have always been a fan of yours. The moment I saw you in the library, I fell in love with you. Love at first sight, maybe? If you ask me why, I don’t know. I saw something in your eyes. And maybe our choice of books, our taste of literature, all these had a combined effect on me. I have been admiring you for long without you knowing, for nearly six months. I know it’s unethical, but as they say, all’s fair in love and war. I’m a shy personality, I rarely talk to girls. That’s why I was shy introducing myself to you. Otherwise, by now, at least I would have said a hi. All I wanted to let you know is, I don’t wish to be like this forever. So I will reveal myself tomorrow, a few moments before the closing time in the library. I just want to be friends with you, at first and then let’s see where it goes from there”
It was strange. Someone was stalking me. First, I wanted to slap that idiot. But I still got curious. I wanted to know who was he. Who doesn’t want to know a person who is obsessed with themselves. And being a girl who never cared about aesthetically looking good, no boy really bothered about me. I did have a few male friends, but they were all good friends. And didn’t cross the lines. Sort of good guys. And being the nerd that I am, everyone thinks that I ain’t fit for dating. But obviously, as a human being, I definitely long for some romantic company. And by the way, it’s not desperation that I also can feel the need for attention or company, I was just curious.
So, the next day, it was library time and I was getting ready. Without my knowing, I dressed up more than usual. I was spending excessive time at the mirror. It’s just that I didn’t want to get him catching me looking really bad. Or maybe, just maybe, I was interested in looking good just in case that this is going to work out.
As usual, I went to the library and picked up the same book. I had another bookmark. I sat down to read it again.
“You do look so beautiful today. Did you pay extra attention?” it read.
I was embarrassed and also a bit angry. Who is he? I was very aware of who was following me and who was watching me and I couldn’t find anyone suspicious. But still I couldn’t figure out who was he.
I became anxious, and I desperately wanted to know who was it.
So the two hours that I spent in the library, I hardly read a page. Because I couldn’t concentrate and I was pretty nervous. Maybe I could have just walked off. And not met him at all. But something told me that this is all good.
Then finally, he showed up. Tall, dark and handsome. I don’t remember seeing him in the library. He also told me that, he stayed in the apartment opposite to me. And he has been watching me for a long time.
Based on the conversation I had with him for 10 minutes, I decided that I would give him a shot. His method was wrong, but his intention wasn’t. We became friends. He loved me like crazy. He was respectful. He cared about me like my mother. He was slowly getting into my heart, without even me knowing it. Then we fell in love with each other, so much that he was about to propose me for marriage on Valentine’s day.
Last year, Valentine’s day, I knew he was about to propose me that day. I felt happy. I felt the butterflies in my stomach. I felt nervous too. He had planned for a candle light dinner and he picked me up in his bike.
We were happily going for dinner, that night. It all happened all of a sudden when a lorry, that we were behind, applied sudden brake. My boyfriend also applied the brake, but we hit the lorry. His face hit the lorry and his helmet broke, damaging his head and jaws, which I came to know later.
I fell down and I had an injury to my head. Since I was behind him, he was sort of shielding me from major injuries.
But when I woke up in the hospital, I learnt that he was no more. He died of severe head injuries. My heart broke. I cried, I cried, I cried for hours together. I couldn’t come out of the shock for months.
Slowly I recovered. But not fully, because I could never forget him. He was sweet, so caring of me and loved me very much. Just when I started to imagine that I had no life without him, I was forced to live a life without his physical presence. Tomorrow is Valentine’s day and exactly one year after God stole him away from me.
“Hello mam, closing time.” the old man in charge of the library said, as he started switching off lights one after the other.
I came to a realization that I was late and headed back home.
Next day, as usual, I was at the library, when almost the entire world is roaming, proposing their love to their loved ones.
It’s a heavy day for me. But I had to forget it. So, I picked up my book again.
As I sat down to open the book, I noticed something. It was the same bookmark.
I quickly picked the bookmark. It had a message.
“Hello Mridula, I know you love him so much. I know you are missing him today. I have been watching you both for a long time and you alone for much longer. I wanted to meet you, but unfortunately, he won the race. He kept the bookmark first and he won your heart. Maybe, I can never love you like him. But I promise to love you with all I have got. I know, first love can never be forgotten. But there is always love filled in this world and people ready to shower you with love. Do you want to live in the past or try to think about the future? Do you want to give yourself a chance? Throw the bookmark away, if you don’t want to meet me. Keep the bookmark in the book, if you want to meet me. Now, you decide. The story that started with a bookmark should continue with this bookmark? Or should end with this bookmark?”
Dear readers, please feel free to comment/critique my stories. It would be of immense help. In case you already don’t know, I am writing this as part of the A to Z short story challenge
Here are the other stories that I have written as part of this challenge :
Please do take your time to read and drop in your comments. Thanks.