This is Part 3 of a six part series. I suggest reading previous parts for a better understanding. Find All Chapters Here. ENJOY!
[Part 3 | 1413 Words | 7 Minutes (approx.)]
Soham didn’t think much of Ishita when he first saw her. She was beautiful, indeed. Straight black hair that framed her face well, black-rimmed glasses, that drags one’s gaze to her dark eyes, and that day she was wearing a lime green dress. To say in a word – simple. Soham had expected to see many beautiful girls when he came to this town. What he had not expected was that she would soon become an important part of his time in the city.
Soham had come to this town for an internship program. He had a classmate with him, and some of his college mates, who he didn’t even recall the names of. On the first day in the office, the HR team had organized a group-building event. Just outside the main auditorium, Soham and his friend met Ishita and one of her close friends. A simple introduction later, they went into the auditorium, where they had to make a kite in groups of four. It would suffice to say that they did an okay job at making a Pikachu colored kite.
In a little over a week, they were as tight a group as could be. They realized early that internships are not very useful when it comes to actual learning. However, for those concerned with fun and mindless chatting all day, it was perfect. They spent half the day in each other’s company, enjoying childish games and talking about mindless stuff, or simply dozing about on the comfortable couches instead of being in their assigned classrooms. After lunch each day, they went to the green lawn behind the building and sat there for quite some time. It was the end of winters, and the weather was as good as it gets. Time was of no consequence!
Ishita lived with her family, and that became the excuse for a gathering one Sunday afternoon. A meal of homely food, and the chance to tour the city. Although they spent the day inside, for Soham and his friend, it was the first time going out downtown and seeing the city. At her place, the four of them played a game of Ludo. There was enough cheating involved in it to make even the most corrupt of the devils blush. After an hour of unwanted dragging, they decided that either team couldn’t win the game and they quit.They spent their extensive photography skills taking loony selfies, and then came the topic of tattoo art.
“If you get the spelling of my name wrong, I’ll be your nemesis.” Ishita threatened Soham. He had very enthusiastically picked up a ballpoint pen and had offered to show off his artistic proficiency. His canvas — her left arm; and the subject — her name.
“Oh! That’s reassuring,” he mocked at her as the other two laughed. He went ahead and grabbed her wrist. Realizing it might be too direct an approach, he looked up to her face. Her face was blank, indicating that it indeed was a little too bold. Before he could let go of her arm though, she smiled, “What are you waiting for!” She said. He didn’t need any more encouragement. It took him fifteen minutes to finish the worst text art of his life so far.
Soham looked at her face, a cocked eyebrow and a crooked smile reflected his thoughts. “I think it will be better if you wash off that filthy graffiti from your hands before anyone notices,” Soham said, half laughing, but also feigning embarrassment. She laughed, “Yes, I think you’re probably right.” Although, she made no attempt to move towards the bathroom immediately. A few more hours went by, as they always did when the four of them were together.
Soham was keenly watching the sunset from her tenth-floor apartment window when he felt something thin and hard poke him in the ribs. He turned around to find Ishita’s face looking at him, full of mischievous playfulness.
“What?” Soham asked, frowning a little.
She just shook her head, with an evil grin. Then she jabbed him again at his side. Before he could stop her, the hard nail dug into his skin. “Hey! That hurts!” She showed no sign of relenting the assault. After taking a few more pokes, Soham had had enough. “Okay! What has gotten into you?” He asked, grabbing both her hands in his. Ishita just giggled and turned so Soham lost his grip on her. Twenty minutes later, when they were about to leave for the day, Soham felt that she wanted to say something, but couldn’t. He thought to ask what was on her mind but decided against it.
Over the next few days, Soham noticed quite a few things changing in their group. Ishita insisted on staying out in the shade longer each day. He also noticed she was enjoying the breeze a little too much, and appeared to be paying a little too much attention to what he was saying. Without realizing it completely, Soham had developed a liking towards her that couldn’t be completely defined by friendship. Maybe it was all the attention she was giving him, or maybe it was something else. On the Thursday of that week, while Soham was struggling with something on his computer, it hit him. What if all that he was seeing for the last five days were some kind of green light, and she had been waiting for him to make the move all this time? He spent that evening walking alone in the neighborhood, trying to arrange his thoughts, unaware that everything would sort itself out the next day.
After lunch on that Friday, they spent almost forty minutes under the tree. When they were about to leave, Soham noticed Ishita falling behind the group. He slowed down his pace to match hers. “I know that you know that I know that something is going on. . .” Ishita almost whispered.
It took Soham almost five seconds to process what she was trying to say, “Yes. And I have actually been noticing things from Sunday evening too!” Soham felt it was wrong to say that at that moment, and once that doubt manifested itself, he didn’t feel ready to have this conversation at that moment.
“Look, can we have this conversation later sometime, I don’t feel ready to talk right now, and I’ve got to be at my desk. Sorry!” The words slipped out before Soham had the chance to consider if it was right to say them. She just nodded and left for her building. Soham’s gaze followed her receding form and right before she disappeared around the corner, he thought he saw the flash of a smile.
Those were the longest two hours of Soham’s life so far. He couldn’t focus on the task at hand, couldn’t even read a sentence on his screen in one go. The guy on the chair beside him had to call his name four times to get his attention. His mind was in the blender, in all respects. He couldn’t take it anymore, he had to talk to her. Just as the thought popped into his head, a message popped on his phone.
Ishita: Meet me in the café in five minutes.
Soham: I’ll bee right there.
“Are you ready to talk about it now, or do you think it’s still not the right time,” Ishita said as soon as she saw him. Soham thought he heard a little edge in her voice, but chalked it up to anxious anticipation. When everything else was a green light, how can there be an edge, right?
“Not at all, we do need to talk about it, right now.” Soham smiled, as they sat down across each other. Soham gently took her phone from her hand, and she let him. Their fingers brushed! He kept both phones on the chair next to his, looked her in the eye and waited.
“Do I really have to say it out loud?” Ishita asked, almost inaudibly.
She took a deep breath, blinked once. She turned her face sideways, opened her mouth, but no words came out. He was watching her, every movement of her fingers, her lips, and her head. They were like the introductory prelude to a beautiful orchestral piece as if some divine instrument was about to be played. Then she turned to him, her eyes closed. She opened them, and then her lips parted to say the words, “I already have a boyfriend.”
To Be Continued. . .