If you had missed reading the previous chapter, you can do so here: CHAPTER 1
It was 9:00 A.M and upon the start of an engine in the garage, Maureen stirred on the couch. She lazily opened her eyes, sat up and stretched her hands up in the air. She presumed it was the milk man and trod to open the door and collect the milk packets and the news paper. When she opened the door, she found that the milk had been already collected, she returned to the hall, the bouquet that was on the floor the previous day had been taken and put into the dustbin and she found a bowl of cereal and a glass of milk laid down as usual for her breakfast.
Upon seeing this she suddenly remembered him and the plans that she had made yesterday, she rushed into their bed room only to find the blankets neatly folded and the pillows arranged as it was every day morning. She grabbed the mobile phone and called her boss to ask him whether she can avail a day’s leave. “Maureen, you know your responsibilities very well. Today we have an important body meeting which the president himself cannot skip. You will have to be present at least till the meeting gets dispersed!” saying this he switched the call off leaving Maureen in disappointment.
She had no other go but to shower and squeeze herself into her best kept formals. After her breakfast, Maureen drove down to her office to be on time for the meeting scheduled. After the meeting had ended, she was asked to make a report on the proceedings and file it with the documents which had been presented at the meeting. As soon as her boss called it a day, she called him to plan further for the day.
The answering machine was on and all she could hear was ‘to leave a message’. That was exactly what she did; she left a message to him to call back ASAP. Even after trying to call him several times, all she got to hear was the reply of the same answering machine. She lay on the soft bed of her cozy room and looked up to the ceiling as if in an unpleasant dream.
Maureen stammered a sorry to him when she was still staring wide-eyed. The jet black hair which fell to his forehead, the olive green eyes that shone under the sun which was now pleasantly screening her face, the sharp features of a handsome youngster and that charming smile he gave at her stare, melted her heart. After he returned her the pass, she managed to say “gotta go” and sped past him to the library.
She was still wide-eyed, but now keenly comparing the colour of the snow with the guy’s pale face and the glistening pair of eyes that were in contrast, inside her mind. As she entered the finance section, there was but a single soul who was neatly stacking piles onto the shelf. As she got close to the person to ask for some assistance regarding her project, she was again blankly staring at those pair of green eyes and pale face which lit up its usual charm.
“Hey, I’m Steve. May I help you?”
“Hi, this is Maureen. Are you the librarian? I have never seen you here!”
“Oh that ... I am a student too. I’m just filling up for him. He’s my friend. What are you looking for?”
“Umm… I want some books on Baumol’s model of financial management.”
“Baumol’s theory has gone into a rare few books, but I guess I’ll manage finding you one.” He said with a smile.
This wasn’t the last occasion she had met him for certain. They met gradually in the library, at the cafeteria, even managed to share some classes. They became the best of friends and shared every funny story and every sad tale that had occurred in their lives so far. The friendship that Baumol had tied in had bloomed into a beautiful relationship without the knowledge of the two. Maureen had never felt so warm in anyone’s presence. She had spent the happiest times of her college life with him, rib-ticklers shared, evening stroll with hands held tight during the autumn, snow castles during fall and a warm cup of coffee to share with everyday. It was as if they had found true companions in each other.
They could understand and acknowledge the feelings of the other like the back of their own hands and grew so close that they could communicate clearly by the very looks and grins they passed between them frequently. Maureen felt as if she was at the school prom every moment she spent with him. He made her feel special like the one in his life (which was true in this case) to which she reciprocated with equal passion.
In spite of all the fun she had with him, Maureen had never been negligent with her projects and debate work. She had always kept herself alert and never spent a moment in dreaming about her future or worrying about her past. She was present at every class, won at every debate session and accomplished each one of her projects with excellence. Steve was unlike her, hovering in hazy dreams and imagining growing older with the fascinating young woman with whom he had developed a great bond, a bond which could be called ‘more than friendship’.
Maureen was shook awake upon her mobile’s screeching ring tone on a call. She jerked off her bed and glanced at the display screen to find Steve’s picture widely grinning at her and his olive green eyes screening her tear strewn face. She cracked up a gentle smile and hurriedly answered the call. “You called?” said his voice with boredom seeping in his tone. “Ye..Yes Steve. I.. I just thought if you could drop in home a bit early… we could go out for dinner.” Maureen stammered.
“Oh. Are you in office?” asked Steve. “No… I returned home early today. I just thought we could go out” she said, her voice filled with excitement. “Ah… I am afraid not Maureen. I am held up at work today. I guess, I’ll have to disappoint you.” said Steve with his unusual tone of boredom.
“That’s fine Steve. We can go out some weekend.” said Maureen. Steve said okay and hung up as soon as he could. Maureen hung up the phone after a brief moment of silence to find heavy drops of tears pounding down her face. She was brutally disappointed, not by Steve’s response but by her inefficiency in maintaining the relationship which was a boon to her in her life.
She wiped her tears off and picked up her mobile to call him again. “ It is up to me to mend my woes” she thought to herself. When Steve attended her call she went cheery all again. “Steve, its okay if we can’t go out but I’ll make dinner for you tonight! Mmmm… What about your favourite Mexican??” she asked. “I am very sorry Maureen but I’m having a dinner meeting with a client today. I’ll have to turn up quite late.” He told. His voice had turned from boredom to being confused. “Ah.. okay Steve. Bye” Maureen hung up.
She could feel the wonderful relationship that she shared with him for such a long period suffering a crevice and also that this would end her up in a woeful, tearful life of regret. She knew very well that she could never imagine a life without him, she’d rather die.
All images used in this post belongs to Vinod Velayudhan, a photographer who records beautiful moments and delivers precious memories. Visit his site www.vinodvv.com to view his pictures.
Read Chapter 3