Shantanu could have smiled at that moment but the dryness of his cracked lips didn’t stretch his blistered cheeks to a grin. He was hoping things will change. The done would become undone. He looked at the coffee mug and read -‘Friends Forever.’ He looked at the mug again and remembered the coffee chats on the same table and how she held the mug tightly to warm her cold hands. She was the closest he had ever been to zenith of happiness. He knew no worries and no hundreds and thousands of things that bothered him otherwise. With her he felt free, liberated and relaxed. He remembered her walking through the glass door every morning passing a smile that would melt his heart and made him believe in existence of angels. He thought about the numerous occasion when she would come to him and ask him to help him out with her silly problems. He remembered how she made an innocent face and hit her forehead slightly with her hand and said -‘Oho!’
Ritika was his reason of existence, so much so he breathed her. Ritika was his primal reason of any thing in his life. They giggled and giggled without realizing the reason of the giggles. Ritika had gone on a fifteen days break from work when she gave him the mug on her last day before her break began. She was going with her family to relax. Shantanu knew he would miss her and would feel incomplete but he knew he would confess her love for her when she will come back.
Fifteen days passed with great difficulties and Ritika came beaming brighter as ever. Shantanu could have cried with hapiness looking at her face but couldn’t as he wanted to be strong. Shantanu picked his mug and they headed to the cafeteria. Shantanu was about to tell Ritika about his feelings when Ritika announced -‘I am in love.’ Shantanu felt deaf for milliseconds. He smiled to hide his disbelief and kept looking at the same face which made him happiest and saddest at the very random moment. She kept talking and talking and he kept bringing himself back from the wild imagination he had sported in those fifteen days. He cursed at his unremitting status quo of friend!
Ritika logged off from her system early that evening and asked Shantanu to tell others that she had to leave early if in case anybody asked. She picked up her stuff- her big bag with things that even she didn’t knew was there inside and her umbrella and headed for the door. She came back in a frenzy and hugged Shantanu and said bye and faded into an oblivion that was hard to be phased out off.
Shantanu could have smiled at that moment but …………..