I don’t know why I even signed up for this shit. I am in no mood to even meet them. I know it’s been ten years but who actually cares? Are they actually planning to meet after no contact for centuries?! I seriously regret even signing that contract when I was eighteen- come on, I thought it would be fun, but no! What will I tell them?
“Aghhh Aria you’re overthinking! Just go on Spotify, hear some artist on shuffle” I said to myself, unlocking my phone and playing my playlist on shuffle.
“Mood lighting set thi, his favourite dish was also ready--”
“Mar ja tu, mar ja!” I shouted at my phone. Gosh, I hated Spotify ads. Checking myself out one last time in the mirror, I left for the restaurant all of us were supposed to meet at. It was a “ten-year reunion” of my school batchmates where the majority of us had planned to meet. Just something ordinary. I need to stop. The restaurant was near my house, not much of a problem there. But back to the point, I didn’t have many friends in school- just enough to count on my fingertips. But the ones I had would always be in contact with me. Or so I thought. Well, most of them immediately left our country, including me - I mean I had my future and a scholarship awaiting me. Got a degree, became a doctor, was twenty-eight and now I had wedding bells waiting for me. I had come home for a month and that’s when Riddhima got in touch with me. We used to be good friends back in school, parted ways for God knows what reason, and were not in contact. But she wanted to improve things and wanted me to come to this reunion. Well, I told her that I couldn’t, but here I am, walking to the restaurant which I didn’t want to be at in the first place. What will they look like? Will they be married? Kids? God, I am regretting even walking now. My anxiety was getting the best of me and now I just wanted the Earth to swallow me. I was still questioning my existence and was almost on the verge of turning back, when I bumped into someone.
“I am sorry-”
I looked up and saw those grey eyes that had always been my favourite. His name was Sidharth, he changed it to Steven for reasons that I don’t know. He saw me and was stunned for a minute.
“Aria, hey, h-how are you?” he stuttered.
I didn’t speak, I was taking a look at him. He was still tall, broad, had messy black hair and a clean shaved face. Well, he was the same back then. We were together for a few months when we were seventeen, and when we couldn’t work things out, we mutually broke off our relationship. But I don’t regret it, because I had some amazing times with him. The best probably.
“Um hi, h-how are you?” I said tucking my hair behind my ear.
“Why are you nervous, I am not gonna eat you up!” he chuckled.
“I am not nervous Sid!” I retorted.
“Well then stop tucking your hair behind because you do that when you get nervous” he rolled his eyes, chuckling again.
I opened my mouth but then closed it. Yup, he’s still the same...way too observant, I thought to myself.
“Um, you off to the restaurant?” he asked me, rubbing his hand on the back of his neck.
“Yeah,” I said and looked at him hoping he was going there too.
“Well then, lead the way,” he said, indicating to me to go forward. I went ahead, not speaking a word.
Those five minutes of walking were the absolute worst five minutes of my life. The silence was killing me- whenever I opened my mouth I closed it and he did the exact same. Aria, it was a mutual decision, suck it up and ask something, I thought to myself. I opened my mouth to speak when he spoke before.
“We’re here,” he said, smiling a little.
We made our way inside the restaurant. It was quite big with families dining in, couples on dates, waiters walking around serving food. We saw a board which said “REUNION: BATCH OF 2011” outside a room. We made our way there and the place was crowded, and I mean CROWDED, with literally no space to walk. Sid placed a hand at the small of my back and led us to the table we were supposed to be at. I didn’t even notice the actions he did- I was so absorbed in looking around. There were balloons and streamers hanging from the ceiling with a huge dance floor in the middle, where people were swaying to the beats of the song playing.
Twenty-five minutes later, I was sitting at the table with all my old people. The only person who had me captive had his grey orbs towards the food. I mean I could have been the meal;)
“So Aria, what’s up? Any boyfriends, fiances, husbands?” asked Elijah.
“Or are you finally into women?” said Preach, taking a sip of the drink which she had already refilled thrice.
“Coming to that madam, how is YOUR girlfriend?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Umm, which one?”
Everyone around gasped and laughed.
“Preach isn’t gonna change, this time you left after what, 6 days?”
“Umm, no. 2 years-”
Steven almost spit his drink at that
“How the f***?”
“Can we all not, we asked Aria about her”
“Yeah so, I’m a doctor, surgeon to be exact, what about you guys?” I said.
“Programmer” Preach said.
“Lawyer,” said Elijah.
“Businessman, and my fiance is my secretary,” said Karan, looking with adoring eyes at Gigi.
“OMG, You are engaged to someone as well. I am engaged to Muskan” said Sankalp.
“Well, to sadden everyone a bit, I am divorced, and I am an interior- designer,” said Sid.
I CHOKED ON MY FU****G FOOD AT THAT.
“You are divorced?” I said in almost a whisper. He nodded slightly.
The conversation went on and on until they all ate my head like I ate the food.
“OMFG, IT’S 22 BY TAYLOR SWIFT” screamed Muskan.
“OH SHIT, IT’S TAYLOR’S VERSION” screamed Preach.
They both dragged us to the floor.
“COME ON LET’S BE 22. CAUSE I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU”
“BUT I’M FEELING 22”
“Do you wanna get out of here?” said Steven in my ears, more like whispered.
“I-I um… Yeah”
He grabbed my hand and led me out of the stuffy room.
We went onto a balcony, which looked like a place specially made for people who are in love, like those cliche romance books.
I looked out into the open space, moonlight was shining on us. I felt his gaze burning on my back. I turned around, trying to even out my breathing. Looking at his grey orbs
“Hey,” I said, softly.
“Hey, care for a dance?” he asked, showing me his cheeky smile.
“We could have danced there”
“Eh, I wouldn’t have been able to hold you there,” he smiled.
I was grateful for the dim light or my blush would have been way too visible to him.
“Shall we?” he put out his hand for me to hold.
I took it in mine, and we both started to sway to Selena Gomez in the background singing ‘Back to you’.
By the end of the song, my head was on his chest, and his chin was on my head. We didn’t say a word, we just danced, and stayed in each other’s embrace. The silence wasn’t even awkward anymore, it was a comfortable, soothing silence.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Why’d you get divorced?”
He smiled at me.
“She wasn’t you”
My breath hitched in my throat.
“We both were perfect for each other, but the timing took a toll on us. We both needed our careers more than anything. But now we have it all, don’t we? And all I hoped was to have this one moment with you, to see your perfectly shaped, beautiful face with those chocolate brown eyes looking at me. Aria, we had our moments, but they weren’t enough. And now, I would like to know you. Once again. So… Coffee in the same cafe we went to for our first date?”
I looked at him, eyes almost glistening.
“YES, YES, YES!” I exclaimed.
“Woah, seems like you had been waiting forever for this!” He laughed, with crinkles by his eyes.
“But thank you Aria, I will make it worth it this time” he looked at me with promising eyes.
I hugged him.
Finally, what I had hoped for was back.
Author: Mahira Pathania & Prachi Saini
Editor: Ananya Chaure