OF FLIRTING

“Girls have two extremes” he murmured slowly to the flirt in his heart.
The black clouds were once again over the endless sky and beneath the dew drops kissing his feet, dampening the already dead soul in his heart. Sadness reflecting from his face, under the golden sun of early evening tide. The breeze of dawn flirting with his dark long hairs, comb of his fingers combing his hairs back, sighing. Smiling over each failed attempt to convince and persuade her, deep down realising his mistakes and blunders, loses and wild innocence rebelling. Prostrate with grief of assumed nothingness in his life, trembling hands holding the heavy burden of his downward face. Looking at the swaying trees over the never stopping waters of the river to the unknown destinations and drawing parallels with his life, his unknown paths and destinations.
The smoke curls were going up from his mouth when the shout from Ayaan’s friend forced him to throw his half consumed cigarette. He was away from his friends, with whom he had left his den for the first time in days. They were on evening walk to a local park located on the banks of river. It was not going to be a usual evening; he had evenings of despair, sadness and nothingness intermittently from last couple of months.
While coming to college this morning he saw her alone walking the deserted street and sensing the perfect timing he had launched his mission of proposing her again. The only thing he had been doing after his last class exams. Again his proposal was rejected, slapping cursed words at his face. This was the only girl who had not accepted his proposal.
“This one is infallible” he was often told by his friends, undermining the past records of this master flirt.
Going by the past records he was sure of his success in this mission as well.
“Statistics would not lie”, which were by his side unlike destiny.
He had taken his penultimate chance, still success distant and calculating by all the equations of probability it seemed beyond infinity. He needed some extraordinary force to bring it back from infinity. Will of proposing her again was slowly going away from him like it used to go after every rejection.
He remembered each proposal, going after her like her shadow through the streets, nervousness and accelerating heart beats and that “excuse me” of innocence afraid .Once she had torn the sacred paper on which his phone number was written. His first proposal to this one, each one had been hit back like the other, hardly imbibed by the stone heart. Killing him inside his core. He had used all his tools till now from his friends to classmates, to tell her about his feelings. With every proposal behind, he thought of new ways and tricks, learning from his past mistakes, improvising. Taking him long nights of thought process and expert advice from his friends.
He was disturbed completely by all this. Other girls, ones he flirted with added to his disturbed state. Their calling presented more complicated problems for him. Contact names saved by different funny names, Angel, Muni, Jessica, Chikni and other wild names one could think of. Calling him one after other, managing each one with the language she understood. Diverts, packs, schemes on the tip of his tongue, reason why he was called a ‘master flirt’. The title he would be proud of, after all to outnumber ones friends in competition is a species of great accomplishment.
Next day he slept till eleven, already one hour late for college and chances of his going college were minimal. He had slept unusually late that night. After fighting with his indolence .He attended one class, for next classes he preferred the shadow of lone willow tree in college campus. Thinking about her and waiting for his friends to finish classes. When they were done, advising session started, mocking him and with that fun and unlimited laughing. Perhaps attribute blessed to boys only in these circumstances. He hardly got any one of them, laughing with his heart beating somewhere else in the distant universe in his imagination, for the rust in his heart and the species occupying his mind. Hungry insisted his friends to go to college cafeteria, while loading the bellies with the air of the snacks, every one searched, researched and gazed at the best piece. Drawing the temporary pleasure of looking from strange angles at the best piece present there.
“Look moron you taught us this and today it is wrong” suddenly one of the friend shouted.
Sudden silence prevailed on the table they were centred around. On insisting one of his friends to stop mocking the girl seated on the corner seat, his friend got angry and shouted. After arguing, this friend left the party and with that the atmosphere changed. He could not say anything. Seated there he saw all of them leaving, one after other. Looking at their back, everything seemed leaving him, even his thoughts were not his, they were of her. His beats, his time, his books, she occupied everything. He lit a cigarette, looked down face resting on his hands, sighing. Preparing to leave, his legs trembled with the vibration of his phone in his pocket. Quickly got his mobile from his pocket.
“Najm calling” displayed on the screen.
This was his friend, rebuking him till he could press the receiving button.
“Where the big moron was today, anything you have been left to do”
He was sad over the way things had progressed, he felt deeply insulted over their departure. He told everything to his calling friend. They planned to meet at the local park that evening. He stood up and started to walk, confused when he seated again, whether he was seated or stood up while calling. Obviously he was residing in other world; he was the only one aware of. While in the bus he was completely lost, unlike the days he would be staring at girls from the unknown angles at his seat.
While reaching home he slept, only to be disturbed by the ringing of mobile phone beneath the beloved cushion one that imbibed all his tears through the long nights. It was his friend. He quickly asked him that he would be there in few minutes. He hurriedly picked up his phone and started receding stairs of his home like the cat, opening the main door as silently as he could. Hopping from the top step of the porch and walked quickly. No one among his home mates noticed him, the thing he wanted. Usually he would not go outside without permission of his mother and without her blessed words, but here it was his heart working instead of his mind.
While walking the street leading to the park, his eyes looked back as if there was something he had lost in that street. This was the same street that was witness to his humiliation by the sandal he had been slapped with, his past months were spent going up and down here. He was dwelling in his past. He moved few steps ahead of the park gate unconsciously, when the whistle from his friend, Faisu stopped him. Both entered the park, he started with,
“This is enough now, what she thinks about herself”
He started narrating his story of recent past of the episode in college today, throwing out of the class over his absentmindedness, slowly moving to his distant past. Of his last propose, slapping with sandal, torn phone number flying up, to his first encounter with this girl. Speaking with the tone that could have sympathies of anyone. With the mellow sun slowly going beyond its horizon. Cigarettes being lit and secrets of unrequited love being unfolded. The gentle breeze slowly blowing. Intermittently disturbed by the ringing of phone,
“Chameli calling”, blinking on the screen.
Slowly conversation turned to future, plans and strategies. Plans worked out in the dark of evening. Again disturbed by the ringing, he got angry, looking at his phone,
“Momma calling” blinking.
Without receiving the call, they started walking quickly towards the gate, taking their respective ways and saying bye to each other.
“Do not worry, everything would be right” his friend asked him before leaving. Patting him at his back and shaking hands before leaving.
He moved towards his home, but unknowingly his feet were slowing down with each step they moved. He wanted to remain there in his friends company. Reaching home he straight headed towards the stair leading to his room in the second storey of his house .Forgetting he was accountable before someone. His mother constantly called him for dinner in the kitchen,
“Won’t you eat with us?”
“No I am not feeling well” he replied patiently.

This night was same as the last night. He was submerged in her thoughts. He could hardly think about anything else. He thought about what he had lost, probably the biggest thing was himself-his self-respect. Now his only hope was the plan worked out with his friend. Deep inside his core praying for its smooth execution. He hardly knew what he was going through. Changing sides on his bed for his sleep. There was this virus of restlessness infecting his being and taking away sleep from his eyes and on the other side his vibrating phone making it worse for him. Wishing someone could lull him to sleep.

He got up to the chirping of birds outside and the gentle refreshing breeze of morning. Starting his day with the last cigarette under his cushion. The most secure place this lover trusted. Quickly putting his quilt aside. Receding the stairs with the energy he never had before. He bathed feeling much more energetic. On his face the endangered smile of yesterday playing. He started preparing for college. Unusual thing for his family. He started looking for the books he never had brought, the roughs he never had written on. And the bag that carried nothing except his fashion. He called his friend, who on other days would call him when he would be still sleeping. Beeping…
“Be ready”.
“What” his friend replied.
“You moron what we planned” angrily he says.
“Oh do not worry, I would.” consoling reply from his friend.
He reached college earlier than his friends and started towards class alone. While walking his thoughts were wandering somewhere else, when his collar was pulled from his back by one of his friends. Attended class seated on the back bench, though they were first to come. They started mocking the teacher, boring lecture made him look at his watch after each minute. He started making figures on his rough and unconsciously stoped at writing ‘ love you’ .One more look at his watch and the bell gonged.
Finally some relief for him, first class was over. Going by the restlessness he was having now, it was sure he would not attend all the classes. He bunked his second class, sitting by the dusky corner of the campus. Observing the campus for the millionth time, it was same, nothing had changed. But the thing if changed was his state. Today he was out from the inebriety of unrequited love and things looked changed.
“Hey”
Looking at the direction this voice came from, he spotted his friend calling him.
“Wait I am coming”
“How was the class” he asked his friend while traversing the corridor.
“Unlimited bouncers” and he understood what it would have been like.
They were not supposed to discuss anything related to studies. Changing his topic from studies to the planning.
“Are you ready” he asked.
“For what” intentionally making him angry.
“For the virus” referring to the girl.
“Scientific name”, jokingly.
“Scientific name not devised till now. May be in near future”
“And you would be the scientist” mocking him for his obsession with girls.
Joke was over and seriousness returned to both, sitting on the bench beside the lone willow tree. Resuming their planning from the point they had left at last evening. It took them long till the fourth class was over. They planned to move, not to cafeteria but to the street he was attracted to, unintentionally. With every step they moved he got more and more anxious and nervousness started surfacing. They started cracking jokes, but still deep down he was shivering over the possible refusal.
Streets were over, what remained to traverse was the sacred street, the testimony of his humiliation by love that too unrequited. His face turned pale on the first step of this street, countenance sweating. He expected she would come anytime, but there were still few minutes for her usual coming.
“Move fast, she would come.” nervousness surfacing in his words.
“Do not worry calm down” taking his hand and placing it on his left side of chest.
“Be serious man” he replied in sad tone.
“ Baya say ‘all is well’, ‘all is well’…..,”.
Both started smiling and the corner that often surfaced at their planning came. They were to stop at this point according to their declared plan. Now the other steps were executed as well. One, the lover stood at the point that would be invisible to her when she would come, other stood where he could see her coming. He felt this nervousness never before.
“Be ready, she is coming” his friend told him.
Now he conversed her position with his fingers, making his hands parallel to each other when she was about to reach. He stood up, slowly started in the direction she was moving to.
This was the face he waited for and there was she moving behind him, not knowing about him in front. His friend had also started walking behind her on the opposite foot path. He occasionally moved his eyes to his left. His friend would be asking him with his hands. But his eyes were on her, the virus behind her restless state. There was she moving parallel to him. She started fast and he did same. He was nervous as ever, nothing came to him, what to say. Summoning the packets of courage, he started.
“Excuse me” nervously.
It reached her or not, he was confused. Somehow he managed his tongue to say it again. She did not looked at him, moving towards the bus she would board for home. On the other occasions he would stop at this point. But according to the declaration he was not to stop. He did same. Moving behind her. She tried to change the way but he followed her every step. Everything was going as per the plan, executed as he wished.
She got into the bus. He waited for his friend to come.
“Let’s go back” he asked his friend.
“No it is hard from now, come on you will do it today, go inside.”
Both got inside the bus, one from the front door and other from the back door. He sat behind her and his friend watching them from the back seat. He murmured something at her back. She moved her neck backwards to her and angrily told her something. He got red. He tried everything from his sweet tongue, nothing seemed working. He tried the sympathising tone, but here was she impenetrable. There were few more minutes for the departure. Last step was to execute now, the one he was afraid of. His friend slowly moved towards the seat on his left.
“Take this” his friend asked.
“You will weep one day” he replied so that she could listen.
She moved backwards again.
“Go get your business right” she angrily asked.
It was hard to give up from here, he felt pangs of nervousness again and sweat flowing from his face as never before.
“Please” he murmured again.
Hardly had she moved backwards, what she was seeing she could not believe her eyes. Blood spilling from his wrist. She screamed at top. Here was he cutting his artery for the second time. She screamed again. He had not given up till now, he felt pain never before.
“Please do not do it”
Something made her took his arm in his hands, though unintentionally. She could see blood on her hands. She tried to press his wound with his thumb, but he forced her away. All his pain seemed going away. Cutting his arm on third spot, and blood oozing out. Typical today’s lover. He did not allowed his pain to be reflected from his face, but inside he was dying. He could not believe himself what he had done.
“Let’s go” his friend told him.
They got out with her bandanna on his wrist. Moved to the hospital and got back home. He was exhausted with the days stuff. He moved to his room and lit a cigarette, which lulled him to sleep. Only to be disturbed by the ringing phone, from unknown number.
“Hello”
“Hello, is this Ayaan.”
She started crying and apologized for everything.
“You better stop calling me from now, my girlfriend is calling me” he asked her.
“But I love you.”
These were the three words he wanted from her. This was the second extreme of the girl. Neither he was happy nor sad. Everything was over. This was the mission for his self-respect and to make her feel the hell inside. He succeeded in this mission as well that gave him the endangered sleep again. He switched off his phone, pulled the quilt over his body and flirtationships would continue.

 

Illustration: Basit Rather

https://www.behance.net/gallery/34228929/The-lost-gaze

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