Will You Marry Me?

January 15, 2011 Off By Manjil P. Saikia

The day was unusually hot for October, even taking into account the affects of global warming. He thought perhaps it was an omen that everything would not be okay. Daydreaming, like all sorts of other irrelevant activities came to him very easily and he let his mind wander about to a story he had read long back. He remembered Paulo Coelho’s haunting story of The Alchemist who says that one must keep life’s omens in mind always. Perhaps it was time for him to see what his life had to tell him.

Looking back, one can only amaze at how he had turned into a blazing star in his field. But only he knew what his motivation was. At least he thought so. He had come back home, if that’s what he can still call it, after almost five years for a specific purpose. However, in the ensuing time he had made it a point to invite his whole family to the place where he worked; be it in the States or Canada or England. He held various positions in a variety of institutions and in that way made a small fortune, with which he bought just one ring-a Platinum ring.

Meanwhile, in the other end of the city, she lay in her bed, eyes wide open, unable to sleep. She knew the confrontation was inevitable, but she had not thought that it would happen in this festive mood. She travelled back to the golden days when she was still his friend. But now, she didn’t know what to call their relationship. She leaned forward and saw that her mother had already set the lunch table, but she had no mood for food. Her mind was restless and wanted to wander about.

She still regretted her decision on that fateful night. Perhaps it had been inevitable, but she could have changed her decision had she wished to. Still she went ahead with it and it seems to her now that it was the best decision she could have made. She knew he was hurt, but then she had no choice. She went on to become a very successful doctor all the while keeping a tab on how he was doing, and taking great pride in all of his successes.

Almost a decade had passed since that night. She had not seen him for five years and was unsure how he would look in flesh. She decided to dress conservatively for the evening, since she had almost guessed what must be on his mind. To keep the mood light she decided to dine in a very ‘hip’ place, which she was sure he would never like. The moment she stepped out of the car, he was already by her side. And she just stood there awestruck. He had changed from that reclusive looking young boy to the fit and energetic man in front of her.

As for him, he was, like always, pleasantly surprised at how could God make one creature so much more beautiful than all the others. But then he had something special to give her, which she had long ago wished of him. He was a bit apprehensive of what would be the outcome. But he promised that whatever may be the case, he would respect her choice.

They sat down on the table and ate, but in very small quantities. He, due to fear and she, due to regret. Gently, he took her hand and slipped the ring into her delicate finger. She was surprised by this act, but managed to hide her surprise by asking what that was. He waited for a few moments before proposing her once again. He heard his timid voice ask “Will you marry me?” And then catastrophe struck him. She gave him a sad smile and slipped out the ring off her finger and gently placed it near her plate. He knew she was going to say something terrible.

Instead she continued eating, while he sat there wondering where he could have gone wrong. After they had their desserts she leaned forward and said almost in a whisper, “I am getting married next week.” It seemed like a bolt of lightning that hit him. He knew that she had changed, but the extent frightened him. He had tried, and he failed. She gave him a very disappointed look as they waited for the bill. She had just enough strength to give him her wedding card. He took it with trembling hands. They sat there in silence, having lots to tell each other, but not knowing how to speak out.

He passed the ring to her again and said in a shaky voice, “This is yours, my wedding gift for you.” Somehow he managed to feign a smile and hideaway the tears that were boiling up. He didn’t notice the tears in her eyes as he was thinking where and how he had gone wrong.

She just walked away, still beautiful, leaving him all alone, once again.

That night, love was brutally murdered.

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