A Work of Fiction
The Pretend Date
It was the last day of the academic year. There was joy and excitement in the atmosphere. I was sitting in my usual place at the last bench of the last row, out of the view of teachers. The classroom I sit in was unclean. The plaster of the walls was torn off, the benches had names scribbled on them. One could be surprised by the looks of the building from outside and from inside. But it never bothered me. Today there were no classes. Just a final meet-up. Honestly, I intended to skip today and add an extra day to my vacation. But I was compelled to attend at a strange request of my friend
It had been two hours and I was still sitting on the same bench, staring outside from the window, waiting for the day to end. My friend Ajay finally called me. I immediately rushed to the art room. To my surprise there were a handful of people I did not expect. One among them was Varsha who was my friend since I joined this university. Ajay introduced me to his close friends and I unwillingly introduced myself. At this point I felt like slapping Ajay. I was not in the mood to meet more people. There were totally six of us including me of whom I knew Varsha.
“Hey listen up”, said Ajay as if he was giving a toast “I have something to say. First of all, thanks for taking out time for me for such a short notice.” Short notice MY FOOT. He cried over the phone last night, compelling me to attend today.
“Now let me get to the point. I called you all here because I wanted to tell you that tomorrow I am going out with my girlfriend on a date.” Everyone felt like slapping him at this point. “But here is the better part. We are going on a dinner date at night to Leela Palace.” This was ridiculous. I came all the way just so that he could show off!
All his friends were staggered. Some seemed envious, while others were delighted. I, on the other hand, was pissed.
“Are we all coming on your date?” I asked sarcastically. Everyone turned their heads towards me. Apparently, they misinterpreted my sarcasm as a genuine question.
“Yeah,” replied Ajay with his sarcasm “you can accompany me on my date.”
Everyone turned their heads and looked at him, baffled.
“She is your girlfriend, right?” asked a fool
“It is sarcasm” he disambiguated.
Just as I was about to launch another sarcastic phrase, Varsha held my arm and dragged me out of the room
“Are you crazy?”
“Well, he ruined my day”
“Shut up. He’s got an important date you know. It’s his big day.”
“By the way, doesn’t it seem absurd” she said, changing her tone from authoritative to a curious one.
“I don’t think so. Many go to date in restaurants.”
“I’m not talking about that.” She said, making me look stupid to misunderstand “I mean he arranged a date at Leela Palace. Isn’t it weird?”
“Now that you mentioned it, it does. Maybe he had planned it for a long time.”
“I don’t think so…”
“Why are you so concerned about him.” I said interrupting her “you sound like his mother.”
“You won’t understand”
Just then, a pair of seniors happened to come around the corridor that we were in. I was facing up against the wall and Varsha was facing me, maintaining a close distance.
“Oi love birds.” Said a guy “This Is no place for love”
We both looked at them. Varsha was abashed to the point where she began blushing. Her face turned red like a tomato. She began disambiguating the situation. Feeling bored, I retreated back to the classroom to spend the rest of the day.
The last bell rang, echoing through the college. Everyone packed their bags and departed, whilst I was sitting on the bench as though I was glued to it. I always leave the college only when the college is empty with no students. Maybe because I’m a reserved, introverted, taciturn and partly sociopath- all the qualities that a commerce student shouldn’t have. But I never let that bother me, which made me stand out amongst others.
Presently at the exit gate of the university, I experienced the long-lost liberty that the university took from me, though temporary. But it did not last long. Just before I began to walk, I heard Varsha call me.
“What’s the matter?”
“I wanted to ask a favour.” She said “will you help me”
“Actually, I’m in the middle of something so I can’t”
“I was not asking. So, tell me what do you think of their date?”
“I already told you. It’s their personal decision. Why do you bother?”
“I’m worried because his girlfriend is my closest friend. So, I want to make sure it goes on well.”
“Oh, I see. Well, there’s nothing we can do I guess”
“I can. We could go on a double date, you know. I can keep them in sight.”
“That is probably a good idea. I hope Srinivas can help.” Srinivas is a student in our batch. He sucks at academics but tops in sports and stuff. Apparently, she had a huge crush on him, perhaps even now.
“Just shut up. I don’t want your advice.” She said in an offended tone “Look I need a person whom I can trust. Maybe somebody who is close to me.”
Who could it be? I wondered. We began walking as she kept enunciating her words. It felt like she was giving a denouncement.
“Do you understand?
“Yes. But who can help you? I’m not aware of any person who can help”
“You still did not get it. You are so strange.”
“What do you want to tell?”
“Basically, I want…. uhm…. you to…. Uhm, you know come with me.”
I was staggered at her outrageous request. Did I wake up in a bad direction, or did a black cat cut my way?