THE CLEAN-LIVING DEAD

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DISTURBING PAST

Amoli drove the car while Taran and the other followed them by bike.
"It's already evening! We did nothing today! Time waste has become our surname this month!" joked Aneeldeep. They got down at the stadium and Taran purchased popcorn and Thumbs up for everyone.
"I never came here even though I lived in Pathankot all these years!" exclaimed Neha.
"We'll come here next time then!" said Taran. He was nearly white when he saw the constant staredown by Neha.
"Ok, we'll not" he said at last.

They all went in.
"Hey! Call Umed na!" requested Taran. His companion ran into the players dressing room and got a tall man along with him. Neha stopped in her tracks. He was a tall man with an evercheerful smile, broad chest and muscular body.

"Why are all my senses reeling? Who is he? Did I see him anywhere, he looks familiar! He has to be in my memories somewhere! Dig deep Neha, you know him, you have a sharp memory! You are an agent and you are trained and my mind cannot cheat me! I saw him somewhere and have a strong face memory, think Neha think!"
Such were Neha's thoughts. She excused herself to make a phone call and went out. She sat on a rock outside and banged her head for the thought to trespass into her mind. After a few seconds, she remembered.
"Yes! It is Umed from my 10th grade! We were silly young teenagers who didn't have the real idea of life. We liked each other a lot back then and just before we got into a relationship, I had to transfer schools and he was forgotten. I was silly and playful back then. He has changed a lot from then. The memory of his eyes remained and I was able to recognise him today due to that unusual spark in his eyes. I was depressed back then and nobody understood me. I was literally healed after my tenth grade. That too, I still remembered the conversations I had with him and my dreams, full of him. Now I'm mature enough to know how life is not all that we see in films and serials; It's a journey, one which finally ends. I used to see love as something inspirational back then. Ha! Silly me, so many changes in life. I never understood that it was a diversion during schooling...I hope he doesn't recognise me......"
Neha shed a tear or two and laughed at herself. She was now a better human being and had a good job and.....6 years passed so..... swiftly!! Differently!!

"Neha! What the hell is happening to you? You've been on your phone for hours! The basketball match is about to start! Aajaa na!" said Aesha as she came out and waited for Neha.
"Yeah, mom called. She asked if I was coming now for dinner" said Neha.
"What did you say?" asked Aesha.
"I said no.." replied Neha. Aesha sat beside Neha and laid a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"What happened?" asked Aesha.
"Nothing" said Neha.
"I know when something's up with you, so....spill it!" insisted Aesha. Neha took a deep breath and told her everything.
"Don't worry about the past, it's of no use. You won't get anything. But whenever you want my help, I'll come to give you any recovery speech!" said Aesha as she patted on her back.
"No! I'm not worrying, it's just that.....it struck me then and there! I'm not worrying, ok! I'm not sad and.....do you think I'll let down on myself so soon? No! No! I'll fight and you know that. Anyways, thanks for coming, or else I would have been here until anyone came to collect me to go home!" said Neha as she hugged Aesha tightly.
"Seriously? Did you think we would forget you just because we came here? I though didn't even want to come here!" said Aesha.
Both of them went inside and watched the basketball match forcefully. After the match was finished, Umed came over to get congratulated by them.

"You're like a cool sport!" said Taran.
"Oh thanks!" said Umed as he glanced at everyone. He stopped at Neha.
"Uh Guys, I think we should really go for a smoothie. Come on!" said Aesha as she diverted everyone to the smoothie bar.
Now it was only Neha and Umed. They stared at each other continuously.
"You are.....are...." murmured Umed as he loitered into memory lane. His eyes brightened up suddenly.
"Neha! Neha?" he repeated. Neha slowly nodded her head in hesitation.
"10th grade.....you remember?" asked Neha.
"Everything" he replied.

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