The girls were very excited and looking forward to enjoying the last night of their mini vacation. All of them were impeccably dressed.
Alisha wore a blue strappy maxi dress with a side slit that went just above her knee. Her hair was tied in a top knot with a few tendrils framing her face. She went for a nude look for the makeup and adorned her feet with bling sandals, courtesy Minnie.
They went to a small pub that also served dinner and was well known for their silent discos. As soon as they entered, they noticed that the pub was packed to capacity. But since they had already made reservations, they were allowed to enter.
Alisha watched in awe as the patrons were dancing with headphones on their heads. She had never been to a silent disco. Only seen them in movies. This was a novel experience for her. The best part of the place was that she wouldn’t have to yell across to get heard.
She spotted Neil on the dance floor as well, looking dapper in a pink button down shirt with the top two buttons left open and blue ripped denims. 'Only he can carry off pink so well, despite being a guy.' She thought. She felt a strange tingling sensation in her tummy and her heart rate sped up, when he made eye contact with her.
She noticed him coming towards her with a set of headphones and a transistor.
“Hey, you look beautiful” Neil said.
“You don’t look so bad yourself.”
“Come let’s dance.”
Alisha looked for her friends, but they had already hit the dance floor. She was a bit hesitant as she was an awful dancer, but decided to try it out.
“Sure, let’s go.” She said.
As soon as she put the headphones on, she winced at the loud sound. There was some weird music playing, one that she had never heard before.
She removed the headphones and looked at Neil with a questioning gaze.
He smiled, “I guess this is your first time with one of these?” He said pointing to her headphones.
“Um. Yes. Can’t we lower the music volume? And why can’t I make out the songs?”
“You can change the station to whichever song you like using the transistor.” He pointed towards it and showed her how to use it. “There are four stations with different DJs, you can listen to whatever is pleasing for your ears.” He laughed.
Alisha put the headphones back on. Neil stood in front of her and started moving with the beats. At 5’5”, she reached his shoulders and that too because she was wearing heels. 'He must be around 6 feet', she thought. But she just couldn’t dance. And she wasn’t liking it. She felt her ear drums would burst with the kind of music that was playing.
She removed them back and looked at Neil, “I don’t think I can do this. You continue. I’ll have something to drink.”
With that she left to go near the bar. As she was perusing the menu, she felt someone tap on her shoulder.
“Hey, what are you having?” Neil asked.
“Oh, you shouldn’t have stopped dancing because of me, you know.”
“It’s alright really. Besides, it doesn’t look good for a beautiful woman to be alone at the bar.” He winked.
“Well, thank you.” She blushed.
She couldn’t decide what to have, but was feeling brave. So she went for a shot of vodka. And Neil ordered some wine.
She sat on the bar stool and Neil sat across her with his knees touching hers. He was encroaching in her personal space, but instead of feeling nervous, she felt good. Her heart rate had shot up and she was feeling like a hormonal teenager. 'Get a grip of yourself Alisha.' She thought.
“I’m sorry? Did you say something?” He asked.
‘Shit, did I say that aloud?’ she silently mused.
“No. I did not say anything.” She finally said.
Their drinks arrived and she gulped her drink in one shot.
Neil signaled the bartender to get their drinks by the couch in the corner. He led her there and he also ordered some sandwiches.
“So?” he said.
“So what?” she asked.
“Tell me something more about yourself.”
“Well then. Let’s get started. What do you want to know?” Alisha started giggling as she said that.
And then her gaze landed on the empty glasses of drinks; she realized that she had three shots of vodka already with a fourth one in her hand.
Before Neil could ask her anything, she said, “What would you have been if not an actor?”
Neil pretended to be thinking hard before he said, “Acting is my only passion. I don’t even want to think about anything else. There are no alternatives really. I’m very clear about my dreams and ambitions.”
“What about you?”
“I love to stab people on their backs with a nice pointed needle, and I usually warn them before I do that, but they still shout and then I get very irritated as it disturbs my concentration.”
Neil burst out laughing at that and said, “Alisha! That was damn funny. What else do you like to do?”
Alisha started laughing too before she said, “I also lovvvee to er… Um… play with plastic tubes. Yes. Plastic tubes in different sizes.”
“And may I ask, what do you do with them?”
“Um... um… I know. Wait. Let me think. Yes! I put them in their mouths.”
“Ewww. Yuck. Whose mouths you put them in to?” Neil was totally amused.
“The people’s mouths. Then I attach them to a machine and take a self-inflating bag and begin pumping their lungs.”
Neil hollered in laughter at that. But he did not realize, that Alisha had virtually told him what she actually does as an anesthetist albeit in her drunken banter.
Alisha started laughing too and she was having the time of her life when she suddenly gave him a hug and put her head on his shoulders. She felt good being this close to him. He smelt divine. Not very strong either. A masculine odor that made her jittery and then everything went black.
The next morning, Alisha woke up on the bed in her room with a pounding headache. She squeezed her temples and tried to remember the previous night. The last thing that she remembered was her giving a hug to Neil.
“Oh God! What rubbish must have I told him!” She exclaimed.
But before she could do anything, she needed to eat something and take some paracetamol for the headache. She somehow managed to freshen up and headed to the restaurant for breakfast.
“Well, look who’s here.” Minnie said. “Slept well sweetheart?” She winked.
“I’m very very hungry.” Alisha whined.
“Nidhi and I are headed for packing up our stuff. You eat something. Minnie’s here for you.” Arpita said.
Alisha had some fruits and bread jam, as Minnie looked on.
“What?” Alisha asked.
“I know what you did last night.” Minnie said wiggling her eyebrows.
“Well, I slept.” Alisha argued. “And I just woke up.”
Alisha’s eyes widened as she realized what Minnie was trying to say.
“What do you mean by that? Look Minnie, I don’t remember anything.”
Minnie replied, “But, I saw everything.” And she ran away to her room laughing.
“Wait up. Minnie. Wait...” Alisha screamed as she started following her.
Both of them were gasping for breath as they collapsed on the bed.
“What is going on Minnie? What are you not telling me?”
“Do you really want to know?” questioned Minnie.
“It was like a dream sequence. And so romantic. Wow.”
“Stop beating around the bush and just tell me Minnie.”
“Ok babes, relax, and sit.”
As Alisha sat on the bed, Minnie continued, “I think you passed out in Neil’s arms and poor thing; he had to carry you, a whopping sixty kilos, bridal style to your room.”
“What the hell? I’m not sixty kilos. And wait. That’s it? He carried me to my room? And you are making such a big issue that I thought we actually slept together!”
“So, you really want to be with him, huh?” Minnie wiggled her brows.
“Stop it. That’s not the point. Oh my God! It’s so embarrassing. I passed out? Shit.”
“You stop over reacting now. What’s done is done. Let’s start packing up.”
Alisha was lost in her thoughts about last night. Minnie snapped her out of her reverie and said, “Dream girl. Stop thinking about lover boy. Here, take this. He’s left something for you.” She said handing her a white envelope.
Alisha waited for Minnie to go out before she tore open the envelope and removed the paper within. It was a letter addressed to her.
I’m sorry for having left without meeting you. I really wanted to tell you this in person. But you weren’t awake when we were leaving.
I really enjoyed talking to you and getting to know you in the last two days. But I’m harboring this guilt that I need to get rid of.
Alisha was feeling nervous to read what was written further. Nevertheless, she continued.
I was challenged to woo you and ask you out in these three days by my friends. Why you, I do not know. I did not want to do it but they wouldn’t stop badgering me about it. That is why I approached you on the first day. And the days after.
You seemed to be a very genuine and interesting person and I really wanted to be friends with you. And I had totally forgotten about the challenge until yesterday when you passed out. I was supposed to ask you out on the last day and when you would agree, we would all laugh saying it was a joke.
It was actually good that you passed out, as it would have been really embarrassing for you to witness that. It was a win-win situation for both of us.
I wanted to tell you all this before you came to know about it from someone else to save you from embarrassment as Nidhi and Arpita were also a part of it.
I really hope we meet again and if we do, you would be able to forgive me for leading you on.
Let’s keep this motto: ‘what happened in Goa, remains in Goa’; so that we can build a new friendship should we meet again.
It was really nice knowing you.
P.S.: You are a very cute drunk!
Alisha folded the letter and kept it back in the envelope. She was blank. She really didn’t know what to feel or how to react. One moment she felt pissed, and the other, she appreciated that he told her the truth.
‘What a wonderful end to this beautiful vacation.’ She sighed.
It was time to go back home and get busy with work.
Alisha reached the hospital and got so engrossed in her cases that she forgot about her meeting with Neil earlier in the morning.
She reached home at about 7 in the evening.
She was surprised to find a bouquet of yellow roses outside her door. She lifted it and took in the fragrance before entering her flat and keeping them in a vase. She removed the note that was attached to it. It read,
“For a new friendship and a new beginning, from your new neighbor :-)”