The Call of a Lifetime (18+)

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The Pain


I got my heart broken;

By a love that wasn’t meant to be.

And fell for a person;

Whose heart will never belong to me.

This poem resonated so much with me.

I wasn’t responsible for Roger cheating on Stella. They had nothing, merely a contract for the merger and a deal to break away later. But the news didn’t vitiate the lingering ache in my chest. It did nothing to suppress the bitterness of Roger’s words from running down my mouth into all parts of my body.

With the documents in hand, I sat in evaluation. Standing in his room with dawn breaking right in front of me, my day had never felt gloomier. Sun was sneaking up from the horizon walking the world. Mine, felt darker as the light approached.

Roger was casual in mentioning his deal with Stella. He appeared even colder when I narrated his need to have me as the replacement. My heat was severed from its place and tossed into the trashcan. How naïve was I to think, if Roger came to know about who I was, things would be different.

I was the girl who looked up and wished upon a star. All she needed was the smack of reality. The star I wished upon had already died ages ago. It was a mere reflection of its dying light I saw. And dying entities can’t grant wishes. I should know that from mom’s experience.

“I would always look after you,” she had promised on her death bed. I echoed in my ears but like a shooting star, it was a mere hope I placed on something that had long gone.

This very second I was also reminded of one of our conversations. The one question Roger asked me in particular, bobbed up in my mind.

Placing the stacks of papers aside, I got up from the seat I was slanted into. Since he narrated his knowledge and his reveal, my legs had given up on the hope of standing erect. I needed support after the heaviness of his news, his needs jerked my knees.

I had fathomed this day to go wrong in a million different ways but never assumed it would end up like this.

With the last bit of courage in me, scrapping at the barrel I mustered on before looking at him. “When we talked,” his expressions changed. He knew I was referring to the calls. “You asked me if ever you would ask me on a date..”

He was quick to lean into his arms clenched over his chest. I felt as if he was trying to protect his heart before reeling out the truth. “Yes, I wanted to know because if you’d said yes, I had plans.” Nodding, I let him continue. “It was before Stella. I wanted a professional to help me out.”

That answer was what I was waiting for. The final nail hammered over my coffin of feelings.

There would come a time in life when you would be so deeply involved with a person, physically or spiritually that their actions, although not directed towards you, will still hurt. That was Roger for me.

He was the poison that even though wasn’t ingested, was still hurting me from the bottle in which it was preserved. When I decided to leave the call centre job, I wanted to leave the life behind which came attached with it. I wanted to start afresh.

A newer step meant leaving Roger too. Somehow I clung to him. I held onto the idea of him and me like the corals which root themselves over the ropes of an anchor. When the rope would be reeled in through the narrow gap of the ship, the corals would be chopped off from their attachment with the sheer force of the pull and space through which it travelled.

I was that coral. Chopped off from my hold, I floated away with the waves of despair. Maybe something would swallow me whole or maybe I would find a new place to attach. To call home.

But today, I only floated away. A rudderless entity in a vast ocean of hopelessness.

“I need to leave,” was uttered quickly but Roger called me out.

“Wait,” his instruction arrested my walk. “Can I know your answer?”

As my back faced him and my eyes decided to betray the confident persona I tried portraying, I walked out without replying.

All my previous wild thoughts of him knowing about me, of his impending reaction, all seemed like a distant memory now. That worst that could happen had already occurred. Roger knew about me, yet, didn’t care. He wanted a professional actor who could play the fiancé, he badly wanted the world to see.

The perfect partner for his plan.

I wasn’t meant to play that part.

I was just a woman who was elated when he called out my name and dreamt of an aisle walk and white gown. I was the lunatic who assumed Roger would ever want to be with me. I was the pathetic being whose heart ached in places she didn’t even know existed for a man who didn’t even know about me a few days back.

A girl who was in love with her arrogant boss.

Tears narrate what your heart wanted and it was true in my case.

I don’t recollect moving out of the office floor or getting out of the elevator. I did remember walking along the sidewalk as the first ray of light hit the street and the sound of the trucks running into the city with produce, engulfed the air.

I had nowhere to be. Although not official I had left my job. I had a place called home but I knew well if I went back to bed today, it would require a medical copper to pull me back up.

Hopeless and desperate, I dialled the person whom I knew was yet another bad news. After the third ring, I was about to end the call. A guy like Xavier would have just retired after a long party night.

It was futile of me to think he would pick up.

Before I placed another step, my phone rang back. Xavier’s smiling face appeared on the video screen. My six a.m. call would have been a cause for his worry.

"Hey,” I waved at the screen, trying hard to not stare into his concerned face. His cringed eyebrows and crumpled face already narrated his state of being.

“Where are you? What...” his hazel eyes roamed around my background to where I stood before his sharp words roared. “What happened? Why are you out at this hour?”

I heaved when the memories came rushing back. Tears formed and choked my throat. I could only manage two words. "I.. Resigned..”

By now it was evident that Xavier wasn’t partying. He was sitting at his desk. The cold white screen which reflected against his smooth skin was interrupted when he shut the flap. Before I could refill my lungs to answer him further, I saw him pull his coat placed on the bedside.

As words had already betrayed me twice today, there was no use of even trying. Yet I made one final attempt “Don’t come.”

I didn’t want to bother him, anyone. I don’t want to be rescued. I wasn’t a damsel in distress but a girl who wanted a hug. Anyone willing to provide that would be my saviour.

“Switch on your location,” Xavier ended the call after his instruction and I followed his comment.

By the time he appeared out of his car, a bare ten minutes must have passed since the call. He would have flaunted all the road rules to reach here quickly. My heart, the shattered pieces were moved by his conduct. The second his eyes spotted me; it wasn’t difficult to view on only coat laden girl, he walked over with long strides.

Once close, all he did was lift his arm and his palms gestured in. His coat loosely hung over his shoulder without being tied around with a belt. Holding onto me in his embrace, he wrapped it over me.

"Ohh, darling. You are shivering.” He patted the back of my head.

Closing my eyes I felt the warmth radiating from him. His lips stayed over my head, whispering words to console. He cuddled me and I hung onto him, wrapped around like a koala.

A phone call to Xavier was about to break our contract but he was quick to dismiss it.

“Who was it?” I asked, still being held in his arm cage.

Xavier shoved the phone back into his coat pocket, sighing. “Nobody important, darling..”



Did I say something wrong? I merely suggested what I told Stella. Playing her part would be so easy for Arin. She knew me so well and most of all, it wouldn’t involve us fighting as I did with Stella.

Arin walked away without even giving me an answer. I wanted to call her but thought it was best if she processed the news in her solitary sense before talking to me. The place she stood at was on the opposite side of the road. With my office being closer to the ground floor, I could see her.

Watching her from the window, I had an inkling. What if I had considered her to like all other women I had encountered and she wasn’t okay with it? Playing the part of future Mrs Murphy would be any girl’s dream.

But what if it wasn’t hers?

My doubts set off the dominoes of my nerves. I dialled Xavier. It was him who knew her well and as much as I hated to admit, better than me.

“Good morning,” Xavier’s groggy voice came across.

“I want advice.”

He yawned over the call. I must have woken him up. Still thrashing on the bed before his response, I detested being the culprit who woke up the sleeping bird. He hummed for me to continue.

“Sorry, but I called to ask if you’d had a word with Arin?”

With the water running in the background, his words came across. “About?”

Ahh. Xavier hadn’t spoken to her yet. She wasn’t aware and I simply sprung the merger news on her out of the blue.

God, I can be so stupid at times.

Xavier was supposed to do the groundwork and then came my play to narrate the plan.

When I turned towards the window, I saw Arin still standing at the same place.

Statue, she didn’t move. Although her back faced me and her head hung low, I was able to feel the sadness emanating her from frailing body. Even if she would have stood facing me, she wouldn’t be able to see. The office windows were one-sided.

Just like all my past relationships.

Watching her stand in the cold, all alone made me feel horrible for the way I sprang onto her, the plan. She would have thought that I only wanted her for her professionalism.

It was true. I adored Arin’s way of handling business. But what she didn’t know, I liked her too.

I ended the call and trotted into my office. There had to be a way to set the record straight. To tell her, I was being an arse for a reason. For the whole of ten minutes since my call with Xavier, all I could do was walk around my office, smacking myself mentally.

I could be too much at times. It was what Mrs Rose conveyed to me on several occasions. Today, I had a firsthand experience handling the same.

I decided to rectify my mistake. It wasn’t every day that one would encounter a fierce and loyal being like Arin. And I had no intention of losing her. Pulling my coat and walking out, I decided to convey my intention, the truth.

Once the lift ride halt and the doors opened and shut behind, I dragged in a cold burst of air and walked outside.

At the corner of the street where Arin stood, I steered into her hugging Xavier.

He always told me his true feelings for her but I never thought she would reciprocate.

I was wrong.

Not only was she happy in his embrace, but she also stayed there like a homeless holding onto the only piece of warmth in the frigid weather.

The sight made me feel rotten. I felt as if some part of me just died. The enthusiasm from the morning faded away at that sight. All that remained was a pit in my stomach and a bitter taste lingering in my mouth.

How was one woman able to make me feel so much?

Pulling up the phone, I dialled Xavier as a last attempt to salvage my relationship with Arin. It was a desperate means to break them off each other’s hold and end the scene playing in front of my eyes.

He pulled his phone and within seconds my call ended. I saw him place his device back in his pocket.

Xavier continued to pat Arin’s head and wrap her tiny body inside his coat. The whole world around me melted at that sight. All that remained in front of me was Arin. Hopeless, helpless.

And I couldn’t do a thing. In my ways, I was helpless to pull her out of her misery.

I walked back into the lobby, shutting my eyes to avoid the dance of Arin face in my head, and dialling my only other help.



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