IBMC · Short stories

Love You Not

 

I’ve never felt this way about someone before. I want him by my side – to laugh with me… hold me when I cry… to sing to me… and proof-read every book I write… I want him by my side, forever. I love the way he brushes my hair away from my face… I love the way he looks into my eyes when he talks to me… I love the way he smiles. And every time I see him smile, I can only think of how much I want this to happen and how it never will.

“Sandra!? Sandra, are you up?” her mother screamed from the living room as Sandra closed her diary. “Ronnie is here!” As soon as she heard Ronnie’s name she hid her diary under the mattress and got onto her wheelchair.

As she entered the living room, Ronnie’s relieved smile was the first thing that caught her eyes. There was a weird feeling in her stomach. After so many internal conflicts, she finally gave in and listened to her heart. Thoughts – they do what we don’t ask for! She accepted that she was in love. But she decided not to act on it.

They took a stroll in the park. “I wish things were not so complicated” Sandra thought. She lost a limb in a road accident when she was nine years old. A few years later, her parents got divorced and the world suddenly seemed entirely different. Sandra’s mother was an unbelievably strong woman. But Sandra was detached. She decided not to trust anybody. Sandra had built a wall around herself. She was confused at times.” Should I sound strong? Should I echo her thoughts?” she wondered. “I knew it! That I don’t know!” she used to conclude. She felt helpless during her teen years. She was tired of being surrounded by people, who pitied her. She saw everybody as a threat and felt reluctant to loosen up, as it would put her in a vulnerable position. After she finished her post-graduation, this feeling just got stronger.  Though she had a traumatizing childhood, she was zealous and pragmatic in her approach towards everything. She was charged by positivity but crippled by stigma. Sandra was a very ambitious person and had a lot of dreams; a relationship was never one of them. Having grown up in a household where waking up to the screaming and quarrelling of non-compatible parents was the routine, she did not believe in happy endings. “Why didn’t you pick up my calls?” Ronnie’s voice broke her stream of thought. “My… phone was in silent mode. Umm… after the lecture, I forgot to change it back to general mode.” she lied. “For the past three days? And why didn’t you reply to my text messages?” he persisted. “I was just… too busy with the documentary work.” she lied again. He placed a hand on her arm-rest, to stop her and stood in front of her. She looked up at him. He placed both his hands on the wheelchair and bent down “Are you trying to convince me that you were not trying to avoid me?” he asked in a soft voice; their faces where inches away and he looked into her eyes. She couldn’t lie this way. She looked away as if hoping to find somebody who could save her from that question. “What’s going on Sandy? Answer me. I miss my best friend” he said. “I don’t need to answer you. I want to go home.” she managed to reply without breaking into tears.

“Hey Sandra, it’s Stacy. I finally managed to fix an appointment with Mr. Anderson. He agreed to let us interview him for the documentary.” Stacy chirped into the phone. “Wow. That’s great news! So when is it?” asked Sandra. “He said he’ll meet us at 5pm tomorrow in the University campus.” she replied. “Cool. See you to… ” began Sandra, but before she could finish, Stacy interrupted “But we’ve got a problem, Anu can‘t make it tomorrow so will you please ask Ronnie if he is free?” she continued. There was silence. Sandra was blank when she heard his name. “Hello?” Stacy checked to see if Sandra was still there. “Yeah. I was… thinking. Umm… I don’t think we need Ronnie. I’ll handle the camera.” she said. “Huh? Why? Ronnie always fills in for Anu. Besides, neither of us knows how to handle a camera.” said Stacy, uncertainly. “I do.” Sandra sounded confident. “You know how to adjust the brightness settings, increase exposure and pan the camera consistently without jerks?” she sounded skeptical; “Why can’t you just call Ronnie?” after a long pause, she heard Sandra say “Okay.” and the line went dead.

Nobody except Stacy said a word on the way to the University. During the entire interview and the way back neither Sandra nor Ronnie talked to each other. At the University, Sandra spoke to Ronnie when she had to and he replied with a grim “Okay.” to everything. That was the first time Sandra cried herself to sleep, after a successful day of documentary shoot.

“Did you read the next five chapters that I sent you?” asked Sandra. “Yeah.” Stacy smiled. They were sitting in Sandra’s porch with their steaming hot mugs of coffee. “So what do you think?” It was the exact same tone in which she asked the question fifteen years back when she wrote her first story. “How does Joe fall in love again, after that terrible break-up he had, a few years back? Besides, he’s very ambitious and love will only be a distraction to his career.” Stacy wondered. “Just because one girl did not treat him properly, doesn’t mean everybody is going to treat him that way. With the right person, it won’t be a waste of time; like you and Robert. You guys are happily married. Life’s all about taking risks for those who are worth it and this could be his chance for happiness.” she said. “Yes Sandra. You’re absolutely right; life’s all about taking risks for those who are worth it and this could be your chance for happiness. Ronnie could be your Robert; just give him a chance. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Sandra couldn’t sleep that night. She was thinking about her novel. She was right, Joe deserved to be loved. She let her thoughts wander. “Why are you running away? That’s not you. You are a strong, independent woman. If losing a father and a limb didn’t shake you then nothing else will.” she heard her mother’s voice echo inside her head. “Yes Sandra. You’re absolutely right; life’s all about taking risks for those who are worth it and this could be your chance for happiness. Ronnie could be your Robert; just give him a chance.”  Sandra tossed and turned in her bed, unable to sleep. At times, we begin to think about something and end up thinking about everything else! She rolled over and turned on the light. She pulled out her diary from below her mattress and began to write.

I’ve never felt this way about anyone before. It may never happen but I don’t want to lie on my deathbed with the regret of never having tried to find out what would have happened.

She called him the next morning. “Ronnie? Sandra here… Can we meet?”

Ronnie stood near the fence that overlooked the lake, facing away from her. “When I didn’t respond to your calls and messages, where you worried about me because… you thought I was vulnerable… because of my impairment?” she asked. Ronnie turned around. “Are you out of your mind? My hind limbs are perfectly alright and I think my close friends would still call to check on me if I disappeared for days!” he sounded frustrated. “Look Sandy! The society may stigmatize you but you need to refuse to let yourself be a victim of that stigmatization. Break away from it and no amount of stigma can cripple you.” He said, turning around to face her; his voice softened. “Maybe this is why I love you Ron…” she murmured, blinking away tears. “What!?” he sounded surprised. “This is… what I love… about you.” She rephrased. “Since when?” he asked. He heard her the first time. Sandra could almost hear her heartbeat rising. “If somebody asked me to pick one thing, that I could photograph… just one thing for the rest of my life, I’d pick you, that’s how much I love you!” he finished as tears rolled down her eyes. “Now tell me. How long have you felt this way about me? Why didn’t you tell me before?” she laughed at the childlike curiosity. “You need not answer all the questions now! You can just laugh and laugh again, but I’m not going to rest until you do.” He threatened her. “If I were able to stand up right now, I’d kiss you.” she said, looking up at him from her wheelchair. “Is that your way of asking me to kiss you?” he teased, “Ask me nicely!” he winked. “I didn’t know you liked me too.” she smiled. “Why else did you think I’m single at thirty-two?” he asked. And before she could reply, he took a step forward, brushed her hair away from her face, placed his hands on the arm-rest and kissed her.

This Post is written for the Incredible Blogger Marathon Challenge. The challenge has 10 tasks and this is the fifth one.

IBMC #05: The Not So Quite Quote Challenge is a challenge where we are supposed to use the given quotes to build a story (check the link for more).

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4 thoughts on “Love You Not

  1. I read this phrase like thrice:
    “Are you trying to convince me that you were not trying to avoid me?”

    Very beautiful story. I had not expected those quotes would turn into such a beautiful story. This is such a enjoyable read. Glad you ended in a happy tone.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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