The mall was decently crowded for a Tuesday afternoon. I had gone straight from my college, so wasn't really looking my best. I had washed my face and sprayed on a fresh layer of deo that I always carry in my bag. As long as I looked and smelled relatively fresh, it was fine by me. He was already there. Good! I would have screamed bloody murder if he had kept me waiting.
It's funny how much things had changed. A few weeks ago we met at the same place and we had a ball. We laughed, we talked, we bitched, we ate and by the time the night ended, we had even kissed. Isn't it funny how things turned out to be?. I couldn't help but think about it, and laugh.
The greeting was forced. It felt weird. Everything was so effortless back then. A handshake that would result in him pulling me closer and giving me a small hug, just the right kind for a public place. I think the fear of my first rejection had stiffened me. Like some defensive mechanism that my body had automatically slipped in.
A formal greeting, recent updates and a quick walk through of the Lahore wedding later, we sat discussing business. I felt like a duck sitting in front of a lion as it cleaned it's claws before a meal. Bruce was taller and stronger than me in every aspect, our hugs sometimes used to result in me being gripped tight and lifted up. That's quite a mean feat for someone, if you ask me. I'm not exactly the lightest person on Earth. Also I felt that everyone was looking at us. Here again came a comparison in my mind. Few weeks ago I was feeling that everyone was looking at us and I was enjoying that feeling. But not now! I offered that we walk around the mall instead. He didn't mind, so we got up and started pacing the mall.
He apologized for not maintaining a line of communication since his return. It seemed honest but the damage was already done. Bruce said that he had gotten busy since he got back in catching up with work. How can it take 4 weeks to catch up for a 10 day off, I don't understand. But I didn't argue!
He wasn't telling me something and I knew about it. I didn't know what it was and I didn't feel like getting to know about it. Some stones are better left unturned. I glanced at my watch. It was getting late so I decided to cut to the chase. "Are we dating or not?", I ask sternly.
"I don't know!", he replied "Do you want to?" he asked in response.
"I don't think so, Bruce!" I told him looking at his face. I saw a flash of sadness. "Don't get me wrong. We did have it going for a while but I think it all happened too soon and I acted too much on my impulses!", I reasoned. There was complete silence for a while.
He didn't say anything as I stood there. We were on the 3rd floor and he kept looking down. I couldn't understand what was going on in his mind. For a moment I thought he was going to push me off or something. Crazy Me!
The silence was a murder so I decided to grab the conversation again. I said my byes and wished him well, hoping he finds someone soon. Pretty soon, I was in the parking lot. I kept looking back wondering if Bruce is going to pop out any second and something horrible would happen. I seriously should stop watch psycho-thrillers!
I had just about reached my car when my phone started to ring. It was Bruce calling. I wondered if I should go back or simply receive his call. My legs reminded me that I owe them alot more than I owe any man, so I received the call. Bruce was calling me back. I argued that it was a long walk and I'm nearly at my car. But he didn't stop and kept telling me to come back up. Planning to wrap it up as quick as possible, I started walking back.
At the entrance, Bruce was standing with two cups of ice-cream in his hands. He offered me a double scoop of Brownie ice-cream. That, atleast, was definitely worth the walk.
"So we messed up big time! But can we be friends?", he asked sincerely.