Thap! She snapped the book shut. Her elbows resting on the formica of the table, she sipped her coffee. Relationships, the big enigma which kept hurling more questions than answers, she realized were a lot like books. You finish reading a book and then move on to another. But wherever you go a part of that book always remains with you. And on some lonely night, in the midst of a particularly boisterous bachelor party, the truth of the words which you read in that book suddenly dawns upon you. Just like relationships. You move on, but you always retain a bit of what you shared with the other person. And just what makes the author the wise one behind those words? Imagination. The author imagines the possibility and dares to come up with a solution. Just like the outsider, who has nothing to do whatsoever with the relation discussed? His imagination pronounces him as the undisputed expert on the relationship. He imagines the possibility and thus can invent a solution. Author, books, outsiders, relationships…
She looked at her watch once again, not because she really needed to check what time it was, but because it made her look like she was waiting for someone. She was waiting for someone, but that someone would not be here at least for the next fifteen minutes. So she was very much on her own, sipping coffee which she otherwise gulped. She cringed her eyes in an effort to focus on the thoughts zinging inside her mind. What was it with pretences and relationships? Everybody seemed to say the two never mixed, yet one rested in the shadows of the others. Like Di and her.
They were the best of friends, ever ready to share a laugh and trade some gossip. But lately she found herself avoiding Di’s calls, making excuses to not call her back. She very well knew the reason for that. As of late Di had transformed into a watering pot of sorts. All she could talk about was being the victim of her boyfriend’s insensitivity, her boss’s cruelty or the partiality of the circumstances. Everybody needs to vent out frustrations, she could understand that. But Di had been at it for months. Like showers in the equatorial region, perennially there, with no signs of a change of weather either in the near or the not-so-near future.
In the beginning she had sympathized. There were the right ‘Oh poor you,” and “How could he?”. Then came the phase of active involvement, where she had tried to advocate Di’s side with the boyfriend. But she began to realize that the problem was not the boyfriend, it was Di. Di didn’t want to be with him anymore, but she couldn’t bring herself to call it off. She was doing what the conventional books advise every woman on- the –brink- of -break -off to do. She was making him leave her. But she had to be the victim too, she couldn’t be the ‘bitch who called it off’, she had to be the ‘poor girl who got dumped’. So Di had resorted to pretense. Di pretended that her boyfriend was the evil man behind the handsome mask. Which was ok. What was not ok was Di put a pretense even with her; her supposed best friend.
On numerous conversations with Di, she had wanted to put her hands on ears and scream STOP. But instead she had just listened on. She had wanted to tell Di exactly what she thought, that enough was enough and she had to snap out! But she had just stayed mum, neither sympathizing nor suggestion, just listening on. Why couldn’t she get herself to do it? To tell Di in those excruciating words that she was getting too carried away with her pretense? It would be painful yes. But then getting any infected bit out of the system always was.
What did really stop her? It was a fear that Di might never turn around and talk to her. That suddenly one fine day she would find herself quite alone. Insecurities, she realized, often bind us closer and tighter in a relation, than securities ever would.