The Naked Face

He kept coming in her thoughts

She was sitting in the midst of her family and also her prospective groom’s family and yet her thoughts kept going back to him. The house wore a festive and happy look that day, because she had, after stalling for years, agreed to see a guy of her parents choice. They were thrilled that she’d finally seen sense. “High time she got married” was the general family consensus.

But in the middle of all the shenanigans, she kept thinking of him. She remembered the first time they met. It was a chance meeting at the library when they both reached for a William Burroughs book. He didn’t know too many in his friend circle who loved Beat Literature as much as he did, so he was surprised to see someone else be interested in that book. But she was. And that’s what made them talk to each other for the first time.

Their meeting became regular starting from the bump-Ins in the library. They began to go out for coffee and long walks. They spoke and spoke. It was amazing how conversation flowed freely when the two of them met. There was never an awkward silence or a lack of topic to talk on. They spoke on everything under the sun. Literature, art, religion, politics, sports, nothing was left untouched.

She didn’t realise when she started getting attracted to him, but she could sense a change in her feelings towards him. His passion, his intensity, his love for life was something she found incredibly appealing. At times he’d like to project a tough “I don’t care” image but she had grown to know by now that he was a softie inside. Anyone had to tell him their sob story and like a sucker he’d fall for it. She kept telling him this at times, but he didn’t bother to listen. Always did what his heart told him.

She felt she was more mature compared to him. His habit of wearing his heart on his sleeves meant he tended to black and white issues. She was more the grey types. Always saw both sides and both points of view. Sometimes he admonished her for her attitude. “You need to stop being politically correct and diplomatic all the time”, he’d yell. “It’s ok to call things out the way they are”. She soon realised that there was no way of getting through him when he was in a foul mood.

Both the families, her and her groom’s, were now talking even more animatedly. “Let the boy and girl spend some time on their own”, the groom’s mother said. “Yes of course. Why don’t you take him to your room and talk”, her mother instructed, “We will send your coffees there”.

She was rudely broken from her thoughts by her mother’s command. She looked at her and nodded and then looked at him. He had gotten up from his seat, eager to follow her to her room.

They walked silently towards her room, he slightly behind her. Her thoughts were still a mixture of the past and current happenings. She felt her heart race a tad quicker as his hands touched hers as she turned the lock of her door.

As they both entered her room, he shut the door behind him and hugged her tightly. “I can’t believe we did it, we did it”, he kept on repeating himself as he hugged her tighter and tighter.

She stood there motionless and didn’t hug him back. Her eyes stared blankly at the wall facing her, her thoughts still back all those years ago about the man she loved. Her groom to be, was a changed man today. He was a cool and calculating suave executive. He had successfully sold himself in the corporate world and his future looked promising if he played his cards well. And he looked like doing exactly so, hence her parents had agreed to meet him and his family. He was the perfect son-in-law in every way for them.

But she missed the ‘old him’. She tried her best to remove the thoughts and memories of the old him and replace it with the ‘current him’. But she couldn’t. No one, not even he himself could replace the person who was deeply entrenched in her heart and soul. She knew she’d lost the old him forever. In the race to be acceptable and successful. But she herself didn’t know if she had it in her to accept the new him.

“Let’s go down and pretend we have hit it off”, he winked at her. “Let’s both go down and say yes”, he smiled. “Just imagine they’ll never guess how long we’ve known and loved each other”.

All this while, she kept looking at his face blankly. A tiny tear trickled down her eyes as she knew what she had to do.

She couldn’t pretend any more. She wouldn’t.

Copyright (c) Pratik Majumdar

Published by Patmaj

Hi this is me, Pratik. I love to read, write, listen to music, watch movies, travel and enjoy great food. Like a whole lot of us I guess. Will keep posting my short stories and other writings out here on a regular basis (hopefully) and (hopefully again) all of you will enjoy them writings...

7 thoughts on “The Naked Face

  1. Lovely !! Such a simple yet true story..can relate so much….seen many with lofty ideas in college / university days who has made a U turn & sold oneself to the corporate world…oblivious to the feelings of his beloved ❤❤

    Like

  2. Nicely written story.
    Am I allowed to hate on your female character though? If she was so mature, why did she have to wait till the families became involved, to decide whether she wanted to marry the guy? Didn’t she know earlier that he had changed? Pretty irresponsible of her IMO! I feel sorry for the poor guy; he wouldn’t know what hit him!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you Maenika entirely. From your point of view you’re absolutely right to want to hate her. But then characters in stories just like the ones in real life are seldom perfect or virtuous or flawless 😊

      Like

  3. Brilliant! The characters feel so real! Her yearning for the ‘old him’ feels so relatable..something most have gone through. Would love to what happens next….

    Like

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