The phone rang.
“Hey babe. Sup?”
“I wanna talk to you da can you please come out now?”
“Sure i’ll be right out”
Her back to him, he could see she was dabbing at her eyes…
“Whats up di?”
She tried to smile and her eyes were puffy from…..crying. His face fell; “What the hell happened?”
A feeble attempt at smiling which failed miserably anyway. He sat down beside her and put his arm around her. She immediately wet his shirt sobbing uncontrollably and held him tight. He stroked her hair. Not the first time. He wasn’t surprised. They were best friends. And he was best at consoling her.
“Mind telling me babe?”
“He broke up.”
She felt him stiffen. He sat up. The stroking stopped. His hand slipped from her shoulder. His face changed colour. And a grim look replaced his worried face. He moved away from her and looked away. The indifference has already set in, she realized. The expression on his face was tough to read. He dint know what to feel, sympathy for her or…….get mad on him. For the hundredth time, he wished he hadn’t known her. And hated the position he was in right now. She could feel the indifference now.
She was crying. To him. Counting on him. To make her feel better. He dint make an attempt to brush away her tears either. “……..how could he do this to me?……” he barely heard her words. Lost in thought. It hurt, deep down to completely ignore her pain and act indifferently as if he dint care. If only she knew. She had no idea, how it felt to be torn between two people. Two friends. And to think of abandoning her at the time she needed him the most…….was torture. Absolute torture. He knew what will come next. And he dreaded the question already. He dint want to hear it. And he had no clue what to do with her. Tongue tied. He wished Nick would listen to him. “Don’t even think about it da. I don’t want to talk about her” was all he had to say when he was about to broach the topic. He nodded, turned around and walked away without saying a word. Should he be mad at him? Not talk to him, support her? And…….let his friendship rot?
The most pissing off part was to choose between them. Whom to support. Not having a say at all in the matter. Not being able to console her. Having to act as if nothing’s ever wrong between the three. The awkwardness. He couldn’t even play mediator. Things like that worked when they courted each other. And when parting, it was of no use. This is why he always hated groups. His heart went out to her…….yet, he couldn’t say a single word to her. He couldn’t talk about him. He couldn’t try to reason with her why Nick could’ve possibly done this. Nor could he talk to Nick about the foolishness of his act. Leave alone talk bad about Nick to make her feel better. No, nothing. He couldn’t take sides. The agony.
“Will you please say something Rosh? Please don’t be this way” she said. He wanted to kick himself. Helpless. Clueless. Lost. He looked at her; his expression neutral. She had the pleading look on her face. He couldn’t bear to see her in pain. He looked away again.
Friends from kindergarten are hard to be chosen over or given up. Neither of them can understand this simple fact. Both wanted his faithful support. He wished he could be two different persons at that instance. Argh. Why cant anybody understand the friend who’s always, always caught in the middle? He tried to reason out and decide between the two of them. He has always had a soft corner for her. Sweethearts like her are hard to find these days. But now he wasn’t even able to console her. Another pang of guilt. She most definitely deserved the best. Nick must be trashed. But……he was his friend too. He simply couldn’t bring himself to say a word against him.
Even if he did, he’ll immediately take offense and the ‘friendship’ talk arises, leading Nick to say, “so, that’s all for our friendship, right? She’s more important to you than me. Right. I get it” He’ll be left with his jaw open at the words. And her, no different. The exact same words will be repeated, only with a more hurt expression rather than an angrier one. He dint want their relationship to spoil either, by siding with her, thus incurring Nick’s wrath. And leading to disaster. He wasn’t sure if he can put his long term relationship with Nick in jeopardy over her.
He facepalmed. You fight and you expect me to support you both, he thought. Worse, she expected him to help her out by talking to Nick. As if. Why me, he thought.
“Yes” the most dreaded question was about to come, he was sure.
“Please….do…something” she begged him. That innocent childlike face of hers, tear stained cheeks. His heart melted. He tried not to look pained. How could anyone even dump her?
He got up, suddenly. She had a questioning look on her face. He was well aware of her gaze on him despite showing his back to her. He paused on hearing her question. The bomb has been dropped finally. He looked at her, his face neutral, shrugged and said
“Please…… don’t come to me for things like these di.” and walked away, without a word. And hated himself for doing so. He had a lot of thinking to do.
The tears rolled down, undaunted. She felt worse than the break-up.