My Call-Girl

She called me last night.

I had absolutely no idea she would. Even the faintest inkling of it and I would have run away (as is my wont). Yeah, I am a true coward…

I was chatting with my friends over inconsequential topics like the global warming and such. Out of the blue, my phone rang. For the first time, since buying that phone, my hair stood on end (Yes.) The gears in my brain started to spin even before I had seen the number flashing on my display.

And when I did see the number, I did not react. Rather, I could not react… I did the next best thing. I answered the call as calmly as I could.

“Hello.” – Me
“Hi.” – Her
“Hi.” – Me, again.

A long pause. Discomfort.

“So what’s up?” I asked
“Nothing much.”

Another pause. More discomfort.

“How are you?” she asked.
“Good. Pretty good, I guess,” I answered.

A blatant lie.

“Great… great…”
“And, how are you?”
“Good. Pretty good, I guess.”
“Uhh, great to know that,” I replied.

Definitely a lie.

“I wanted to tell you something,” she said.

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere…

“Yeah, me too.”
“You first.”
“Nope. YOU first.”

A pause. And then –

“Okay, I’ll go first. There’s no use arguing with you anyway. You always win.”
“Thanks for the compliment.”
“I found… someone.”

The next part of the conversation is reconstructed out of fragments of information that managed to pass through the blinding pain and the flashes of light that I saw when my brain exploded. It felt like someone had squeezed my heart to 1/10th of its size and was trying hard to squeeze it even further.

“Uhh, well, good for you. Congrats.”
“Thanx.”
“What does he do?”
“He’s got a well-paid job with an MNC. And a nice house in the suburbs. His own.”
“Great… great…”

It wasn’t great at all.

“So when’s the wedding?”

Here, I must mention that I tried to bring some mischief in my voice, as was required by the question. And I failed miserably.

“Not yet. We haven’t told our parents. But we plan to do it soon. A few weeks, a month, maybe.”
“Good… good… good for you…”
“Thanx. You know something?
“What?”
“I think he’s the perfect match for me.”

Yeah, sure. A flat of his own and a plum job with an MNC. Who wouldn’t be?

“Great to know that.” The competitive streak coupled with the anger and jealousy began to flare up. “So, how come I get the pleasure of talking to you today?”

“Uhh, well, it’s like… I mean…”
“Go ahead, you don’t have to be so formal.”
“Ummm, well, We are planning to marry in the court if our parents oppose. Would you be our witness signatory?”

Yeah, right. In your dreams. If your parents do agree, you’ll be calling me as your best-man next. What do you think I am, some kind of a television? Surf when you want and switch off when you don’t? I will not stand for this kind of a mockery of my life…

“Sure! Tell me when and tell me where, I’ll be there.”
“Thanx! I knew I could count on you… You are a real pal.”

Pal. Nice word. Some day I wanna meet the guy who coined this word, so that I could slit his throat and wring his brains for coining the f**king word. Thanks to you buddy, I now have to attend my ex-fiancee’s wedding. And I am not the groom… Thanx a lot, pal!!

“You go now.”
“Go where?”
“I mean, you tell me what you wanted to tell me.”
“Oh, that! Forget it. It’s nothing.”
“No, no, you have to tell me now. We are friends now, right?”

Yeah, right.

“No nothing, just forget it.”
“Ok… but I would have loved to hear what that was.”

Yeah, right. You would.

“Never mind… never mind…”
“Okay, forget it then. Let’s talk something else…”
“Yep. Sure.” Only too glad to do so…

Pause.

“So, how is she?”

Of all the topics in the world, she had to pick that one… Women…

“I don’t know.”

A confused pause.

“You broke up? I am so sorry I didn’t know.”
“It’s okay. You couldn’t have known. And anyway, the person who fell in love with her was a really persuasive fella. She had no chance but to give in… I do miss her though, I will admit.”
“You didn’t try to stop her? Why?”
“I couldn’t. She couldn’t.”
“Her parents?”
“Nah. They were mere by-standers too.”
“Okay, may I ask what happened?”
“Yeah, she died.”

This is not a lie. Okay, it’s not the truth either. Sort of a half-truth, I admit. But a half-truth atleast.

“WHAT?”

She almost screamed into the phone. I knew she would do that. She always did that. One of the things that had attracted me to her in the first place.

“Yeah.” I said simply. Out of habit, may be.
“But… but… how… I mean, when… oh shit!! I am so sorry, I had no idea…”
“Hey relax! Like I said, you couldn’t have known. So, chill…”

A pause. A deep breath.

“Okay, let’s change the topic. This has freaked me out…” – She
“Okay.” – Me.
“I heard you got a job.”
“Yeah.”
“Like it?”
“I would be lying if I denied it.”
“You have changed.”
“I have, haven’t I?”

The rest of the conversation was spent in catching up on old things. It lasted for about fifteen seconds after which, the call got ‘accidentally disconnected.’ I switched off my phone soon after, and headed straight to the first cigarette stall I could find.

————————
A filmi twist, I later dreamt of, (I am not kidding about this. I did dream this part.) that night.

I was smoking my nth cigarette. The stalll-owner had made a few feeble attempts at starting a conversation, but he soon noticed that I was not quite in a mood to continue it. So he left it at that.

As I finished puffing away on my nth cigarette, I heard a voice, a familiar voice:

“That’s it, that is the last one. You have already exceeded your limit.”

It was her. It had been a prank all along. She was testing my patience or love or some such thing that women keep testing us men all the time. Needless to say, I had passed the test in flying colors. She was mine for all eternity.

Alas, it was only a dream!
———-

*Disclaimer: This is a true story. I have never yet mentioned which of my stories are true and which ones are fiction. But, for some strange reason, I felt like revealing this secret here. Hope I haven’t bored you too much. Sorry, if I did. *

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