7 DecemberPosted: October 11, 2010
I meet So-On at Prithvi theatre. After 8 days. I should feel happy, but he is with one of his townie friends, Sam. Actually, Sam is one of his special friends. Sam’s really beautiful, very sophisticated, and a part of So-On’s English theatre group. So-On has a soft spot for her, she likes him, but she’s cool, not mushy over him, like me.
They are sitting in the Café area. So-On beckons to me to join them. He puts out a hand as I come closer, I give him mine, and he holds it while I sit down with my cup of tea. They, of course, are having Prithvi’s famous Irish coffee. Sam gives me a polite smile and a brief glance, not unlike the one So-On’s mother gives me, making me immediately afraid that:
1. My armpits do not smell as sanitized as they should.
2. My tea is going down my throat with stereophonic slurping sounds.
3. There is a big, black hair on my chin.
Sam turns back to So-On and continues their conversation.
Sam: “I’m not quite sure whether I should do drama there or the scriptwriting course. I can’t fit in both, I think.”
So-On: “That’s a pity. It would be really good for you to build up your drama credentials after all the work you’ve done here. But I guess the scriptwriting course is enticing, something new for you to learn.”
Sam: “ Yes. Not that I have to work there. Papa says he’ll finance me fully. Plus I have some money saved up. So I could manage both, maybe.”
So-On: “I doubt it. Both the courses will mean a lot of extra work even after class timings. You’d be exhausted.”
Sam: “Hmm, I guess so.”
So-On’s hand has left mine a long time ago. He is totally absorbed in his conversation with Sam, though he does remember to turn and smile at me now and then. I sip my tea quietly.
Suddenly, I hear So-On say, “I’d love to do the drama course there, myself. New York is so exciting. And it would be great to be there with you around.”
I gulp my tea. My heart sinks at the thought of Sam and So-On being in New York together. So-On has dated Sam a few times here, but there is nothing serious between them so far because Sam has always been geared towards flying off. Now it seems that So-On means to fly off with her.
I want to walk away, but I am too scared to open my mouth even to say goodbye, because I am not sure I will be able to squeeze out a voice at all. I look around desperately.
Luckily I spot Etcetra. I pick up my bag and make a vague gesture in her direction, mumbling, “Just coming!” So-On looks at Etcetra and gives her a friendly wave. Somehow I get through that moment in which:
1. So-On nods at me with a smile.
2. Sam gives me yet another one of Those nerve-wracking brief glances.
3. I leave the table, relieved that I haven’t stumbled.
Etcetra is with her dance troupe friends. She looks sulky and not too happy to see me there. Pink Ponytail and Lithe Gamin ignore me.
Etcetra: “What are you doing here?”
Me: “I came to see the play.”
Etcetra: “With So-On?”
Me: “No, alone. I just met him here.”
Pink Ponytail looks at me with a glance full of pity for my solitary status, Lithe Gamin sniggers. She seems to be fond of sniggering.
Me: “Are you going to see the play?”
Etcetra: “No, we are discussing our rehearsals.”
Me: “Where’s your Sir?”
Lithe Gamin sniggers again. Pink Ponytail darts her a Look.
Etcetra surly: “I don’t know. He’s late.”
I walk away, absolutely sure that:
1. My armpits are definitely stinking in the most un-sanitized way.
2. The black hair on my chin has grown coarser and longer within the last hour.
3. I am unloved and unwanted by my loved ones.
I wander for a while in the art gallery, glaring at the paintings without looking at a single brush stroke. I just want the auditorium door to open, so that I can go and hide in the darkest corner, where So-On can’t see me, and from where hopefully, I can’t see Sam and him sitting close to each other.