As narrated by Aara:
When you have once loved someone and even though you may have moved on…a small part of you remains with that person. Despite the love being unrequited, the years and the memories may pass and fade but will always remain…
But, when you are forced into a situation like this…it becomes nothing short of awkward. I wasn’t blind, I noticed all of Nemo’s hints and my heart shuddered at the thought of it. Because this was Nemo after all…was this just a phase or was it serious? Was he acting up because of Zoheb? Was he doing it because he felt that our friendship was threatened? Would he change if Zoheb and I weren’t together?
I had all these questions in my mind…I didn’t like them but they were there alright. It’s not as though I would throw Zoheb away if Nemo was serious…never. If Nemo wasn’t my best friend…I wouldn’t even have paid heed to these questions.
I could feel his eyes on me as I looked down. Life is so strange…a few years ago I would have been on cloud nine to be dancing with Nemo. But things were different now. The equations between the years that passed, the circumstances that changed, the tears that were shed didn’t tilt the balance of the scale at all. He was and always will be in my heart.
I took in a deep breath…my awkwardness wasn’t going to stand in the way of spending a little bit of time with my best friend. I could also just possibly be reading too much into things.
Lost in the centre of this circle of people…with one of my favourite songs playing, best friend in hand.
Me: (looking up at Nemo and saying the words of the song loud enough for only him to hear) kuch bhi nahi hai…aage thumhare
Nemo’s expression changed from seriousness to shock!
Nemo: (looking at me) uhuh don’t expect me to continue!
Me: (grinning and continuing) aaj se dil pe mere raaj thumhara…(And twirling him under my hand)
Nemo: (breaking into a smile) is my Aara back?
Me: (continuing with the words of the song) only if my Nemo is back
Nemo: (frowning) what do you mean?
Me: (rolling my eyes at him) can you stop being Mr. Serious for two minutes and just be you…I know you’re all grown up but errr you know
Nemo: (laughing) if I’m all grown up what are you???
Nemo: (twirling me around) not possible sweetheart
Me: (shaking my head) only because you aren’t trying
Nemo: (smiling a small smile that had something else hidden in it) bin tere madham madham bhi chalrahi thi dhadkhan..jab se mili thum hame aanchal se tere bandhe…dil ud raha hai
Me: (smiling broadly) suno na aasmaano ke ye sitaare kuch bhi nahi hai aage thumhare…
This didn’t feel strange at all. We’ve sung together numerous times before…
Me: see I told you!
Nemo: (giving me his side smile) old Nemo huh…only for you and only for now (winking at me)
And then he spun me out of his arms so quickly,so that I was now two arms lengths away from him but my hand still in his hand and he pulled me back just as quickly and twirled me around. I broke into a childish bout of laughter…it felt the way it does when you’re a kid and it’s the first time you’re on a swing!
And he repeated his actions spurring a bout of laughter from both of us!
Me: (squealing in delight) dooooont let go!
Nemo: (winking at me) never!
As I twirled her around and twirled her out quickly…then pulling her back to me just as quickly…it felt as though there was no one around us. The sound of her laughter overpowered every bit of sadness in my heart. Her smile outshone the dark clouds of despair that weighed above me…threatening to burst. And now I didn’t care if I got drenched…
It felt like the old days…the good days…the happy days.
Me: uhuh no ways I’m taller than you!
Aara: come on…pleeeeease
Me: (trying not to laugh) ok fine but just once
Aara: (tip toeing on her heels to twirl me around) aaaand out!
And she successfully twirled me around and then twirled me out and held me at her arms length. It felt as though I was going to lose my balance any minute now!
Me: (laughing) you’re going to make me fall sweetheart
Aara: (laughing a little louder) errr just hold on
And she pulled me back towards her which was actually quite funny. We probably looked like two lunatics right now!
Aara: (sighing and laughing) my hands are sore now
Me: ohhh really…if you only know how sore mines are
Aara: (raising an eyebrow at me) what are you trying to say?
Me: I’m saying..(Pulling her closer) that you…(Trying not to laugh) may have gained a few kilos
Aara: (stomping my foot with her sandal) I’m sorry did you say something?
Me: (trying to hold back my laughter) Aara…what have you done to yourself! You look like you’ve lost a good few kilos madam!
Aara: hah that’s much better!
Me: (now erupting into a fit of laughter) my fingers were crossed by the way..
Aara: (pouting) am I gone fat?
Me: awww no
Aara: no seriously (now looking at herself) am I looking fat?
Me: oh man…you’re not fat I’m just messing with you..you’re perfect the way you are
Aara: you mean…perfectly fat?
I couldn’t control my laughter as the music stopped and we walked back to our table.
Laeeka: (looking at Aara) why do you look…annoyed?
Aara: (ignoring Laeeka and turning to look for Zoheb but Zoheb wasn’t at the table so she turned back to Laeeka) am I fat?
Laeeka: (taken by surprise) what?
Aara: am I fat?
Aara: you hesitated!
Laeeka: Aara…you aren’t fat at all
Aara: but you said errrrrr
Ziyaad: no she didn’t say errrrrrr she just said err
Laeeka: (smiling at her and then looking at me) why would you think that you’re fat?
Aara threw a napkin at me and crossed her arms….when dessert was served.
I was so ripped that I just couldn’t keep it in anymore as I watched her watch everyone else take a bite of their chocolate cheesecake (her favourite) and she didn’t touch hers yet she sucked her lips a good few times.
Me: (sitting across her) Aarooo I was just joking don’t be angry now
But she looked the other way.
So I did what I used to do when we were younger and she would be angry with me…
I wrote on the serviette and pushed it towards her.
She looked at me for a second and bit her lip trying not to smile as she opened the serviette.
And she wrote back and passed it back to me.
“Take your sorry and flush it”
So I wrote back…
Ziyaad peeked and started laughing.
By now Zainab was leaning in and looking at what Aara was writing. And as Aara wrote, Zainab broke out into a fit of laughter. And the serviette came back.
“In your mouth!”
Riza whispered something into my ear and I chuckled to myself as I wrote back.
“The handle is broken”
And I passed it across the table.
Now Maariah took a seat next to Aara and peeked..
The serviette came back…
“That’s what your big nose is for”
Ziyaad: haaaa A…you’re so mean!
Aara: (sticking her tongue out at Zee) tell me something that I don’t know!
Me: (grinning) you wanted the old Nemo now there you go!
And I blew my nose into the serviette (or pretended to rather , I didn’t really blow it), folded it and pushed it towards Aara.
Aara: (making her face funny) ewww dude you did NOT just do that!
And she poked the serviette with a fork and threw it at me…only I ducked and so did Riza and the serviette landed into someone’s plate behind us!! I was thoroughly broken!
Riza and I turned around quickly and acted as though nothing happened. Even the girls just started chatting to each other as though nothing had happened. But we definitely hear the ” which idiot threw this tissue in my food!!!” Ziyaad was shaking so much that the man at the table behind us woke up and asked us if we had threw the serviette at him…
Me: (trying to look shocked) sorry?
The butch looking man: did you people blerry throw that serviette into my food???
Me: errr what serviette?
The butch looking man: don’t act smart boy…your friend is laughing next to you like there’s no tomorrow!
Me: (turning to look at Zee) oh no!!
The butch looking man: what now?
Me: he’s having a fit!!!
Zee shook even harder and everyone had a very hard time keeping a straight face!
Riza: (standing up) come on he needs to go to the hospital hurry up!
Aara: but Riza…
Riza: (hurriedly) what Aara?
Aara: (softly) the cheesecake…
Lmao Aara!!! I made eyes at Maariah and she held Aara’s hand and we moved quickly from the table.
Arshad however…did the unexpected…he was the last one to leave so he went over to the butch looking man and whispered to him.
Arshad: it was them! (Pointing at the table behind us where Brownie and gang ended up)
And Arshoo rushed out behind us.
Arshad: run guys run!
We had bumped into Zoheb who was walking back into the hall, looking at us rushing out as though we had just stolen something. Aara turned him around quickly without saying a word and we were out of there!!
We laughed all the way to the beachfront…still finding it very hard to believe what we had just done.
We parked outside our famous spot in “them” days. Milkylane! I smiled as I looked ahead. It felt as though it was just yesterday and I could almost see Aara running up those stairs with two Triple Chocolate Mousse’s in her hands.
Aara: (tapping my window) come on what are you waiting for??
Me: (rolling up my window and stepping out) christmas!
Aara: (sarcastically) oh you’re so funny I forgot to laugh!
Me: so laugh now then!
Aara: (rolling her eyes at me) whatever
Me: (joining the group) where’s Uzzi? You said that he lives on the beachfront now
Zoheb: (putting his arms around Aara’s waist and chuckling to himself) he lives “somewhere” on the beachfront
I flinched…and he saw it but before any other expression could escape my face, Aara started telling us about how Uzair and her had pranked Zoheb.
We laughed, we had that triple chocolate mousse, we walked on the pier and Zainab made everyone take a selfie next to all those sand art features. Basically, this was the start of Aara’s planned sunday but what only the two of us knew was…this was all us. These were our memories that we were sharing. And walking on the shore, my shoes in my hand, my formal pants rolled up…Aara was ahead of me, hand in hand with Zoheb…I stopped and wrote on the sand.
But I didn’t know that she had turned around and had seen what I was doing.
Oh come on where’s a wave when you need one!!
But she took me by surprise…drawing a heart around our names and then writing below that ” Best friends for Life”. I smiled as she made me make a handprint along with hers.
I watched her decorate this sand heart with sea shells as her dress fluttered with the wind..her hair flying gently below her shoulders…and then the look on her face when a wave finally washed it away…
I didn’t feel bad…because our names were written on my heart and tomorrow would change the equation of everything…