His Destiny, Her Choices… Part I
After the phone call, Archit knew his slight chance with Jasleen was gone.
He had come so close, yet he had made a mistake somewhere. Was it when he went on long walks with her? Was it when he listened to her seemingly endless problems and comforted her? Or was it when he supported every decision she made? Archit could never know.
He went for a walk outside, only to find himself clouded with thoughts of that phone call. Jasleen had asked him to meet her at the ice cream shop near their society, because she wanted him to meet someone.
Archit was shattered, broken. He chose not to think about anything or anyone related with Jasleen for the moment, trying to clear his thoughts and then take pity on himself and his bad luck, if not anything else. His mind now clear, he sat on a bench to solve his dilemma.
He could sense his coping mechanisms working to help him endure this state of utter helplessness. His hope was revived, and he decided to go meet that someone.
“Hi Archit!” Jasleen was standing outside the shop with a boy that most people would call handsome. He had short soft hair that were carefully combed to perfect tapering ends. One look at his body would assure that he was well built. His perfect skin tone was complimented by long narrow eyes positioned above his long nose. Archit instantly hated him. He could understand why Jasleen must have liked him. He was just perfect, ideal boyfriend material. He was Archit’s exact opposite.
“Hello!” Archit greeted both of them, warily eyeing the malevolent stranger.
“This is Jay. Jay, this is Archit.” Jasleen went on talking, exhilarated, but Archit did not pay attention to her words. They seemed distant, like they were far away, yet so near, almost within his grasp. Almost.
He felt sadness gripping him, sadness that he had not experienced in a long time. But it was not the time to show that, he realized. He had to act strong. He had to be strong.
Archit refused to believe he could be that naive.
A quarter of an hour later, when Archit finally broke off from his chain of thoughts and decided to listen to Jalseen, he registered the fact that Jay was actually her cousin.
“No one really believes it, but I think I should let you know that he’s my cousin!”
He did not remember anything after that clearly, except the immense relief he had experienced, he was overjoyed. In his joy he made a decision, a decision to let Jasleen know, let her know that she was the best thing that had happened to him in a long time, let her know that he desired to be more than just friends, and let her know that she is to him as Adamantium is to Wolverine, as Mjollnir is to Thor, and as J.A.R.V.I.S is to Tony Stark .
After reaching home, Archit called Jasleen, and asked her to meet him outside her flat at sharp 6 in the morning. He did not forget to ask her to come alone. Jasleen’s thoughts were the last that came to his mind before he fell asleep that day.
Full of excitement, and a little nervous, Archit walked out in the morning to meet Jasleen. She was there, waiting for him just outside her flat. Archit asked her to follow him as he walked up stairs to reach the roof. It was bare, with pipelines running around in a haphazard maze-like formation.
They were just in time.
“Hurry!” Archit requested Jasleen, who was almost there, panting as she climbed the stairs.
“What are we gonna do at the roof, Archit?”
“It’s a little surprise for you, come on up, fast.”
Archit could feel her getting curious as she finally reached the roof. The view from the roof was amazing. They could see a belt of trees to the south and west, whereas the North side was marked by rows of buildings and roads. But what got their attention was the view to the east. There was a line of trees standing along a road, which seemed to touch the horizon. And at that moment, from beneath the horizon came the brilliantly shining, everlasting sun.
Jasleen immediately understood why Archit had got her up so early and bought her here. She was instantly spellbound by the beauty of the rising sun. She felt grateful, grateful of having Archit with her, the kind, helpful, perfect Archit, who was and would forever be there for her anytime she needed him.
“It’s just like you, isn’t it? The rising sun. Beautiful.” Archit was beginning to let his feelings escape his thoughts. ” You know, Jasleen, since I met you, I’ve changed, and I know I’ve changed for good, and you’re the one who has changed me. You are responsible for bringing out the good in me, for making me better. I can’t express how I feel right now, but it is the best feeling in the world, to be here with you. I like you, Jasleen, and I wish to be more than just friends. I want to take our friendship to the next level.”
Jasleen was surprised. She did not expect this at all. She did not know how to reply to Archit. He was sweet, caring, just perfect. She could be totally open with him, and she could be totally crazy with him. Yet, she did not want to take a step further. Their friendship was at a point where her decision would shape the entire future of it. She could not help it, she did not feel the same way. She did not want to do what she did next, but for Archit’s sake she had to do it. Or else he would keep thinking of her, she would be a distraction for him. She had to do it.
She slapped Archit really hard and walked away as stiffly as she could, hiding her tears.
Surprisingly, Archit did not feel sad. Instead, he felt light, he felt as if a huge burden had been lifted from his head, and he felt enlightened. He now clearly understood his mistake. He had failed to think about the difference between a friendship and a romantic relationship, and had paid the price. But he was not downhearted by Jasleen’s reaction, she could not be blamed. He was glad she had come into his life, if only to serve her purpose as a lesson.
A lesson well learned by Archit Singhania.