The Moonstruck Columns

Zoya… A Short Story (Part III)

‘You missed yesterday?’ I asked anxiously but in a hushed voice to avoid any attention from the invigilator.

‘Yeah, I didn’t feel like it.’ She replied in the same way.

‘Could you do that?’ I asked curiously.

‘Yeah, sure! These are just pre-boards, they don’t fuss. So, how was yours yesterday?’

We continued exchanging whispers for a while and then she immersed herself into the paper and I pretended to be immersed in mine. It was Computer Science paper for me and was only meant for an hour while she was scheduled for three. I didn’t like the sound of it at all.

‘Could you stay after you have finished your paper?’ she asked me in a low whisper.

‘Only if they let me’ I mumbled back. Secretly wishing they did.

‘Okay! I thought I could use some of your help’ she said carefully pointing at the girl sitting right in front of her. I was in for it blindly. I could swallow a scorpion for her.

For the next half hour my paper lay forgotten and desolate. Instead, I worked as the holy messenger between my lady and the lady in front of her. She shot occasional smiles at me which I was savoring. I was exceptionally delighted with myself and started humming a few songs. She joined in without taking her pen and eyes off her answer script.

‘You listen to foreign music?’ I asked her surprised but suppressing my voice which had all the reasons to be loud.

‘Uh huh’ she replied taking a quick glance at me.

‘That’s unusual. None of the people I know in my class listens to them.’

‘There aren’t any around who do, I guess. But I like them; you know Backstreet Boys, Shakira, Christina Aguilera…’

‘Blue?’ I interrupted. Blue was the band which I was exploring intensively at that time.

‘Yes, “One Love”, “Fly By”, nice tracks’ she replied. My heart and mind was swimming somewhere near Jupiter. We had similar tastes.

‘Then you must also like books?’ I asked curiously.

‘Yes, I do too. Dickens, Bronté.’

‘You’re kiddying! Dickens is my favorite’ I whispered back excitedly. It was loud enough to grab an eye of interest from the invigilator and I lowered my voice at once.

‘I love Wuthering Heights’ she said, her whole attention towards me.

‘Yeah I love that one too’ I lied quickly. But the moment passed as soon as it appeared. The bell rang.

Our scripts were collected into a neat pile and I got the feeling that we would be thrown out soon. I glanced at her trying hard to conceal the unwillingness in my eye.

‘I guess I won’t be able help you further. I wish I could’ I told her quietly.

‘That’s okay, I will manage somehow’ she chuckled and thanked me for my help.

I was the last to leave the classroom and I stole a quick last glance at her and she smiled back. It could be the last time I ever saw her.

A fortnight passed and we were having our regular school when one day the teacher announced that they have decided that we were going to have to sit for the second pre-board. Everybody groaned. I was delighted, but resisted to show.

January 23rd; the first day of the second pre-board. I waited anxiously for her to turn up, checking eagerly up and down the corridor adjacent to our room for the slightest sign of her and by the time it was halfway into the paper, I knew she wasn’t coming. Just like the day in the first pre-board.

January 24th; the second paper. She didn’t turn up yet again. The largest part of my heart had given up on the hope to see her again. At nights, I spent most of the time awake. Sometimes strolling in the balcony, looking up at the cloudless, dark sky filled with a thousand sparkling specks, listening to songs playing randomly in my playlist and trying to remember the time we’ve had just a little more than a fortnight ago. I had three more papers to go before I knew for certain that I would never get to spend time with her. Maybe that served as a little hope to make me appear for the papers next day, which I knew by now, didn’t matter.

The next day I arrived without expecting her but she was there, already sitting on the bench with a pleasant face…

To Be Continued…


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