Rejection doesn’t kill as much as waiting does. It’s like tying a noose around your neck and waiting for your life to ebb away. Okay. Maybe that’s not a right way to anticipate for an answer. But the lack of clarity took a toll on my single-dimensional, mundane life.
What is her answer? Is it a yes? Is it a no? What if she says a yes? What if she rejects me? A gazillion thoughts trespassed my brumous mind. Day one. Day two… Day eight. A week had passed already, but I had found no sign of an answer from her. This suspense is, kind of, killing me, I thought. I tried to rewind my conversation with her in a bid to know where had I goofed up if I had.
‘A quick question.’ I initiated a conversation while she sat opposite to me sipping her cup of coffee.
‘Uh huh?’ She replied affirmatively.
‘Your status update on social media, Maybe okay is our always…’
‘…Okay?’ She interrupted.
‘Okay.’ We shouted in chorus. What followed next were her peels of laughter that made me fall for her again. Careful, my boy. Better not jump into the abyss. My protective instinct went into the self-defence mode. As usual, I shrugged it off.
‘Yeah. So what about it?’ She asked.
‘Isn’t that a quote from The Fault In Our Stars?’
‘Of course, yes it is.’ She beamed with excitement and enquired, ‘Have you seen the movie?’
‘Well, yes. Seen the movie, read the book.’ I replied with a feeling of pride. Show off. My conscience signalled. Fuck off. I silenced it like always.
‘Oh! So you like reading books?’
‘Like? I love reading them.’ I replied hesitatingly, ‘Well, wait. Let’s put it to like instead of love.’
‘Why? Don’t you love reading books?’ She raised her eyebrows.
‘Umm… I don’t wish to present myself as a bookworm if somebody is not a book lover.’
‘What makes you think that I am not a book lover?’
‘Nothing. Maybe intuition?’ My answer lacked confidence.
‘Well, you can relax.’ She giggled, ‘I like reading books during free time. Though I am not an avid reader, but yeah. Books are a good company to pass the time.’
We agreed in unison.
‘So which is your favourite book?’ I asked.
‘Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.’ She flushed.
‘That’s the worst book I have ever read…’ I stopped midway but the damage was done as I looked at her in silence.
Damn it. That’s where I must have screwed up. I slapped my forehead and retired on Grammy’s worn out chair which she considered as her throne. I would have never known myself drifting into sleep had June not woken me from my slumber.
‘Hi, stalker.’ She shook me vigorously.
‘Careful, you would have given me a heart attack.’ I replied startled.
‘But that would be still better than a heartache. One up.’ She joked.
June was a friend as old as I could remember. The oldest memory I have had of her is when she beat the pulp out of the bullies during my freshman’s year. Though it was almost a decade-and-a-half old incident but it would still make me smile during the days I felt low. Today was one such day. I felt as low as hiding myself into the earth’s crust just because I couldn’t figure out the outcome of my first meet with Rose.
‘For heaven’s sake, will you stop calling me a stalker?’ I felt irritated.
‘So what should I call you? A vigilante, who checks out on Rose’s profiles on social media? Or a social worker who drives by her area just to catch a glimpse of her but doesn’t have the balls to talk to her face to face?’
‘Hello. That isn’t what I do.’ I argued.
‘Oh hello! That isn’t the only thing what you do?’ She snapped, ‘Be grateful to me, monsieur. Be very grateful that I have been handling your late night drunk texts and calls when you keep dawdling about her in every possible poetic form.’
June was a younger version of Grammy. At times I wondered whether she deliberately enjoyed making me go red with embarrassment. Though she never made me a butt of jokes in front of people but she never missed any opportunity to make me look a jackass in private.
‘Mr. Rijkaard, when on earth will you have a sense of social manners? It is never correct for a man to dislike what his female counterpart likes. It’s like inviting yourself for an endless battle that never existed in the first place. What have you learnt from me in these many years of company?’
‘But what has all Fifty Shades to do with all this?’ I quipped.
‘She loves kinky sex.’ Grammy signalled her arrival to the scene, out of the blue.
‘Grammy!’ I shouted, ‘What the…’
As I stood there, speechless and unable to process her words, the two ladies laughed in splits.
‘To put it in a subtle way, I think she prefers hot, nasty sex.’ June intervened as I flushed pink.
‘Grammy, by any chance, is it possible that June is your distant relative?’ I quizzed.
‘Why dear? What makes you think so?’ Grammy asked.
‘Unlike me, neither of you have a filter in your mouth. Your brains do not process the words before they come out of your mouths.’ I replied sarcastically.
‘Well, my boy. That makes me wonder whether you and June were exchanged in the hospital crib because unlike us, you never speak your mind. On a serious note, you surely have raised a doubt in my mind because of your rural mentality.’ Grammy fired another salvo as she high-fived June with excitement.
‘I realise that there is no point in discussing this matter with both of you.’ I sighed as a cue of having given up.
‘No,’ June interrupted, ‘What you need is to understand a woman’s mentality from a woman’s point of view.’
‘Do I need to have a sex change surgery?’ I tried to be witty.
‘No timbo. What do you have me and Grammy for? We are here to help you.’ She replied.
‘Okay. One question.’ I said.
‘Shoot.’ They replied in chorus.
After pondering for a couple of seconds, I asked, ‘What do women truly want?’
Grammy and June came besides me and whispered in my ears, ‘My dear boy, what women truly want is the knowledge of what they truly want. They want some or the other men to help them figure out what they truly want.’
‘So basically, they are dumb enough to know what they truly want.’
‘Hush!’ Grammy spoke in shock, ‘There are two rules to understand the wants of a woman. Rule number one. Never ever question their intelligence quotient, no matter how dumb you feel they are.’
‘And number two?’ I asked quizzically.
‘Rule number two. Follow rule number one religiously.’ While the two ladies burst into fits of laughter, I slid back on the couch as a sign of defeat. There was no way I was to know what Rose might have thought about me. To add salt to the wounds, neither June’s witty sarcasms nor Grammy’s wisdom offered me any help to put my restless mind to rest.