The following day, Nathan didn’t question me about anything that I’d assumed he’d seen. He acted oblivious to it and for some reason, I was too apprehensive about bringing it up. Anyway, we were all going to be busy in setting up the place, so I guessed it would’nt matter.
Nathan and Vinnie decided to buy groceries and other essentials from the town and appointed me to stay back and send them a message once the goods truck with all the furniture arrived. Millie hadn’t stepped out of her room yet.
As soon as Vinnie and Nathan left, she came out and went to the kitchen searching for food. I was reading my book, and without looking up suggested the top drawer, which she quietly agreed and snatched a box of Pringles, after which she decided to sit next to me, the same spot in the yard that we sat the day before.
“I’ve finished packing” she said.
I’d no idea why exactly, but the fact that she had decided to leave, made me infuriated and sad at the same time. And I hid it perfectly.
“Oh, that’s good. How do you intend to travel back-“
“Which book is that?” She interrupted, leaning her head forward.
“Um, it’s A memoir of the Craft.”
“Oh, is it Stephen King?”
“Yep, it’s his book on writing. It’s my go- to book everytime I’m stuck in some part of a story.”
“That’s nice. I’ve mostly read classics. Not really a fan of horror genre.”
“What? Seriously?” I looked at her, subconsciously closing the book.
“Yeah, maybe because I never recieved any good recommendations?”
“Well, here’s Stephen King for you.” I chuckled.
She rolled her eyes and smiled at the same time.
A part of me realised what had made me feel sad at her decision of leaving, but then I pushed that thought into the dark chambers of my head and locked it.
“My brother loves reading novels based on crime and suspense” she said, looking straight ahead, as if she were reliving a past memory, a tiny smile on her face.
The she turned to me. “He’s read all of those, Agatha Christie, James Patterson and Sara Gran’s Claire DeWitt’s series.”
“That’s pretty impressive.” I replied.
“Well don’t give him all the credits!” She said excitedly. “Who left early from work to go borrow books in the public library for him?” Then she pointed her thumb at herself, looking as proud as possible.
I chuckled. “Sure, sure.”
“Well I did borrow classics like 1984 and The Great Gatsby for myself of course.”
There was a short pause.
“He wants to study in NIFT. The entrance exam is next year.” She said, her eyes again searching for something straight ahead.
“I’ve almost finished saving up enough money for his entire fees of four years.” She continued.
“Oh, and then before you know it, he’d be out of college and earning well, so don’t worry.”
“Yeah, once he’s cleared his exams, I can take up my Engineering entrances. I’ve been studying part time-“
“Yeah.” Her voice was uncertain and I didn’t feel like pressing her further.
But after a brief pause, she decided to tell me anyway.
“Baba said that’s the best option for me to settle down quickly with a stable job. I’m not so sure if “quickly” is justified for me, considering the fact I had to do waitressing for three years to save up.”
“But do you want to?” I asked.
“When the question arises between wants and needs, you know that “needs” often takes the upper hand.”
I didn’t quite agree with her, but trying to dissuade her from doing something she’s not interested in would make me look like a hypocrite, so I chose to remain silent.
“So, when do we get to read Arav Sen’s works by the way?” She asked, abruptly halting the previous conversation.
I looked away and sighed.
“Someday, when everything is sorted.”
“Which auspicious day will those freakin’ stars align?” She said and made her fake concerns very clear. It was my turn to roll my eyes at her.
She laughed and said “No, I’m serious. You keep waiting for the right time, and all you’re left with is wrinkles on your cheek and regrets in your head.”
I looked at her, imitating her lopsided smile.
“What?” She asked. “Haven’t you heard Unwritten by Natasha Beddingfield?”
Then out of the blue, she stretched her arms wide and started singing.
“Live your life with arms wide open, today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten!“
I tried my best to control my laugh, pursing my lips so it’s not too evident. But she’d noticed my struggle and muttered “shut up” under her breath and looked away.
“Stay.” I said all of a sudden and regretted it. But now there was no going back. She turned her head swiftly and gave me a surprised look.
And before she could answer, I used the arrival of the truck sound as a distraction to get up and walk away.
To be continued->