Please note that the following episode is narrated in third person perspective.
Vinne got down from the cab, into the chilly November breeze. Even though the humidity refused to subside, she loved the little cold here and there that tried its best to outshine the former. Nathan was paying the driver and she turned to look around the town.
She remembered travelling to Udupi’s huge 13th century temple of Lord Krishna with her grandmother and her brother Manvith.
That brought her back to the days when she and Manvith would sit on the yard steps back in home and listen to stories of Kanakana kindi that their grandfather would tell them, on how Veer Nayak, later named as Kanaka Das was denied entry into the highly acclaimed temple because of his caste. She had loved how the story went on to say that the bricks of the back wall had fallen apart on their own and the statue of Lord Krishna had turned around to face his devotee and give him a darshan nevertheless.
A non believer in idol worship and almost inclined towards atheism, this story however made an exception for her. She didn’t know if it was because it was tied to her roots or cause she associated people whom she loved with it.
A story that talked about equality was now being abused to make certain sections of the society more powerful in the name of “upliftment”. But she’d always hated politics when it had served no purpose to the society as a whole, so she blocked that train of thought before she annoyed herself with it.
Later as the years went on, Manvith would confirm an actual version of the story, saying that a documentary evidence stated that in actuality Kanaka Das was never offered any darshan, but only found all the gold ornaments that were adorned on the statue to mysteriously appear in his home.
Her thoughts were suddenly halted as Nathan called out to her.
“Trends?” He asked.
“You want to buy new clothes?” She asked confused.
Nathan stared at her with a blank expression.
“Don’t tell me you let Arav do all the hard work of getting groceries every freaking time!” She said, hitting her forehead.
“Hey! No, I go to this supermarket nearby. I have no idea about this place, so stop judging me, sheesh!”
“Alright!” She laughed.
They crossed the main road where they had been dropped off and walked a little further, finally reaching the supermarket. After buying everything they needed for sustenance, the both of them joined the billing line.
That’s when Nathan started acting restless and checking his phone now and then.
“What’s wrong?” Vinnie asked.
“You wait here.” He said and left the shop.
She couldn’t be bothered to shout out to him. Hoping he doesn’t get lost, she continued to get the billing done.
Once she was done, she came out and waited, her patience decreasing every minute.
She craned her neck to see if he’s coming back from wherever the hell he ran off to but to no avail. He hadn’t even replied to her text and wasn’t picking up her calls.
She went back in and bought herself a pack of chocolate muffins.
No matter what the occasion was; her birthday, her results, Raksha bandhan– Manvith was always armed with a pack of muffins. And she’d never got sick of them. Her face turned rigid as she stood looking down at the pack. Her forehead creased and she controlled herself from tearing up.
Numb it. Stop. Deep breaths.
She told herself.
“Why are you looking at that pack like you’re ready to poison someone with it?”
She looked up to see Nathan with a smirk.
She gave him an angry expression and hit him on the shoulders.
“Where the hell were you, you jerk?”
The question, for some reason made him super happy, as he lifted a black polythene cover by holding the contents in his hand and waved it around.
“What?” She asked.
“There’ll be party- party- party today!” He replied as he turned around and walked away doing a weird dance.
“Stop!” She called back as she ran to keep up with him.
They hired a cab and were soon travelling back. Arav had called her to inform that the truck with the furnitures had arrived and that he’d got everything unloaded.
They were a few minutes away from home, when she asked the cab driver to stop.
“Why?” Nathan asked. “We can ask him to stop at the gate.”
“Come with me.” She said as they got down.
She turned to a small man- made trail in the middle of a few trees, Nathan behind her.
The narrow path widened and they were soon standing on the top of a small cliff like structure, wilderness beneath it.
The both of them sat down, the sun setting in front of them.
“Isn’t that a lot?” Vinnie asked, looking at the drinks in Nathan’s black package.
“For you? Yes. For me, nope.”
“You should really cut it down you know.”
“You should really cut down your stupidity as well, you know. But some things can’t really be helped, can they?”
Vinnie rolled her eyes and turned away.
“Did you apologize to Millie?” Nathan asked, his fingers playing with the polythene bag.
“I don’t see why I should.”
“Stop being difficult Vinnie.”
“But what she said was wrong. It’s not like I’m content, just cause I make a few pennies more than her.”
“I understand but-“
“At some point, your realise that despite the amount of success you achieve and the number of people you meet, you can never entirely get rid of the feeling of being alone.”
“Why would you say that?”
“Cause no matter what they say, it’s always going to be your fight. And nobody would be bothered to hold your hand whilst you bruise. Empathy is a freaking joke.”
“Are you serious now?”
“The three of us, came all the way here, leaving our work behind. And you haven’t been anything but selfish about this whole thing, without pausing to check if this week off would make any major impacts on our lives.” Nathan said, now irritated.
“What are you trying to say-“
“I’m just saying, you cannot completely disregard others’ emotions and their needs just because they don’t match upto your expectations.”
“I don’t expect anything from you.” She chuckled.
“I was literally smuggled and forced to be here.”
“That’s different. That’s just-“
A brief pause followed.
“What do you mean?”
“Did you really think, I haven’t figured out that something has been bothering you all along?”
Vinnie looked at him, and felt like she should just vent it all out. Just get rid of the heavy feeling in her chest that she had kept enveloped with her happy side.
“What are you hiding from us, Vinnie?”
To be continued->