Last Meeting

by Neha Kapoor

Driving through the busy Shivaji Road , I give a quick glance at my wrist watch. It's 4:30 PM . My destination is 20 minutes ahead and I am making all the possible effort to reach on time. With my heart beats accelerated, I am trying to manage the traffic on road and the excitement in my mind. A flashback of past events is hitting me repeatedly . Memories play a double game with us , they make us smile and cry at the same time. Clouded by many puzzled thoughts , I am heading towards my destination. And here I am , almost there. I can read the signboard from a distance- Fortune Classic .

I enter the main gate and drive towards the parking. As I walk through the entrance towards the lobby , I notice many changes at this place. The entrance door is more elegant than before. The reception has been moved to the centre, I remember it was on the left hand side with large glass container kept in the corner with refreshing mint gums for guests. I enter the restaurant and occupy a place near the window. I give a quick look at the door and see Karan walking toward me. I smile and he smiles back. It's the same smile I fell in love with, years back, the smile that was an end to our arguments. Every time I was mad at him , he smiled and I forgot what to fight for.

\"Hey , you look beautiful in black and this hair cut suits you\" he says , offering me a red rose . \"Did I make you wait long.\"

\"Thank you. Its still my favorite color\" I reply and take the flower from him. \"You are on time \"

Here we are again, sitting next to each other at our usual dating spot( as we both call it). We are meeting after six long years. Post grad university studies and a full time job had kept us both away from our home town and also away from each other. Time has changed us , from college going youngsters , we are now professional , well settled in our fields. With his strong business acumen, Karan is Marketing consultant and I am a research analyst with a Multi-national firm.

A waiter approaches us with the menu card. We go through it to check if our all time favorite is still on their list. 2 coffees and cheesecake, our order is placed.

\"Saw you car parked outside , hope you drive well now. I was really tired of driving you at all the places , all the time\" He says and winks.

\"Oh yeah and that's what boyfriend's are for\". I reply \"Don't worry you will not have to drive me back home today .You are free\"

Karan and I were class mates during our school days. With our grades growing higher, our friendship grew stronger and before we could realize , we were in love . Everybody around us was aware of our relationship. We always enjoyed the attention and admiration we received for being made for each-other couple.

\"Have you been here lately? This place has changed a lotI like the changes though\" I ask.

\"No , the last time I came here was with you only.\" He replies and shifts to the chair next to me with his cup of coffee.

There is love and excitement in the air again. We are talking and laughing , lost in our own world , unaware of the people around us. We are fighting for the missed birthday gifts, feeling guilty for the unreturned phone calls and messages, sharing excitement about the life ahead. We are truly enjoying the pleasure of togetherness and the sips of hot coffee when my eyes fall on the wrist watch. It's 8:00 PM, none of us realized that we were chatting for last 3 hours.

\"Let me pay this time\" I say as the bill arrives \"You have been doing it everytime before. Its my turn today\". He agrees.

We walk towards the parking lot holding hands, as always.

\"Drive safe and give me a call once you reach\" He instructs as I leave.

\"Of course I will and you do not forget to reach on time. I will wait for you and Sakshi tomorrow. Don't be late.\" I say getting into the driving seat.

\"Don't worry, we will be on time. See you tomorrow.\" he replies.

Driving out, I look at him for the last time. His eyes sparkle with unshed tears. Today's meeting was special for both of us. We might or might not meet again , none of us is sure. Shakshi is his fiance and I had invited them both to my engagement ceremony tomorrow. Marriage is due in next few month and then me and Sameer , my would be fianc , will be moving to Norway for good.

Me and Karan were together always but these six years changed everything between us .We are not a couple any more. Our long distance relationship could not survive the pressure of our individual ambitions, our individual dreams and our careers.

I still remember telling him once \"It's a matter of few more months and then I will take up a job with you in Mumbai and we will be together again\" He nodded but remained silent. Those few months turned to more months and then years and our jobs made us move from one city to the other but never with each other. We had a new passion then , to grow higher and higher. We had no time for love as we wanted success. And yes, we are successful today but not together.

Lost in my memories and thoughts , I reach home . We both realize our loss but its too late to late to repair. My house today is full of guests and relatives , all happy and celebrating the start of my new life . I call Karan to inform that I reached safely . Washing my tears and putting a smile on my face , I involve myself in the celebrations. ..Time heals all wounds, I read somewhere.

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