Story so far : Leon and Lesa had been college sweethearts, and the hottest couple of their batch. They pass out of college armed with PG degrees, and start off with their lives.
Their college life had been great, but it had been in a kind of college that provides to its students scarcely anything more than a ‘great college life’. Leon had no intention of studying any further after his post-graduation. And all that he could secure was a job in a call center. Lesa had opted for a PhD programme in the university. Leon worked in night shifts, and got free only on weekends. Lesa was finding the PhD programme too hot to handle. They had promised each other that they’d call twice everyday, but as the pressures of work increased and the frequency of their meeting decreased, the need to make calls started diminishing. Besides, time was running out.
Leon, deep in his heart knew that the time had come. But he wanted to avoid it. To push it under the carpet. Throughout his life he’d been a showman. He’d always been able to avoid the tough parts by covering them with wit and showmanship. He’d successfully hidden his lack of proper knowledge of language by making do with some extra wit and supreme confidence. He’d hidden his lack of guitar skills by shaking his head with the rhythm and moving with the audience, while others in the band had produced the magic. His football goals had been more a result of his ability to push the opposing defenders around without the referee seeing him than of his actual football skills. Life can go on this way, he’d always thought. You can always avoid the tough things by making do with some quality pretending.
And Lesa had fallen for it head over heels.
It had been six months since the completion of their graduation. The frequency of phone calls had decreased from twice a day to twice a week. They still met every weekend, but this time the high intensity of their kisses was more due to the physical separation during the week than due to the emotional bond that they shared. Lesa was still in love with Leon, but she knew that it was time for her to take a decision. She kept dropping hints.
‘Leon, Rajiv proposed to Prerna. They’re getting engaged next saturday. Isn’t that great?’.
And Leon, who had no substantial answer to this thinly veiled question, replied summoning all his charms,’Yeah yeah, I know. I just hope Rajiv gives a good bachelorette party. All work and no drink make Leon a dull boy!’. ‘
‘You know Leon, Satya has booked a bigger apartment in that upcoming locality…’
‘Bullshit Lesa, how can anybody settle for anything less than a bungalow in GK?’…
Something from his inside did tell Leon that Lesa needed concrete answers, atleast some assurance; but it was something his weak character could hardly provide. Even if you knew its actual size, a mirror-walled room still gives the impression of living in a big house. Leon had always lived under a mirror ceiling, and he didn’t have the courage to gauge the actual dimensions.
Leon always waited for Lesa at their favourite coffee joint every saturday. This evening, he found her already there.
‘Hey Les, how ya doin’?’ Leon shouted cheerfully at her from across the room.
Lesa waved and gave him a tired smile. Leon knew something ws up. He came to her and wrapped his arm around her. Lesa brushed it away.
‘What’s the matter…’
‘Leon, I’m getting married…’
For Leon, as if a million bombs had dropped in his ear at once.
And Leon had thrown a fit. Although he knew that things weren’t going very smoothly, he’d never expected anything like this.
‘Who’s it, huh? Definitely not me.’
‘His name’s Michael. Works in the US.’
‘Aah…your old man definitely sold you out.’
Lesa looked at him with pleading eyes. ‘Leon, you know that I love you, but I can’t go on like this. It’s not about the money…’
‘Look Lesa, don’t give me this crap, OK’ Leon thundered, knowing all this while that while he was doing it, he was throwing away everything, all the six years of loving relationship, but still he shouted even louder, partly beacuse of the grief, but mostly unknowingly to shut out the voice from his within that shouted, screamed at him, told him that he was wrong, had always been wrong..
‘What do you mean it’s not about the money, huh? What’s it with me? You love me, you’ve told me innumerable times that you do. My face isn’t distorted, I can get mine up…’ and he screamed and screamed till the restaurant manager had to have him thrown out, and Lesa sat at the table, bursting away into tears…
PS: The second part of the story. Again, please let me know your opinions. Especially did or did I not succeed in painting a clear picture of Leon. The third and final part will be released in two days’ time🙂