With Bangalore’s morning cold chilling the bones Sankeerthi searched for her blanket. When her hand didn’t find what they were looking for she opened her eyes to find herself alone in Leeroy’s car, seat all pushed back cuddled like a bundle. Then she realized she was wearing Leeroys jacket .Thrusting her hands in the pocket she looked around to in search of Leeroy. With annoying flight take away noise coming from nearby place she wondered what the heck they are doing near Bangalore International airport.
She unlocked the door and got down from the car, when her eyes fell on her dress she tried to recall the night. With one hand to bursting head she remembered changing the dress, drinking beer, dancing, weeping blabbering something and then kissing Leeroy. With Leeroys perfume smell hitting her nose from the jacket she tried harder to remember what happened after the kiss. When thousand needles pricked her head she threw her hands in air despair. With stomach churning with hunger all she longed was for some good food and sleep.
“Looks like your head going to explode anytime” Leeroy said handing over the tender coconut. “Take it easy it will pass”.
Kicking her thoughts aside she drained the natural sweet water. She looked at Leeroy under her lashes and he seems not to be in hurry to go home. While she wanted to run far away from him, his car and get out of his fucking jacket
He searched for her face and said “Life is beautiful Ki with full of ups and down, turns and twist. When you learn to live your life and enjoy ,you will find happiness. You are going to start a new beginning…….”
“I don’t want your gyan Roy, at least not now when there is thunders tom inside my head, when I want I will ask for it. Ok!!!”
Leeroy stood watching the girl who kissed him previous night, wept like a baby in his arms and now she seems to be ignorant. She is stubborn like a mule no matter what he advice she will do whatever she wants. He picked her bag from the car and tossed at her and said “suits yourself, change your clothes, I don’t want to watch you being thrashed by your parents again”.
Sankeerthi caught the bag in one hand and stared at Leeroy. With tender coconut in one hand and bag in other Sankeeerthi was tempted to throw the empty tender coconut at Leeroy, sometimes he is real pain in the ass.
“You are angry with yourself for kissing me and letting down your guard?” Leeroy said raising his eyebrows.
“I am not angry Roy, I am just……..” she said avoiding his eyes but when she realized she have to talk about the kiss she continued. “Yes I am angry with myself for kissing you, It’s just complicates the things. We are good friends; last thing you want is tag with my name. I am not so your type, forget whatever happened, I was drunk and I didnt know what I was doing “
Leeroy just watched Sankirthi justify her actions still holding empty coconut in one hand, and her bag in another. “You have no idea what you are saying and you have no fucking idea about my type Ki so don’t ever talk about it. Get dressed in the car”. He wanted to tell her it is ok to have fun once in a while but then she had to make her point. Last thing he wanted was to fight with her after one wonderful night probably she ever had.
Sankeerthi changed into her old clothes and got out of car. She saw Leeroy’s broad back and walked towards him. Hesitating she said “I will make sure I wont repeat it, but” she whispered slowly that’s she was barely audible “I am going remember it, like the first time near….” When Leeroy suddenly turned and walked towards her she took a step back watching him advance towards her slowly holding her gaze.
“This time privilege is all mine” saying he kissed her lips softly. He held her head study with his one hand while other one held her closely.
“Roy Please, stop it!!!”
He let go of her, watching her face “now should I say “Sorry” for kissing you?” I will rot in hell before I do that”. When she looked away he continued “I am going to remember this as well as long as I live”
Saying he got into the car banging the front door. Sankeerthi slowly walked to the car and sat quietly. With her bachelor degree in her pocket life looked promising. All she had to do was wait for her offer later, new beginning was calling her with wide open arms.
She risked a side glance towards his angry face wondering what made him loose his calm.
“Don’t look at me like I am ghost, I am just a grown up adult, sometimes you act like a tough ass, stop doing that. What’s big deal you kissed me, you went by instinct and I went by mine. No harm done, next time it happens save you and me by not saying “sorry”.I am sorry for losing my calm, It never going to happen again.”
Sankirthi took a deep breath looked out of the window at the flying planes. Last thing she wanted to do was fight with Leeroy who was always by her side all time
“Don’t fight with me Roy, please. I don’t want to lose my one and only one good friend” She said teary eyed.
“You never going to lose me, not now, not ever”. He said touching her cheek softly
“It is not easy to fly with all the heavy package but you just need to be brave enough take some chances. Running is easy but not flying. When you learn to fly accepting you past and with hope for better future flying become fun. Don’t fight your feelings, go by instinct, you will enjoy, try sometimes”. Sankeerthi sat there listening to him. “And as I said I will be always by your side Ki, Like it or not” saying that he started the engine.
By the time Leeroy parked his car in parking lot of apartment it was noon. With Banglore heavy traffic they couldn’t have reached earlier. Sankeerthi opened her car door and was about to leave when Leeroy stopped her
“Think hard about what I said”
“I will Roy, thank you for the awesome time, I loved every minute except the fighting part”
Leeroy chuckled loudly, winked and said “same here babe, but I loved the kissing part more and you fainting….”
Before he could mock her little more Sankeerthi was gone with smile on her face. If Sankeerthi feared answering all sort of her mother’s question that moment she didn’t care. With her hand on her lips she remembered the time when she was kissing Leeroy. She opened the door with her key and slipped into her room without notice. She threw her bag on table and jumped on her bed. She have to learn to fly leave it or take it, she was determined to learn. With colorful dreams of future she closed her eyes little she knew she already started to fly, all she had to do is spread her wings and enjoy the moment.
It’s been 5 months since Sankirthi started working. With her hard work and dedication she had become known person in her team. The amount of time spent in office and with team members was increasing with passing every day. She was learning many aspects of life, enjoying her life one of the many. Being financial independent she felt so happy and free. When she got her first salary she had threw party at Leeroy’s house, ordering food from some fancy restaurant. As Lydia was very week she didn’t wanted to strain her by going out. With dining table decorated with flowers and all delicious food, laughter echoed, it was one of Sankirthi’s best memorable day. She had captured moment in her camera which was now sitting beside her brother was smiling at her.
She had taken box of sweets to her parents, while her father blessed her mother didn’t even looked at her face. After few days when the box lay still untouched she had given the box to watch man. Months followed by, she had gifted a nice shawl to Lydia and a Navy blue sweater to Leeroy. Even though she was busy whole week but she made sure she spend some time with Lydia every day like before, gossiping, changing channel and laughing.
Seeing her hard work and dedication to work sooner than anticipated she got chance to visit client location In Germany. Few feet away from achieving her dream Sankirthi knocked on Leeroys door to give the good news. When Leeroy opened the door she threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly.
“If you are planning to kiss me in front of my mom, I must warn you, she doesn’t approve ” Leeroy had said winking at Sankirthi
When Sankirthi saw Lydia sitting in front of TV she let go of Leeroy and hugged Lydia giving her good news. Lydia had hugged her tightly and kissed her cheek, that’s when she realized how much she going to miss them all.
“Get me bottle of wine darling and nice pointed shoes” Lydia said laughingly.
“If Geroge doesn’t mind then I will get you one hot German” she joked.
“Why one, get two” George had said laughingly.
To celebrate the good news Geroge had open the wine bottle he was saving for Christmas. Sankirthi eyes were filled with tears seeing their love and care for her.
With bags packed days ago Sankerthi waited patiently for the date to come. It was two days before her trip to Germany Lydia got admitted to hospital. She was in and out all time surviving only on painkillers. Her eyes taped, living with help of oxygen pipe she was in critical condition. Doctors had given up hopes but not Leeroy. Holding her hand, talking to her, telling how good she looked. He sat by her side whenever they allowed him to visit Lydia in ICU. With beard grown, dark circles under his eyes he looked pitiful. She tried to send him home but he didn’t budge. Long gone was happy, smiling Leeroy; whenever possible Sankirthi got the food from home for Leeroy which he rarely touched.
A Day before her departure Sankirthi spent most of her time hospital talking to George, Leeroy.
When her time came to go home Sankirthi walked into ICU where Lydia slept silently. Holding her needless free hand she said her bye, to get well soon, bottle of wine will be waiting; hoping she will listen. Kissing her forehead she stood there for a minute watching Lydia sleeping, how she is going to miss this beautiful lady who always loved her like her own daughter, she walked out with teary eyes. After saying farewell to George Sankirthi walked to sit beside Leeroy. He held her hand in his, playing with her fingers he said “Mom would have been so happy to see you Ki, when you gave her the good news she could barely keep quiet. You were like her daughter and she adored you. “
“I am sure about it Roy, but she may not be happy to see you in this condition when she will come around”.
Pulling her hand she wrapped around Leeroys shoulder
“She will be alright Roy, you need to eat, need to get some fresh air”.
“It can be any moment now Ki, Its just I am not ready to let her go. I want a fair fight. I want to make sure I am there when she needs me; she made sure she was always there for me when I needed her. Now it is my turn, it is just that I feel so helpless…” Sankirthi pulled Leeroy to the comfort of her arms when she felt him shiver.
“I understand Roy, but you need to be strong, you need to be strong for your mom, you need to be strong for your dad, you need to be strong for yourself. We cant fight death Roy, how I wish we can…If you want I can cancel my trip ……”
After a long minute when Leeroy pulled out of embrace he smiled and Snakirthi fell in love with him nth time. “Stop exasperating me babe, you need to get that ass of yours from here and get into Gemany plane tommorow, I will update you about Lydia everyday”. Pinching her check he continued “mom will be happy to know about you trust me”. He pulled her back into his arms, hugging her more tightly he kissed her cheek. Sankirthi’s cheeks were wet with tears. She pulled back looked into his sad eyes and said
“And, I thought, I taught you to kiss a lady and here you are being a gentleman”
Saying she stood on her toes and kissed him on lips softly. That kiss she is going to remember when she is alone in strange country, that kiss is going to keep her warm in her lonely nights, that kiss is going to bring smile on her face when she is sad. When she pulled back there was smile on Leeroys face. She kissed tip of his nose and said “Bye Roy, take care and I am not going to miss you” she said with weak voice
Leeroy looked at her and said ”But I will miss babes, specially those surprise kisses I used to get”
Sankirthi was relieved to see old Leeroy was surfacing. They both walked towards the Hospital exit. For a moment she stood there watching him
“what happened babe?Are you going to kiss me again?” Leeroy asked raising his eyebrows
“It’s nice to see you smile” she said
“Go now, hurry, it is getting dark” he said literally pushing her.
Sankirthi walked with heavy heart. Her most awaited dream was about to achieve and she was not happy.
Sankeerthi sat in airport, her flight was on time and she have to stand in queue for check-in. She was feeling restless. She tried calling Leeroy whose phone was coming busy. She tried to call George to know about Lydia but when his phone went unanswered she was sure something bad happened to Lydia. Its then she dialed her father number and waited impatiently for him to pick. She requested him to visit Lydia at hospital and call her back. The queue was big now, she should stand in queue if she want to board the plane. She tried her father’s number restlessly. This time her father didn’t pick. She knew who can tell her the truth. With all her courage she dialed her home landline knowing who will answer it. It is been ages since she spoke to her mother. When she left for airport she just touched her feet and said “bye”, in reply her mother had replied “hmm”
She waited impatiently dialing her land line number; it was on last ring her mother picked.
She directly came to point “any news of Lydia?”
Her mother said bluntly “looks like they forgot to inform you!!! She passed away 5 in the morning, everybody knows, just wonder how you don’t know!!!”
Sankirthi collapsed on the nearby chair. The lady she loved so dearly for somany years is gone to the world of dead. Leeroy!!!he must be miserable with his dear mother gone. She hated him for being cruel for not informing about Lydias death, surely he didn’t wanted spoil the things for her. The only time he needed her but she was’nt there. She saw the big queue in front of her through misty eyes, picked her bags and walked; she knew what she had to do.