I watched her as she rolled up her sleeves and got absorbed in her work. Amber was in my college. She wasn’t those types always trying to impress anyone but always did her work as well as she could. Very sincere , very honest and truthful I’d heard. She wasn’t exactly drop-down-gorgeous but she was beautiful in her own way….maybe very beautiful… I thought. Suddenly, probably sensing me, she looked up. In the second that our eyes met, I could see a hint of shock. She quickly got back to work and slightly shifted her position. I just looked away and into my work.
Something like this happened quite few times until she asked me to meet her at a coffee shop one day-said she wanted to talk to me. Unsure of what it might be about, I went.
She came a little late and looked like she had hurried on her way there.
“ Sorry I’m a little late.” she murmured apologetically as she sat down. I tried to smile warmly to convey it way ok. After she had settled down, I offered to buy something to drink. She politely agreed. After placing the orders, I turned to her. She still looked a little lost as if not sure where to begin.
“Today I heard that Mr.Rajshekar almost lost his head in class.” I said cheerfully.
“Yeah, you should have seen him. He looked like a ripe tomato ready to burst!” we both laughed more out of relief at this attempt to break the ice than the hilarity.
“Does he teach well?” I asked her as I handed over her drink.
“Yeah, he’s quite good…..” Her voice trailed away and she stared into her glass-lost again. Maybe I should let her talk, I thought, and for a while, we quietly had our drinks.
Then I placed my drink aside and tried again,” You wanted to talk to me?” I was immediately sorry I had asked that because she almost began to squirm in her seat. Carefully avoiding my eyes, she began,” I….” she shook her head as if she couldn’t bring herself to say it.” I….”she looked up with eyes that were beginning to tear up. What was it? My heart was starting to beat faster….. was she trying to say that….. but she wasn’t those types…..
Just at that moment, Manrul and Robin saw me from the entrance and called out my name. Apparently, they hadn’t seen Amber. Turning around in shock, she stood up” I can’t do this..” she said hurriedly as she left. When Manrul and Robin came and asked what had happened, I had nothing to say….
I saw very little of her in the next few days. But the third day, however, I received a mail.
I’m really sorry about the other day. I thought it would be easy but I just couldn’t tell you then. You are really talented, polite and good looking. There have been times I’ve been compelled to be attracted to you or look at you. I’ve felt bad for that, you know. As a Christian, I’ve always believed in being transparent and having a clear conscience before God. I’ve been praying for a change. My request to you is that if you’ve had such feelings too, then do the same. I would really like to be your friend but nothing else.
I was shocked. Was she kidding or was she serious? Of course she’d have to be serious. I just sat there thinking about the day she’d try to tell me all this in person. Now I was glad she hadn’t.
“Hey! you look like the computer just spoke to you. Why such a face?” Manrul was at the door. Coming back to life, I motioned him to take my seat at the computer desk. I knew he’d eat my head if I didn’t tell him. After a few seconds, he turned-his face was as shocked as mine had probably been.
“I can’t believe this.” He shook his head in disbelief. “You have to respect this.” I would have least expected him to say this. I thought he’d tease me or something. I just nodded in silent agreement.
The next time we met, nothing was said about the mail. As a matter of fact, it seemed that nothing had changed-on the outside. But on the inside, we had a healthier relationship-or she had described, clear and transparent. So it remained for the next 3 years.
On the day of our graduation, after the ceremony was over, we had a chance to talk.
“ Congratulations! “She said warmly as she shook my hand.
“Congrats to you too!” I replied, smiling.
“We’ve finally made it.” I didn’t think she’d meant anything other than the obvious until she added” Thank you for respecting my mail. It was really decent of you.”
The mail- I had never forgotten it.
“You are a very respectable woman” I said and believe me, I meant what I said.
“Well, so are you. A respectable man, though!” she laughed as she took my hands in hers again.
“It was really great knowing you, I mean it.” I looked into her eyes and knew that she meant it. It wasn’t hollow-it was solid-clear and transparent.
“You are an amazing person” I heard myself say…. Or was I only thinking?
“Hope you do well in life. God bless you.”
“You too…” was as said.
With that, she walked out of my life-as beautifully as she had entered it- and left behind….. a respectable man…….