Bitter Sweet

Bitter Sweet

A Story by Joyrider

Story about meeting an old friend after years


Bitter Sweet

It had been almost an hour since my wife was busy searching for a perfect dress in the shop. There were a dozen more garment shops for women in the mall, but she insisted on this particular one. The reason being, this was the shop from which her friend bought a dress this last week and it really blew her mind. I was not surprised, because her mind is blown every time one of her friends buys a new thing.

The salesgirl in the shop very servilely pulled dress after dress from the shelf and piled them up before my wife. I was impressed by her energy for doing this unswervingly, without showing any signs of fatigue. She did not seem to be bothered about the arduous job of folding this pile of dress back to its ironing precisions. My wife seemed apathetic to the girl. Her mind was like a full moon, since she entered the shop, and the twilight seemed to shine through her eyes, or maybe it was the bright white lights of the shop reflecting in her eyes. My mind also resembled a moon, the only difference was it was a crescent, exhausted and bored to death.  

I hyped random dresses saying “this will look awesome on you, why don’t you try it and see”, but nothing seemed to satiate her.

Finally, I gave up my endeavors to make her give up the selection process.  I took out my mobile fiddled through the contact list trying to call someone to have a chat.  But I had already called half a dozen of my friends in the past one hour. I shook my head in dissent with myself and put the mobile back in the pocket and stared aimlessly through the glass walls of the shop. There were people coming in and out of the mall. Most of them were not interested in visiting any shops or buying something, they were just admiring at the glitz, colors and the vibe of the mall. In short they were people roaming around aimlessly, rather window shopping. Most of them were teenagers. They posed for the mobile in the friend’s hand, in front of every large posters available there. The friend would dexterously capture a solo picture, avoiding the celebrity in the poster behind his subject.

I don’t know how long I watched like this into the rambling people. Suddenly a face in the crowd emerged, which I thought was a face I recognized. I stood up to get a better view.

I said to myself “it’s him!”

“Who?” came the reply from my wife. She had not lifted her eyes from the dress she was currently inspecting. She showed me the dress in her hand and asked “how would this be?”

“It would be perfect”

I tossed my purse to her and said “you can pay the bill…. I‘ll wait outside”

I walked out of the shop quickly without listening to my wife’s reply which was more of a complaint in the form of a question. I wasn’t mindful to answer it, because someone else from the distant memories of my mind has just popped up. I moved in the corridor looking left, right, ahead, behind, up and down. There were many faces but I could not find the one I was looking for. I thought I had lost him. I joined the rambling people with a fading hope of spotting him. I cursed the people who were there “don’t they have any other place to hang out?”

Jezal was my best friend in my school days. I lost touch with him when my father got transferred and my family moved to another city. We were very close to each other and had shared a lot of mischiefs, for which we were notorious in the school. We often pulled pranks on the other friends. He had a crush on a junior girl who was also his neighbor. One day he proposed her and got rejected. He became very depressed after that. It was during that time I moved out of the city and we lost contact with each other. We were fifteen then.

Almost half an hour passed by, I was still searching for my lost friend. Suddenly I saw him coming from the opposite direction. I waved my hands and called out in excitement “Jezal!!!” He stopped and looked at me. He was more nonplussed than excited to see me.  I moved ahead and gave him a big hug.

He had changed a lot. Well, it had been fifteen years since we met. His face was covered by a full grown beard, in the place of random thin hair when he was a teenager. He wears a specs now. All in all he looked like a hippy to me.

We spoke for about half an hour about our past and present. We did not talk about future, as it has become a thin and distant horizon. We were flying in the sky of present while looking at the beauty of the sea of the past. All the ramblers and the mall faded out and we were surrounded by the people and places of our childhood. I was unusually loquacious for I could not contain my excitement at meeting him after such a long gap. Jezal, though talked less, was smiling in the reminisce of the memories

I asked him “dude where were you all this time, I have searched for you everywhere, even on social networks, but couldn’t find your account. I thought you must have been hit by a truck and died”. I chuckled while I said this. I was expecting the same from him, but he just gave a half smile with his right lip slightly elongating towards his cheek. I would consider it as a smirk.

“Alright! That was a bad joke” I said and continued with a series of questions to cover-up the embarrassment.

“How is your twin brother, Jaison? What’s he doing these days? Where is he now?”

His face grew more solemn now. He was silent for few seconds. He sighed, adjusted his glass, and caressed his beard. He spoke slowly “Jaison…………is standing in-front of you.”

His reply was slow, but it struck like a lightning on me. As I was recovering from the shock I thought to myself ‘if this is Jaison, then where is Jezal’.

Jaison replied as if he read my thought “Jezal died in an accident. He was hit by a truck”

“That’s bad joke Jezal, Don’t you try to pull that on me, now”. I still believed that I was standing beside Jezal.

“You know that Jezal got depressed when Stacy rejected him. After you left the school, he grew more depressed. He became desolate and spoke sparingly. He became very absent minded. One day while crossing the road near our house, he was hit by a truck.”

I looked at Jaison, trying to digest the words he said. I saw a teardrop at the corner of his eyes. He continued.

“It better be an accident, else I will not forgive him, for he has left us a bloody scene to savor all life.”

He could not hide the quiver in the voice, while he said it. He turned and quickly walked into the crowd. I was left standing stunned there. The aura from the past had not yet completely left me.

Then suddenly the aura was broken abruptly, when my wife shook me and asked “where were you?”

She continued in her usual complaining tone “I’ve been searching for you every corner of this mall, you are so absent minded”.

I tried to change the subject “so, you finally took the dress I selected, right?”

“Nope! I took the red dress that we saw first”

“If you really liked the first dress you saw, then why did you spent the whole hour searching the entire shop for another one?” I couldn’t hold my curiosity.

She replied unabashedly “Don’t be so mean! Don’t I need to see all varieties in that shop? And by the way, there weren’t much to offer anyways”

I thought to myself ‘there weren’t much to offer?” Then why did she take more than an hour to make a selection? And which part of my statement was mean?

 I didn’t ask these things to her, for her answers will be more questions and will serve to confuse me further, rather than make things easier.. Though logically, I couldn’t find her answers acceptable, I silently accepted them to avoid further complications.

© 2014 Joyrider

Author's Note

All kind of criticisms is welcomed. Please help me to make it better. i hope to get it published someday.

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Added on April 21, 2014
Last Updated on May 7, 2014
Tags: short story, drama



cochin, kerala, India

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