16th July, 2009
“What is your problem, Ridhima? Why are you acting all strange and not talking to me?”
I couldn’t keep it in any longer. I had to know why she had been avoiding me all this week because her ignoring me like that was killing me! And I missed her… I was missing her so much. Seeing her every day in class, then waiting for her call when I got back home, calling her before 9 just to listen to her voice one last time before getting in bed… I was missing it all! She was my best friend, then why was she refraining from being with me!?
This was all getting to me real bad now and I needed to know what was bothering her because she was disturbed. I could feel it. And I have always asked her to open up about herself to me. That’s what best friends are for, aren’t they!?
She merely looked at me. In exasperation, I might add but there was something else held in her gaze. Guilt? For what?
Never mind. I was going to find it out.
“Prachi, you should talk to your other friends more often too.”
What the hell? Where did that come from?
“What the hell are you talking about, Ridhima?”
“Look, I am sorry for being least available and conversational these days… The other day while I and Tanisha were practising for our chess competition, I was given the blame of having snatched you away from all your best friends and I don’t want to be a third wheel in anyone’s life. So please, Prachi, give your time to others too and not just me.”
This came out as a blow to me. I wasn’t expecting this. A sudden urge of killing Tanisha filled my heart and I clenched my hand in a fist to stop myself from punching anything.
“Are you OUT OF YOUR mind, Ridhima? How can you EVER think of me leaving you for others when the only person I want to be with is you!?”
Holy shit! That came out as a sappy romantic Hindi movie dialog, and definitely not to be exchanged between two best friends. The look she was giving me now was more of a torn flattered woman who just was proposed by her crush.
“Uh- Okay, Prachi. Let’s eat lunch.” Saying this she walked over to her desk and pulled out her tiffin box.
‘What is this girl!!?’ I thought and ran over to her desk and sat with my own tiffin box which was half empty.
“Where is your food?” Ridhima asked in an amused tone while looking into my box.
“I was hungry so I ate it.” I said munching onto few last bites of my namak wali roti and secretly eyeing Ridhima’s food.
“In the 1st hour.”
“Prachi, you got hungry during first hour!? Are you serious?” Ridhima asked in fake bossy tone but laughed nonetheless.
I shrugged while pulling a bite of her aaloo ka paratha. Before I could bring it to my lips, my hand was slapped and the bite was snatched. Courtesy of Mihir.
The next few minutes went by the classmates looking at me punching Mihir down and kicking him while Mihir kept laughing in the middle of this mock battle.
“The nerve of that guy! Lesson is learnt for the next time and times forthcoming.” I said to no one in particular while sitting down on my desk and pulling another bite of Ridhima’s aaloo ka paratha.
Thankfully that day there was no homework as I wanted to catch up with Ridhima on the past week’s details.
‘God I had missed her so much! I wish she knew that. Oh well, she will. I’ll tell her everything today!’ I smiled while walking to my house.
I dropped my schoolbag as soon as I reached home and smelled ‘sarson ka saag’.
‘Mmm… God I am starving!’
“Ma, I am super hungry. FOOD!”
I shouted at the top of my lungs because my mom was in our room upstairs.
“Come change your clothes first while I bake chapati.” Ma instructed from above.
I whined a little, but knowing that ‘makki ki roti’ takes a little time to get baked, I went upstairs and locked the door of my room.
“So, Aditya made me do all his project work while I was sobbing.” Ridhima said over phone.
“And why were you sobbing?” I asked while making patterns on the cord.
“Well… I was missing you.” She said in a low voice which I amusingly and terrifyingly found-seductive?
No word was exchanged after that. The breathing on both the ends became so heavy that it could be heard.
“I missed you so much, Ridhima… so very much!” I sensed a bit of trembling in my voice.
Thank Goodness she wasn’t here else I’d have hugged her so tight she might struggle
But holding her slender body in my arms comfortingly tight appealed me a little too much for a best friend.
She was… what would you call a dusky, sharp featured, full lips owning girl?
She was that.
Probably way more than the word beautiful.
But I wasn’t too sure if I should be thinking of my best friend as beautiful like…
Like a lover? A boyfriend?
I jolted up in my seat and realized that I was holding the receiver a bit tightly. I replaced it and slipped into my pajamas.
I had a sleepless night that night. Was Ridhima the reason? Because the time I closed my eyes, I would see her lips and want to kiss them…
If Ma noticed the bags under my eyes in the morning, she didn’t mention it. I was tardier that morning; her thoughts and how she said ‘I was missing you’ were- were enchanting…
‘God! What is happening to me! She is my best friend for God’s sake!’ I scolded myself.
The seating arrangement that day had been thought-provoking. And my thoughts had been revolving around Ridhima. She had to sit on the seat ahead of me which meant her back touched my desk.
I don’t know what came over me but I placed both my hands on the desk holding its frontal edges; I could feel her back…
I was both guilty and upset about what was happening to me. I was a girl for Heavens’ sake and I couldn’t LIKE my best friend like boys LIKE girls. It was not right. And just then I felt my knuckles coming in contact with something warm and really smooth. I was brought back to the reality with Ridhima’s voice, melodious velvety voice, I might add.
“Hi.” She threw herself back a bit and looked at me, and my knuckles touched her back even more. Why I wasn’t retracting my hands, was beyond me but I knew I wanted to feel more.
4th September, 2009
A day before Teachers’ Day. And there were celebrations. Teachers were feasting on Samosas and Coke that day in the staff room while seniors were appointed to go to the junior classes and keep a check on the students.
And we still had two more lectures to endure.
At around 1, the teachers went back to classes and gave students free time since the school was to get over in another 45 minutes. Furthermore, no study had happened that day at all.
“Why have you kept your head down, Prachi? Are you okay?” Mrs. Srishti, our Business Studies Lecturer asked me in not so concerned manner at which Ridhima retracted her hand I was kissing.
“Ugh, yes, Ma’am. A bit of a headache-” and I trailed off at the suddenness of what just happened.
I looked sideways at Ridhima who had her hand onto her lips and was stiffling her smile.
I couldn’t help but keep looking at her dimples and lips..
‘God, her lips…
I wish I could kiss her lips like I kiss her fingers…’ I wondered.
And the bell rang.
The hustle in the classroom heightened the excitement of the last period and no teacher was to come now. So everyone got out one by one leaving me and Ridhima behind. The class door was still opened. And I looked into her eyes which were already upon me.
Without knowing, I lowered my head toward her lips. And her hand touched my lips.
She didn’t say anything. I didn’t ask anything.
My hand remained to myself for the rest of the day while I felt an agonizing pain in my heart.
It was still 10 minutes left before we were set free to go to our respective school vehicles to take us back home.
I packed my school bag while Ridhima did the same without uttering a single word to each other. And we got out of the classroom quietly closing the door behind.
I was me so I couldn’t take the silence any longer.
“Ridhima, I want to say something.” Sensing the eagerness in my voice, she looked up.
“See, I and you both know that I want to come closer to you, touch you in a more intimate manner. You know that, right?”
She looked surprised for a second but then blushed, and nodded anyway.
“Right, so do you feel the same about me? Do YOU want to come closer to me?” I asked with impatience and a hope evident in my tone.
I understood her dilemma. So I said to her.
“Okay, you can do one thing. You go to your Auto-Rickshaw. And if you turn around it means Yes. And if you don’t…umm then also okay. Will that be okay?”
“All right.” She said smiling.
And I watched her go to her vehicle where Auto wala bhaiya was scowling at her for making him and other kids late.
I stood there. Watching and waiting.
‘Please turn around, please do…’
I whispered to myself.
And she turned around.
If fireworks and crackers had burst then, they too couldn’t have fathomed the loudness of thumping of my heart. Because the excitement and the adrenaline rush I had felt was unerringly the most blissful thing I had ever felt in my entire life of 17 years.
She smiled at me and then laughed seemingly bemused at my own idiotic expression. I was certain I was beaming!
5th September, 2009
“Let’s play some truth and dare.” Sayesha said to us. Us being I, Ridhima and Shruti.
“No. Besides, its fucken boring and we have played it like a thousand times already!” I said in a bored tone while awaiting the food we had ordered.
Ridhima didn’t say anything; rather looked to be agreeing with my point. Shruti’s sharp gaze remained undeterred at the gap between I and Ridhima. She was always suspicious of something going on between us which made her even less likable for both of us than she had earlier been. But she was a friend, nonetheless.
Settling on dancing, we played songs. After dancing like maniacs, Sayesha played a slow song at which I and Ridhima held each other’s hands and started doing that ball dance thing which was the most romantic thing on daily soap operas those days.
With ‘Baahon ke Darmiyaan’ playing in the background and her arms enwrapping my neck was making my legs go jello but I knew I couldn’t have let that happen, not under Shruti’s watch.
20 minutes from then went by in a jiff with all of us feasting on Manchurian and Noodles like a beast and gulping down the cold drink pretending we were taking shots of tequila, Which we didn’t know then if was the name of a drink or its shots could be taken.
Ridhima asked me if I could accompany her to the rest room. She walking ahead me made my insides shiver with excitement because we were going to be alone…in darkness.
What happened after she stepped inside the bathroom was so surreal that it got imprinted on my memory forever.
I kept my hand on the door stopping her from closing it. Her eyes searched mine while my eyes remained affixed on her lips…
And I leaned in. Kissing her from her chin to the corner of her lips took all my might and I opened my eyes reminding myself it wasn’t a dream.
I couldn’t look into her eyes knowing she’d be as confused as I was. After a moment (of recovering) she came out of the washroom and placed hands on my arms from behind.
Her touch had been burning the walls of self-control in me since the day I’d heard her ‘I was missing you’ and today was the time when the walls had melted away and building a new sense of pleasure of human touch.
I turned around, saw her hesitant smile. Taking her face in my hands, I locked my lips with hers. Had we both not been holding each other, we’d have fallen on the ground. The eruptions in our hearts had an impact on our bodies. Our legs had gone completely wobbly and we were trembling as though we were naked on a December night and snow was surrounding us.
It was our first kiss. And we were both girls.
She was 16 and I was 17. Despite having numerous ‘potential’ crushes, this was altogether the very first time when we both had experienced something like this. Who knew Ridhima my ‘so-called’ best friend would never remain my friend at all.
She became my love. My first ever love.
“Don’t talk to me, Prachi.” Ridhima said sternly enough for me to now try seriously to get her to talk to me.
“But, baby, listen to me at least?” I almost pleaded.
She stopped solving the algebra exercise and looked at me with a brow raised.
I already knew this wasn’t going to be easy.
I mean I understood this wasn’t the first time we had had a fight over other girls coming and flirting with me but when Shaila had placed her hand on my chest a bit too friendlily, Ridhima had flipped. It had been two days since then and she still wasn’t talking to me.
“Baby, I am sorry, okay? I love YOU, Ridhima and only you-” saying that, I trailed off. I took her hand in mine and brought it to my lips.
“I won’t ever leave you for anyone, Ridhima. Trust me.” I whispered these words to her while taking her fingertips between my lips and gently relishing them.
I looked up and saw she had had her eyes closed, and lips were slightly ajar. I could not help myself and my libido got the better of me. I lay her down in bed and got atop her while planting deep kisses along her jawline.
“Ohh Ridhima, I love you, so very much…” and I felt her arms tighten around me.
That evening in her room was by far the most special evening of us together. We lay in bed for another half an hour listening to each other’s eyes and making patterns on each other’s arms.
“I get extremely jealous when that Shaila bitch tries to come onto you.” She gently whined.
“I know that, Baby, which is why I don’t retract because It’s so seductive!” I said while trailing my finger along her waist-line.
“You know, you are so evil! You always do such kind of a thing. You’ll make me angry on purpose and then ask what happened!” She said to me frowning. Her frown was something I found utterly cute because I didn’t get to see it too often.
Ridhima was a sweet girl. Kind, listening, understanding, these were amongst her major qualities. She wouldn’t normally get angry but when she did, well, it was hard arguing with her then because she knew she was right and she wouldn’t even need to prove it since her one angry glare would do it all.
Days passed by and our love only grew.
People would cast us amused glances. And those glances sometimes held a mixture of disgust and insult. They would talk behind our backs. They would mock us for being too touchy with each other and they would refuse to sit with us during lunch break. But none of this made an impact on us as it was our first love and love knows no boundaries. We were hung up on each other’s thoughts. We would day dream even while solving Accountancy problems. We would touch each other intimately during our lectures. We would hold each other’s hands while reading and we would always go to the washroom to steal a kiss or two.
It was a beautiful day with clouds in the sky as prominent as the stars are at night. We were strolling around our school. Holding each other’s hands and bumping into each other every now and then frolicsomely. We were giggling and laughing and giving shy looks to each other. And it began raining. We began running for shelter inside the school because it was 2:30PM and almost everybody had left the school. Except a few teachers the school was almost deserted. So, we sneaked inside girls’ restroom and hid there until the rain stopped.
I let my eyes travel up to her face and I felt my thoughts shut immediately. She dazzled me her signature smile and knowing my intentions she slid closer to me. We were now close enough to hear each other’s heart thrumming against our chests. I trailed my hand up her forearm and snaked an arm around her waist pulling her into me. Her breath hitched before my lips landed on hers making both of us shudder less from the cold and more from the heat of us being in each other’s arms. After what felt like hours we got out of the bathroom to find out that we were the only remnants in the school now. The sun had been shining brightly over our heads as my gaze wandered up the sky to find a fading rainbow.
“Look! Riddhima, a rainbow!” I nearly called out aloud.
She took my hand I had extended for her to take and stood beside me, keeping me cozy with her body warmth. She giggled showing her cute dimples and I let my thoughts go haywire as I lowered my head to kiss her, right then and there… under the Rainbow.
Author’s Bio: Preiksha Jain holds a bachelor degree in commerce and enjoys writing short fiction, nonfiction articles and poetry. She finds her footing in the world as a mother, wife, and daughter. She is a sipper of coffee, an addict of anything story and hopes to have her fictional novel completed soon. A driven personality, perennial student and a passionate lover; These three qualities are which complete her bio as a person. For more, Preiksha would urge people to read her works. About that, It is safe to say that she is writing a novel with woman and woman romance and drama (no pun intended). The most important project of her life has been and will always be is bringing up her kids, eating without getting fat (which is nearly impossible) and writing so that she can earn to the point of buying her partner the most favorite things without worrying about the expenses.