I left for school early the next day. I was supposed to have training sessions in the morning and in the evenings. I rubbed my eyes sleepily as I got on the bus. I casually glanced around the bus. My lame friend wasn’t there. I chided myself for being so silly.
But I re-checked just to be sure. Nada.
The training session practically killed me. I was woefully out of shape. The good thing was, so was most of the crowd there. You could literally see our sports teacher curse his luck that he was stuck with us.
“You would have thought he’d be happy. At least he has a team this year.” The girl next to me said. She had doubled over after our last run and was breathing hard.
I laughed. She was right. Last year, we just had a couple of events for the girls’ events.
“Pooja.” She introduced herself.
“Naina.” I smiled at her.
“See you in the evening then?” She said stuffing her bag with her sneakers.
“Yeah, sure..” I stopped as I saw Arpit walk towards me. He was looking extremely pleased with himself.
“What’s different about you today?” I observed him critically.
“I don’t know, why don’t you tell me?” He smiled calmly.
I stared at him. My Arpit would have gotten all hyper and listed out ten different things had gone wrong with him today.
“Who ARE you?” I said in an over exaggerated way and burst into peals of laughter.
He smiled slightly, “Really Naina, sometimes, you act so immature.” He turned around, “I got to go. Talk to you later?”
“Wait! What’s wrong with you? Why are you being so weird?” I glared at him.
“Grow up Naina.” He gave me some unsolicited advice and walked off, leaving me in a stunned daze.
I watched him walk up to Sneha. She was introducing him to her friends. By now, the whole school was staring at them.
Sneha and her friends were the most popular people in school. A little nobody like Arpit did not fit in with their “cool” crowd. OR did he?
And suddenly, I knew what was different about him.
Being with Sneha had given him the acceptance that he so craved. He was calmer now. Not the nervous little fellow I had known. I almost gasped as he conversed with them. Arpit used to have panic attacks talking to my sister!
His posture, his mannerisms, everything radiated confidence. I smiled. Maybe Sneha was good for him. I shook my head and went back to changing my shoes when another thought struck me.
I no longer had a monopoly over him.