I stood at the bus stop long after the bus had left. I was trying to figure out why it mattered so much. If Dhruv wanted to keep it a secret, I should respect that and leave it at that. With a deep sigh, I relented. I wouldn’t hold it against him. After all, he wasn’t under any obligation to tell me. We had known each other for less than a month.
I really couldn’t expect him to, could I?
Dhruv had spoken about some organizations where he was going to take me over the weekend. I decided to be a step ahead and started reading up on them as soon as I got home.
Animal shelter, an old age home, a children’s welfare society. I was busy googling when there was a knock on my door. My mum put her head in “Someone’s here to see you.” She pushed the door open after a quick inspection that my room was clean.
“Thank you.” He said to my mum as he came in.
He waited for my mom to leave and then turned towards me. I was still numb with shock.
“Surprised?” He asked as he made himself comfortable on a chair.
“Understatement of the year.” I commented. “Why are you here?” I asked suspiciously.
“You wanted to know about the letter.” He said simply.
“Oh.” I was a little confused, why did he want to tell me now? “You don’t have to. I really don’t care. I was just curious when I found it. Sorry if I was prying.” I apologized.
I hoped he wouldn’t fall for my fake apology and tell me anyway.
He nodded a little and pulled out the letter. “You won’t mind if I threw it away then? It’s been lying around for so long.”
I watched him carefully. “Go ahead, it’s your letter after all.”
He shrugged and before I could stop him, he tore up the letter and tossed it in the dustbin under my table.
“What did you do that for!?” I was aghast.
“Can we stop pretending you don’t want to know then?” He asked calmly.
I nodded a little, “You didn’t have to be so dramatic.” I walked over slowly to the dustbin. “So now what? Do you want me to tape it together?”
He scoffed, “You didn’t really think I would tear up a letter I had saved for six years, did you?” he pulled out another sheet of paper from his pocket.
If I didn’t know better, I would have said he was trying to not to laugh at the various stages of realization I was going there.
Finally, I burst out laughing, “Very slick Dhruv!” I complimented. “I can’t believe I fell for that!”
Dhruv stood up uncomfortably balancing himself on his cane and took a little bow. “Thank you, walked straight into that one you did.”
I snatched the sheet from him and sat down, cross legged with my face in my hand. “So!”
He sat down in front of me, “So, that’s something I wrote to a girl.”
“But I never sent it.”
“It’s a long story.”
I shrugged my shoulders, “I’ve got nothing better to do.”
“So this girl..” he started.
“Hey! I need names. Without a name, she’s not real.” I interrupted.
“Fine, her name is Sara.” He said quickly.
“Okay, continue. I know that’s a made up name by the way.” I commented.
A slight smile on Dhruv’s face told me I was right.
“So Sara and I used to stay back for basketball practice.” He said.
“I’m sorry, what???” basketball practice?????
“You know, the sport? I was a very good player, so was she.” He stopped talking for a moment. I guess my confusion was apparent. “You do know that this,” he pointed at his leg, “wasn’t a birth defect right?”
“Oh!” I exclaimed, it seemed like I was running out of things to say. I was already imagining all kinds of horrible things that might have happened to him.
“I fell during a game.” He said simply.
I gulped, “I didn’t know..” I hesitated, “I didn’t know that you could, you know..” I stopped.
“Yeah well, even I didn’t know. But the fall damaged some nerve and left my leg..” his voice trailed off as he touched his leg.
Awkward silence surrounded us. I wish I could say something to make him feel better, but I couldn’t think of anything appropriate to say.
I stood up and walked towards him and placed a hand on his shoulder.