He approached a dead link, or so did he think; with no expectations in return. And he had almost forgotten about it, till he got that unexpected call…
While swiping through the photos, either left or right, sometimes without even looking at the pics for more than a second, he tried hard to keep his eyes open. His vision was getting blurry due to the tears accumulating in his eyes. He had yawned for almost the same number as many profiles he had visited.
He had almost swiped the profile left, when his half-opened eyes were stretched fully open. His mouth was open and he couldn’t lift off the thumb from the touch screen. He slowly, carefully moved his thumb back to the centre and the profile was almost saved from being rejected.
He skimmed through the pictures in the profile and found them very interesting. It was a profile of a person from outside this country. In the bio, she had mentioned that she was here on a holiday. And except that the profile was ordinary. There wasn’t something exceptional, a beautiful display picture or a clever bio, just a plain simple profile. But he felt some different sort of pull towards her. As if he already knew her. Or maybe something else. But he wanted to talk to her.
She had mentioned profile ID from another social website where one could find her. He promptly opened the app and found her. Quickly, he sent her a message welcoming her to this country and inviting a casual chat.
And as soon as he had pressed the send button, he felt awkward. He shouldn’t have sent the message. She doesn’t even know him. She’s not even from this country. And she’s definitely gonna swipe him left. And the message! Such a loser… It doesn’t even sound right.
He had already imagined several scenes in his mind of her rejecting him, some very insulting. And with that depressing movie in his head, he went to sleep.
Next morning he woke up with the embarrassing incident flushed down his memory. He casually went to work and sank in to the huge pile of unreasonable deadlines and undervalued appreciation. The best he had expected for the day was to find a decent place to sit alone at lunch, beside a pillar so that no one can see him existing in this world.
His colleagues never gave a damn about his presence in the office. He was a shy, weird and truthful person, who didn’t believe in pleasing people or faking expressions. And as a result, he could never befriend anyone. Some even felt pity for him for being this lonely that he used to send instant messenger pings to himself. But then it was easy to make fun of him than to offer him their friendship.
He stretched his arms and legs, while his mail was being sent. His work for the day was done and he still had half a day to pass. Today he wasn’t in the mood of continuing with the online course material. So he opened up the social site for getting a glimpse or two of his friends and crushes.
He skimmed through the notifications, ignoring half of them. But a message from someone caught his eyes. It was from her, the profile that he had checked out last night. She had replied to his message. It has to be a hate reply, like a hate mail or a bad insult; the one that shatters every last bit of self-respect.
He opened it and read the message in one quick look. Then he took a deep breath and read it all again.
“Hey there… Yes, I’m on a holiday here and am traveling to different parts of this country. And I must say, your country is very beautiful. So much more than what I had expected.
Anyway, I’ll be going to some extreme points and might not be available over web after two days. Today, I’m here at <place>. Come meet me if you like.”
It was the first time that his casual comment or approach was taken as a casual talk and was responded with such casualness. Otherwise he had only expected her to block him or to report him as a probable stalker or even an online offender, so much for saying ‘hi’ he always thought. But this time it was different. He had probably made a new friend and he definitely wanted to meet her.
So he took an abrupt sick leave and drove some 100 miles to see her. He found her exactly at the location she had mentioned. They exchanged formal greetings and she invited him over a cup of coffee to a nearby café.
Over the cup of coffee, they had already exchanged a few years of history from each other’s lives and he had offered to show unexplored places around, which she won’t find in the tour guide she was carrying. She had cheerfully accepted his proposal.
He mailed a formal leave application to his office from then and there. And they started planning her last few days in the country, shortlisting places she might find interesting.
It was an instant involvement for the two. He hadn’t expected her to even reply to his message and she hadn’t expected this unknown message from a stranger to turn into a travel expedition with him.
The two selected the best places they could cover in the limited time available and left for the first place the very next day.
After they had seen the “must-visit” sites of the place, he suggested something different to make the memories more interesting for her. He suggested to make a story at each of the place they visit and to film it with them being the characters in the film. The story could be anything, comedy, drama, adventure or even romance. But the film that they would shoot will make it all more entertaining then a plain sightseeing experience.
She found his idea weird but thought to give it a try. And then at each place that they visited, they will together make some funny, clumsy story and try film it using the front facing camera. It was difficult than they had anticipated. They were no real actors and had no cinematographic skills. But nevertheless, they tried.
And the first one was so interesting and totally funny, they spent the whole night watching it on repeat, over a bottle of beer.
As soon as they got back to the network covering areas, she started posting their creative videos over social sites, and even tagged him in her posts. Her friends went crazy over her posts. But it was different in his case.
His friends were jealous of him either for his creativity, or for his travel expeditions, or just for the fact of him enjoying with her. Some even taunted him of finding someone out of his league. But he ignored all their reactions. He had already blocked all his friends from giving any comment on her posts.
Days passed quickly and soon it was time for her to return. They both knew this that their time together was limited and probably they were never gonna see each other again. But none of them ever thought about it once. They spent even the last minute they had together with frivolity and feeling of adventurous titillation.
At the airport, when she crossed the security check, she turned back to catch a last glimpse of him. Over the last few days, he had become the most precious part of her life, but a memory nonetheless as they lived in different countries. She couldn’t stop the tears from falling off of her beautiful brown eyes. But she was happy to have met him and have spent a quality time with him.
He watched her go towards the boarding gate, tears in her eyes. But he didn’t let her tears mirror in his eyes. He fought hard to keep his tears away. He acted their favourite Robot part from one of their stories and they smiled remembering the incident. It was probably the last time he was seeing her. But he was happy that this time someone actually saw his pure intentions without blaming him with their prejudiced assumptions.
The flight took off, leaving both of them in tears, and smile at the same time, as after so many years, they both had found selfless friendship in their lives.
The next day, it all went back to normal routine for both of them…
While a beautiful story had ended, rather a little bittersweet end, the story was definitely eating for them. A story, they wanted to write their own versions to.
Bonus: *Not so interesting though*
After a few months of online chats and video calls, she suddenly called him at night. He got up from his sleep and tried hitting the green button to pick up, but instead ended up hitting the red one. She thought that he must have fallen asleep, so she kept the phone down and postponed her plan to propose him. The next day, she quashed the idea altogether.
When she called, he waited for a few minutes, saying “hello” “hello” over the disconnected call, eventually dozing off, not knowing that she was having the same thoughts that he had started to have recently. But he had always ushered those thoughts away, presuming rejection due to their differences.
Later in the next year, he had gathered courage and had planned to propose to her on her birthday. He had a ring ready in the birthday cake he had baked for her. But when he wished her birthday over the video call, her friends never gave him a chance to get her undivided attention.
One night, while both of them were staring at each other’s profile picture, both of them together thought of confessing their love for each other. And they both started typing the the words, in a race to type first before the other person’s ‘typing’ indication changes. And they both ended up proposing each other at the same time.