She woke up to see a single message flashing on her phone. As she unlocked it and checked who it was, she wondered how her life had taken a transformation. For better or worse, there was now just a single message flashing on her phone, whereas once upon a time, she would be greeted with a hundred; and having no time to read them all, she would only skim through them… Except for texts from her boyfriend, which she would read with utmost importance.
Now she had no one to look forward to, no more boyfriend, not many friends and no one in particular she wished to hear the voice of, or read a good morning from.
‘Meet me. 7 pm’, the text said.
It was from this guy she was casually dating. She knew there was nothing serious and she had been clear about that right from the start. But for some reason she could not call it off.
She looked at his message for a long time. She wanted to go meet him… But the effort it took in getting dressed and looking pretty, just so she could match up to his handsome features, was a task she had not been up to.
She contemplated on whether she should reply.
‘I’ll be terribly bored if I don’t go out today. I haven’t done anything over this weekend… ‘ she thought to herself.
After weighing the pros and cons of her decision for over an hour, she decided to meet him.
The dim jazzy lights of the deli was making Sonia nauseous. Men and women were fashionably dressed and she caught a few men turn their attention towards her as she passed by. Rohit had asked her to come to the table at the end of the outdoor seating area. As she walked toward the table at the far end, she tried to imagine Rohit dressed in smart formals, waiting for her. Her over imaginative mind painted a picture of how he would look at her appreciatively as she approached him. Of course she deserved the attention! She had taken a lot of care in dressing for him. She gingerly passed a big group of chattering, young people, toward the last table only to find it empty. Disappointed, she looked around in search of him, when she heard her name being called. The voice was familiar, it was Rohit. A smile spread across her face, making it glow under the dim chrome lighting and she turned around to face him.
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Her smile froze, like it had been painted into existence when she saw Rohit sitting amid the huge group of men and women she had just passed by, and they were all looking at her. She noticed both men and women size her up with different intents and she wished she could dissolve into a puddle. Right then, at that very instant, she realized how her disappointment at not finding him at the last table seemed trivial when compared to what she felt now.
He had not informed her that he going to be with his friends. She would have skipped his invite had she known…. Maybe that was the reason he hadn’t told her.
After their formal round of introductions, she looked at Rohit trying to feel some sort of solace or company. He smiled at her and immediately shifted his gaze to another girl sitting next to him who was demanding his attention regarding a discussion about a meal they had shared two days ago.
Sonia looked at the others who were busy talking to each other… pretending like she did not exist. She knew that she should probably be barging in with her expert comments and jokes, but something held her back.
Who were these people? Why did she have to talk to them…? It needed effort and she saw no point in it.
She had nothing in common with them to talk about. As she gazed and gazed at the four men and three women around her, hoping and trying to just find an opening for her to join the banter, the chair she was sitting on seemed to slide away… Further and further from them… until they became just a chattering bunch of people that she could observe from a distance.
Their chatter filled her ears. She wanted to speak, to draw her chair closer, to belong… But instead, hot wet tears stung her eyes as the realization dawned upon her that she was a misfit. She had always been a misfit. She had never belonged anywhere, to anything or to anyone.
‘YOU DO NOT MATTER’, Sonia’s mind was screaming at her.
‘YOU DO NOT BELONG’
‘You should probably get something to eat’, Rohit’s voice dragged her out of her thoughts that were threatening to drown her.
Like she was woken up from a deep slumber, Sonia looked at him with vacant eyes and tried to gauge him. ‘He doesn’t want me here. I’m probably disturbing him’, she thought. Rohit noticed her eyes moistened and shifty and knew there was something wrong. He saw the sense of paranoia and sudden urgency that reflected in her eyes but could not understand why.
‘I’m feeling sick I need to be back home’, Sonia said and excusing herself and made her way towards the exit. Only when she was at considerable distance from them, did her breathing rate return to normal. She felt freer, like herself again.
Sitting on her favorite bean bag at her home, she was filled with a euphoric relief as she pulled out her notebook and pen and jotted down her experience.
She was a misfit to the outside world…
But in the world that she had created, she was a perfect fit.