“You look wonderful, Khushi. Nazar na lage,” Payal said, putting kajal behind Khushi’s ear.

Khushi smiled slightly, trying to portray the image of happiness everyone expects her to feel on her wedding day.

“Karan will be speechless!” exclaimed Preeto, sending the girls around her into fits of giggles.

When Payal calmed herself down and hushed everyone else, she said, “Now sit tight and rest until they call you down. No meeting or talking with jeejaji secretly,” she said, wagging a finger at her sister. “We’ll go help downstairs.”

As the door clicked shut behind her, Khushi got up and walked to the window. Being back here was bringing back memories, memories she wished she didn’t have because they were only making it that much harder for her to move on.

Memories of Him. Memories of them.

She wiped away the tears that streamed down her face as she glanced at the beach where they had seen many a sunsets in each other’s arms. She didn’t know how it all went so horribly wrong. How he could have left her like it didn’t mean anything, like she didn’t mean anything.

This time four years ago they were celebrating their second anniversary on that very same beach, under their tree and talking about their future. Their future…which didn’t exist anymore.

“Arnav! You didn’t get me a present for the anniversary?” she screamed, hitting his arm in indignation.

“I thought you said I shouldn’t get anything?” he asked, looking confused.

Khushi huffed, “But that doesn’t mean I didn’t actually want you to get me anything. I got you that shirt didn’t I?”

“How would I know that?” he grumbled.

“Because I thought you knew me!” she screamed, and folding her hands turned away from him to stare at the ocean.

She felt him walking towards her, and once he was close enough for her to feel his breath on her neck, he brought his hand forward so it was in her view, and dangled the chain in front of her, that had a small heart shaped locket hanging on it.

Khushi gasped and turned around, “I knew it!” she exclaimed happily, placing a kiss on his cheek.

“But Arnav, I can’t! That must have cost a fortune. You really cannot afford it. And I was just joking about the whole gift thing, you know that, right?”

“I didn’t buy it, Khushi. It was my mom’s,” he said, and watched her eyes fill up with tears.

He shook his head at her craziness and turning her around, he fastened the chain around her neck and placed a kiss on her at the junction where her shoulder met her neck.

“I love you,” he whispered.

She smiled and wrapping her hands around his middle and hugging him close, she replied, “I love you, too.”

That was the last time they ever spoke those words. She, still to this day, couldn’t understand what had gone wrong. They were happy and in love. But everything had changed after that day, she had noticed him withdrawing from her, ignoring her calls, stepping back from embraces. And one day, he said that he needed space, that they had rushed into things, that he wasn’t ready for the commitment, and Khushi hadn’t known what to think.

“What are you saying, Arnav?” she asked, tears streaming down her face.

“I think…I think we need a break, Khushi.” he said, not meeting her eyes. “I am not ready for this…for us.”

“What do you mean you are not ready?” she cried, frustrated. “We have been together for two years for fuck’s sake, Arnav!”

“Yes, Khushi. But we are still so young. I mean, we haven’t even completed our studies yet.  I think…I think we should explore our options.”

“Explore our options.” she scoffed, “You know what? Go! Explore! Just fucking go, and never turn back. You want space, right? Done! We are done. I am not going to sit around and wait for you to fucking explore.”

She turned and ran away from there, hoping that she could outrun the pain as well.

They hadn’t seen each other much after that. They were majoring in different subjects and didn’t have any classes in common. And after a while, she heard from their common friends that he had transferred out of the college, which had broken the thread of hope she was hanging on to that he would realize his foolishness and come back to her.

She had met Karan during her masters studies in delhi. He was open, jovial, loving, warm and caring, everything Arnav wasn’t, everything she should want in a guy. In the beginning, she was hesitant to date again, but he had persisted, and eventually Khushi had given in. Karan was safe, he would always be there for her, protect her, love her, but no matter what she told herself, she couldn’t bring herself to love him, give him her heart.

Because it’s not mine to give, she thought, sadly. I gave it away to someone who stomped on it, and left it in pieces.

She was startled out of her thoughts by a ping on her cellphone, indicating that she had a new email. She picked it up and slid the lock open to read it.

Hi Khushi,

I don’t know why I am writing this, and this is probably the cheesiest thing I have even done in my life. I know once you receive this, you will never let me live it down.

In our writing class, we had an assignment, we had to write a letter to our future self, and it would come back to us on in the future, whenever we set the date to. At first, I thought that Mr. Rao was crazy, but then I realized this would be something you would be crazy about, so here I am writing a love letter to you.

I am not good with expressing emotions, K. You know that. Ever since maa and dad passed away I am afraid to love, no, that’s not right, I am afraid to lose the people I love so I shy away from getting close to people at all. Which is why, when we had met, I had pushed you away for a long time before accepting the inevitable to giving into your love. You, with your crazy rants, mischievous eyes, and kind eyes, have wormed your way into my heart.

You make me feel safe, like I can tell you anything. I love di, I do, but she is still so fragile from what happened to our parents that I can never talk to her, express my fears and concerns. But you provide me a safe place to do just that, K. You are my safe haven, and I love you for it.

It’s our second anniversary, and you are sleeping with your head in my lap, and your hand curled protectively over maa’s necklace, and looking at you right now, I know. I know that you are the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.

Will you marry me, Khushi?

I will be waiting for your answer at our place.

Love,
Arnav

Khushi stared at the letter numbly.

This can’t be happening, not now. Not when I am about to get married to a man that loves me.

But not to a man you love, said a tiny voice. The voice of the girl that had once held dreams of marrying the one she loved, the one who had her heart broken, the one she tried to shove to the back of her mind to avoid the pain that came along with it.

“Khushi?” Payal called as she walked into the room. “Khush, are you okay?”

“I…I don’t know,” Khushi choked out.

She looked pale as a ghost, like she would faint any minute. “Come here, sit down,” Payal said, moving Khushi to the bed.

She looked from Khushi’s tortured face to her hands which were clutching the phone so tight that her hands were white as a sheet.

Payal placed her hand on Khushi’s. “What happened? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“A…Arnav.”

—————-

 

Okay….before any of you start killing me, I am going to complete all my stories, that’s a promise. I haven’t felt inspired to write in a while and I apologize for not being fair to you as my readers. I hope this TS will tide you over till the weekend when I WILL update all my stories. Thanks for the patience guys! You are the best!

And writing after this long makes me feel like a new writer all over again, go easy!

PS: Yes, a letter to future service actually exists! 😉 http://www.futureme.org/

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59 thoughts on “ArHi TS : Meant To Be – Part 1

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