[Editor’s Note : Every week we will be publishing one chapter from Ansh Das’s book, The Memory Of A Face. Needless to say, we are super excited! Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18, Chapter 19, Chapter 20, Chapter 21, Chapter 22, Chapter 23, Chapter 24, Chapter 25, Chapter 26, Chapter 27, Chapter 28, Chapter 29, Chapter 30, Chapter 31, Chapter 32 & Chapter 33]
On bended knee
Oliver met Energy at the entrance to the gym. They signed in and went down to the changing room.
“How are you two doing now?” asked Energy.
Oliver kept silent.
“Okay, okay. You don’t need to answer. Just cheer up,” Energy said.
“I’m fine.” Oliver knew he wasn’t and it annoyed him.
“Yes, we know that.”
The guy just didn’t know when to shut up. But that wasn’t his fault really. Oliver was feeling angry because he hadn’t been able to make peace with Priscilla. Getting a wall to display emotions was easier than bringing her back to normal. She was sour and angry all the time.
“No. Still the same. No response from her.”
“That’s bad, man.”
“I know.” Oliver had finished changing.
“Maybe it’s time for you to move on?” Energy said as they headed towards the cardio section.
“I don’t know. Maybe yes. Maybe no. I don’t wanna give up easily.”
“Oh, my! Look at that beauty. Don’t think I’ve seen her here before.” Energy was one person who could switch topics fast. The speed and the frequency depended on how many beautiful girls went past him.
Oliver chose to remain silent. Yes, the girl was beautiful but he wasn’t in the mood.
“Sorry. I get carried away sometimes.”
“Is that right?”
“Okay.” Oliver laughed.
“Why do you always talk about not wanting to give up easily? Don’t you think you have tried enough?”
“I don’t know. I just hate not being on good terms with somebody.”
“Somebody?” Energy prodded on.
“Yes. Somebody. Anybody. I hate that.” There was no other way to explain the situation. He hated confrontations. He hated falling out with his friends. He hated his inability at getting their relationship back on track.
“Well, if you think about her as somebody…I mean, if you consider her to be the same as everybody else, that’s the problem,” Energy said. “She’s your girlfriend, you should be serious about her.”
“Of course, I’m serious. If I wasn’t I wouldn’t care at all.”
“I do accept that your situation is complicated. She should be more caring towards you. And that’s why, at the risk of appearing stupid or cruel, I suggest you two take a break for some time.”
“What do you mean by that? Break for some time?” Oliver didn’t want to hear the response.
“You know. Just lie low or cool off for some time and see how it goes. Sometimes it helps.” Energy got onto one of the treadmills.
“And how do you know all this?” Oliver was puzzled. “You are the most unromantic person I’ve ever known. I don’t think you’ve ever had a relationship, a real relationship, with a girl.”
“What exactly are you trying to say?” Energy shot back.
“I mean, how would you know what helps? You’ve never been in that situation.”
“Hello! This is a common formula in many movies. If something doesn’t work out, take a break. Come back another day.” Energy started fiddling with the buttons to set his training routine.
“This is my life we’re talking about! My life isn’t a movie. And if it were, it would be a terrible one. Nobody would want to watch it.” Oliver felt angry. He also felt like laughing. Energy had a point in what he said. It did make sense but it wasn’t something that came to him naturally. He wouldn’t be able to pull it off. Or would he?
He switched on his iPod as he got ready to work the treadmill.
Priscilla had been trying to concentrate on the lines but it was difficult. She didn’t understand the funny accent. She kept on missing the words and had to rewind the tape a few times.
“You aren’t doing well today, are you?” her boss asked.
“I’m feeling a bit sick.” Priscilla tried to come up with an excuse. She wasn’t sick.
“Then you should take sick leave and rest at home.”
“I think I can still work.”
“Well, if this is the rate of your work, I don’t see the difference between your staying at home and your working here. You should think about that.” The boss said and walked off.
Priscilla was angry. What the hell. She was actually doing the company a favour by turning up for work. Most people would just stay at home if they were sick. Why did she react like that? Okay. Her output wasn’t great in terms of scenes but she wasn’t that slow. Did her boss really check how slow the others worked? Bitch!
“She can hear you!” Agnes said, coming up from behind.
“What! Really?” Priscilla was surprised. “Liar. I just thought about it.”
“Well, if I could hear your thoughts — anybody could, right?”
“Alright.” Agnes paused for a moment. “Do you want to take a break now?”
“Yes!” She locked her workstation and got up.
“Let’s go get some ice cream.” Agnes knew what would make her happy.
They walked out of the floor and rode the lift to the ground floor. After exiting the building they headed directly towards the nearest 7-Eleven store. After buying their favourite flavours they strolled outside licking away.
“Has he called you?” Agnes asked.
“Yes.” Priscilla replied.
“And?” Agnes paused with an expectation on her face.
“What do you mean by that? You guys had a fight. At least he’s calling you and trying to patch up.” Agnes looked puzzled.
“You won’t understand.” Priscilla didn’t understand it herself but she had to say something anyway.
“Maybe you don’t understand. I don’t wanna sound harsh. But what you’re doing isn’t helping your relationship.” Agnes pressed on.
“What am I supposed to do? Run to him? Why does he treat me like any other person on the street?”
“Don’t lie lah. He doesn’t treat you bad. At least not as bad as you think or make it out to be. It’s a great thing to have somebody’s love. What exactly do you expect of him?”
“Well, I want my boyfriend to give me his undivided attention. I want him to make me feel as if I’m the princess of his dreams. I want him to do everything I tell him to do. I want him to make me happy.”
“And you say that Oliver doesn’t do that already?”
“No. Not yet. That’s why he must learn how to do it. I’m not getting any younger. If he isn’t the right person, I should find somebody else who can keep me happy.”
“You want to break up with him.” It was more of a statement than a question.
“I won’t say I haven’t thought about it.”
“Come on. He’s a nice guy. Don’t break up with him.”
“I don’t see any commitment from his side. If he were serious about me he would’ve asked me to marry him.”
“Marriage is a serious issue, especially for guys. Maybe he hasn’t thought about it yet. It’s just been, what? Just over two years?” Agnes said.
“Exactly. Over two years.” How long was she supposed to wait? Another two? No. She would make a decision soon unless…unless Oliver came back to her and begged her on his knees to marry him.