Later that night, they decided to meet up near the convocation hall. JC wanted to come too, but she gave him a weird look, and he stopped himself just in time. He didn’t want to appear too forward, even though curiosity was eating him up alive. Just before she left though, he asked her once about him. She could see that he really wanted to know about Len, and sighed.
‘We used to go out in high school. Then we had an argument, and we broke up. That’s about it.’ This was her short explanation.
Len was sitting on a garden bench nearby when Elaine came. It was a cold night, and she shivered slightly. He looked up on hearing her footsteps, and moved aside to give her some place to sit. She sat down quietly next to him, looking away. She stole a glance at him, but he was fiddling with his room keys.
‘You haven’t changed much, you know that?’ he said at length.
‘Oh, I’ve changed, don’t worry.’ She said in a strained voice. He put a hand on her shoulder, but she moved away as if she was burnt. ‘Stay away from me!’ she nearly shrieked out in the darkness. He was speechless for a second.
‘Now who’s running away?’ he said in a strange voice. If she could've seen his face hidden in the darkness, she would’ve seen the pain poorly veiled behind his scathing tone.
‘It’s perfectly alright to run away from creeps like you!’ she blazed, her face flushed with anger.
‘Look, I’m really sorry about Rose, alright. I know it really hurts you, but can we just forget about her? I mean, sometimes, I forget that I even had a daughter—’
‘You’re inhuman!’ she cried out in pain, “she was my daughter! How dare you ask me to forget her?’
‘It’s your fault that she’s gone!’ he shouted back, “you were the one who put her up for adoption.’
‘And what else could I do? You refused to have anything to do with her’
‘She was an added responsibility.’ He tried to reason out.
‘Listen to me, Len’ she said, trying hard to control her voice, ‘if accepting her was such a big responsibility, what about me? I agreed to take care of her completely!’
‘Well, now she’s gone, so why can’t you just forget her?’ he asked scathingly.
‘You…you…I hate you’ she said shivering with anger. In the half-light, he could see her crying hard. ‘I HATE YOU!’ her scream cut through the silence of the darkness.
He thought that he was going to be deaf. Before he could stop her, she turned and rushed towards her room in the girls’ hostel, and he knew that he couldn’t follow her there. He turned and walked out of the university grounds. His mind was too preoccupied to see where he was going, and he had no idea what happened when a group of men blocked him in the alleyway, and asked him to hand over his money and his watch. He didn’t know what they were asking him, so he didn’t respond. The next thing he knew, something hard hit him across the back of his head, and could feel the cold wet road against his cheek till he passed out…