Chapter 6Mature

I walk the last hundred yards and find myself staring at a familiar building. LCS… or Lavelle Road Coffee Shop. The hangout from the days of yore. It was the Gang’s ‘adda’!
Smiling to myself, I enter.
Vrishalli is already here, seated at the window table … and Surprise! Surprise!
Aakriti’s here too.
Okay I’m sure this is another make up plan! Great!
We place our orders.
Vrishalli and I settle for a choco-latte each and Aakriti for a regular cup of coffee.
Vrishalli begins, “ You remember the time we came here, when Zayan’s leg was fractured and he had to miss the tournament, he was so upset, but nothing the ‘chocolate mousse cake effect’ couldn’t change!
LCS was renowned for it’s ‘chocolate mousse cake’!
“It’s heavenly”, Vrishalli states, digging into the cake.
Aakriti screws up her face, “ How can you eat that? It looks gross.”
Vrishalli and I laugh. Aakriti still hadn’t gotten over her disgust with chocolate.
Some things… sigh! They never change.
The cake is wiped clean off it’s plate.
“Zoya, see I’m not forcing this upon you. But what happened that day was unfortunate, don’t you think it’s worth giving our relationship another chance?”, Aakriti says.
I look at Vrishalli and every ounce of her seems to echo the same thought.
“But look, this was ages ago Aakriti. Since then you practically disappeared off the radar. Not once did you try to even contact any of us, so why now?”, the thought that’s been on my mind ever since the night of the reunion bursts out.
“I have forever been ashamed of what happened, and my not coming to see you off at the Station was no accident, as you might have guessed. My ego got in my way.
Well, I’ve thought about contacting you guys, but every time I decided to I’ve been consumed by guilt. I just felt you guys were better off without me. But that day, at the reunion, Vrishalli told me the entire story of how even she wasn’t in contact with you or Zayan, and that all of you had gone your own way. That was when it hit me hard.”, she pauses.
“… I was the reason this beautiful friendship broke up, and I now want to be the reason we get back, I owe it to all of us. This isn’t a story or an excuse Zoya, this is the truth. Bhat, Zayan and Milee accepted me. I just wanted to tell you this, but during the reunion both of us got emotional and I didn’t have a chance.”
Aakriti’s words linger in my head. I continue to ponder about what she just said.
It’s difficult to go back into a relationship, having already been hurt by it once, and, being aware that there is no guarantee that this time it’ll end differently. Life’s after all not celluloid, not all endings are hunky-dory. 
Seeing no other alternative, I voice my apprehensions.
Aakriti is downcast and displays no emotion.
“Zoya, that’s fair enough, but how’ll you find out unless you give it a chance?” says Vrishalli.

The End

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