It was a cold morning, not only the climate but also the things that were going to unfurl. I couldn’t wake up for I never slept. The reason being outrageous possessiveness.
I kind of felt uncomfortable in meeting her but nevertheless I got ready. Clad in best tee and jean from my unwashed collection, I decided to make a move to the cafeteria for my impatience was nagging and eating me alive though I was going to be an hour early. I asked the cheta there for a coffee giving him a ten rupee note for 6 bucks coffee. Collecting the coffee and the  change I kept to my usual place. Sitting down and staring into the void, I had this pale as a corpse expression in my face.
My brain was flipping through the pages of the novel of my past four-and-a-half months of life. Seeing that I no option left than to wait, I was brain storming my past and here is how it happened,
It was my fourth year of college. The year began well for I never imagined I would get placed but miracles do happen and it did. As usual I skipped breakfast at the mess and headed towards the cafeteria to have a decent meal. Also there is nothing better than a morning’s coffee at the cafeteria.
Walking all the way, I headed straight to the billing counter without having to look at the menu for I became a regular here over the period. There wasn’t much of a queue and I stood behind two girls. The aroma of coffee was already refreshing my mind. The two girls were in a hurry I suppose; they forgot their change and headed to get food.
The cheta at the counter kept calling them but they simply walked away. Getting my bill and their change I went after them to give their change.  And that’s when I met her for the first time.
Neha was her name which I didn’t know at that instance. Anyways I walked up to them and explained what had happened and gave them their change. They thanked me and smiled and introduced themselves making me do the same. I told them I hadn’t grabbed my food and forced myself out of an awkward conversation.
I met her again the very next day at the cafeteria. She was having cornflakes from what I could see in distance. After coming a bit closer, I bid her a hi and walked to the billing counter and placed my order. After having got the food, I was searching for a place to sit and that’s when she called me to sit with her.
I had this long weird walk to the table and pulled a chair and sat opposite to her. She started asking me questions and that was the start to our first of many conversations that were soon to follow. She was indeed attractive.  She was in the third year which meant she was my junior. I couldn’t help notice how her hair covered her eyes  every time she bent to feed herself a spoonful of cornflakes making sure the milk doesn’t spill on her uniform. ( Yes uniform :|)
We exchanged numbers and left the cafeteria. I promised myself that I would get to know her. Being in fourth year meant lot of free hours and lot of time to spend either in my room or in the cafeteria looking at people and munching.
I kept bumping into her often; at first it was all unplanned but soon after we started texting, it became otherwise.
I kept calling her to the cafeteria but not very often because I didn’t want her to think I was hitting on her already which I clearly was not. Or was I?
She had issues in the beginning meeting regularly but she came every time I called her which made me feel she had a thing towards me. But my inner voice which had never popped up till then made me think she was just obligated to come for I was her senior.
She started getting friendlier and comfortable than how she was initially. She started conversations through texts and I thought this was progress. But I never did expect any progress. Wait, now do I like her? It was strange. I never openly succumbed my feelings to love but this was different altogether. I was happy around her.
One day I was in my class and my phone vibrated. I read the text under the professor’s nose and it read, “Cafe 4:30? 🙂 🙂 :)”

My hand was shivering and I started to sweat. I was able to feel my skin’s temperature rise. She called me to the cafe for the first time and I was wondering why. Controlling my excitement, I simply sent a yes.
Later that evening I met her and she ordered coffee for both of us and we both sat opposite to each other sipping the coffee. She asked me all of a sudden as to what my plans for her birthday were. I was puzzled. I thought it was her birthday and that I didn’t know. I apologised shamelessly for wishing late and she started laughing.
Her birthday was the following day and she was as surprised and a bit disappointed that I didn’t even know her birthday. That’s when I actually realised I had feelings for this girl. Just 4 and a half months and here I was being consumed by feelings towards a girl.
I didn’t make any special arrangements for her birthday for I didn’t want to be all cheesy. I wrote a birthday letter hoping she would like it. I called her exactly at the stroke of 12 to find the line busy. I was disappointed much. I kept trying again and again only to find the line busy. I gave up in frustration and slept in anger.
My alarm rang an hour earlier and only after five to six rings did I realise it was a phone call. I lazily picked up the phone and to my surprise, it was Neha. The minute I heard her voice, I found myself startled. She reckoned we meet at the cafe around 8 for breakfast. I told her okay and kept the phone without even wishing her a happy birthday.
It was like being awoken from a dream. I saw her standing before me clad in a beautiful white salwar making her look more gorgeous than ever. She was wearing bangles and her nails were painted in red. I had never paid heed to many details but now they were right in front of my eyes and I couldn’t help but notice how pretty she looked.
I wished her a happy birthday and gave her the letter and a huge bar of toblerone. She smiled and whispered, “thanks”, brushing her hair from her face.
We sat next to each other with our plates and started talking. She kept getting prettier and I couldn’t help but fall for her. When I was about to confess my feelings for her, She apologised.
She was like, ” I saw your missed calls. I am sorry the line was busy and that you couldn’t wish. In fact a lot of people had called but to their dismay, I couldn’t return even one of them except for yours.”
I assured her it was not a problem and out of curiosity I asked her who she was talking to and her reply trickled a tear from my eye and it fell into my coffee. 
“My boyfriend!”, was her reply.
Disclaimer: This work is purely fictional. Resemblance to any person alive or dead is coincidental. 
-Karthik Margabandu
(Regional Head, Chennai)