Without A Trace

The innocuous looking message popped up on his screen that rainy Sunday afternoon.

“Hey! How are you?”

He would have thought about it for about half a second if it wasn’t for the sender’s name.

“Five years!”, he thought to himself, “Has it really been that long?”

He tried not to look at the screen, went out for a smoke, drank cold milk and did everything one could do on a rainy Sunday afternoon to not think about it. Didn’t help.

Two days later, he wrote.

“Hey. Long time. How are you?”

His fingers shivered and his heart skipped a beat as he sent the message. That warm Delhi evening of March returned to his mind. She was a little lost. A little afraid maybe. He didn’t know why. She said little as they sat sipping coffee. That’s the last memory of her he had. She vanished without a trace.

Almost immediately, the message popped up.

“Long time indeed. How have you been?”

“What gives you the fucking right to ask that question?”, he wanted to say. He found his fingers typing something else.

“I’m good. How come after so long?”

“Long story”

He sat there wondering how someone who didn’t care a pinch while leaving him could have so much control over his life. He didn’t get an answer. “Maybe I just don’t care”, he thought and almost immediately dismissed it as a lie.

As hours turned into days and days into weeks, threads of the long story unraveled themselves. She liked somebody else. And when the question was about his place in her life, she dumped him without a thought. It was that simple.

Knowing the story gave little respite. He was still sold short.

Somehow he forgot all about it when he was with her. He secretly hoped what couldn’t happen the last time around might happen now. She would get restless and angry if he didn’t call. She would make him come to her as often as possible. They would lose themselves in each other whenever they met.
One day as he was trying to hide from her the fact that he was trying to buy her flowers, a tiny little thought popped up. The sparkle was gone from his eyes. It took about a wink for him to realize this was the last time he was going to see her.

He liked someone else. And he knew sooner or later the question was going to be asked about her place in his life. He had made up his mind to forget all about her. It was that simple.

The warm Delhi evening of March weighed heavily on his mind. He was a little lost. A little afraid maybe. He didn’t know why. He said little as they sat sipping coffee. That’s the last memory of her he had. He vanished without a trace.

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