Superlatives

Sometimes you just don’t understand why people behave the way they are behaving; you think you know them inside out -but the fact is, even though you like to believe so, you don’t. You don’t understand why that person, whom you think has always been understanding, suddenly turns hostile, when you trust that person with every secret; and suddenly he turns cold.

Rakesh and Aakash had fought. What exactly had turned things so bad, neither knew nor did either of them make an attempt to sort things out. Ego can be a bit of a problem if it comes between friends. Both had believed so, but now, either failed to put it into practice. Both had wanted the other to say sorry; sorry for what- they didn’t exactly know- but to say sorry was appropriately mandatory. To go down on your knees, beg forgiveness for mistakes both had equally committed and importantly acknowledge the superlative needs of a false ego, was appropriately mandatory. When it came to self, it was appropriately mandatory; but when it came to the other it was outrageously pretentious and self-derogatory.

Six years had passed since that fateful day. Neither of them had bothered to mend things; ever. It was in the spring of the fourth birthday of their respective offsprings that they had seen each other face to face, in the morning at the Playton’s Play School. They looked at each other and recognized each other instantly. Each had wanted to hug the other and fight over his stupidity; they had wanted to behave the way they were before their argument, but neither moved. They both waited for the other to approach him first. They left their kids at the play school and went to work without talking.

They wanted to talk, and so fumbled indecisively with their phone all day. They couldn’t concentrate on work. At home, T.V. no longer held the same attraction, even with the first day of the third test match between India-Australia series; the enticement of sharing a drink at the old bar, to which neither had been since that day, was more pressing. They tossed and turned in bed, but did not call. The next morning each hoped to see the other at the play school, but they did not meet. Each knew where the other worked, where he lived- but they did not meet.

That morning at the play school their eyes had met for a fraction of the time, and instantly darted away. Their eyes had said to each other how much they had missed each other, they had scolded the other for being stupid and for not being understanding; they had begged forgiveness for their own actions and forgiven the other for his; they had spoken of hope of a new beginning. However, their tongues spoke naught. The superlative needs of the ego were still active.

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