CHAPTER NINE: CONE ICE CREAM
Eyes that had no purpose. Lifeless eyes, that looked steadily out at the rain. Ivory pale cheeks. Nothing seemed to touch them. Everyone wondered at the changes in her, everyone tried to help her, but no one could get past into her feelings, they were gone now. Now, she was just a shadow of herself.
When Meg, after having had a great vacation, came after her one week extended leave, she was shocked at the surprise that awaited her.
“Jen, Jenny, what’s with you, you okay?” she whispered.
“Yes” came the stale, expressionless reply.
But Meg was smart and she knew Jen through and through, so she did not push it. She knew she could help best by being at her side and letting her know that she would be at her side, no matter what. But she soon came to know what was bothering Jen. It was just the reason she had been suspecting. The cold, accusing, icy stare that she saved for his classes convinced her that it was what she’d known all along. And each class, he would give her a compassionate glance and direct all his addresses and explanations at her but whenever he did so, Jen would look away.
Interval came, Meg wasted no time. There was no use fussing over Jen. She came straight to the point.
“You told him, didn’t you?” she asked in a low, severe tone.
Jen turned to look at her, eyes widening in surprise.
“I can’t believe how foolish you are. You are a big idiotic baby, that’s what you are. So what’s your plan now, you gonna sit around feeling sorry for yourself, becoming a rebel and antisocial and trying to glare him into the ground? I am ashamed of you Jennifer, ashamed to own myself your friend. You have destroyed the tiniest regard he had for you as a person. Now you’re just another spoilt, petulant brat that thinks she can have the whole world at a single snap of her elegant little fingers to him and to everyone”.
Jen inhaled and looked angrily at her, tears blurring her eyes.
“Oh boo hoo! You gonna cry, don’t humiliate yourself any further” she retorted.
“He never even gave me an answer” Jen replied, her voice breaking halfway and letting out a sob.
“Well, what do you expect him to do? There is a way to approach this, your majesty. Why the hell did you even try anything when I was away. I knew you would mess up everything. What did you expect, that he would propose to you?”.
“Do you have any sense. Oh, stop making those obnoxious noises. I want nothing to do with brats. Just pull yourself together” she said harshly when a big round drop of tear rolled down Jen’s cheeks.
Jen felt insulted and with all she had, tried not to think of that day, the shame of telling him she loved him, the despair and betrayal she felt when he hadn’t returned her affections and the spectacle she’d been making of herself in class these days and even a little bit of guilt for having behaving so foolishly with him. Secretly, she felt grateful to Meg and immediately, started to get better.
After college that day, the former depression followed and tempted her as she sat by the window, watching the wet rain drops course down with a slow, purposeless pace down the glass pane.
She felt a tap on her shoulders and turned round to face Divya who was standing smiling at her, with a cone with a big dollop of strawberry and vanilla ice cream on top. She handed it to her and sat down close by. Jen felt her spirits revive again, touched by the concern and the sweet gesture Divya had made.
“Thanks” she said, with a feeble smile.
They ate the ice creams in silence, Divya said nothing, she only watched her with a touch of concern and sadness in her eyes that seemed to ask her to tell her what was bothering her.
“Thank you” she said again, in a more meaningful way then in an explanatory tone, added, “for being so understanding”.
“Did Meghna tell you?” she asked, softly.
“We all knew sweetheart that it has something to do with a certain person you fancy. But I would never ask Meg for something that you didn’t want me to know”.
Jen threw her arms around Divya and sobbed on her and after calming down told her all that had happened in between sobs and choking of the throat and gasps for air. Divya listened with compassionate and tender eyes and when she had finished said, quietly, an answer that Jen would never have expected from her, for it was so philosophical and thoughtful and strangely, quite comforting.
“Que sera sera”.
Jen looked at her again and nodded in approval. “What shall I do now, Div?” she asked.
Divya smiled and said, “Fancy another ice cream?”