It was fun initially. How he wanted to know where she was and what she was doing at all times. How he got all upset if she did not send him her picture every day. She loved clicking her own pictures, doing a quick auto-enhance and sending it to him. Her friends told her she was lucky to find someone who loved her narcissism. She always gave them a humorless smile. In her mind, she believed she deserved this level of attention.
Being in different cities was not ideal. No. But his office did not have a branch in her city. And she knew that if she went to his city, her life would have to revolve around him. And that was not ideal either. So she told him her office would not transfer her. It was painful initially. Especially for him. That was the reason he had come up with this photo-sharing idea. This way, he had said, they could pretend they were together all the time. She initially thought he was joking and laughed. But when she caught a flash of pain in his eyes, she quickly apologized and assured him it was a terrific idea.
It was not that she did not love him. She did. But she was incapable of this all-giving, nothing-matters-but-you kind of love that he was smoldering her with. Her friends thought she was not serious about him. Rubbish, she told them. She was not that kind of girl. What do they know?
At times, however, she did get bored with him. But she held on. He had become a habit. And she was never good at breaking habits.
One day all of that was to change.
She was at a movie with friends when he had phoned her. She cancelled the call and messaged him she couldn’t talk at that moment. But he kept calling. Like a maniac. After six calls, she got suitably worried and went out of the hall to call him. He had sounded downright silly. In the last selfie she had sent him, he apparently saw another guy clicking her picture in the background. He was sickeningly worried and wanted her to get out of that place immediately. She was furious. She was in a movie complex for heaven’s sake. There were plenty of guys there clicking pictures of plenty of things. She told him to take a hike and disconnected the call.
She realized at that moment that this guy was not normal, his obsession was not healthy and his love was suffocating. It was time to get out. She told her friends she had a headache and would wait for them at a café just outside. She gave him a call as she walked into the café. He answered, as usual, within half a ring.
“Have you left?” His voice was full of concern. “No I have not. But now I am leaving. You.” She laughed a little at how clichéd that sounded. For the next few minutes, she spoke to him, angrily and arrogantly, telling him how he made her sick, accusing him of wasting her time, calling him an idiot and asking him to go to hell. The more she spoke, the more liberating she felt. There was a stunned silence on the other end. Then he told her, rather quietly, he would never bother her if she did not want him to. “So be it,” she said. She was a bit taken aback when he abruptly disconnected the call. Oh what the hell, she thought. She was out of the mess.
She looked at their message window on her phone. It was time to exit the discussion forever. Without thinking, she opened the last picture she had sent him. Weirdly, now she also noticed the group of guys behind her in the picture and it was apparent one of them was clicking her picture. It did look
fishy, she admitted to herself.
Right then her phone beeped giving her a fright.
‘Oh come on! Like I would look at your picture and feel the love rushing back.’ She debated if she should simply delete the picture. But curiosity got the better of her. At first she did not understand the picture. It looked like a close up shot gone wrong. And then it hit her. ‘What the !!!’ she muttered as she realized she was looking at his slit wrists. The world swirled around her.
She dialed his number immediately. ‘Pick up, pick up. ’ She muttered under her breath. He did, as usual.
‘What have you done? Are you out of your mind?’ She realized she was trembling. She was too shocked to speak coherently. She knew he had to get medical help, but she could not find words to tell him that. With the phone pressed to her ears, she rushed out of the café, out of the mall, on to the road. She was scared he would die. She was more scared she might be held responsible. ‘Stay with me’ she kept repeating.
All she could hear was his breathing.
She was jolted back to reality with the sound of screeching tires right next to her. An SUV. She was slightly confused – was she in the middle of the road or had the car deliberately stopped near her? Before she could make sense of the situation, the doors of the car swung open and few men stepped out. She vaguely recognized one of them … but before she could think or react, two of the men came closer, picked her up and threw her inside the car. She wiggled and screamed and dropped her phone in the tussle. She managed to shout, “Help! Kidnap! Help!” before they stuffed cloth inside her mouth.
The phone had not got disconnected. He had heard the vehicle stop. He had heard her scream for help. He realized she was in danger and needed him now. Only he could help her. He was feeling weak physically. But his mind was moving fast. He grabbed a towel with his right hand and held it tightly around his left wrist. Then he got up. Slowly. But willfully.
(To be continued)