My lost ‘Wanted’ Best Friend
by Prathiksha Bhat
It was my summer vacations, when I got down from the sardine canned city bus, after a dip in the pool. I was irritated and depressed as I walked towards my best friend, Div, who seemed to have his evergreen smile on which never failed to amuse me. It was just another Tuesday for me, swimming and then library with Div. ‘So princess, how was swimming?’ he asked with a grin as we walked towards the library. Div called me ‘princess’ since my nickname was ‘Pri’. ‘It was fine ‘I said, without expression. ’How are things at home now?’ He asked in a concerned tone. ’Going on’ I answered, plainly, still not looking up. Things were sort of messed up at my place; just some family problems.
I picked ‘The Host’ by Stephanie Meyer while he picked ‘Black Coffee’ by Agatha Christi. ‘You okay?’ Div asked, looking at me with a worried expression. ’yeah, I guess.’ I said. ‘I think you need … Raspberry double scoop with walnuts in a chocolate waffle cone!’ He said trying to tempt me by animating his hands and face. I couldn’t help giggling. He was so lovely, I loved him, but nothing more than a best friend, more like family.
He never failed to find the lost smile and plant it back on my face. I nudged him with my elbow and walked faster. He caught my pace, and as usual, and ruffled my hair. We Laughed and gave each other our special Hi-5.
His expression slowly faded as we walked further, and for the first time ever, I saw him so serious. Never had I seen this dynamic boy with that poker face on! I looked at him anxiously, waiting for him to say something.
‘Pri, I didn’t tell you something important.’ He finally said after sixty piercing seconds. ‘About what, is everything fine? Something wrong Divy? ‘, I was baffled. ’Err…Remember the other day, when I told you about my past?’ He asked, biting his lip. All of a sudden, his past life flashed through my mind, flushing in pain through my nerves.
Div had a tragic childhood. His mom passed away in a car accident and was replaced by a rude step mother. My eyes turned damp with remorse. ‘Yeah, what about it?’ Finally I pushed the words out of my mouth when I realized I kept him waiting for almost a minute. He starred at me skeptically, sighed, and then said ’Forget it.’ I understood that my tears were no solution and it would just make it harder for him. I wiped my tears, smiled and stopped walking. ’I’m sorry, now please tell me… Everything fine?’ I asked guiltily. ’Dear Princess, I would tell you, but we’re out of road.’ He said, pointing to my apartment, as If he were reciting a royal speech. ’Oh come on!’ I said disturbed. ’I promise I’ll tell you when time comes.’ He assured me with his knightly eyes.”Alright, Mr. Secrets” , I teased as he dropped me near my apartment. We gave each other our Hi-5 and he assured me once more that I would be just fine and all the problems in my house would be soon gone.
I watched as he walked toward his bike, wore his helmet and started his engine. How could anyone be so flawless and caring?, I wondered. I remembered when he secretly left me a chocolate box and a card on my doorstep for my birthday when I was far from happy. He even used to get me my favorite chocolate bar everyday. He sent a cab every time I missed my school bus. He would make sure I smiled before going to sleep. He was the perfect big brother anyone could wish for. ‘Beep beep’, the sound of his bike’s horn sucked me out of the beautiful thought, bringing me back to the harsh reality. ‘See you later, Pri, take care’ He shouted, trying to converse through the noise of the roaring engine as he rode off. I smiled and went up to my room, not knowing there would be no seeing him later, or ever again!
Next Tuesday, I was surprised that he wasn’t there near the library. It worried me since it never happened before except when he was sick, but even then he used to keep me informed. I called to find his phone switched off. However, I exchanged my book and got back home. I got a call from a friend telling me that Div and family had blocked all his contacts on mail. I got panicked and called his sister’s phone, and Darn! It was switched off too … I opened my mail and saw that Div had blocked me too, But he had let me a message in my inbox. It said:
I hope you read this and still consider me your friend. You’ll soon find out what I had to tell anyway. Please keep smiling always and things will get better for you, I promise. No matter what, Ill always be there for you and I’ll always consider you my princess.
Tears welled up in my eyes with mixed feelings; I couldn’t tell if it was anger or sorrow. I cried for a while, I was puzzled and just couldn’t make any sense out of it. As days passed, I learnt that Div’s family had absconded with loads of money and stolen things since Div’s dad was a criminal. I was heartbroken to hear that his first mom was rather murdered by his very own dad because she wanted her husband to quit felony. His dad tortured Div and his sister and used them during his shams. Div missed two years of school since they had to flee from cities every other year, hiding from the cops. I couldn’t sleep for the next two weeks in misery. After a couple of days, it was on newspaper too.
Eventually, I had to move to another city for my education. Even though Div and I are miles apart, we’ll always be close at heart. I pray for him everyday and believe one fine day, destiny will knock us into each other.