I was running late. The only consolation was that she would be shocked if I wasn’t . She was the one who dragged me from my bed in our apartment to the classroom all those years ago. She was the one who’d make me gobble my breakfast at the cafeteria before we rushed into class at the last minute, a split second before the lecturer entered. I used to joke that she had become my surrogate mother during those four years of college. She had just rolled her eyes.
The only argument we had ever had was over a bad relationship decision. She’d stormed out when I had refused to see it for the mistake that it was. We later made our peace. She never approved and though I was defiant enough to continue in the relationship through all the emotional and mental turbulence, I secretly acknowledged to myself that she had been right from the start. But by that point in time, I was neck deep and truly believed that I could never find a way out. She stood by me, telling me at every juncture that whenever I broke free, she would be there to guide me through the hell that would inevitably break loose.
Then I grew up. We both found jobs at the same places but decided for different reasons to take two different ones. Jobs became careers and family life claimed us both. We still kept in touch but the intensity was long gone and what remained was warm casual acquaintance.
The years in college, the threshold years, in retrospect feel like a dream; the kind of dream that you have just before you wake up. You never know for sure if the bird song you heard was real or if the voice that woke you up was heard by your ears or your mind. I know I went to college because I have a degree to show for it, photographs and lists of people in my Facebook friends list. But my memories of what happened, how I felt, what I saw, how I reacted, what I thought, have nothing to prove their accuracy. Engineering was what I learnt the least in those four years.
If she was everything I remembered her to be to me and to all the others, how did I let the strength of our friendship get diluted so?
When fate got me a chance to work in her city, I promised myself to not waste this second chance away. I was going to build our friendship all over again.
I called her the evening I received the final contract.
She was overjoyed. The clock turned back and we planned our life as neighbors.
We forgot for an hour our husbands, her child, our jobs, we were just us, roommates, friends who had lost and found each other.
The day before I boarded my flight, she called me. I had asked her to look around for a suitable apartment for us and answered the call fully expecting to hear her tell me that she had found me the perfect home at a perfect distance from hers.
I was partially right. She had found me the perfect home. Only it was hers. She was relocating on short notice due to an emergency at her parents’.
She said there was nobody else she would trust her precious house with. We were to use it till we found a place of our own and then to put it on the market on her behalf.
A suggestion of rent for the months we were to stay in the house, was dismissed with a scoff and a rebuke.
I am now at her threshold, waiting for her to answer the door.
The door opens and she stands before me.
I will never need to doubt my memories again as at this moment in time I am living them all again.