”Hey, wake up. We’re about to land”
I woke up and rubbed my eyes.
* Annie. I hope she’s fine *
He sensed my worry.
“It’s time to say good bye, I guess?”
His flirtatious grin was back.
“Yeah. It was nice meeting you”, I said genuinely.
“Nice enough to accept my friend request?” he said and I sensed it was more of a request than a question.8
“Of course”, I smiled back.
I got off the plane, in a cab and went straight to the hospital. I tried calling Pragyan all my way, but he didn’t pick up. A horrible thought crossed my mind.
* or maybe he didn’t notice *
I consoled myself.
As I reached the hospital, I paid the cab. Not bothering with the change, I ran, the fastest I’ve ever had.
“Annie” I said at the reception as my lungs struggled for air.
“Third floor. Emergency ward”
I took the stairs all the way up, not wasting one moment waiting for breath.
When I reached the floor, I found myself in a corridor which led to a waiting room adjacent to which stood the emergency ward.
I saw Pragyan from the corridor but he didn’t see me. He was lost and worried sick.
* there’s still hope *
But before I could make it through the corridor, I saw a doctor coming up to him. He stood up. The doctor talked to him. He heard the doctor and collapsed on his chair. My heart stopped but my feet refused to. The doctor looked at Pragyan but he looked past him. Our eyes met. And I could see his face muscles curving into a slight smile as a teardrop rolled off his eyes.
* that’s it. She’s safe *
My legs couldn’t take my weight any more. I knelt on the hospital floor, thanking God under my breath as my tears washed the white hospital floor beneath.
Two hours later, a doctor came in and said one of us could go and see her. I looked at Pragyan, he nodded.
As I stood by the white pulled curtain, I wiped my tears, pulled myself together and fixed a smile on my face.
I went in. She was looking at me.
“Trying really hard to get rid of me, aren’t you?”
I went and sat by her side. She put her hand on top of mine. I held it.
Tears rushed out of my eyes.
She moved her head side by side, slowly, signalling a ‘no’.
As I wiped my tears, my phone began to vibrate. I took it out. “Maa” said the screen.
I took the call.
“I’m in Delhi, it’s a long story” I said, trying to sound normal.
“I thought you were kidnapped”
“How do you think I managed to lock the place if I was kidnapped?” I rolled my eyes.