You could see the overflowing love in Abhimanyu’s eyes for her as she walked down that majestic staircase. The antique chandelier right above that staircase gave a royal touch to her entry. For anybody else, this was the perfect entry for the bride. But he did not see any of this. He had eyes only for her. His bride.
She looked resplendent in her red and gold lehenga. Jewels glittered at her neck and ears but he only saw the twinkle in her eyes as she looked up and saw him.
His best friend, Kartik, standing right behind him gave a warm squeeze on his shoulder. Abhimanyu knew how happy everybody was for them. And as she slowly walked towards him, his mind went 6 years back down the memory lane.
6 years. He had waited that long for this day. He remembered the first day she walked towards him. They were introduced to each other at a new year’s party. He had been too drunk to remember anything but a polite handshake with her. At least he had not misbehaved or embarrassed himself.
The next day he saw her picture. Deep brown eyes, good dressing, waist long black hair, and that angelic smile. He tried to remember what happened last night and cursed the damn martini’s.
It was nearly 7 months later when they met again and gradually became close friends. And it was not long before he knew he was in love.
The only problem was that he never had the courage to tell her this. She was a social butterfly. Constantly in the company of good looking guys who were dying to have just one date with her. He, an average looking guy with nothing but a golden heart. But hearts have seldom won the ‘Love at first sight’ game.
She went on numerous dates. And every time she dressed up, she clicked a selfy and sent it to Abhimanyu for approval. And every single time she outdid herself.
But it always ended with just dates. She never committed to anybody for she claimed nobody suited her. Abhimanyu wanted to tell her his feelings but he always feared he might lose a very close friend if she didn’t feel the same way. This thought always stopped him telling her how much he loved her.
Kartik tried to make Abhimanyu meet new girls and coxed him to forget about her because he knew Abhimanyu would never confess his love to her. But no matter how much he tried, he could never take her out of her heart.
Abhimanyu was happiest when she was with him and often they went exploring new eating joints in the city for they both shared a common love for food.
It was some months later when she called him up excitedly to tell him she had landed a dream job in New York. The contract was 3 years long and she just couldn’t wait to leave!
Abhimanyu’s world came crashing down around him. New York? It was thousands of miles away and he had no idea if such distance would let their friendship survive. He had seen deep rooted relationships dwindle with such distance. How could he, a mere friend to her be sure that she would still be in contact with her after being away for 3 years?
Initially she sent him emails describing how happy she was there and how she had met so many new people. But as the work increased, her emails became less regular.
He knew she was flooded with proposals from good looking guys there and he tried to not let that stop him from being happy for her. That was all he wanted. Her happiness.
Kartik had told him innumerable times to forget about her. But he waited. He had no idea what he was waiting for. All he knew was that he was madly in love with her and he wanted to see her happy.
Time flew away and the day came when she was coming back. Abhimanyu was eager to see her again. They had video chats but looking at her in person was a different feeling altogether.
Her flight was due for arrival at 6 in the eveining. He fidgeted all day barely able to control his excitement. He rushed to the airport with such a big smile that he could feel his cheeks hurt.
He kept looking at the flight arrival times and walked impatiently up and down the waiting lounge.
And when she finally walked in, his heart skipped a beat. To him it seemed like the distance has beautified her even more.
She ran to him and hugged him so hard that he could barely breathe.
“I missed you so much”, she said
“I missed you too”, he replied.
They looked into each other’s eyes. He never wanted to look away from those eyes.
“So are you going to say it now or do I need to wait for a few more years?”
“Say what?” he asked confused.
“Come on man. Tell her now. It’s high time and frankly I’m bored of the slow pace of your love story”, called a voice behind them.
Abhimanyu turned around and saw Kartik giving him his impish grin and looking really pleased with himself.
“What the hell are you doing here? I thought you had a meeting!” Said Abhimanyu .
“I do. And frankly I’m late for it”. Kartik replied laughing.
Abhimanyu looked at her. She had doubled over laughing.
Kartki slapped him on the back and said, “Dude just tell her how you’ve written 40 pages long love songs for her while she was in New York. And how you waited day and night for her emails. Oh! And also how you’ve ruined my every effort to get you hooked with some other girl. And much as I would love to see the end of this, I’m running late and I have to rush. Ciao dude.”
He winked at her, gave a friendly slap on Abhimanyu’s back and left as casually as he had arrived.
Abhimanyu looked aghast.
“I’m still waiting.” She said
“What the hell is going on!” exclaimed Abhimanyu.
“Kartik called me a few days back and told me what you felt about me. I didn’t believe at first because for years I had been dropping hints and you never responded. So I had backed out thinking you just thought of me as a friend. And I didn’t want to ruin our friendship because of what I felt.” She told him.
To say that he was shocked would be an understatement. Was she saying that she loved him? Dis she really say that she loved him and all this while he had been sitting around like an idiot thinking that she just thought of him as a friend!
“I love you Abhimanyu. And I have loved you for so long. I can’t pin point to when it happened, but all I know is that I can’t think of being with any other guy than you.”
“I love you too Aditi. More than I could ever explain to you.”. It felt so good telling her this.
“And it took you 6 years to tell me this.”She said taking a step back and crossing her arms.
“As if you asked me out a hundred times over!”
“I was scared!”
“So was I. And now that I know you love me too, I’m not going to let you get away from my sight for even a second.”
He pulled her towards him and held her close to him. He looked into her eyes and saw her crying. He kissed those tears away and held her tightly in his arms.
It had taken them 6 years to confess their love to each other. 6 years of waiting.
He was shaken back into reality by Kartik who gave him a questioning look. He shook his head and smiled at him.
And as he gave her his hand and helped her up on the stage where their wedding ceremony was to take place, he looked at her and saw her give him a smile of such unadulterated happiness as he had never seen before. It was then that he realized that this moment and her smile had been worth the wait.