The distance itself cannot drive people to become distant but silence can solely and like few young adults alike I was struggling in efforts to marginalize this unbeknownst distance engulfing throughout which had disturbingly driven me distant from a group of folks which one does not generally even intend to part from, to begin with.
Prior to half a week before I was going procrastinating all efforts concerned by not only the ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus and Nipa virus but also due to the fact of being stuck with a common cold myself while on my occasional evening jogs around the streets adjacent to my home but duly I comprehended the cold was a result of jogging wearing a half-sleeved t-shirt towards the twilight of winter, accompanied by a few medical examinations of which favoring results came about and thus on the night before the pre-arranged reunion with my schoolmates I had recovered somewhat courtesy to my mother ensuring I had taken daily doses of vitamin C in various forms available to her knowledge.
This reunion, like most ones between drifted young adults in an urbanscape, was scheduled and rescheduled for about quarter a dozen times but lastly decided upon with urgency due to the sole reason of the reunion, Abeer, a friend who I've known almost the entirety of my life was edging towards the end of his vacation and re-embarking on his post-graduate days in Australia and thus it was a dire necessity for this meet to turn into reality.
After finishing one of our frequent games of Dota 2 together, I reinsured Abeer over the telephone that my schedule was cleared up for the luncheon for the following day, which was predestined by Abeer himself to occur in a popular fried chicken chain situated in the outskirts of Ring Road in Mohammadpur at sharp two O'clock in the noon, the timing much to my dislike.
The next morning I set out for work harnessing all my focus aided by an ambition of slipping out halfway through, I was going through a transition phase both inside and out of that particular desk, the thoughts of the reunion eluded me for the early hours of the day but struck while I was crossing a branch of the same fast-food chain in Gulshan and thought about inquiring Abeer that is the 'happening' still to occur but decided elsewise since it was too early an hour in the morning for an abrupt phone call, an earlier alarm striking off than the one my friend had set would perhaps result in me enduring a few jabs from Abeer who on his part-time sold chops of meat in a local supermarket in Darwin, surely a punch from such stiff hands that lifted heavy pile of meat would be a sore to my tender gut and thus like happens with most first thoughts, I reconsidered.
Adequately I finished a quotation that was due later that evening for my uncle since I arrived two hours earlier then my usual time of arrival and with all grandeur, walked off the hornet's nest of capitalists, aspiring and established alike without any prior inform after assurance from Abeer during a prescheduled telephone reminder at twelve O'clock that the meet was to happen, I was ensured also that my friend would've reacted to the sound of his phone's ringtone anytime earlier than his alarm would've resulted in a few slurs if not some jabs, much to my delight I had avoided catastrophe beforehand, but only for the time being as realization came to be afterwards.
I was the second to arrive and greeted by Abeer who made way all the way through Uttara and we both reminisced over a cigarette downstairs the fast food shop which was followed by a stroll to a vendor's shop few streets across as my phone needed monetary refilling and all the while the both of us pissed off and astonished as to how we reached first despite the others residing in the vicinity of Mohammadpur from before.
Accompanied by annoyance, we were minutes away of bidding farewell and deserting the plan altogether since there weren't any other virtual company but almost an hour after the pre-arranged time, came Shon and shortly followed by Naz, the culprits for whom we had to settle for an odd hour for our liking and along with them crept in neferious nostalgia as the four of us knew each since kindergartens and where perhaps under the same roof after half a decade but that mutual feeling was shelved aside as some of was were trying to reach the others remaining who were running late.
By the time Anila and Lisan showed up individually, me and Abeer each had a delay in greeting them as we both were hovering through our phone, he tries to call Theodore and me wondering if I have Theodore's number saved on mine. The sheer embarrassment due to the communication gap was steep for me, as you would acknowledge by the fact of me being unsure of having a friend's contact number saved but it was striding outwards in a will and pace of its own.
Minutes afterwards we had ordered our lunch, the subject of our conservation was how unsafe the streets of Mohammadpur can aspire to be all the while Naz's thoughts free flew onto the table, which I found daunting somewhat, her primal concern while strolling on her own onto the streets of the city was not off getting mugged but that off getting raped or abuse and with the steady astuteness she spoke that off I knew they were of clarity, such as my phobia of spiders are, realistically and constantly accompanying oneself in its reality of realism, vibrant and often vague but always visible to some foreshadowing details towards the edges of our conscious and conscientious thoughts, much to the likes of the natural instinct of turning backwards to identify loud noises from unknown sources, the reaction of your skin tingling from a pinch or as a personal one entirely perhaps of mine, looking around the walls for eight-legged damnations before locking myself within a bathroom's walls.
They were natural instincts inherited through clarity of the deluded mind. I'm ascertain none of us found Naz's concern to be off concerning as we all were aware of the growing rate of injustice against young women, which can also be accounted as borderline atrocities and so we continued on our eventual converses up to a point about fifteen or so minutes later when Naz and Shon both had to take an abrupt leave due to having commitments of moderating an inter-school debate session.
Naz was always a hardcore academic and like most, she wouldn't shy away to pass on her learnings for the sake of a measly meet up with long lost acquaintances she once called friends but Shon was not always like that and so I did not hesitate to plead him to stay but even clutching onto his shoulder, disabling him from leaving the chair next to me went in vain as my will to plead was not so enduring.
Before their departure the lot decided on meeting back at the same destination later that evening so that the duo could get a chance to continue from where they were leaving from and that too was to my dislike as I had grabbed only two hours of sleep the night before and had planned to be home before dusk, the displeasure grew when Naz instructed Abeer to keep hold of me, I knew there was to be no escape as part of me was exhausted while another exhilarated.
Afterwards half an hour, Avik joined us and perhaps was caught off guard and bit annoyed by my greetings to him for being late to be in the form of slangs and dived straight on conversing with the others, ignoring my existence entirely, much to my demoralizing despair.
Avik brought his fair share of sexist remarks and dirty jokes since his sense of humor knew no stoops, while most of them were targeted towards Anila, who comprehended and tolerated them to be of no harm and rather laughable, as did Abeer, Lisan and myself since the most we three could contribute were to muster giggles of amusement, perhaps unwillingly but some while later Abeer pointed out the only other customers on the fast-food chain apart from us, an older couple where perhaps disturbed by our bold jokes. I glanced back over my shoulder and didn't bother to stop
(To be continue)
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