The story up until now:
Chapter 7 – The Cracks
Avi – Hey girls! What’s up?
Sunaina – You heard about the college fest?
Avi in an excited tone, ‘Yup, I have already given my name for audition of Mimicry competition.’
Sunaina exclaiming, ‘Oh, Wow I am going for the Singing and Drama contest.’
Avi – Neha, What about you?
Neha – Not yet decided anything.
Avi – I think we all should participate in at least one of the events or else we can do volunteering or help in organising the events. It will be fun and a break from our boring college routine.
Sunaina – Where is Sid caught up? Lunch break will be over in another 15 minutes.
Avi, Neha and Sunaina run into Sid in the hallway.
Sunaina inquires, ‘Where were you? You didn’t have lunch?’
Sid casually answers, ‘Yes, I didn’t feel hungry. I was busy in the electrical lab.’
Avi – Is everything okay?
Sid in a bit irritated tone, ‘Yes, no worries. I have some work outside college and will meet you later.’ The trio see Sid hastening across the corridor.
Sunaina – What’s up with him? He seems a bit upset today.
Avi – He has been like that since morning.
After college, Avi and Sunaina meet in the garden to prepare for their auditions which were due in some time.
Avi – Sunaina, check out my performance and tell me what you think?
Sunaina – Go on!
Avi performs following which Sunaina exclaims, ‘You are so good at this. I am sure you will get selected.’
Avi – I know. Don’t like to boast but in school I always used to win the Mimicry contest.
Sunaina – Really, you didn’t tell this before.
Avi, checking his watch – Sorry, we don’t have time to do a rehearsal for your performance. My audition is in another 10 minutes.
Sunaina – Oh no!
Avi, rushing off for his audition calls out, ‘All the best!’
Sunaina feeling a bit dejected responds, ‘Same to you.’
Neha, sitting on one of the corner tables in the canteen, sipping a cup of tea, is talking to herself ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with Sid. All day, his afternoon sombre face kept popping into my head. I am sure there is something that I am missing here. Oh! I want to get rid of these thoughts. Going back to the hostel will maybe give me a break from this as Sunaina should be back from her auditions; she will have a lot to tell which will distract me.’
Neha while walking past the hallway notices Sid in the basketball court and wonders to herself, ‘He is playing alone which means definitely upset about something. Let me talk to him.’
Sunaina darts towards Sid and hugs him from behind. Seeing this, Neha’s face fell and she quickly turns back and leaves for the hostel.
Sid gets mad and yells at Sunaina – ‘What are you doing?’
Sunaina advances towards him and snaps at him, ‘I am just hugging my boyfriend. Is that wrong?’
A fuming Sid retorts, ‘Please leave me alone, I don’t want to talk to anyone right now.’
Sunaina sarcastically reacts, ‘Ha! When are you in a good mood? Never! You have no time for romance. Your mood is often off for reasons that you never bother to tell me.’
Sid – I don’t want to discuss all this now.
Sunaina lashes out at him, ‘Ok fine! I came to tell you that I got selected for both singing and drama contests. I came to share my happiness with you but you have no time for me. You are never emotionally available and if I talk about any physical intimacy I don’t think we have any. I don’t want to be in such a toxic relationship.’
Sid gets defensive and responds, ‘Then don’t be. You are the one who initiated this relationship. I just gave in.’
Sid’s reply offends Sunaina and she storms off.
A vexed Sunaina enters her hostel room, throws herself down on the bed and sobs bitterly. She starts thinking out aloud ‘What is his problem? He has no feelings for me at all. The moment you touch him, he runs away. He has no time for me. He never shares his problems with me. What kind of relationship is this?’
Neha reaches up to Sunaina and comforts her by resting Sunaina’s head on her shoulder, ‘Hey, what happened? Why are you so upset?’
Neha in a soothing tone ‘Everything will be ok dear. Stop crying and tell me what the issue is. May be I can help you.’
Sunaina cries out ‘No, you can’t. Nobody can. I think I am breaking up with Sid.’
Neha gets astonished and inquires the reason for breakup.
Sunaina – Because he is not involved in this relationship. Sometimes I feel no relationship exists between us. We have never been intimate at all. Oh God! He has not even kissed me yet. Even at an emotional level, I don’t find any compatibility between us. He doesn’t even share his problems or secrets with me. He is so reserved and I have never been able to go beyond that exterior. Whatever everyone knows about him that’s all I know about him, nothing more, nothing less.
A confused Neha reacts, ‘I don’t understand. Sometime back you told me you made out with him and now you are saying something different.’
Sunaina feeling guilty responds, ‘I made that up to make myself feel better.’
Neha – I think you should talk to him about your feelings before you take a decision.
Sunaina – What’s the point? He doesn’t understand any.
Neha in a pushy tone, ‘But still you should. Come on, wash your face and go and talk to him.’
Sunaina not finding Sid in basketball court goes to canteen and orders for herself a cup of tea and a sandwich. Sunaina starts reflecting back on her relationship with Sid.