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'Rashmi Aunty! Hi, I baked some chocolate chocolate chip cupcakes yesterday and I brought some for you. Here you go.' Kripa gave the plate of cupcakes to her and hugged the lady.
'Oh thank you, Kripa. But you know I shouldn't eat these in my age,' Rashmi Aunty said glancing at the yummy cupcakes.
'Aunty, if you can't enjoy what you eat, what's the point of life? Anyways, I won't be able to come later today because I have so much to do! I have to go meet my friend at the hospital, go to work and start writing my book. I have finally completed my research and I know how I want it to go now.'
'So are you going to tell me what the book is going to be about?' Rashmi Aunty asked grabbing one of the cupcakes and moaning in satisfaction.
'It's going to be a hospital thriller. But beyond that, I won't tell you anything. You'll have to wait until my book publishes.' Kripa smiled and grabbed a cupcake.
'Don't worry Kripa, your book will definitely be published. If you write half as good as you talk, your book will be a bestseller.' Kripa smiled and said goodbye to the old lady. She glanced at the time and gasped. Why was she always late? It was 5 minutes to 11!
She ran all the way to the hospital and was panting when she finally reached his room. She saw the doctor had already started with the exercises. She went in the now-more-cheerful-room and smiled apologetically at both the doctor and the stranger.
'Hey Doc, I'm sorry I'm late. Hey friend, ugh, I can never keep track of time. But I'm here as I told you I would. You're getting some much needed exercise now. I think you were very athletic when you were fully conscious. A month in the hospital hasn't damaged your physique that much. You better wake up quickly so that you don't lose shape,' she winked at the stranger and continued, 'when you wake up, we'll play some B-Ball OK?'
The doctor looked at her and had an amused smile on his face. Wow, she could talk! The stranger definitely needed some company and she was just perfect for that. The patient needed as much stimulation as he could get.
Kripa turned to the doctor and smiled at him. 'Can I help you? I know I've never done anything like this before but there is always a first time for everything, right?'
The doctor looked at her earnest face and readily agreed. He showed her some exercises during the course of the hour and let her practice every so often. While she was exercising the stranger's limbs, she continued her chatter, 'As I told you yesterday, I love literature. So I've decided that every time I come by, I'll bring something to read. Have you heard of the poet Langston Hughes? He has some amazing poetry written. I know this one by heart. It's called Dreams. Here it goes
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
Frozen with snow.
It's very short yet very meaningful. I have so many dreams that sometimes I don't even know what to do with them all. I want to write a great novel, open an adult literacy center, make baby blankets for preemies for mothers who can't afford them, and so many things. I wonder what your dreams are. What is it that makes life worth living for you?'
The doctor sighed. This lady who was talking to the stranger so sincerely had some deep thoughts in her. It wasn't common in this day and age for a young woman to think beyond herself. The doctor thought he was just being cynical and let it go.
Kripa smiled on her way to work. Whenever she went and visited her friend, her day went better. She knew that she would continue going to meet him until he woke up from his deep sleep. She hoped that he would wake up soon because she had so many questions to ask him.
She went to her job and sighed. Such was life that she was still stuck as a receptionist when she had so many ambitions. She vowed that she wasn't going to sit still till she finished writing her book. The stranger was giving her many ideas for her book.
The coast was clear. Nobody was close by. She pulled up her outline she had started on the computer and continued jotting some points. Subconsciously, she used all the characteristics of the stranger as one of the characters in her book. She thought the character suited him.
She glanced up quickly just in time to see Mr. Patel coming towards her. 'Kripa, I sure hope that whatever you're working on is work related because I would hate to fire you.'
Kripa grimaced. What a party pooper. 'No sir, I'm definitely working on work related stuff. Mr. Shah gave me some stuff to type. And how has your day been?'
'Good so far. How about dinner with me?' he asked.
When hell freezes over, she thought. You're old enough to be my father and yet you keep asking me out. Do you really expect that I will bow down and be like, yes, you're my soulmate and I can't live without you? Let's have some hot and sweaty sex. Yeah, dream on bald head. She forced a smile on her face, 'I'm busy Mr. Patel, I won't be able to make it.'
He gave her a lecherous grin. 'Some other time, then. Make sure I don't find you using office time to be doing personal stuff. You know there will be repercussions.'
You old bas***d. I'm sure my friend wouldn't be such a psycho like you. 'That won't be a problem Mr. Patel. Is there anything you wanted?'
'Nah, I just wanted to see your pretty face,' he winked at her and left.
Wait till I tell your wife you miserable sicko! Her mind shrieked. She took a deep breath and continued with her outline. The only silver lining left for the day was hanging out with her friends later in the evening.
Kripa glanced at the time much later and gasped. She was late for dinner, again! She didn't know how her friends put up with her. She ran to Mishti's house full of apologies.
'Aali, sorry I'm late. You guys, you know how I lose track of time no matter what.' Kripa said all in one breath.
Prithvi, Aaliya and Mishti looked at one another and smiled. This was old news. 'Don't worry. Is Patel still hitting on you?'
'Don't you all know it! What a sicko! He's so old and he's married! I feel so sorry for his wife that she landed with such a crappy man. Should I tell her what kind of a man her husband is? I'm so sick of this? Ugh, anyways, what did the doctor say Mishti?'
Mishti gave a very warm smile, 'She said everything was normal and that I need to keep exercising lightly and try to be as normal as possible, other than the pre-natals.'
They all talked and had a great dinner. 'So Kripa, why are you so fascinated with that guy in the hospital?' Prithvi asked.
Kripa gave a small smile. 'I literally have no idea. I just saw him sitting alone and looking so lonely that I had to do something. I could just picture myself in that condition but I knew that all of you would always be there for me. This guy had no one. Plus it doesn't hurt that he is a serious hottie.' Kripa said with a wink and everyone laughed at the table.
Her friends thought that it was very adorable the way she lightened even heavy conversations. Aali and Kripa left with huge smiles on their faces and went in different directions.
Kripa went back to her apartment and started typing her story. She knew that this was going to be best story she had ever written. She could just feel it. She wrote till 4 am, she had no idea how it became so late and fell asleep on her desk.
She woke with a crick in her neck just as the sun streamed in her room and she stretched with a wide yawn. She glanced at the clock and smiled. For once she didn't have to worry about being late somewhere.
She went to the hospital a little while later and went straight to her friend's room. 'Hey, it's me. How are you feeling today? I feel absolutely fabulous. My friend Aali and I went to Mishti's and her hubby's place yesterday for dinner. It was absolutely amazing. And that stupid Patel hit on me at work. It just makes me so angry! One day, I'm seriously going to punch on his face. Here, let's go outside in the garden. You must be so sick of staying inside.'
She wheeled the stranger outside and walked with him with a running monologue. When she ran out of things to say, she sat on a bench and removed her Harry Potter book. 'OK, I really hope you like the Harry Potter series because it's my all time favorite. If you don't like it, you better speak up really quickly. Alright, here we go; Chapter 1, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.' She read a few chapters aloud and wheeled him back in. 'I'll come see you again tomorrow, OK? You take care of yourself and let me know if you need anything.' She left with a peck on his cheek and a smile on her face. Life was truly beautiful.
She ran back at her place and changed into her work attire. She didn't how for how long she'd be able to take going to that same job. She really didn't like the way Mr. Patel ogled her. Hmm, she wondered, what if I sue him for sexual harassment. She shook her head; this was India, not the US or something!
She hopped on the bus and went to work. A long tiring work day later, she trudged to her apartment, sat on her couch and fell asleep immediately. She dreamt about the stranger that night, and what a crazy dream it was! Her stranger had turned into the psycho killer of her novel. She woke with a start and glanced at the clock, 2am. She groaned and got up; might as well get something done, she thought. She brewed a pot of coffee, sat on her desk, opened her laptop and started writing.
Her alarm rang and she jerked back. 'Wow, it's morning? Jeez, it just had to ring when I was so into my book. Oh well, I better get up and get ready. Another full day and you better think happy thoughts, Kripa. My book is going well, I have wonderful friends and I have that stranger. What more do I want?'
She followed her routine and went to the hospital. This time she took scented candles with her. 'Hey there stranger,' she chirped when she saw him sitting in the chair and facing the window again. 'I have scented candles today. I know, I know, they are supposed to be very girly and all but hey, at least the room will smell good. It's cherry scented. Isn't it so good,' she commented as she lit the candle.
'So, anyways, I dreamt about you last night. It's really creepy. You know the book I'm writing, it's about a psycho killer and that's who you were last night in my dream. I hope you don't think that I'm a creep dreaming about you and stuff. And of course, because it was a dream, I had super powers and I vanquished you and peace once again reigned on Earth. You should really read some of the short stories I've written. They're so dramatic. I think drama in books is so much fun. Not that much in real life. I prefer real life to be a bit boring.'
She sighed and looked at him. 'You know, I love solving a good puzzle. You're just going to keep bothering me. You better wake up soon and tell me all about yourself. Don't you think this is unfair that you know more about me in our friendship than I know about you? It's time to get up and tell me all about you. It's going to be so exciting. And of course, you can always tell me what a psycho I am, I won't mind that much as long as it's just jesting. No serious stuff OK? Life is too beautiful to bog it down with serious stuff. Wow, can I talk. Today, I'll read a little more of Harry Potter and then talk to you about the Salem Witch Trials, OK? History is so fascinating.'
She took out her book and read a few more chapters of Harry Potter. Then she turned to him and smiled at him. 'Your beard is growing longer and longer. I hope you don't mind if I come one day with a razor and stuff. Anyways, I think the Salem Witch Trial period was a very disturbing time in history. Because of the war and famine, people were looking for somewhere to blame all that, and who got the prize? That's right, the innocent women who were really just healers. Even now, whenever they show witches with the pointed hats and broomsticks on TV, I get so mad. The so-called witches are actually Wiccans. And boy, that is such a fascinating religion. It's an Earth-based religion where they respect all that Mother Earth has given. They believe that whatever you do will come back to you three fold. Do something bad, and three times as bad stuff is going to happen to you, so see, how can they be cruel as they are portrayed on TV? As if there aren't enough things to be prejudiced about. Anyways, I love talking about this but I have to go have a quick lunch and work. Blah. You take care strangery friend. I'll come back tomorrow. And it's going to be Saturday, I'll be able to spend more time with you. See ya!' She pecked him on his cheek and left.
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