Reeking of tea, for alcohol was just something she could never get used to, she sat back on her chair introspecting every decision that could have led her upto this. In her mind everything was fool-proof. Then where did she screw up and how? Sherlock had taught her well and she went back to her mind palace, trying to follow the course of her actions closely.

First, she would take the dog out for a walk and that would be enough of an excuse to get out of the house. Then she would drop ‘Perro’ to her friend’s place who already knew about her plan. Once out under the stars, she could easily manage to get a cab or a bus that would drop her to the station, and there would be her Lyla, waiting for her, waiting to start their forever together.

Foolproof, see! She was sure in her heart that nothing could go wrong and nothing would have, only if Lyla wasn’t afraid. Avni reached the station and was looking around the platform to spot ‘her’ Lyla. Maybe she got caught up in traffic because parents weren’t an issue, so leaving the house wouldn’t be a problem. Lyla had moved to the city a month ago when she met Avni and was looking for a place to stay. All alone in this new city, Avni soon became her only support, in more than one way.

What Lyla and Avni shared was something that neither of them had acknowledged or had the courage to explore earlier. This, their ‘secret’ was thrilling and Avni was ready to go the extra mile to keep it going.

It had been 2 years since their rendezvous started and Avni was ready now to take things to the next step. Coming out to her family wasn’t going to be an easy task but it was surely worth it if her partner was by her side. She wasn’t worried, Lyla had talked her through this.

Then why wasn’t she at the platform? Avni rang her up multiple times but no answer. Half an hour had passed already, her parents would be expecting her home anytime now. What could possibly delay Lyla at the last minute?

An hour passed, her parents had been ringing up her phone but she did not trust herself to answer their calls. Each time her phone rang she expected it to her Lyla calling, explaining that she was on her way, but that did not happen. Others on the platform looked at her strangely. A girl, sitting all alone on the platform bench, in her pyjamas, with no bag nothing with her and crying hysterically for the past half an hour. Not a pretty sight.

Avni’s phone buzzed again, it was a text message. A text message from Lyla. The words ‘I can’t’ flashed on the screen. Just these two words and Avni’s sobs ceased. Her phone rang again, Maa was calling. Avni answered this time with a brisk ‘I’m coming home’ and got up from the bench.

Another cab ride, but without the fluttering of her heart this time. Avni picked up Perry from her friend’s place, not exchanging a word or a glance she walked back home and into her room. Her parents had a look at her face and decided that they could always ask her questions later. Knowing that she was back was enough to pacify them for the moment and they went into their room.

Hours passed by, Avni had been through cups after cups of tea. She still couldn’t
wrap her head around it. Lyla was the one who had thought of this plan, almost convinced her to come out to her parents, then what went wrong? She wasn’t prepared to face her parents in the morning, nor prepared to answer the questions they would fire at her. This was for later, for now, all she knew was her plan went wrong and she felt everything slipping by her. Maybe this was how she would always be. Closeted.



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