“Where’s he?” My heart desperately ached, “Why hadn’t he pinged me?”
But no, not even a single message or a phone call from him.
The watch ticked 6.27 p.m.
“Ufff,” with a heavy heart I left my office cabin, picked my handbag and entered the lift.
That was my 58th call to him that day.
“The person you are trying to reach is unavailable to take the calls right now. Please try again later,” I heard it again.
“Maybe he’s unusually busy today Jo,” Nita, my friend suggested.
I nodded my head in deep thoughts.
‘Ground Floor,’ the lift came to a halt with a jolt.
As I stepped outside onto the reception area my heart beat faster and I looked around anxiously to see if he was waiting for me in the lounge.
“Stanley,” I muttered under my breath hoping he’d appear before me that second.
Alas! Still no sight of him.
“Where did he run away on such an important day?” I wondered.
But I had to leave home.
I walked to the bus stop with a dejected face.
Sometimes, he’d come to the bus stop too. So I looked amongst the unknown faces to find my known soul.
Some people caught me watching them and I had to turn away.
“Okay, chill Jo. He’ll meet you, alright? But you’re not gonna act nice to him,” I decided.
I tapped my left foot with impatience for the bus to arrive.
“Jo,” I heard someone call me.
Though I knew it wasn’t his voice, my heart responded immediately, yearning it would be Stanley.
“You left this on your table.” – That was my colleague Roshan with a small gift box.
I was about to protest it didn’t belong to me,when I noticed my name on it.
“Ah! Thanks Roshan!” I exclaimed with joy, anticipating it to be from Stanley.
He gave a wicked smile and left.
I unpacked the red gift wrapped with much enthusiasm.
It had a small rectangular box and I opened its lid.
Inside was a key-chain that was heart shaped in the top, narrowing down to a key-like structure. In it was engraved, ‘You’re the key to’ and the sentence was left unfinished.
It appeared as if there was another slot in the box and a key-chain was missing. I figured out this key-chain had a missing twin.
“It must be Stanley’s mastermind behind this,” I thought.
I was well aware of his watchful eyes hidden somewhere nearby.
Someone tapped my shoulder and I turned around.
“He called you,” a lady said, pointing to a man standing next to her.
He pointed to another man next to him, who in turn showed his finger at a woman nearby.
This chain continued till the last man in the bus stop, who smiled at me and stepped aside, only to reveal an elated Stanley who held a placard that read – ‘You’re the Love of my Life.’
He held a key-chain in his hand and held it out to me.
With happy tears, I pushed my wheelchair towards him and he came running towards me.
He stopped a few spaces before me, smiled satisfactorily and knelt down beside me.
I ruffled his hair.
“Will you be my Valentine?” I asked him.
“Do you remember what you said last week?” he asked, wiping away my tears.
“Yes,” I whispered.
“Smile and acknowledge a person’s presence,” he began and we both continued in a single tone, “Trust me, That’s the best gift you can give the love of your life.”
“I’ll always remain your valentine,” he said, placing the key on my hand and I read the missing words – ‘my heart’.