Vyshali and Sharan had celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary. Upon returning from their recent vacation, Sharan had gone to work on a Monday afternoon while Vyshali, after completing household chores and unpacking, decided to take a moment of rest. As she lay on the bed, her gaze fixated on the ceiling, she suddenly jolted awake and walked over to her wardrobe. Vyshali pulled out their wedding album from the shelf.
With each flip of the pages, the weighty album reminded her of the elaborate wedding preparations and the utilization of advanced photography techniques. Every picture evoked memories of their special day, bringing a smile to her face. Vyshali felt a sense of joy seeing the presence of her friends, former colleagues, and extended family members in those captured moments. However, her eyes welled up with tears as she realized how little contact she had maintained with them since her marriage. Time seemed to have slipped away too quickly. Amidst the reminiscing, her eyes caught sight of a photograph she had overlooked before.
Vyshali murmured to herself, “Tarun was at the wedding?” Intrigued, she reached for her cellphone and searched for him on social media, but her attempts proved fruitless. She tried various combinations and permutations but couldn’t find him. Vyshali decided to call her friend Sherya.
“Hello, Sherya. How have you been?”
“I’m fine, darling. How about you? I saw your vacation pictures on social media, and you both looked great together. How was the trip? Ajay and I have been planning a trip to Cambodia this year-end.”
“It was great. You should definitely plan a trip to Cambodia; it’s worth it. But, Sherya, I called to ask you about Tarun.”
“Tarun? Tarun from the office? Why are you suddenly asking about him after so many years? What’s the matter?”
“I was looking at our wedding album and noticed him in one of the photographs. I can’t believe I missed it earlier. Today, as I went through each picture carefully, I saw him. I’m surprised. I called you because you were standing next to him in the picture, but he never met me at the wedding.”
There was a momentary pause on the other end before Sherya responded.
“Yes, Vyshali, Tarun was indeed at your wedding. We all wanted him to come up on stage, but he refused.”
“He refused? Why?”
“Tarun had feelings for you, Vyshali. He wanted to express them but was too nervous. He confided in me and asked me to convey his emotions to you. I encouraged him to express his feelings directly. However, he was devastated when he learned about your engagement. Tarun didn’t want to disrupt your happiness, so he stepped back. He found it difficult to continue working in the office and requested a department transfer.”
“Why didn’t you tell me all this earlier, Sherya?”
“Tarun asked me not to. I made a promise to him. Besides, you seemed so happy, and I thought it would be best not to complicate things by sharing this with you. You never indicated having any feelings for him.”
A heavy silence hung in the air on both ends of the call.
“Where is Tarun now?”
“I have no clue, Vyshali. You left your job after marriage, and Tarun also resigned from the company. Since he worked in a different department, I didn’t have many opportunities to meet him. He did visit me on his last working day, but after that, I haven’t heard from him. I tried calling him, but he changed his number. It seems he’s not on social media either. No one seems to know his whereabouts.”
Vyshali and Sherya continued their conversation for a while before ending the call. Vyshali stared at the photograph once again, memories flooding her mind of the time spent with Tarun during tea breaks, lunch hours, meetings, and team outings. She felt a deep sense of sadness and regret for not recognizing his feelings. Lost in her thoughts, she was startled by the sound of the doorbell. Closing the album, Vyshali went to answer the door, finding her husband standing there.
“What were you doing, honey?”
“I was looking at our wedding album.”
“By the way, a new employee joined the company today, and he mentioned that he knows you.”
“Who is it, Sharan?”
“Hmm… His name is Tarun.”
“What? What did you say?”
“Tarun. When he introduced himself, he mentioned where he previously worked. When I asked if he knew you, he said yes.”
“Do you know him?”
Vyshali was in shock, but her face soon lit up with excitement.
“Yes, yes, I do. She smiled eagerly.”
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