The Rejection - Chapter 4
As he walked out of the bar, Vikrant felt his ears heating up and smoke coming out of his body – he was burning. The humiliation, the betrayal, and the cruelty he just witnessed broke his heart into pieces. His steps felt wobbly but he managed to walk. He walked and walked until his vision was blurred. Tears came gushing out of his eyes and he had to stop as his body ached with the pain of sadness that had suddenly captured his heart. He leaned by the side of a tree and cried his heart out. In the back of his mind, he was expecting someone from the bar to follow him, to check on him, and to see if he was doing fine but who was he kidding?
For the very first time in a long time, Vikrant felt like the sadness was going to kill him.
You know, it sucks when things come crashing down in front of your eyes when you thought they were finally looking good, it sucks to be the subject of humiliation when you were only waiting for some special moments ahead, and it sucks when the person behind all of this is the one you rooted for. The night sucked big time and there was nothing to make Vikrant feel any better or any worse for that matter. He cried for a while until his eyes and his heart felt all dried out.
With a dead expression on his face, he moved on and walked towards the metro station. He looked at his watch – there was still time that he could catch the last metro home. As he entered the metro station, his whole life flashed in front of his eyes. Walking like a living dead, he didn’t know which direction he was headed to. He was just lost – in the past, the present, and the future and sadly enough, he wasn’t so sure about the future.
“You mean nothing to anyone. You mean nothing to anyone. You mean nothing…” the voice kept echoing in his head. “No-one would even care if you die tonight. No-one will even know…”
He stopped in front of the platform and looked far to his front – not looking at anything specifically, he was just looking. And then, suddenly he found himself walking, towards the platform – towards the rails.
“Get to the other side. Just keep going.” Another voice told him. With his tears dried up on his cheeks, he was constantly moving with his hands shoved in his pockets, dragging his feet that felt like two huge blocks of gravel. His hair was all messed up, his glasses hung on the pocket of his shirt that came loose and un-tucked. The announcements at the station, the noise of the crowd, everything felt like a huge blur to him. All he could hear was his heart beating in his head. His eyes were looking straight ahead of him and just when he was about to step down the platform, a voice pierced through his ears.
“No! No! Wait. No!” he heard the shrieking sound. It startled him and it was like he woke up from a dream. His breath got stuck in his chest and he gave it out pretty desperately, followed by his panting. He looked around, blankly. The metro had arrived at the station and people started to board it. Vikrant was lost for moments.
“What was I thinking?” he whispered to himself and snapped his head to his left and right. There weren’t many people at the station at that time but he couldn’t find anyone who was approaching him or was trying to talk to him. “Who’s voice was it? Am I just hearing things?” he thought and tried to shrug it off but something scared him to his very bones. “What was I thinking?” he thought again as chills ran down his spine.
Trying hard to push his thoughts away, he leapt inside the metro and headed home. “Was I about to take my own life?” he thought as he took a seat.
Vikrant saw the sun rising from his window, his eyes fixated on the beautiful horizon, far in front of him. He looked tired and exhausted but witnessing the sun rise gave them some sort of peace. He took a deep breath and wished his life was different than the way it was that morning. He felt lonely, hated, and shut out by the entire world.
“Your life will never be different and you have to live with it” he told himself shortly after.
He thought about how he was about to end his life the previous night and it scared him a little, again.
With a heavy head and heart, he took a shower, got dressed, and dragged himself to get ready college. College – a pool of merciless, cruel people. On his way, he thought about the previous night and was still trying to come to terms with the fact that it was a deliberate effort to humiliate him in public. Every time he tried to digest the fact that Kritika set him up for all of that, his body responded with a gag reflex. Guess he was nervous to face all those people again. But it was just a bunch of people, right? And he had been dealing with them for more than a year now. He thought he would be fine and moved ahead.
As soon as Vikrant entered the college, he got a bad feeling. “You’re gonna be fine!” he assured himself, tightening his grip on his backpack strap.
He moved ahead and so it started. The giggling, the pointing, the comments, the teasing – everything and more people were involved this time – the entire college.
“What in the hell?” Vikrant thought to himself when students sang the lyrics to ‘Sweet child o’mine’ as he passed the corridors. And then it hit him, the videos, they might be out.
He wore a brave face and walked to sit on the first bench in the classroom – as usual. To avoid listening to what his entire class was talking about, he got engrossed in his book.
“Get buried in the book. Maybe that will save you” Vikrant heard and seconds later, he found someone pressing his head against the book placed on his desk. He grabbed the hand and shook it off of him. It was Aashish, of course.
“Enough, Aashish” he yelled, standing up and towering over Aashish. Anger took over him, making his heart race and his face burn.
“Oh! Oh! Look at him! So, angry, haan?”, Aashish spoke, mocking, his friends laughed in the background.
Vikrant took a step ahead and threw a punch in Aashish’s direction. Aashish ducked and Vikrant fell forward, landing on a desk. It took everyone by surprise and the classroom was filled with chaotic noises – shock, surprise, laughter. Vikrant felt hands on his shoulders, someone was gripping him and turning him over and as soon as they did, they punched him in the face – twice. He was blacked out for a few good seconds and he could hear nothing but the ringing sound in his head.
“Easy man!” “Let’s go!” he heard soon after and saw Aashish and his friends taking off.
Feeling a bit dizzy, Vikrant got up to sit upright in the bench. He saw his classmates circling around him but no one came forward to help him. There was some bustling at the classroom’s door. Kritika had arrived with her friends, she froze as she looked at Vikrant and he looked at her. Their eyes met. Vikrant shook his head and looked away.
He touched his nose – it was bleeding. He pressed his shirt’s sleeve against it, grabbed his bag, and walked to the door of his classroom. “What did I ever do to you?” he whispered to Kritika before leaving.
He walked out of the college and he wasn’t sure if he would ever come back to that god forsaken place.