Three hours had passed since Rahul had logged onto Priya’s Facebook page. He had read each and every post on Priya’s Facebook wall for the last four years, the years since she had signed into this social network. Still, he couldn’t find out anything. ‘Is she a wife? Did she become a progenitor? Does she still live with her parents? Does she still remember him?’ There was nothing in those hundreds of posts to give a peep into her personal life – not a single life event celebrated, not a photo with any friend or relative, nothing.
Rahul expanded Priya’s photo to fit his entire laptop screen. She was sitting at the edge of the water on a white beach. Palm trees breezed in the background and a tapering wave brushed at her feet. She looked at the photographer with a half-smile. ‘She was always a mystery,’ he thought.
Six years ago, he had said, “I love you, Priya.”
She had replied, “What do you mean by that?”
“College will be over in a few months and I can’t imagine life without you. Marry me.”
“I would love to, but I need to tell you the truth. I have had an abortion a year back. If you can accept that with no questions asked, I’ll marry you.”
“But why can’t you talk about it?”
“I can’t. That’s it.”
Rahul couldn’t react. He couldn’t help his silence and that was all she had needed. “So, now you need to think? What happened to all that love?” She walked away with her head held high. Rahul understood this was a test and he had failed miserably. He will have to accept it, he had thought then.
He smiled at the memory. He couldn’t forget her. He clicked the button ‘Add Friend’. ‘Will she accept my friend request?’ He wondered. He started typing out a personal message, ‘Hi Priya, do you remember me? It is wonderful running into you here. I want to catch up with you. Can we meet?’
The next day, she had accepted his friend request but not responded to his message. Instead, she had changed her profile picture. She was in her nightgown with a cherub baby in her arms. ‘Was this a message asking me to keep away?’ His face fell and then it struck him. ‘No, this could be another test.’ He was not going to fail this one. He typed, in a private message, ‘Beautiful picture. So, when are we meeting? I would come to wherever you are in this world.’