My eyes hovered over the photographs hanging on the wall; they suddenly stopped on one, a group picture.
‘Wasn’t this taken on our farewell day?’ I asked, turning back.
‘Yeah…this is my favorite out of all.’ Raju replied.
Rohan nodded – ‘It always evokes nostalgic memories…golden days, huh?’
I leaned over and looked through the faces; isn’t that her? my heart skipped a beat; the smile, those eyes, they still had the ability to hypnotize me.
I don’t know how long I gazed into those eyes; Raju’s voice suddenly jerked me back into the reality.
‘At what’re you looking so attentively?’ Raju scrunched his eyebrows together.
It took me a while to process his words as I was still struggling to come out of the trance.
‘I was…looking…at her.’ I stuttered.
‘Who?’ Rohan asked.
‘There are so many girls in this photo, Ayan!’ Raju started going through the faces.
‘I’m talking about Ruhani.’ I retorted.
They exchanged glances; a long silence followed. They both looked uncomfortable and fidgety.
‘What?’ I frowned.
‘Are you not taking your medicines, Ayan?’ Rohan asked hesitantly.
I looked at him and then at Raju, his concerned eyes couldn’t meet mine and dropped.
‘Why?’ I forced a laugh to ease the tension.
‘Who’s Ruhani?’ Asked Rohan.
‘She’s my first love…I loved her so much…you guys know everything, right?’
‘Where is she?’ Rohan probed further.
‘I don’t…know…she disappeared suddenly after second year, didn’t she?’
‘How come she is in this photo then?’
‘Yeah…right…’ I gulped, ‘She shouldn’t be…how come she – ‘
‘She isn’t, Ayan. She can’t be. Ruhani doesn’t exist. She’s your imagination, your illusion. She never disappeared coz she never came into your life.’
‘But – ‘ I paused and looked at Raju; he nodded approval.
I looked back at the photograph; she still looked intently into my eyes, her eyes enraptured me slowly sending into a trance, her smile telling me I was entering her world, our world.
Written by Chirasree, a dreamer.