“Was it her beautiful round eyes? Or was it her long hair? Or was it her innocent child like face? I really don’t know what it was, but there was something that was there which struck me so hard, which instantaneously made me her slave…” Kris was musing watching the girl standing a little distance away from him in the bus stop. He was awakened from his rants when Maya shouted “Bus is here, bye bro”. After waving good bye to Maya, Kris turned his attention back to the girl in the bus stop.

Meanwhile, Kathy was observing though subtly, the guy or rather kid who was watching her so anxiously. She has been seeing this guy getting into the same bus she gets into, getting down couple of stops later, and all this only if the other girl, supposedly his sister was not alighting the same bus as she is. She realized this has been happening for some days now. She laughed at the thought of a guy who seems to be at least eight to nine years younger stalking her. She was amused at the thought of ‘kid’ infatuated at her, but the word ‘kid’ struck her hard, bringing in a gushing wave of memories, memories of the past, long gone, but not without inflicting a permanent wound to her heart.

It was 6th of October, five years back, precisely 2 P.M when she first saw him. It was first week into Kathy’s first job, a job which she got immediately after completing school. It was a lousy Friday afternoon, undergoing equally lousy training, waiting for the next class to start, when she heard a knock at the door. All 20 odd heads in the room turned to the door. But as a miracle it be, the pair of eyes at the door locked itself on Kathy and Kathy felt her heart miss a beat. “Wow” her mind said. She couldn’t help but gape at him, all the while he was moving around the room, introducing himself. “Hi, I am Ryan and I am working with this organization from last 2 years and I am here to introduce you to Marketing, one of the key requirements for selling our products”. “Marketing, it is. This is what my dream job is going to be” thought Kathy. “What is it which has caught my attention? Is it his beautiful eyes or is it his handsome physique or is it his cute face or…. Yes, it is; it is his charismatic smile which has encapsulated me, the very first time I saw him. I…” “It is your turn ma’am. Will you please introduce yourself and also enlighten us with your thought which is keeping your mind out of this world?” Ryan’s words cut the chain of her thoughts and she took a deep breath before starting to speak, she didn’t want the first impression to go wrong. As the day progressed, she had made a considerable impact on Ryan with the quick wit and amazing grasping and understanding ability. Kathy thought this has to be the best day of her life.

The trainings went on for another month or so, and Kathy was disappointed that she was not able to see Ryan that often. But, she wasn’t sitting idle during this hour. She tried to collect as much information as she can about Ryan in these days. She was particularly happy about the fact that he is unmarried, but was slightly distressed, when she heard about his marriage scheduled in a period of 3 months. “3 months is still THREE MONTHS. A lot can happen in 3 minutes, so what is 3 months” she thought and hence continued her pursuit towards Ryan’s heart. Little did she know what the outcome would be. After completing a rigorous 1 and a half month of training, all 20 brave warriors came out of their concentration camps, all set to face their actual battles, the projects. Kathy was surprised and immensely happy when she was told she would be working closely with Ryan. She believed it was a sign of god, a heavenly sign telling, they were destined to be together. She started working with extra zeal, an extra effort put only to impress Ryan. She started staying late in the evening, partially to learn the job well, but most important with an expectation that Ryan will offer to drop her home. Ryan also seemed to be quite impressed, and amused at the same time looking at the interest shown by Kathy at work. Working long hours made them share some of their personal information, while Kathy treasured the tidbits of Ryan, Ryan didn’t make an effort to register what Kathy spoke about herself.

Meanwhile, the day of Ryan’s marriage was getting closer. Kathy thought she has made a decent progress, especially when she overheard them quarrelling on phone, of which she felt triumphant about. But the next thing she came to know about is that Ryan was on his marriage vacation which is going to last for a month. She was totally in a haze of thoughts. “How can this happen? Why didn’t he tell me? What was all the friendliness he showed? He definitely knows I am attracted to him. If his intentions were to marry someone else, then why didn’t he stop me?” Kathy was so lost in thoughts, was so confused that, she couldn’t get answers to any of her questions. She spent so many nights silently crying in her bed, all alone caressing herself.

One dreadful month passed, and Ryan returned to office. In spite of all the fury, Kathy had for Ryan, she simply couldn’t stop herself from admiring the new tan he had got may be due to the extra sun he got in the course of his honeymoon. He looked at the Kathy with the same affection, and within a jiffy Kathy forgot all her questions, all the haze and maze she was in. Life continued the same way it was minus now Ryan’s status had changed from E to M (Eligible to Married). Right now nothing made a difference to Kathy, and she continued to impress him with quadrupled vigor.

One fine day she felt, her efforts are bearing fruits. However subtle it was, she realized he is wearing outfit of the same color as hers which repeated every day. She observed, he going for coffee at the same time when she goes, he gazing at her only to turn his eyes elsewhere, the moment she turns towards him. All these made no sense to her, she thought, Ryan loves her but is hesitant because of his marriage. She thought, he has been forced into the marriage and is desperately waiting for a signal from her so that he can come to her forever. She tried to coax him to do so by giving inconspicuous, subtle signal, but was surprised when all went in vain. She was confused and lost yet again.

All her confusions, her questions were answered on that fitful day when the truth came crashing on her. She was feeling annoyed with Ryan over something trivial and silly and blurted out at Ryan. In reply Ryan said “Kathy, you seem like a kid to me. You should be more matured in your conversation. You remind me of a KID and I cannot help feeling amused about it” and laughed. Kathy felt like crashing into the ground and be hidden there forever. She never thought even in the wildest of her dreams that the answers to her questions will come in this fashion. All her questions and confusions were replaced by one and only one question (or rather confusion) “What were all those gestures were about?” those for sure were not those of a man amused by a KID.

She decided whatever it is, going down this path will bring her only pain and she has to take detour before it is too late. She knew things would have been different if he had put a full stop when it all started. Definitely, he is neither a kid nor blind for not having understood what was happening. She was determined to resurrect herself and today she is completely out of her nightmare.

“Pooooonkk….” she was pushed back into the present by the horn of the bus with the bus driver asking her to get into the bus. She observed that the guy had also got into the bus and was staring at her from a distance. She decided, she can’t keep it going for long or else, she would be doing the same mistake which Ryan did, the only difference might be he might not have the courage to recuperate. Hence, instead of just hiding away, she glared at him with the looks powerful enough to burn him and turned away making it evident that she is annoyed and considers him as road-side stalker. She just prayed his self-esteem is hurt by this and that he stops his acts. Anyways, she had to wait for the next morning to see the result.

And it worked!! Kris was so dejected with Kathy’s behavior, that he completely ignored her in the bus stop the next day. And even better, he decided to take his bike to college the next day and never see Kathy ever again.

On the other hand Kathy was relieved and happy that she had prevented spoiling a guy’s life, she had prevented another Kathy in making, and above all, she had prevented the birth of Ryan in her….