We were at a Sunday brunch and the host had ensured that the drinks were plenty which predictably loosened tongues at the table. Jennifer had again drunk quite a bit more than what she usually did, an act that was becoming something of a regular feature, which meant she started mouthing off a couple of people at the table who she felt weren’t supporting her in her time of need.
Not wanting the scene to get uglier, I interrupted her and suggested I drop her back which is when she turned her ire on me. Nothing I had ever seen prepared me for the onslaught that battered my sense as she proceeded to rip me to shreds. I was at a complete loss for words as I was comprehensively overwhelmed and devastated by what she said. How could someone I had done so much for turn around and attack me with a vicious ferocity that was hidden deep under what I always thought was a calm and pleasant demeanor? I’ve had friends get angry and take out their frustration on me but nothing was ever said that couldn’t be mended over a hug and a drink. This was not the same. It was on a whole different plane altogether.
Even if things would ever get back to normal, I would always live with the knowledge that she would someday lose her temper again and that I just wasn’t cut out to handle it. I excused myself from the table and walked away with my head hung in shame even though I had done nothing to be ashamed of. The stark realization that I just wasn’t ready for a woman like her, and probably never would be, stung but it was a bitter pill that I knew I had to swallow for my own good. A sea of emotions threatened to engulf me as I realized she wasn’t coming after me to apologise for what she said. This wasn’t a movie. This was real life and about as real as it gets.
I woke up with a start and wiped my face which was drenched in sweat. I looked around in the dark and realized that I was in the familiar confines of my bedroom. I got out of bed and took out my phone to dial Jennifer and see if we could sort things out but I couldn’t find her number. I scrolled through the messages but strangely there was nothing there either. I sat down and tried to make sense of the whole thing.
I looked around my table for the photo frame which had what the both of us felt was our best picture together but I couldn’t find it anywhere. All I could see were files of loan application forms from different banks for a Suzuki GSX 1000R. Confused I switched on my laptop and again all I could see were different folders filled with wallpapers, videos and price details of various superbikes available in India. I tried doing a Google search on Neil + Jennifer but all I got in return were linked in profiles. I shut down my laptop and I walked back to my bed in a daze and tried to return to sleep which predictably was not forthcoming.
The pieces just didn’t fit in together. How could I have deleted her number? Why didn’t I have any messages from her on my phone? Surely I couldn’t have deleted all traces of her from my life. Even if that was possible, why couldn’t I find anything on her on the internet? What was happening? Was it all even real? Eventually I realized the truth and fell asleep from sheer exhaustion. She was the best and the worst thing to have never happened to me. And not one person on this planet knew her.