Okay, tonight is a double mystery night. That’s funny. I have always wanted to go to a mystery room. Too bad our city doesn’t have one, they’d make such great first dates. There is no need to constantly engage in conversation, no awkward silences…there is literally a mystery waiting to be solved. And you get to see them under pressure! What else do you need to know? I don’t know for real though. All of this is coming from the internet. The other day I read the magic of a kiss is in the anticipation of it. It could be true, who knows? The stress thing might backfire on me. I am not good with stress. Ticking clocks, getting to the station on time, calls from unknown numbers, approaching deadlines, and stuff gets the best of me. Wow! why do I run?
Speaking of that day, I need to work it in our conversation. That’s it, what’s better than to start a conversation about districts! There are at least 20 people we know mutually. Everyone knows it isn’t just about sports except for the passionate few. You must have heard about how that team got disqualified this time. The one with #heretowin on their jerseys? They should have been thrown out for the unnecessary cockiness alone. Why did they get disqualified? I don’t know, maybe you’d know something. All I heard was someone said something to the other team, and then a third person got offended because the people from the first team were his ex-teammates, and someone from the second team took offense on him taking offense, and a fight broke out, and #heretowin got thrown out, without even playing the qualifiers. How ironic! But it led to this butterfly thing, or is it a snowball effect? I always get confused between the two. Anyway, the fight happened, this team got disqualified, the team event moved up, so the track events moved up, and then I saw you lose, lost myself, and couldn’t sleep the night properly. And now that I think about it, it didn’t stop there.
The next day I took an off from school. Sweaty called me to tell how, yet again, a bird flew into a fan in one of the classes. Yep, that happens every once in a while in our school. It’s gruesome. And then the principal called a meeting for teachers urgently. I doubt it was about the bird, but it was sweet of Sweaty to think the school gave immediate attention to the matter, so I didn’t question it. We got talking about how a free period because of a teacher’s absence doesn’t compare to the collective free period the whole school gets because of urgent staff meetings. There’s a shared sense of joy in it, the delusion of having the school to oneself, something like having the house to oneself when parents are away. And that’s when it clicked to Sweaty that he really would have the house to himself for a whole day and a night! And here we are.
‘‘C’mon, that wouldn’t be fair.”
Everyone turns to you, waiting to give an alternative. This time I can look at you. One is braver in a crowd. I want to catch a hint of panic on your face. And there it is, a flicker, poorly masked by nonchalance. I’d be rolling my eyes so hard if I weren’t swooning right now.
“Let’s just spin it again”, you continue, Sweaty considers for a bit and agrees, “Yeah, let’s do that.”
Who does he want to pair with?! I have to know. I am going to pull him aside and just ask already. What’s bothering me even more is that I don’t already know. I can’t now, the bottle has already been spun. So I shift a bit closer to him, ask “who are we waiting for it to stop at?” while I steal a glance at you. And this is why I’d make the worst spy. I should have been looking at Sweaty. What’s the point of all that crime patrol I watch with my mom if I can’t even catch the most predictable move? Oh, shit did Sweaty catch me red-handed? Aah, he hasn’t, he must have forgotten in glancing at the uninvited cousin, maybe? Oh, not his cousin, our friend’s cousin who just tagged along to this party. Sweaty would have cribbed about it at least once but not once has he peeped out any dissatisfaction about this whole situation. Remember I said I almost didn’t come to the party. I was saving it for another time, a better time, like you know when it’s not in a random group of people and especially not in my head, but I guess, it’s time.
Earlier today, I got a call from Sweaty, and it was emphasized abundantly that the vibe of the party has been compromised. Compromised to a level of needing to be saved. How? I was asked to come and find out. And honestly, there are too many vibe-saving situations with Sweaty because even a happydent in place of an orbit can be a major vibe killer for him. I was already late, by my dad did a very dad thing and decided to make a quick stop at his work. Quick means careless parking and quick stops at work for dads also mean nothing less than an hour. By the time we came back, our car was in the process of getting towed and I, in that of missing this party. Now that I think about it I don’t know why was I saving it for later? This is such a boring story. One that just doesn’t make you forget what the point of it was but also kills the conversation.
“Who are you waiting for it to stop at?”, Sweaty replies, and yes! that’s the point of all this. That’s why I completely forgot about the vibe killer before. I rushed into the house, Electric Love blaring in all its glory. I scanned the room for Sweaty, and stopped in my tracks. Like the bottle has. Just now. Once again at Sweaty.
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Prakhar Patidar is a 22-year-old post-grad from Christ University trying to make it into the professional world of stories and wrap her head around that with each passing day, the world seems more like something right out of the dystopian novels she loves to read.
Her tantrums as a kid were more often than not met with stories her mom cooked up to deal with them. That’s where she feels it all began. When she asked for a candy every night before bed, she got jaggery instead with a story of this mouse that bought it every night. One could only have a small piece, or else the mouse would run away. When she demanded to be told five stories every night before bed, her mom complied and made up stories, at least, till she hit writer’s-block. Then a tantrum for five new stories meant widened eyes and “You listen to one story and go to bed, or you sleep outside the house.”
This fascination with and love for stories has shaped all her major academic and professional choices. She is currently exploring different genres and forms with her creative writing by using “call for submissions” on various platforms as a prompt. Her most recent publications include: Rubatosis, a short story selected for WriteFluence’s anthology; Out Of My Box (2021) and Shahar (2021); an anthology she compiled for Verses Kindler Publications. You can find more of her work at I Did This With Words. [https://lookwhatididwithwords.wordpress.com/]