The Horrid medicine smell made it’s way up to the nostrils of the two young men. They entered Nathan’s room with smiles stuck on their nervous faces. They didn’t want to invite any suspicion from their guilt.
“ Finally. It’s so nice to see you here, especially you Mohit. You’ve barely known him and here you are. Nice,” said Arika.
Mohit gave an ear-to-ear smile. All of them chatted for a while, talking about football, some pest-y History teacher and the usual I hate everyone but myself gibber.
“I’ll get some drinks for everyone. Arika, would you like to come along?” asked Mohit.
“Can’t you get them on your own? How hard is it to carry some cans and glasses?”
“I don’t know where to get them from. Besides I am broke,” apologized Mohit.
“Right. Let’s go. And you two, don’t fight. I know you don’t like each other but please…” said Arika.
“Don’t worry, we wont,” said Nathan.
Everybody fears some kind of social situation. People fear being in company of the people they don’t know, the ones they fear, the ones they love and also the ones they hate. This was the most uninviting social situation for Drona. He wanted to get away, but couldn’t. It seemed like Mohit had some kind of arrangement with the Creator, that he purposely left them alone. You never know….
“So, how long will you be here?” asked Drona
“About another week. You know I know.”
“You know what…”
“Close the door for me, will you?”
Drona did as he was told to. He was trembling inside.
“I know it was you that night.”
“Did you tell the police?” asked a half unconscious Drona.
The door opened behind them. It was Nathan’s parents without the family friend.
“Hi Drona! Nice to see you here. You two mended your little differences?” asked Nathan’s mother.
“ Mom- Dad. I wanted to talk to you about something. I would like to withdraw the police case. It’s no use. I know who the driver was and…”
“So did you tell the police who it was?” asked Father dearest.
“I know him as in I know he’s innocent. I am not so hated that someone would kill me. It was surely an accident. You know how dimly lit our street is. I don’t want all the media, the police and the newspapers blowing things up. I just want to rest with my friends-new and old.” He smiled at Drona, who was sweating still.
“Son, are you sure?” asked Mommy dearest.
“I have thought about it all day.”
“I’ll just call those guys and get this done,” said Nathan’s dad.
Nathan’s dad moved out of the room to make the phone call.
“Mom, I am so sorry, but I wanted to talk something to Mohit, you know naaaaa”
“Ok. I’ll get something for you guys. Anything to drink?”
“Thanks. Mom. Maybe some chips for Drona”
She smiled and went away. She was this kind soul from heaven. Her eyes spoke only generosity and her lips only spoke goodness. She was an ideal parent, wife and human being. Truly an angel.
The door closed again.
“ I did not tell them and besides you have heard what I plan to do,” spoke Nathan.
“I don’t know what to say…..” said Drona.
“Just do me this favor. Don’t tell Arika. I don’t want her to bear any pain. She is my best friend and it is best that she is protected from this harsh reality. I know that the truth should be let out but just bury this.”
“I don’t know…She deserves to know. I am guilty.”
“So does the world. But what will we gain out of this, nothing but pain and misery. Just forget it. I wont ever blackmail you, don’t worry.”
Drona’s eyes were moist by now. He was grateful and sorry. He didn’t understand what had happened. The words of an 8th grade poem kept recurring in his mind.
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
Nathan smiled. He then said: “Don’t cry dude. Doesn’t suit my Homme.”
The entire room sparkled with the laughter of these young men. The sadness, the guilt, the misery and the pain all seem to have vanished in the smiles. It is like looking at a baby and feeling the tenderness in him; like standing alone in front of a waterfall and feeling the beauty of nature; like a hugging a loved one; like floating in the sea of love.
The beauty was so irresistible that God willed that Arika should see it too. She entered the room with plastic glasses in her hands. At the sight of them laughing she commented, rather exclaimed, “If I was someone from High School, I wouldn’t ever believe what I just saw. You guys cool?”
“Are we cool?” asked Drona.
“We sure are Buddy.”
All of them smiled. Nathan’s dad and mom returned from the tasks they had been assigned. They weren’t helps just caring parents.
Dad said, “Case withdrawn, as you said. Will just complete the formalities.”
Mom said, “Chips, anyone?”
Mohit shook his head to Drona at the news he just heard. Drona nodded and smiled. He wanted to know hat had happened in that room. He felt relieved.
Arika then asked, “ You withdrew the case, why?”
Nathan replied, “I forgive the person. I hate pain and revenge even more. The person must be innocent. I believe it is justice in giving him a second chance and not in punishing him.”
Mohit tried a hand at a joke, “ You could be a judge.”
The same sparkle filled the room, again. When there is too much happiness, God steals some of it. Mohit’s cell phone rang. He picked it up and talked for less than a minute.
“Guys I have to go,” said a remorseful Mohit.
“What happened Mo?” asked Arika.
“My Dad has returned….”