“So hope you are ready for the FIFA 2010,” asked Zak excitedly.
‘Yes – if the final match is going to be anything like the last one in 2006, I am game,’ I replied with a smirk.
No – I did not mean the red card that Zidane received or the penalty goals that Italy made, I meant that incredible night the final match was held. Football never mattered much to a 24-year-old girl like me. My mother being an ardent cyclist and a ‘kabbadi’ player herself hoped I would take some interest in outdoor sports. Much to her dismay, I cannot ride a cycle till date and all I ever played was ‘rummy’. Of course if watching a football match meant getting together with friends for some fun, I was in.
Riley was there that night, partying and in a much lighter mood than when we met last. It was very different from my memory of our first meeting. The first time I saw him, he intrigued me although he looked very confused. Not knowing whether to smile at me or hold out his hand, he managed to mumble a wimpy ‘Hi’. He was one of the best friends of my best friend’s younger sister. Complicated – huh? Since my friend and her sister lived alone for most part of the year, their house was buzzing with friends over all the time. He used to be strumming the guitar on some occasions and just be lazing around like the rest on others.
We did not speak much just like on the previous occasions, where we never had much to say to each other. Though I had heard he was nursing a broken heart (his own), I made no inquiries. The exciting finale of the match was over rather too soon and we all flopped on to the sofa for a quick game of dumb-charades. As we signaled the names of the movies to each other, our bodies signaled something else altogether. The light brushing of my hands on his legs, him squeezing my hands a little too tight every time we won a game, his big round eyes smiling at me, shy nonetheless.
Ashley wanted to sleep early as he had an early morning to wake up to. The rest followed suit. Despite Riley and me hitting the floor to get some shut-eye, our bodies were strangely awake, recognizing the presence of the other as under a hypnotic spell.
As I woke up the next morning, I tried hard to remember how we ended up sprawling on the floor like this. I feebly opened my eyes only to find him sleeping peacefully, his hand holding me close as my head rested on his shoulders.
Unlike the bemused look on his face when I met him first …