I Choose You



Present Day

"I don't have the same feelings for you." Meera gathers her courage and finally texts Sameer.
Sameer is angry and relieved at the same time. Like he was hoping, Meera would bring this up. Last 6 months were different than first 1.5 years. She had less to talk about. The relationship status changed from crazy to cold in 2 years.


She kept staring at the phone. Her heart raced as she saw "typing" in the chat window.

"I knew it was coming." Sameer took 2 minutes to reply much slower than his usual response. Sameer would argue endlessly if she took more than 5 seconds to respond to her message. He would assume she is enjoying with her family and does not have time for him. Anyone would do that if they are in a relationship with a happily married woman with a kid. Meera is 40 years old, happily married to Arun with an adorable daughter.

2 years ago

"Meera, I have to leave for Hyderabad tomorrow morning." Arun pulls out his suit from the closet.

"What about Deepak's housewarming?" Meera stops chopping the veggies. She secretly dreads going alone to parties. And Arun knows it.

"Don't drink too much, you'll be fine." Meera makes a puppy face at Arun.

"I don't feel like going."

"Ask someone to drop you back."

Anxiety rolls over Meera's face and her crystal clear eyes can't hide the fear. She's trying harder to cut the veggies into equal shapes.

After dinner, Meera puts the kids to bed. She enters the room; Arun is sitting in bed with his laptop, preparing a proposal for tomorrow's meeting.

"I hate going alone. Why do you do this to me?" She sits in front of Arun.

Arun smiles and then continues his work. Arun left his corporate job and started his business with Meera after their marriage. Meera and Arun are college love birds. His enthusiasm about everything in life was contagious and that's what got Meera hooked to him.

"Come with me to Hyderabad." Arun offers Meera.

"You know one of us has to attend the party. Deepak is a very old friend and it's his first house." Meera just answered her anxiety.

"Then chill and go have fun. I'll be back day after then will go out together." Arun kisses Meera to ease her discomfort.
________

‘At Deepak’s party, while Meera was trying to look interested and suddenly she encountered a strange voice from behind. "Where's your drink? You are so boring when you are sober."

"Excuse me." Meera turns and says with a stern face.

"Hi, I'm Sameer. I am Deepak's partner." He offers his hand forward to shake.

Sameer is 35 years old most eligible bachelors in his circle. He recently started his venture with Deepak.

Meera hates shaking hands with strangers but she gives him a firm handshake, regardless

"Meera, I told you about Sameer. We started the new venture together." Deepak comes to her rescue. 

Deepak and Arun are friends from their first job. They worked together for a short span but the friendship picked up well. Arun doesn't believe in mixing friendship with business, so they both found different partners for their respective businesses.

"Glad Deepak you told me he's your partner, otherwise I was like WTF." The sparkle in Sameer's eyes was restored.

O God, he's so cute. Meera shut up.

Meera is curious to know more about Sameer. But she acts calm and definitely tries to avoid eye contact.

"What are you drinking?"

"I'm having whisky."

Sameer nods. "Large or small."

"Large, no ice only water and in a tall glass."

"Who has whisky in a tall glass?" Sameer asks innocently.

"I prefer it my way." Meera proudly puts herself forward.

Sameer chuckles and gets her the drink as instructed.

Sameer and Meera chatted for long about their work, passion and ambitions. They connected instantly. He was impressed with Meera's intelligence and Meera was impressed with his enthusiasm and passion towards his goals. Apart from all the above the strongest point was that Meera was attracted towards him. Her free spirit kept her drawing towards him. She wanted to know what's his favourite colour, where does he go on vacations and she knew she would meet him again.

"I think this is your last drink." Sameer tries to tell Meera she must stop drinking.

"And who are you to decide?" Meera gets offended.

"You are already high."

"Please, I didn't even have my usual number of drinks." Meera wants to stay in the state where her conscious doesn't question her actions.

"If you are so concerned then you should drop me home when I'm drunk."

"Then let's go because you are drunk."

"Deepak, I'm going to drop Meera and will be back." Sameer leaves with Meera.

"I can't go home like this. I need coffee." Meera realised Arun's not home and she had to look after the kids next day morning.
Sameer stops the car at a coffee shop near a petrol pump. Meera unbuckles her seat belt and opens the door.

"Will you wait? Let me come and open the gate."

"I can open it myself." Meera has been an independent woman and loves being that way.

"It's 2 at night. It's not safe. Let me open it."

"I want to pee, are you going to accompany me there as well?" Meera tries to be sarcastic.
Sameer laughs and opens the door. "I will wait outside if you really want to use a petrol pump loo."

Meera smiles because she loves attention. She loves to be treated like a princess and Sameer was the perfect guy who knew how to do that.

This was just the beginning of many more coffee and chat sessions. Meera always preferred drinks over coffee, for her that was the best way to interact with people and drop her anxiety. But with Sameer, she wanted to be awake and conscious. She was not a woman who would slip an affair and then blame it on alcohol.
___________

Meera’s fone beeps and a smile comes on her face when she reads the text. It’s from Sameer.

“I’m two blocks away from your office, how about a coffee?”

“I’ll be there in 10.” Meera responds.

She rushes to the ladies room and brushes her hair. She’s excited for her coffee date with Sameer. While she puts on her gloss, she looks herself in the mirror and smiles. She opens her tied hair and puts on her favourite perfume.

She reaches the place Sameer mentioned but can’t find Sameer. She hates to wait and sends a text “Where are you?”

Sameer comes right behind her and whispers “In your heart.”

Meera tries to control her smile but it’s all over her face how much she loves when he flirts with her.

Meera tries to change the topic, “There’s coffee shop here that I love. Let’s go there.”

“What if someone sees you having coffee with me?”

“Can’t I have coffee with a friend?” Meera is unaware of what future holds for the journey she’s about to set on.
_____________

While her coffee dates are getting more exciting with Sameer; Meera’s expectations from Arun starts rising too.

“I’m so bored of working? I need a break.” Meera complains while they both are preparing a presentation at office.

“Take a break. Let’s go have a smoke.”

“I mean a weekend break. Just me and you.”

“Once we get this investor, I promise will take you wherever you want.”

“What if its takes ages?”

“Meera, be positive. I’m sure he’s our guy.”

“Hmmm. I’ll go get myself a coffee. You want one.”

“Yes please.” Arun continues to work while Meera leaves the room looking at him wondering whether it’s just in her mind or their relationship has lost the spark.

“I want to get drunk today.” Meera texts Sameer.

“Why?”

“Coz I feel like.”

“How about my place?”

“Too risky….lol”

“Your choice then.”

“Let’s go to a shack, buy from there and have it in the car????”

“I’m game.”

Meera texts him back the place and time. Before leaving office she informs Arun shes  going for drinks with friends and she’ll be late.

Disappointed with her conversation with Arun, she drinks to her delight. After a few hours and a few drinks later, when her guards are off she approaches Sameer’s shoulder and rests her head there.

“I want a kiss.”

Sameer looks down at Meera and kisses her.

“I love you.” Sameer pours his feeling out to her.
Meera lifts her head up, turns her face towards the window on her side and starts looking outside.

“I want to go home.” Meera demands.

“Will you be able to drive or should I drop you?” Sameer sounds worried because Meera already had a lot of drinks.

“Ya, I can drive.”

Sameer drops Meera to her car. She steps into her car and leaves without saying bye. Sameer texts Meera to find out whether she’s reached home safe. She reads and deletes the text but doesn’t respond.

Next day morning Meera texts Sameer that she’s fine. Sameer apologises for sharing how he felt for her. Meera doesn’t respond. Sameer requests her to meet him once. Meera gave a deep thought to it and then agrees.

Meera enters the coffee shop where Sameer was already waiting for her with a bouquet of white roses. He pulls the chair for her.

“I’m sorry.” Sameer hands over the bouquet to her.

Meera accepts the apology and flowers.
____________________

“What’s the plan for the weekend?” Sameer texts Meera

“Can’t meet on weekends. Family time.” Meera responds

“I don’t know anything, I want to meet you. Something really urgent.”

Meera makes an excuse at home and decides to meet Sameer.“What was so urgent?” Meera parks her car, steps out and asks Sameer.

“Nothing.” He pulls out a chocolate hamper from her car and gives to her.

Meera loves chocolates. She immediately accepts and sits with him in her car.

“Let’s go for a drive.” Meera asks Sameer.

While driving Sameer held Meera’s hand and she her heart just melted. She moves towards Sameer, rolls her arm around his arm and rests her head on his shoulder.

She’s gazing at the clouds and suddenly she's taken back in time. She recalls riding behind Arun on his bike in the same weather. She's not aware that the time she's spending with Sameer is nothing but a flashback of her time spent with Arun which she can't relive with Arun now because of business, family and responsibilities.

“I love you.” Meera whispers.

“I love you too.” Sameer lifts her hand, brings it close to his face and gives a kiss.

One rule which we can't deny is that change is inevitable and we must move with time. Maybe Meera is not aware that she will have to pay a price for not moving ahead with time. Or maybe she will wake up before the dawn breaks.
_________________

After endless conversations for months, Meera couldn't resist. They meet at Meera's favourite coffee shop. Meera wants to take this forward today. She's not scared but is excited to see what happens next.

"You look hot," Sameer whispers the compliment as he pulls the chair for her.

Meera blushes. She almost forgot how it felt to dress up for a date and to get a compliment from a boyfriend.

Sameer pulls out a rosebud from his pocket and keeps her in her bag. 99% of woman loves flowers, yet men don't give them that often.

"Why am I getting this rose?"

"Because you came to see me."

"I think I'm your almost girlfriend. We are dating, I get flowers and we share our work stress and achievements." Meera is excited to know the answer.

Sameer laughs. "No, you are my girlfriend."

Meera's face is red. She never thought Sameer would say that. She wanted to play along for some time.

"I love you. You are the most genuine business woman I've ever met." Sameer looks into her eyes to seal this as truth.
____________________

"Madam, aapke liye courier aaya hai." Office boy came in Meera's cabin and informed her.
Meera goes to the office entrance and finds a man standing with a tall bouquet of 1000 red roses.

"Are you Meera Seth?" The delivery boy asks.

"Yes."

He hands over the flowers to her and takes her signature. Meera tries to find the sender name on the card attached to the flowers.

"It doesn't state the sender details," Meera asks the delivery boy.

"Madam, you must be knowing." The delivery boy smiles and leaves.

Meera's phone beeps. "Happy Rose Day" She receives a text from Sameer.

She smiles and returns the message with kisses.

An hour later Arun messages Meera to meet him downstairs their office. Meera walks to Arun's car as he waits for her in the car. The moment she sits in the car Arun picks a bouquet of lotus flowers from the back seat and gives to Meera.

"Happy Rose Day."

Meera's smiles. She takes the flowers from Arun and smells them.

"Wow. I love the flowers."

"Let's go have lunch at some nice place. Where do you want to go?" Arun asks Meera. Love oozing out of her eyes as she stares at Arun.

"Anywhere. Someplace nice and quiet."

That night Meera couldn't sleep.

If I am happy with Arun, why am I happy with Sameer too? I love Arun and I love Sameer too. They both make me happy. Is it a phase? What do I really want? I need to choose.
_____________

The meetings started getting frequent and their relationship was building stronger. One day when they both were on a drive Meera suddenly demands “I want to have an ice cream.”

Sameer agrees and starts looking for an ice cream parlour in the nearby market.

He stops the car at a high ice cream parlour.

“I don’t want to have this ice cream.”

Sameer smiles and asks “Then which ice cream will my baby have.”

Meera giggles “I want to have a kulfi.”

She feels like she’s back in college and she’s 20 again. Sameer finally finds an ice cream cart which has the ice cream Meera wants. While she is relishing the ice cream, Sameer drives the car around.

Sameer races her car on a traffic signal which is about to go red from yellow.

“Arun, did you just…..” Before Meera could finish her sentence she realises she just addresses Sameer as Arun. There is silence in the car.

O shit. Meera you are so silly.

“You want to try the kulfi?” Meera tries to lighten up the mood.
Sameer nods.

Meera should be disturbed at the mess she created but suddenly she has an urge to see Arun and hug him and tell him how much she loves him.

“Drop me to my car, I want to go home.”

Sameer shakes his ahead in approval but doesn’t speak a word.

He drops her to her car and leaves without saying bye. Meera doesn’t notice that he’s not talking much after the incidence. She rushes her car back home. As soon as she reaches home, she finds Arun parking his car too.

She leaves her car on the road side, goes towards Arun’s car and knocks at his window.

As soon as Arun opens the window she smiles at him “I love you and I missed you.”

“Love you too.” Arun is happy to see Meera.

“I want to go out for dinner tonite. Can you ask Deepak if we can drop our daughter at their place for sometime.”

“Ofcourse. Wow you seem to be in a very happy mood today.” Arun is happy to see Meera happy.

“Yes” Meera gives a big smile and a kiss to Arun.
____________

A week later Meera texts Sameer. "I want to see you."

"What happened?" Sameer is annoyed because she’s not texted for a week.

"Nothing. I'm missing you. I want to see you right now."

Sameer sends a smiley with the text, "Meet me at our coffee shop."

Meera enters the coffee shop; Sameer is already waiting for her. She hugs him and quickly takes her seat.

"I am going on vacation with my family for a month to the US." Meera wanted to share her excitement with Sameer.

"Why are you telling me?" Meera could sense Sameer's discomfort on her spending good time with her family.

"I wanted to see you before I leave for a month." Meera tries to be honest.

"Go then, you must be having loads to pack. Don't waste your time." Sameer leaves Meera alone at the coffee shop.

Meera gets her wake up call. She felt she's been visiting her good times in the present with a different person. She enters her home with a long face.

"Hi. What happened?" Arun could read her face; the bubbly Meera can't hide her feelings from anyone.

"Nothing." Meera avoids answering and Arun is the last person she wants to talk about it.

"Seriously, nothing. Then why are you looking so dull." Arun is worried because Meera never returns so low after meeting her friends. That's what Meera told him.

Arun gives her a hug and she felt like he just caught her from falling into the deepest ocean. A warm vibe just dropped her baggage which she was crying all the way back home.

"Let's pack; we are going on vacation to the USA." His enthusiasm and energy again got infused in Meera.

During her flight, when everyone else was sleeping Meera revisited last 2 years. She had enough time to find out what was she looking for in her relationship with Sameer? Why did she need a Sameer in her life? What was there in the past that she missed the most and why can't she have it in her future? 

And the most important question was what would she want her future to be?

She found her answers but she chose her vacation a priority. She packed and dumped Sameer in her subconscious and enjoyed her vacation. While coming back she opened up the chapter again and made her decision.

Present Day

"I knew you love him more than me." Sameer knew he would lose one day.

"Yes, I love him more than anything in this world." It was clear to Meera now what she wanted in her future.

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