The events of one particular drunken night changes Liz’s and Ziaan’s relationship. The short story digs through Liz’s state of confusion, disappointment and hurt with regard to them and how she comes in terms with Ziaan.


The music playing in the living room could be heard faintly. Ziaan and I were sitting in the balcony of the living room, in Zahreen’s house. My head lay tilted on his shoulder, while he was smoking his sixth cigarette of that night and sipping his glass of whiskey, alternatively. The others were in the living room, sitting and talking to each other in low decibels. We were a group of ten people in Zahreen’s house, including Zahreen. Our energies and enthusiasm had died down a few minutes ago. We were tired and exhausted from all the dancing and screaming. It was about 2 am. Zian pulled me closer than we already were. I lifted my face to look at him. I was still a little tipsy. He kissed me on my forehead, gently. My eyes watched the way in which our hands locked themselves in a tight embrace and the way our fingers slid in the empty spaces. My head went back to the same position as before.

I think we should go inside and sit with everyone else. He took our hands which were still locked in their embrace and planted a kiss on my hand.

Why are you in a hurry, love? Stay here with me for a while. My heart skipped a beat when he called me “love”. We’ve used this term of endearment a number of times whenever we’d text message each other, but he gave the word a voice for the very first time and it just felt different. I smiled and repeated what he did. I lifted our inter-locked hands and kissed the side of his hand.


We remained silent. I lifted my head from his shoulder and I caught him looking at me. I liked the way he looked into my eyes. It felt like his gaze was only meant for me and nobody else. He came closer. I could feel his breath on my face. I could smell the alcohol and smoke in his breath. He lifted my face and we kissed. We had crossed the line that night. We had crossed the line several times that night. But it didn’t feel wrong. Crossing those lines left us in a confused, yet happy state. An indefinable happiness.

The next morning around 10:45 am, the sunlight which entered through the space left uncovered by the curtains, fell on my face, forcing me to open my eyes. I stared hard at the window for a few seconds and realized that I wanted to sleep for some more time. I was about to turn myself to the other side to escape from all the sunlight, when I noticed a hand wrapped around my waist. I recognized a watch wrapped around the wrist of the hand and I realized that the hand belonged to Ziaan. I turned my entire self to face Ziaan. He was in deep sleep with his mouth wide open. I gently closed his mouth, shut. I stared at him. Suddenly all the events from the previous night came rushing together in flashes. It all felt like a dream; a very unbelievable dream.

I lifted myself up slowly. I looked around. Everyone was scattered in various parts of the living room. I walked toward the washroom which was inside Zahreen’s room.

After a few minutes when I walked out of the washroom, I shivered on seeing Ziaan sitting on the bed.

Oh my God! He chuckled. Sorry to freak you out like that. I laughed in reply. Our eyes met. The both of us found ourselves blushing.

Did you sleep okay?

Yes, I did. What about you?

I did, I did.

Oh, good.

I slowly walked toward him and sat next to him on the bed. Our hands crawled toward each other and locked themselves in a tight embrace. We turned to face each other.


Hi, you!

We came closer and our lips almost touched when suddenly we heard someone call out to us. We moved away from each other in an instant and then got up to walk out of the room.

Ziaan and I left Zahreen’s house after an hour. We walked toward the auto rickshaw stand to catch an auto. He forced me to take the first one which was approaching. I did not protest and quietly listened to him. It felt like he had this power over me, all of a sudden. Once he told the rickshaw driver where he had to take me, we hugged and to my surprise he planted a kiss on my cheek. I blushed and saw the same reflect on his face when I separated myself from the embrace. We said our goodbyes and I sat inside the rickshaw.


Was I falling in love with Ziaan? This was a question which constantly kept playing in my head over the next couple of weeks. Our days were spent together always side by side, when with the rest of the group and our nights were spent together, speaking or chatting over the phone. We’d never miss a chance to sit next to each other or walk with each other, whenever we were with our group or in class, in college. Our hands would secretly embrace each other, trying to escape the gazes from everyone around. There were times when we would fly into a parallel universe, forgetting about the people around us. We didn’t know what we were doing. We never spoke about that night which triggered all the change in our friendship. We just spent our days losing ourselves into each other. I found myself becoming nervous and conscious around him but we were still comfortable with each other, as before. We had become even more comfortable.

I denied the feelings which were beginning to grow for him. I did not realize that I was actually beginning to fall in love with Ziaan. I spent most of the days denying these strong feelings because he wasn’t in love with me, he never could be.

How could you even say that without asking him or telling him how you feel?

Because, only a week before that particular night, he broke up with his girlfriend who he has been in love with, ever since he can remember.

That doesn’t mean you cannot allow things to happen.

Of course I can’t!

Why not?!

Let me just remind you that he and I were under the influence of alcohol that night. Whatever happened was because he was in a bad place and he was vulnerable and he just needed someone to be with, to make himself feel better. Whatever happened and what is happening right now, is simply a phase and nothing more. I’m just his rebound and that is all.

Liz, I get where you’re going with all of this. But sweetie, there just seems to be something between you’ll that’s pulling you’ll toward each other.

I remained silent for a few seconds and then said, I don’t know.

Was there really something between us? Was it worth fighting for? I didn’t know. Rather, I was too scared to know. I was in a high that I did not want to get out of.

      A month passed. But slowly and very slyly, we began drifting apart. I observed a change in his behavior toward me. He disallowed our hands to secretly embrace each other.

I began to feel that I did not deserve to be a part of his existence. He refused to sit beside me or walk with me. Even if we were together, alone, words died. I was reduced to a stranger. Someone who he would just not acknowledge or talk to, most of the times. Weeks passed on like this. It became worse in the course of those weeks. I wanted to scream and tell him how badly he was making me feel. But I couldn’t and didn’t want to because none of this was affecting him. Eventually I learnt to shut all the voices in my head which were trying to break free from the prison I was putting them in.

After three weeks and four days, he spoke to me. I was sitting alone in the college canteen sipping a cup of black coffee and reading Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk. I was completely engrossed in the book that I hadn’t realized that he was sitting beside me. It took a Hi from his side to make me acknowledge his presence.

Hi, sorry, I didn’t realize you were sitting beside me. He smiled with his lips pressed against each other.

What are you reading?

Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk.

How is it?

It’s very interesting. You must read it.

Hmm, yeah.

What happened?


How come you decided to talk to me today?

What do you mean?

You’ve spent the past couple of weeks completely ignoring me, so you know exactly what I mean. I realized that I was getting louder with each word that came out of my mouth and he just remained silent.

I’m sorry Liz.

You know what, I don’t need your sorry right now. It isn’t going to magically fix anything.

I’m sorry Liz.

No, you aren’t. I found myself getting up and leaving. I suddenly stopped and turned to face him. He sat there looking at me. I walked and sat beside him. My eyes remained fixed on the table.

That night you told me that you wouldn’t do anything to hurt me but your behavior in the past couple of weeks has done otherwise. I know I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with you but I did and I hate the fact that I actually feel all these feelings for you. Not only because you’d never return any of these feelings but also because you’re treating me like I’ve done something terribly wrong to you. I know that you’re going through a whole bunch of emotions right now, but you have no right to disregard someone or their feelings.

He remained silent while I got up and left, not returning back this time.

After that particular conversation, the bridges between us began to widen. We grew farther apart from each other. I remember scrolling down my picture gallery on my phone, late into the night and coming across our pictures. I missed the two people in those pictures, especially the boy. That conversation made me realize how much I didn’t need him in my life. I finally got answers to the questions which kept dancing in my head. No, he wasn’t worth fighting for because if he was truly a friend or even loved me, he would find a way to stay in my life.