“I got this. I’m finishing it. Lemme play one more round.”
*40 minutes remaining*
“I haven’t started. But it should take just about half an hour.”
*20 minutes remaining*
“15 minutes is all it’s gonna take. No issues at all.”
*5 minutes remaining*
“ WHAT WAS I DOING ALL THIS TIME AAAAAA!!!”
The assignment submission deadline passed. Eyes wary and hands numb, the bed seemed heavenly. Enter dreamland (cue the operatic section). But this place wasn’t the same as always. The professor entered the class. He said words that could never be imagined even in the wildest of dreams. “Good job with the assignment, Mr. Vincent! Keep up the good work!” A warm glow of happiness settled in, defying the freezing temperatures outside. A strange figure entered the room in a while. No reason why someone from the 10th grade should enter. But maybe, just maybe, she’d joined new.
“Hi!! How are you? It’s been so long since I saw you.”
“Huh? Who are you?”
“Whoa. I’ve grown that much beyond recognition, huh. I’m Vincent. 10th grade?”
“I was in an all girls school back then. I’m sorry, you must be mistaken.”
Embarrassment was clouded with misjudgment. How could one be so wrong? Then something happened. A rumbling sound followed by what felt like an earthquake. An eternal pit of despair seemed to open up and when a light came back in, the classroom had somehow transformed into the room where the laptop was shining brightly.
Groggy and shaken up, the walk downstairs for a glass of water seemed dreadful as the clock struck a bell at 4:00 AM.
“Well, no harm sleeping peacefully now. The assignment is a thing of the past.” *fist-bump*
But the eyes remained glued to the laptop. Sleep was just a physical thing now, not something that could tamper with the brain cells.
Sunrise, sunshine, could be the start of a bright day. “The professor is gonna love seeing me these days. I’ll sure as hell keep up to his standards.”
The bus arrived and an unexpected sight presented itself within. The same girl from that day. Lips frowned and eyes swooped down from the potentially awkward situation at hand. The plot went down when she came and asked “May I sit here? The bus is more crowded than I had imagined”
“S- Sure. Um… Yeah, n-not an issue”.
The next set of words delivered a critical blow.
“You must be in the same class if you’re coming at this ungodly hour. I don’t think we have met. You are?”
“I-I… Wait… What? Didn’t we meet that day and you told you didn’t know me? That you were from an all-girls school?”
“Why, yes. I am. How did you know?”
“You told me!”
“I’m seeing you for the first time today. Did you stalk me?”
Long sullen silence. The bus arrived at the college. She hastily got away and went ahead.
The classroom door seemed strangely different. Same old walls echoed with the professor’s scoldings.
“Robert?!!” “You didn’t submit your assignment again!! You’ll be meeting me in my room today evening. You’ve got some real work to do.”
The day became too much. Embarrassment became two-fold.
“Nora!! Good job with the assignment! Keep up the good work!”
That girl. That girl who had smirked her face at the doors of the bus. That girl with the long hair who’d asked if she could sit along.
“What. Is. Happening?!”
The sun went behind the clouds, slowly erasing itself toward the horizon. The rays came in with its sharp presence marked with dust as the professor opened the door while dusting off an old book.
“Sit down. I’ve noticed something is wrong with you. What is happening?”
“I wanted to ask you something as well. Didn’t you just tell “Good job Mr. Vincent”, that day?”
“Yes. He’d done well that day.”
“It was me!”
The silences became bullets that ricocheted off each other accompanied by bewildered stares. Another figure emerged from behind. That same voice. That same voice that had caused the immediate preceding silence.
“Could you give that book you had suggested, Sir?”
The professor gave the book in his hand. “Here, Nora. I was just taking it off”
“See Robert? Look at her. Getting things done in advance. I’ve never seen you prepare beforehand for anything.”
“Sir. What is happening here?”
“What is it, Robert? Get some sleep first, you look more like a zombie to me.”
“Who is Robert?”
Nora joined in. “You are. I checked up with the other girls. Apparently, you had sent a friend request. Sorry for my comments earlier.”
“Wait. Your name is Nora? I thought you were Lara. I sent a friend request because we were friends. And Nora.. the name seems vaguely familiar. Oh my god!! ”
“Okay. Something is definitely wrong here. You are Robert. You haven’t submitted the assignment at all. I’ve seen you playing some game after I collected my previous assignment when I caught you using Facebook in class. Get yourself checked with a psychiatrist. Here, I know someone, she’s good at what she does.”
The walk outside was difficult with trembling legs and shaking hands.
On the way, some guys sat around playing the same game that was waiting at his home in his laptop. “Lara is hard to get dude. The guy just won’t let us get past him. And Vincent, who’s this dude who has your name? He’s active at the weirdest of hours.”
“I’m Vincent Stewart bro. This guy seems to like my name. He’s around the corner probably.”
“Somehow you floor us and the professor with your skills”, his friends joined in.
Things were getting really uncomfortable.
Suddenly, unwanted notification sounds popped up. The bright screen of the phone was marked with two tabs.
“Nora has accepted your friend request.”
This notification didn’t catch him out of his wind, he meekly swiped it. The next one made him gasp.