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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: May 19, 2020      Views: 30

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Exceptional
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The truth about Teenage friendships!
"Garbage" by Anuradha Dev



Garbage

Have you ever felt like garbage? I did that day.

Teenage friendships are shallow. I had heard, but it never concerned me before because I didn't have any friends. Until one year, I lost my luck and got adopted by a group of popular kids.

My name is Gauri. I was in the last year of high school. I was smart and funny, but to be popular, you need to be hot, athletic, and mean. I was none.

I joined CLAT tuitions that year. Siddharth and Riddhi were my batchmates there. They also studied at my school. They never interacted enough in school with me to become friends, but the new independent setting of after school classes made me bold, and I would talk to them for hours.

Sometimes we bunked classes and sat at a cafe just to hang out. I had never done that earlier. I felt guilty about it, but not enough to stop.

I had a crush on Siddharth. He was witty, cool, and chivalrous. A couple of times when my mom was late to pick me up from the class, he would wait with me, so that I wouldn't have to stand alone on the street.

Once he was busy with cricket practice and missed a week of classes. When he came to class, I asked him, "How was your tournament?"

He replied, "Not good. We lost."

"Oh! I am sorry."

"Gauri, do you think our parents love us? Or we are just something that they like to brag about to their friends, like the European cruise vacations, we had four years back."

I laughed. He continued, "I mean, I work so hard. I attend the full day of school, then stay back for sports. After reaching home, I am hardly there for an hour; again, I am pushed here for another three hours." He stopped for good measure. "And then if you are not able to perform, you are termed lazy, entitled and ungrateful. Is it fair?"

I was thrilled he was asking my opinion. I said, "I know, Siddh. My parents are always disappointed in me because I am not athletic and do not work out for hours every day, like them. I always want to tell them, 'do whatever you want to with your own bodies, leave mine alone.'"

We had a long chat that day. His openness encouraged me to think that he liked me too.

In school, he had a friend, Zinnia. She was the one responsible for my becoming part of the popular crowd. She was hot. The kind of girl who gave me an inferiority complex about my body. But she was nice. When I got the chance to know her better, we became friends.

She and Riddhi were best friends. I became the part of their group after Zinnia announced she loved my sense of humor and liked spending time with me. And I was one of them, just like that.

They were fun to be with. I had never been a part of a group. I was loving it.

We shared stories of our hanging out and shared jokes on Instagram. I used to stalk Siddharth's profile. I talked to him non-stop through Instagram chat. Sometimes he chatted with me even when he was in a class.

Once I gathered the courage and asked him whether he liked someone. He said yes but was very secretive about it.

I decided he was shy, so even if he liked me, he wouldn't propose. I would have to be the bold one.

I wrote a poem for him. I send it to him.

Gauri11: "I want to be your favourite hello,
And your hardest goodbye.
I want to be the one who makes you cry,
And the one who puts the sparkle in your eye."

I waited for his response for an eternity.

Siddh17: Wow! Gauri, it's beautiful. I didn't know you write.

Gauri11: I know, I write good, but why do you think I sent this to you?

Siddh17: Umm...you want my opinion on it.

Gauri11: No, you, idiot. I wrote this for you.

Siddh17: What? Wow! I don't know what to say, Gauri.

Gauri11: Relax, Siddh, take your time. I can be patient.

Whereas my mind was crying a big 'NO.'

After a couple of hours, I texted him when I didn't get a response from him.

Gauri11: You know I can't wait for a week, or even 24 hours. I might just suffer a brain hemorrhage before the next sunrise.

Siddh17: Oh, Gauri! You are an amazing girl, but I like someone else.

I should have known when he wasn't thrilled to read my poem.

Gauri11: It's okay, Siddh. Now that you have broken my heart, you owe it to me to tell me who she is.

Siddh17: It's Zinnia. Please don't tell anyone because I haven't told her yet.

Of course, it had to be Zinnia. Teenage boys are so predictable. They will take good looks and hot body anyday against good nature and kind heart. I thought Siddh was different, but apparently not.

But I couldn't stay mad at him for long because Zinnia was not a horrible person. She was my friend. I liked her. Rejection always stings, even when it was justified. I was depressed.

Riddhi and I lived in the same neighborhood and went to class together. I told her everything. She was sympathetic. I asked her to sleepover at my place that weekend, and she agreed.

Shortly after this, Siddharth proposed to Zinnia, and she said yes. I wasn't surprised because looking at all the dumbass jocks in my class; I knew she didn't have much choice.

Siddharth was an amazing person. She was lucky to have him.

With time and Riddhi's help, I got over the jealousy that stirred in me whenever I saw them together.

While Zinnia was busy with Siddharth, Riddhi became my close friends.

We often had sleepovers. During one of such sleepovers, Zinnia called Riddhi. We were at my house.

Zinnia was upset. She wanted to see Riddhi and talk to her about her problem, but when Riddhi told her that she was staying at my place, Zinnia hung up the phone.

Riddhi looked at me, wide-eyed. "What the hell! She just hung up on me."

"Call her back."

"No! She was the one who hung up."

I shrugged and thought they would sort it out themselves.

We watched 'Suits' on Netflix late at night. Riddhi put up a story on Instagram about it. I suspected that she had put it on for Zinnia.

Zinnia replied to her story. Riddhi smiled triumphantly and showed me her message. It said,
"Sorry for hanging up on you. Can we talk now?"

Zinnia called her. I left the living room to give them privacy.

After forty-five minutes, Riddhi came into my room and whispered, "Are you asleep?"

"No, what happened?"

She told me that Zinnia and Siddharth fought. She was crying the whole time on the call. She didn't offer any more details, neither did I ask.

That night we slept at 4 a.m. just gossiping about random stuff.

On Monday, when I saw Zinnia at school and waved at her, she waved, but her response was cold.

At the lunch break, she wasn't talking to me. It felt intentional. I left their table as I felt like an outsider.

I tried to reason that she was upset about her fight with Siddharth, but then after some time, I saw both of them talking and laughing together.

I was hurt, and I didn't know what I had done. I decided to ask her after school.

After school, I asked Zinnia to wait. She looked at me, stone-faced. After everyone was gone, I wondered, "Zinnia, are you angry with me? I thought you liked me, and we were friends."

She laughed, "Gauri, I don't know if you are naive or extra smart? Just because Siddharth and Riddhi were nice to you, you thought you are part of our group."

I was shocked, "I don't understand."

"Oh! You don't! Bullshit! I know what you are upto. First, you flirt with my boyfriend and propose to him. Then when you didn't succeed, you try to steal my best friend from me. Have you ever looked at yourself? You think you can compete with me. Ha! What a joke." she gave me a middle finger and left.

I looked at her receding back and fought back my tears.

After reaching home, I tried to call Riddhi and Siddharth to tell them to talk to Zinnia. But both of them didn't pick my phone.

Riddhi replied later via text- "Listen right now I am with Zinnia. Can't talk to you. I know she is unreasonable, but she is my best friend, I have to support her. She is just insecure. She needs me."

Siddharth didn't even call me back.

I didn't go to the class that day. My heart was shattered. Siddharth's rejection hadn't stung this much. I had three friends yesterday; today I had none. How can people just dispose of people from their lives like garbage?

The end

Author Notes
A similar real life incidence occurred in my daughter's life.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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