Updated: Sep 14
Is being rejected painful? Can one be contented with being a second choice? Should the rejected put others through the same pain when the tables are turned? Can individuals treat the rest like an option when they have been treated as one?
“Her Choice” by Chethana Nagulapalli explores these questions through two characters in a love-hate relationship by keeping its readers fixated on oscillating emotions.
It was just another normal day at college until lunch break because out of nowhere he came and stood before me proposing in the corridor that led to our class. It was unbelievable to even realise how the moment I had wished for years didn’t make any difference when it really happened. We had been friends since the first year of our bachelors and it was no secret that I admired him so much that all of our friends teased us observing our dynamic, from the first semester itself.
He honestly had a lasting impression on me ever since we first met. Maybe I was too gullible back then or maybe he really had a vibe that somehow made me feel I was pretty close to him for no reason and life felt like a fairy tale with love in the air.
In the first year, I didn’t say a word but always hoped he would propose, but he didn’t. In the second year, my love for him kept on increasing and my hopes were off the charts considering how we were now seniors and couples popped up every day in our class, but he didn’t. Not wanting to waste a single day in our third year, I proposed on the very first day of our fifth semester, but to my surprise, he mentioned that I wasn’t the love of his life.
Maybe because I didn’t even think that could be a response, I was shattered. I felt a pain that couldn’t be explained and with every passing moment, I had this terrific realization that my dreams will just continue being dreams and nothing more. My crazy ideas of us being together had in fact no place in the face of reality and there I was, lonely and rejected.
It took a long time to accept the truth that he doesn’t have any feelings for me and in this journey, I realised this was neither the end nor it even such a big deal. I understood that it was just my presumptions and misunderstandings that lead to this bitter spot in my life.
At the same time, I also realised that this clown who clearly knew the vibe between us for about two years never even took a moment to clarify it. However, he had the audacity to tell me, “You are just a good friend to me and have always been since the beginning.”
After going through the cycle of rejection that was absolutely unnecessary now that I think of it, I got to know that my hero had his eye on another classmate of mine for a while now. They shared a vibe apparently. It was no secret that she had her own appeal but so did I. But for some reason, she attracted him. The same person who stood before me now had actually ended up proposing to her just a month ago and got a reality check when she just called him a brother.
Now somehow, he stood before me as if nothing happened and plucked a budding sunflower from one of the pots on either side of the corridor before saying, “I’m sorry for not respecting our bond and I truly wish to take care of you…”
Maybe there was a part of him that just wished, I would say, “I don’t care about what happened and all I want is to be with you from now and forever.”
Looking at me staying silent, he acknowledged, “I gave my heart to a heartless person who never understood me in life. She made me realise your worth and how much you truly mean.”
His statement made me realise I had to now give him my best and I just couldn’t help but be baffled by the way he considered me as an object.
On that sunny afternoon, as the hot air filled the space between us, relishing the scene with a smile, I replied, “Fuck off, jackass!”
And God, nothing ever felt sweeter.
This anthology is available in paperback & ebook.