Mahesh peered myopically at the poster which had a loving couple all over each other. In spite of his thick glasses, he was unable to read the small words in the gathering gloom.
Today was St. Valentine’s Day and he was with a heavy heart. At this age, he didn’t have a hope for a girlfriend, but doesn’t he have a right to it? Isn’t it written somewhere in the constitution about equality, in spite of age or sex? Apparently, they were just empty words like those on this poster. Everyone knew that they are there, but no one cared or believed in them, except the really needy ones like Mahesh, who hoped them to be true.
Suddenly he was rudely shoved aside by a punk with spiked hair. Some college kid. Don’t these guys have any manners or care for someone his age? Mahesh went to a corner table and moodily reflected on the day’s events.
He had loved Ms Joan Angelo since a long time. She was an attractive divorcee in her late twenties and was followed by every guy in the school staff. Mahesh didn’t dare to propose her as there was a huge age difference between them. He knew that he didn’t have a chance, especially as she was responding favorably to a tall and handsome PT teacher. Mahesh was a firm believer that age and looks never mattered in true love, but he doubted if Joan shared his sentiments.
Today was the universal Lover’s Day. So, he dared and bought a Valentine’s card. Gaudy, pink and all hearts, and went in the staff room when he was sure that she’s alone. He could have predicted the result! Joan looked at the card, then at his perspiring face, and burst out laughing. “Well, Mahesh! I can’t say that I’m not flattered, but look at your age! I do love you, but not the way you think! I’m very fond of you, but love is something else!” and she tried to chock in her laughter. Mahesh’s ears burned with humiliation. Behind the thick glasses his eyes seemed more owlish than usual. He just fled from the scene of accident. Mortified. That’s how he ended up at the Pizza Hut.
It was getting late. He knew that his family will be worried about him, but the only thing he cared for now was his broken heart. How can the light of his life be extinguished so brutally? He stared vacantly at the bright lights around him, which increased the darkness in his heart. Couples sitting with their partners enhanced his despondency and loneliness.
Suddenly he was pushed by that college punk. “Hey, move over! Sit somewhere else.”, the kid smirked. This was too much for Mahesh! He snapped. All the pent up frustration in him found a suitable vent. He got up and shoved the spiked guy. The punk was startled as if a lamb has bitten him! He wasn’t expecting any resistance from this quarter! Then, his male ego kicked in and he started thrashing Mahesh. Mahesh was no match for the young and muscular guy. The buttons of his shirt broke and the pocket was torn. The hunk slapped him hard and his glasses fell down and broke. People intervened and separated them. Mahesh straightened his clothes, lifted his bag and left for his home.
He was worried. How will he explain his parents about his torn school uniform and broken glasses? His puppy love gone out of his childish mind. Suddenly he froze! What if Ms Angelo complained to the principal!
There goes a very lonely, lovesick and worried boy on St Valentine’s Day!