Aathi has been friends with Malar for the longest time. If memory serves him right, they’ve been friends since Pre-K, when she punched a little boy in the nose because he was making fun of Aathi. From that day on, they’ve been inseparable.
He’s never met anyone like her. She’s always full of life, a no nonsense kind of girl who knows what she wants and goes after it. She’s got gumption, all right!
Now in their 30s, Aathi has seen her through some rough times in her life: death of a most beloved grandmother, heartaches over crushes and lost loves, and most recently, the closing down of her book shop after 10 years in the business. Hard times and recession forced her hand into giving up her dreams.
Malar, on the other hand, has picked him up quite a few times, too. She was there when his parents went through divorce during his Senior Year in high school; she was there when his fiancée ran off with his college roommate; and she took him in when he got evicted from his apartment.
Through it all, he has never seen her as anything more than a best friend – a permanent fixture in his life come hell or high water. But over the past couple of weeks, he started noticing her as a woman, a very attractive and beautiful woman inside and out.
“What is this I’m feeling? Why now?” Aathi wondered to himself.
Since he started having these strange feelings for her, he’s been keeping a distance between them. Until he can figure out how he truly feels about Malar, he can’t afford to see her just yet. He knows he’s probably hurting Malar by staying away without telling her why, but he can’t risk telling her how he feels because he hasn’t figured it out!
In the meantime, he has got to keep her at bay.
For Malar’s part, she has been wondering why Aathi has been avoiding her. Every time she calls, all she gets is his answering machine; and he never returns any of her phone calls. When she drops by his house, no one’s home all the time.
“Where could he be? Why is he doing this to me?” Malar would often cry out at night.
She can only think of one reason why he’s been avoiding her the past couple of weeks. Somehow, he found out that she has fallen in love with him.