“Stop being a monk and tell her. Nothing changes if you don’t tell her.”

“No, if I do that, I lose a friend. And she loses a friend. I can’t do that to her.”

I take a long swig of the beer bottle. I hate alcohol. I don’t even know why I was drinking.

“Or she may feel the same way and like you back.”

I laugh. “That’s unlikely but even more scary. What am I supposed to do if that happens?”

“You’ll know if that is the case.”

“I’m not ready for this. I wasn’t ready for this to happen. We are not ready for this.” It played like a mantra in my head.

“I don’t think you get to pick when, where and with whom you fall in love. You just need to be open to it.”

“I am. I love her. But that doesn’t mean I have to do anything. No one gets hurt as long as I stay silent.”

“Not true. Not telling her is killing you inside. It will slowly eat you alive. You need to do this. You have to act on your feelings. You can’t keep them inside.”

I stay silent.

“Besides, she deserves to know the truth. That’s the least you can do. Offer her the truth.”

“If she even remotely felt the same way, she would know precisely how I feel. You can’t look into my eyes and not know how I feel. I’m terrible at hiding my feelings.”

“You cannot know that. She’s not a mind-reader. Besides, how much time do you spend with her?”

“Not much. I think she likes me. But not like that.”

“And you’ll keep wondering till you ask her out. I love everything you do but you are such a chickenshit.”

“What I am supposed to say to her? I’m in love with you, but I can’t really offer you anything. I don’t even know if I’ll be around tomorrow but I want to be with you? It’s pathetic. It’s going to come out of left field and scare the shit out of her and create this awkwardness between us.”

“No one knows if they will be around tomorrow. You have to seize the day!”

“Now you sound like a fortune cookie.”

“You can make fun of me all you want. But you need to tell her. If she’s as beautiful as you make her sound, she needs to hear it from you. And if she doesn’t feel the same way, then she’s just stupid. But you will be able to move on.”

“What am I supposed to do? Just drop the bomb and let her decide?”

“You like those sappy Bollywood movies. Pick one of the scenes where the hero proposes to the girl and carry it out. Just do it.”

“That’s such hetero-normative shit.”

“And you love it.”

I laugh and shake my head. But she was right. This was like a movie. If I loved her the way I thought I did, I should be ready to let her go.

I turn to her and take her hand in mine. My heart was hammering in my chest and I could swear that she could hear it. I love the way our hands fit together.

“It’s you.”

I remove my sunglasses so that she could read my eyes.

“I love you.”

I expect her to remove her hand and slap me. She doesn’t budge. I smile. She’s right. I’ve spent too much time worrying about her reactions rather than my own actions. It was time to close a chapter and start penning another one.

“What took you so long?”

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