Valentine hangout, a phrase Mitchell had come across in the series of love stories she had read without for once nursing the idea of putting it to test. The story she read last was still fresh in her memory. Haven read quiet a number, recollecting them individually had become an issue, but this particular one remained fresh in her memory. One could rightly describe it as stuck! How she wished the story never ended! The description of the fantasy and awakened emotions got her salivating for more. The romance she thought was going to explode was suddenly cut short the moment the protagonist found her hat. “Wow! The TRAVELLER’S hat by Dera would have been a best seller if she turned it into a novel” she would always tell herself whenever she recollected the story.
Being a working class single lady without much friends, Valentine period was never her favorite time of the year. As though being single at 30 wasn’t bad enough, she was equally not people friendly. She had lived in Phoenix, Arizona since she was 27 yet, couldn’t boast of having made a single friend. Worse is the fact that she knew close to nothing what the names of her neighbours were. The little she could remember was that a young beautiful red head lived next door. She could still remember the unforgetable incident that took place just a few days to Christmas the previous year. The red head had been involved in a serious argument that resulted in a fight with one petite blond. She had been too scared to go outside but she could pretty much hear what the fight was about from her window, her dog in her hands. She kept peeping, entertaining both herself and her dog till the police came and the fight was disolved. She still found it difficult to believe that two young pretty ladies would want to fight to death because of a man.
The incident had discouraged her from extending a hand of friendship not just to her neighbours but to everyone in general. She was a wonderful singer and a good keyboardist… something she had learnt from her dad, growing up. Whenever she wasn’t busy with work related stuff, she would always bury her head in singing and playing her keyboard or in reading stories from her favorite authors….Something she always did, especially during the Valentine periods, to cub her loneliness. It was another Valentine and it seemed like all caution had been thrown to the wind. She had exhausted everything she knew how to do yet, still felt so deserted and alone.
A hard knock on her door brought her back to reality. “I’m coming” , she managed to say. Squizzing her face and murmuring some incomprehensible words, she quietly stood from the spot she had been seated on for God knows how long, to go get the door. The shock on her face when she opened the door got her looking more ridiculous. Her red head neighbor was standing at the other side of the door…her first visit to Mitchell’s room since she moved into the neighborhood 3years back. “Yes, how may I help you?” She asked, wearing an expression that screamed “you are not welcomed here”. “My name is…” “Skip that part. Just move over to the part where you tell me what you are doing in my room.!” Mitchell interupted rudely to the shock of her neighbor.
A friend of mine came into town with his friend and he has asked me to come with a female friend… She was beginning to stammer as Mitchell gave her a look that burrowed into her soul. “Alright, I get it. I know we haven’t been in talking terms but… you are free to say no if you are not interested. He wants us to hang out. Ordinarily, I would have called my friend Lucy but we didn’t part on a good note the last time we met. “You mean to say the last time you fought?” Mitchell cut in, still wearing her cold expression. Okay! This was a bad idea. “I’m so sorry to bother you” the red head said and turned to leave. Wait! How do I know that I will be safe around you guys? For all I know this could be a plot to endanger my life!
For someone who didn’t like outdoor activities, Mitchell was having such a good time. The restaurant was so fanciful and her companions were madly fun to be around. She couldn’t help but imagine what she had knowingly denied herself for years. Her neighbor, whom she had just discovered to be Melisa was cool, as opposed to her earlier notion of her. They were eating, drinking, gisting and laughing. It was the best moment Mitchell has had in a really long time, maybe in forever even. It was in the course of the discussion that she discovered that Melisa was a Lawyer and that her friend, Lucy had fought her because her boyfriend had called it quits the moment he set his eyes on Melisa. Even though Melisa never said yes to him, Lucy still accused her of being responsible for their split up.
The Valentine hangout marked the beginning of a new friendship. Mitchell allowed herself have friends for the first time in her life. The sudden transformation surprised even herself. Melisa and the guys, especially Jake, the one she was beginning to let her guards down for, had unlimited access to her house. She could even eat out now, hang out with friends and go on dates with Jake…Things she never thought she would do a few months back. One thing needed clarification: who was Jake to her? She still wasn’t sure…He passed for both a best friend and a crush!