One million stars

“Are you okay? Hey! to me”.
His voice sounded coarse and rough like the rope that would pull her out of the misery. Yes, he was The Rope. She reached out and unlatched the bathroom. Sitting compact in one corner, he saw her: shoulders heaving, panting heavily and trembling all over. He moved over to her side on the bathroom floor laden with posh Turkish carpets and rubbed her back while she strived to fill herself with life saving oxygen. He got up slightly to splash some water on her face and he saw blood in the wash basin.
“What the fuck? Are you fucking okay??”, he said, alarmed, concerned, scared and angry. She did not answer. She did not even move. Just clenched her sides tightly as if her she’d spill her guts if she didn’t. He looked at her and slowly moved over to the floor beside her; putting his hands around her, occasionally rubbing her back.
“My name is Samuel. Call me Sam. Can I get you something?”
“Hi Sam!”
“Can I get you something? Water? Lemon juice?”
She did not answer.
“Are you here with friends?”
She did not answer.
“Can I call someone for you?”
She did not answer.
“Did you drink on an empty stomach?”
She did not answer.
“Can I get you home or something?”
“Can you please shut up?”
“Huh? Haha. Okay!”.
He held her for a long time; at least what seemed like a long time to her. She broke the silence after some time. “Thanks. I’m better now.”
“Sure! Want me to help you up?”
She contemplated over this question. Did she really want to be helped up? Did she want to get up? Did she want to leave that carpet laden cubicle? Did she want to face people & answer their questions?
She held her hand out to him; he slowly pulled her up and held her by the waist for some time when she finally stood up. He helped her to the wash basin and let the water run for sometime. He held her hair back for her while she washed her face. Cold running water gave her renewed strength; her stomach stopped hurting & though she looked weary, she felt better. She stood straight on her own but his scared self did not let him leave her hand. She ran her fingers through her hair and checked for blood stains on her dress. Surprisingly, there were none! Her short, black strapless dress was clean with just a few creases. She looked around for her jimmy choo pumps and carried them outside the cubicle with her.
She handed him her phone which instantly lit up with someone’s text message.
“Soo..your name is Cookie huh? Well Cookie, you’ve had a lot to drink. And that’s not good”.
“I’m not supposed to be drinking. Do you have a joint?”
He swiftly took a packet out from his jeans, flicked it open and took two joints rolled carefully out. She picked one out with her mouth and he lit it for her, plonking down beside her & lighting up his own. He looked at her exhale the thick, white effervescent smoke, her eyes closed in placid surrender; as if that was her elixir. He suddenly questioned his judgement about giving her the joint after she’d thrown up massive amounts of blood.
“Are you sure…?”
“Mm hmm”, she cut him off, “I don’t know how that happened. It was the first time. This usually never happens. I’m a fucking tank”.
He laughed.
“You’re not from around here, are you?”
“I’m from Bombay.”
“Judgemental freak”
“Hahaha no man. I mean until today, I’d only HEARD that Bombay chicks are crazy when it comes to alcohol. How do you find Delhi?”
“I love Aura! & you’re not a rapist.”
“You’re funny when you’re sober”
“I’m even funnier when I’m not”
“Wait. You’re not going to drink more, are you? You should go home”
“You should finish off that joint before I attack it”
“Cookie! You’re not drinking anymore!”
“Have you ever done shotguns?”
Without waiting for an answer she reached out for his joint, placed the burning end in her mouth and beckoned him to come closer. She took one deep drag, her senses numbed, leaned in to him and exhaled; mouth to mouth, a million stars falling on either side of the bridge that the white, beautiful vapours formed from her mouth to his; their lips curling into each other’s. The vapours filled his mouth and his throat like a deep passionate kiss; his hand placed on his side slid down her bare back; but soon, hit by instant euphoria and numbness, their lips parted and he slumped back, feeling dazed, intoxicated, blurred and distorted. Her child-like chuckling echoed in his ears
He heard her receding foot steps; the sound of her jimmy Choos clattering, striking against the metallic floor. They flooded each other’s thoughts.
She walked out of the washroom, ran her fingers through her curly locks one last time and joined the mad crowd tapping away senselessly to “Rhythm divine”. She sauntered over to the bar in a daze, as if movement of any kind was difficult. She went out and got sloshed, again.

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