They were laughing aloud. Robert was teasing Jenny about how clumsy she was and how many times he had seen her stumble upon plain surfaces in the last six months. Jenny was teasing him about his obsession for his bike.
– “If there is an accident someday and both of us fall down from the bike, I don’t think you will be checking if I’m okay or not. You will be busy with checking your bike.”
– “You are telling me that after all those times I’ve saved you from getting hurt? I wonder how you survived before I met you.”
Robert was joking, but the last sentence made Jenny serious for some reason. They were sitting at an empty roadside bench. They did not go to fancy dates much since Robert asked her out three months ago. They liked to roam around casually, hand in hand, talking and laughing. Today was the same. The sun has almost lost its glory by now. Soft rays were playing on Jennys skin and hair, making her look more beautiful. Robert saw her for some moments, then asked in a concerned tone,
– “What happened? Is something wrong?”
– “No! I’m fine. Just thinking what you just said. I really don’t know how I survived or lived. Maybe I was waiting for you all along.”
– “I don’t know about you, but I was definitely waiting for you.”
– “Really mister? How is that?”
– “Well, after you came, everything seem to have a meaning. I have a clear goal about my life now. And most importantly, I’m not angry all the time like I used to be. My mom is really happy with me nowadays, she keeps asking me what’s wrong with me, why am I so calm and weird all the time.”
– (laughing) “Yeah you look weird when you try to behave gently. You look better with your bold and tough behavior.”
– “Come on! I’m serious!”
– “I’m serious too honey. I still remember that first day, a strong hand pulling me up. When I looked at the person there was this serious looking boy wearing a black jacket. I started blushing so badly seeing him! And he tells me cockily, he doesn’t trust me with myself. What was on your mind! I mean, who tells an unknown girl he just met, that he doesn’t trust her with herself!”
– “I was telling the truth! I thought you will hurt yourself again as you couldn’t stand properly.”
– “Yeah, okay. But now that you’ve taken my responsibility, don’t leave me alone ever. I won’t be able to survive now. Okay mister?”
– “Sure ma’am, I’ll always be here at your service. I love you.”
– (blushing) “I love you too.”
Jenny was feeling very nervous. She was not nervous like this even when she was standing in front of hundreds of people in their auditorium last year. It is true that she is a great anchor and she won many prizes all her life for anchoring and debating, but still, how come she is more nervous now than that day. Maybe that is because what was at stake. If anything went southward, all her dreams will be shattered. Again another voice told her, “Don’t panic! It’s just a dinner. What could possibly go wrong?”
Well, nothing apparently, but that did not stop her from panicking. She is really afraid of her father. Her father was a very strict person and never allowed Jenny to hang out with boys unnecessarily. He did not want people to talk behind his back that the priests daughter did this or that. For that reason Jenny did not hang out with any boys other than doing study or group projects.
So, when she told her parents that she liked a boy and she wants them to meet him, she was not really sure what will happen next. But to her surprise, her father was not angry. He told in a casual voice that it was not 1900 anymore and as a 70’s parent they should be considerate. But he added that, no matter how considerate they are, if the boy was not educated and from a good family, things will not go any further. Those were not any problem because Robert and his family members are educated and well established. After that Jenny arranged this dinner at their place and invited Robert. It took her a lot of courage to talk to her parents, especially about a matter like this, but she knew she had to. It has been almost two years of their relationship and they wanted to take it further. They were way too young, but they were confident about themselves to take the risk.
That night was the worst night of her life. She spent the whole night crying. She could not think of anything else other than what happened at the dinner, how angry and mean her father was.
Jenny suggested Robert to have a hair-cut and dress up properly. He followed her suggestions. He was polite to everyone and indeed he was looking like her husband at the dining table. She could not imagine anyone else in that position. She sometimes lost track of what they were talking about and peeked at him shyly while eating. Everything was going on properly. Why did her father started talking about God and Faith in a dinner! What is so wrong that Robert was a non-Catholic. He was educated and qualified in every way! And she loves him! But her father treated him like he was something unholy. He said it clearly that he will not accept Robert in his family.
Her dreams were getting shattered. It looks like she was right about panicking. She wanted to talk to Robert. She wanted to know what was on his mind. After the dinner he did not even look at her, he went away. She was afraid once or twice that he will get angry listening to her father. But he was calm. “How can he stay so calm! My world is falling apart. Why isn’t he telling me everything will be fine. Where is he. When can I see him again…” She did not realize when she fell asleep.