“The Withered Rose|Part II|:

Ananya Talukdar
(Read The first part of 'The Withered Rose' to understand this story)
Click Below To Read The First Part. 
She was too pretty to be real. The first glance at her had left me awestruck.
"I see you are working real hard on your laptop, instead of enjoying with your friends", a meek voice teased me from across the table at the cafe. It was her!
"Yeah just finishing off with some unfinished work from the seminar I recently attended", I replied after I took a puff of my cigarette," a seminar about protection of wild elephants", I continued.
"Wow, I had been a part of that too. I just attended it for a day, couldn't continue further due to some technological issues. Looks like we share keen love for elephants", she said and passed a smiled.
" Hi! I am Reet! And you?", I asked expecting a sarcasm in return but she came near my table shaking the hand that I had lend.
"Aanya!", she replied.
She had black curly hair, pearl white teeth, eyes that seemed to have soaked in the emerald hue and honestly a tiny stature. She was cute, almost like a doll. Strange how we bonded so well and didn't realize how time passed that day. Offcourse I didn't complete the work. I just got so engrosed in the conversation. We instantly had become friends. After exchanging numbers we departed for that day.
Time passed and yes our friendship bloosomed each and every day. But as days passed a fear creeped inside my head. Meetups became a regular instance and I cherished every moment.
'What if one day we depart our ways forever due to my sickness? Should I tell her? Should I confess that I was in love with her?'
But I had made up my mind to not let any of these thoughts slip my mind. Knowing that it would cause nothing else but pain to her. She considered me her bestest friend and I didn't wanted her to suffer for me. Afterall what is love if you don't let someone go.
"Duffer! She doesn't even flirt with you like the way you do and you expect her to accept your proposal some day", a voice inside my head said. And all I realized that day dreaming is doing me no good.
Yes I have lung cancer and it was diagnosed during the second stage, which meant curable rate was minimal. Due to my deteriorating health I had to leave Assam and shift to Apollo Delhi. But before going there I wanted to meet Aanya and tell her everything clearly. Because who knew if I were to return or not. I made up my mind and called her up to meet me at a nearby lake side which recieved sights of beautiful sunset everyday.
"What made you call me here?", she said
"Its beautiful isn't it? I thought I should show you this place before I go to delhi!"
"Wait! You are going to delhi?"
"Yeah I have to!"
"But why?"
"Erm..umm.. I got admission in the Hindu. Surprisee!!" I lied. I don't know but somehow her eyes didn't allow me to speak the truth. I just couldn't hurt her.
"Thats great Reet!! I am so proud! You should definately go."
Deep down I knew she didn't wanted me to leave. But I had to.
I packed my bags and got ready to leave but before that I ensured she knew everything. So I wrote a note to her explaining my sickness and how that one conversation at the cafe made me fall for her so deep that I could not express it. I mentioned a particular line "Aanya! When you like a flower you pluck it but when you love a flower you water it daily to let it blossom. Similarly I love you so much that I can't hurt you." I left a rose with the note on my desk, knowing that when she would visit my room someday, it would catch her eyes.
I kept in touch no matter how deteriorating my health was getting and she kept sending me her home made cookies which made me feel home. I lied to her about me crushing on beautiful ladies I saw at India Gate just to make her jealous but it made no effect on her. I had my brother and mother by my side. It was painful to see them weary at my health. My doctors had given up hope because my smoking habit caused worse effect on my illness. I was dying but I kept strong. One day I called Aanya and randomly asked what would she do if I said I loved her. And unexpectedly she laughed it off by cracking a joke. I was hence ensured that she didn't have any feelings for me and it was purely just bff feelings. I sighed to myself now that I got my answers. I just remember my chest getting heavier due to lack of oxygen supply and my eyes blurring out before I breathed my last breathe.