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Romance Contemporary Fiction

We often discover throughout our university years that we are drawn to the person we value most in the world. I experienced that as well. The finest part of it was that she showed me the same level of love and care in return. I, however, was unable to handle it. I made a few blunders, and before I knew it, she had left. My breakup had happened on the mountains.

I didn't believe I would ever experience another love. I'm aware that everyone expresses the same sentiments following a breakup, but I'm not experiencing that. I don't have a negative or depressed attitude. I just once had a feeling that was greater than any other feeling I had ever known, and when I lost it, I genuinely thought I would never experience that feeling again. But life is long, and I was 21 at the time. And right now, at the ripe age of 30 I'm experiencing emotions I haven't felt in a very long time.

I now considered myself to be wiser and sure I wanted to be in a relationship. So I went and signed up for a free dating app that I felt seemed trustworthy and had profiles from real people on it. It was meant for people looking for a long term relationship more than just casual connects.

Soon I got hooked up to it. I swiped left to most of the profiles I liked. For the next few days I continued like this, but there was not a single match. I realised that probably it was because I hadn’t added my picture. So I got one of my best photo added to my profile. Again there no match…

As I was about to conclude that free accounts on such apps are not good enough, I heard the beep on my cell. It was a match!

 “Hello, my name is Sophia, and after reading your profile, I think I found just what I was seeking for. If I'm bothering you, perhaps we can speak later, when you have time” Someone had texted

“No, not at all. I’m free now” I replied courteously.

Within 5 seconds my cell phone started ringing.

“Hello, Am I talking to Tony?”

“Yes, Tony here” 

“How are you Tony?

“Very nice, And you?” I asked inquisitively.

“I’m fine, too, May I know where do you work?” She jumped directly to the point.

“I work for KGG Info systems as a Systems Engineer in Toronto”.

 “I work as a School Teacher for XYZ  School, Oakville.

“Sounds cool” I responded.

“Well Tony, it was nice talking to you” She said as if she wanted to hang-up.

Well that was quick. I thought of asking her to hold on, I wanted to talk to her more, but I didn't want to show her my desperation. You never have a second chance to make a first impression, I knew.

“Nice talking to you too Sophia”.

"Yeah, I'll call you or mail you later. Actually, my pals are present; sorry for not being able to speak much."

“Sure Sophia, Let’s talk soon”

She hung up the phone, and I felt nearly ecstatic. Because of how captivating her voice was, I mentally went over the entire brief phone call's flow approximately 20 times.

The next day, I kept looking at my cell phone. I had stored her number but I could not gather the courage to call her. There was neither a message nor any email from her.

I continued with my monotonous routine of job and home. In the meanwhile, I started getting notifications to sign-up as a paid member to be able to contact more profiles.

Somehow I did not feel like doing it, maybe because there was a hope that Sophia might call again. And yes, she did call after 4 days. My heart started beating faster as my cell phone read “Sophia Calling”

“Hi Tony”

“Oh Hi” I tried to sound cool.

“Recognised me?” She asked inquisitively.

“Of course, it is Sophia right?” I said, as if I had not stored her number.

“Bingo! So how have you been Tony?”

“Not bad at all, just a bit busy with my job”

Okay, how are things doing at work? Does it keep you busier or does it allow you to have more free time?

The discussion continued. She questioned me extensively, and I returned the favour. It was a fantastic sensation talking to a gorgeous stranger for almost 30 minutes. Universal laws are claimed to know what is truly best for you, and I began to wonder if perhaps I had lost my first love because I had to meet Sophia.

After this long conversation with her, I was in love…almost. I said almost because I had not seen her, just heard her. And no doubt she was an owner of a beautiful voice, how would she look like…was still a mystery. Yes, she hadn’t uploaded her pictures on her profile.

I started thinking of beautiful faces in my mind. Would she look like any of our film actresses, models or would look like the girl next door?

Anyways, I decided to request her to send me her pic the next time we spoke.

The next day, I tried to use my dumb brains and looked up her name on Facebook. I discovered hundreds of girls with the same name, but possibly not her.

As per our scheduled time, next day Sophia called me during the lunch time.

“What’s up, Mr.Software?” I observed she was getting informal with me.

“I’m good Sophia, but a bit restless”

“Why? Any issues?” She asked with concern.

“Actually I have not seen any pic of yours, and I was kind of…”

“Kind of? Wanting to see how I look like?”

“Well, yeah. See you have seen my pic on the app itself. If you want, I can send you more pics of mine. And if you are fine, can you also share your pic? “

“Hmmm…Actually Tony, my views are different. I want us to know each other first without even seeing each other. I have seen one pic of yours that’s right, but still even if you would not have added that pic of yours, I would have still called you.”

“Why…I mean what’s special in me?”

“Coz I went through your profile and liked everything you wrote there, seemed like you are a genuine person, not the usual rookie types” She replied.

“Well…that is true…but still…anyways…at least let me know your Facebook id?”

“I don’t have a FB account Mr.Software, I’m actually not into any social networking site”

“Oh…”

“See…I don’t want to raise your expectations, I’m an average looking girl, and I also have a couple of grey hair. Please be frank and let me know if you would like to continue without my pic or is it the looks that matter to you more than other things?” She sounded solemn for the first time.

“No…no…Sophia. I’m fine, perfectly alright. Let’s know each other first; looks do not matter to me as well.” I did not want to lose her like that.

Thus the routine of us talking daily on phone, chatting on WhatsApp etc. continued. She never asked for my pic nor did I ask her again. Over the period of almost a month, I came to know many aspects and qualities about her. It was amazing just talking to someone and getting to know about the moments, when she is quiet, sober, stern, relaxed, cheerful, angry, dubious, or unsure.

I was sure that I was in love with her and was almost convinced that she too likes me a lot.

However as days passed by, my suspicious ego started giving in. I devised a plan. I called her.

“Hi Sophia”

“Hello?” She was sounding sleepy.

“Sorry to call you so late”

“Almost midnight Tony, anything urgent? “

“Yeah…actually Sophia, I’m coming to Oakville tomorrow”

“Wow…that’s nice…for some office work?”

“To attend a friend’s wedding, and I was wondering if we could meet tomorrow evening”

“Hmmm…so you cannot wait longer?”

“Well, my friend’s wedding is nearby the place where you work. And I think it would be great if we could meet…don’t you think so?”

“Well, I…I’m not sure Tony, I thought we could probably give each other some more time and then when we are really sure, then we could just meet.

“It’s been almost a month Sophia, aren’t we sure?”

“I don’t know Tony … But I thought when we will meet the first time, it should not be just to see each other”

“Are you talking to other guys also?”

“No way…why do you think so?”

“I just wanted to make sure, because I really like you Sophia. I don’t know about you but I don’t think I can even think of any other girl in my life now. I think I love you already and…”

“And..?”

“And it doesn’t matter how you look, I want to meet you, just you. Can you allow me to?” I was persistent.

“Well, okay, if you insist, let’s catch up at Starbucks tomorrow evening around 6:00 pm?” She finally agreed.

“Perfect, I’ll be free from the wedding by that time” I was excited.

“Good Nite Tony” I could get a hint of uneasiness in her voice.

The next day, I took the train from Toronto to Oakville. I reached Oakville around 4:00 pm and had nowhere to go. I was just pondering over the thought of how to spend the next two hours, when I got a call from her.

“Hi Tony, enjoying the wedding?”

“Yes, yes, it’s pretty nice and simple church wedding, in fact I’m missing you here”

“Oh, missing me. He he he”

“Why? I can’t miss you?”

“You haven’t even seen me, so how can you miss me Mr.Software. Okay listen, would you have some time to do one of my tasks before we meet?”

“Yes, why not? Tell me…”

“So sweet, now listen, near Oakville station, there is a big photo studio called RK Photo Studio. I will WhatsApp you my receipt, if you could just collect my developed photos from that place it would be a great help. The advance money is already paid but remaining 20 CADs is pending.

“Sure, why not dear, it’s nothing, I will collect the photos and then catch up with you at sharp 6:00 pm okay “

“Yes Perfect, thanks a lot Tony”

She hung up and instantly messaged me the receipt of her bill.

I rushed to the Photo Studio because of my own curiosity to see her pictures.

After reaching there, I connected with the first salesman who looked at me and asked him to give me the photo parcel based on receipt given by Sophia.

The sales person gave me an envelope of pictures. I took the envelope and gave him 20 CADs note. He said it was not needed and was all paid up. I found it strange as Sophia had specifically asked me to pay him 20 CADs.

Anyways, I came out and stood under a shadow. Very patiently, I opened the envelope seal and one by one looked on to her pictures.

I realised I was disappointed. The image of Sophia in my head was far different from the image in my palm. I was heartbroken. How could someone with such a lovely voice look like this? I understood why she didn't want to share her photos with me. I wouldn't say she was unattractive, but she was nothing like what I had expected.

I did not know what to do now. I didn't want to meet her only to break her heart later. I was looking for an easy way out. I decided to message her after considerable deliberation.

“Dear Sophia, I just collected your pics”

 “Cool, that was quick, thanks a lot dear” She replied.

 “Before we meet, I want to tell you something if you don’t mind” I texted her

“I’m all ears” She texted back.

It was now my turn and I decided to send her a final blow.

“I saw your pictures, you look great. But I must admit that the girl I had imagined to be Sophia is not you. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but I will not be able to pursue this relationship ahead.”

My message continued - “I will meet you and handover the pictures to you at 6:00 pm sharp”

 “Hmmm…Okay Tony, that’s fine” Her reply looked too casual to me.

I quickly bought some flowers from a local vendor and called the cab to take me to Café Coffee Day at Camp Area. When I reached there, it was almost 6:00 pm. I went there and took a seat. Till 06:15 pm nobody came, I started getting restless. I was no more interested in meeting her anyways. I was just being nice to her by meeting and handing over the pics to her.

As I was about to call her, my cell phone ringed. I saw a strikingly beautiful girl enter the café. She saw my cell ringing and approached me.

“Tony?” She asked.

“Yes, and you?”

“Sophia ! Who else are you expecting here? “She smiled.

“You are Sophia? The pictures that I collected are not yours?”

“Show me the envelope Mr.Software? Hope you have not picked someone else’s pics “

She calmly sat at the table next to me and opened the envelope. She started laughing. I must admit, she was looking even more gorgeous while laughing.

“What have you done? Mr.Software, these are not my pics. Did you show to him the receipt I had sent you before collecting these?

“I don’t know Sophia, I just asked for your name and he handed over this envelope. He even said it was all paid up when I was giving him the pending balance of 20 CADs as you had told me.”

Yep, maybe the person whose pics you have got here, would have called him and told him someone would come to collect them and he mistakenly gave to you”

“Yeah, maybe a mistake, anyways, lets order a coffee?”

“No, I don’t want a coffee anymore…let’s go for a walk.”

“Sure” I said.

We started walking across the beautiful streets of Oakville with almost no dialogue in between. I was wondering why she was not talking. So I started.

“Well, I’m sorry Sophia, as you can see, I was having the wrong pictures and hence I said earlier that I will not be able to continue”

“Yeah, so that was fine with me Tony”, in fact in a way, a good thing happened. I came to know more about you today”.

“Yeah, so we are good right?”

“Yeah, we are good, but the relationship thing, is over. It’s a done deal now.”

“No….Sophia, I’m sorry but I was just mistaken..”

“Tony, that’s fine. You were mistaken earlier and now you want to continue because you think I’m better looking than the person whose pics you picked up. But I don’t want to continue with you”

“Sophia, I’m sorry, really. Trust me I was just…”

“It's no longer about you, Tony; it's all about me. I don't want to be in a relationship with someone who values exterior attractiveness so much. You may find me beautiful today, but you may find someone else appealing tomorrow; I cannot trust someone who likes me because on my physical looks.”

 I was tongue-tied, with what I had done already. I could not say more, because Sophia had already made up her mind.

While riding the train from Oakville to Toronto, I continued thinking about the little blunders I made in the game of love. I was unable to comprehend another person's point of view. Anyway, my heartbreaks were teaching me a lesson and I was getting wiser. Besides I learn something every time I go into the mountains.

January 13, 2023 22:55

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17 comments

Poonam Goel
23:40 Apr 03, 2023

What a beautiful write up Anand!!! Most of us still look for exterior beauty rather than beautiful heart. People judging the books by cover. Enjoyed the details in the story. Keep writing the good work. And flourish in your endeavors.

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Chanda Kate
18:38 Feb 01, 2023

It’s very well said Anand. Enjoyed reading it.

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Anand Sachdev
20:15 Feb 22, 2023

Thanks for reading :)

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Smita Rawade
11:29 Jan 25, 2023

When we learn from our mistakes , it's a lesson, Which helps us to do better next time. On a lighter note, the girl was testing the guy and the moment he slipped, she dumped him. Poor guy, didn't get a second chance. Be kind Be optimistic Life is full of surprises Never say never Good read Anand 👌👌 Hope to see more good stuff.

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Anand Sachdev
20:30 Jan 26, 2023

Thanks Smita, am glad you liked the story! Many more to come …😊

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Mehnaz Qureshi
22:12 Jan 24, 2023

Excellent story lines. Enjoy reading. I guess this guy can call himself another Devdas. Overall I must say outer beauty fade over time but inner beauty is eternal. While outer try to gets immediate attention, inner beauty make long term relationships and affection. So always choose wisely.

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Anand Sachdev
02:27 Jan 25, 2023

Thank you very much, Mehnaz. You are bang on! We often place too much emphasis on how things appear on the outside and overlook the true beauty that exists within.

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Shanti Gajjar
14:10 Jan 24, 2023

It's sooo good Anand. It kept me wanting to read more. Some stories feel like it shouldn't end. But sooo true it's always the inner beauty that matters as outer beauty will fade away some day. Kudos to you 👌👏👏

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Anand Sachdev
15:11 Jan 24, 2023

Thank you for liking the story, many more to come 😊

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Preethi Gs
03:49 Jan 23, 2023

Inherent beauty is beyond looks but still most of us fails to look beyond looks. Relationship is a long term investment and most importantly to find love in imperfection.Loved the optimistic ending, Tony's future looks bright with life learnings....Looking forward for more such cute stories Anand 😊 well done!

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Anand Sachdev
05:25 Jan 23, 2023

Thanks a lot Preeti for reading and sharing your views. It’s a great feeling to know that my readers are able to relate with the characters. I’ll try to keep writing more and more on this forum ✍️😊

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Pramod Nihalani
07:49 Jan 22, 2023

Yes Anand, Starbucks and CCD... Anyways, not to go on looks is Moral of the story. Liked it bro.

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Anand Sachdev
16:47 Jan 22, 2023

Thanks for your encouragement Pramod 😊

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Akash Joshi
04:10 Jan 22, 2023

I noticed that they initially decide to meet in a Starbucks, but are actually meeting in a CCD. I was wondering whether it has some significance relating to the title of the story. In short, if "the mistake" was intentional or not...

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Anand Sachdev
06:03 Jan 22, 2023

Hey, thanks for pointing out, it was a “writers” mistake! Last moment changes…lol! Good catch!

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Eileen Turner
01:43 Jan 22, 2023

Your story describes how much value we put on outward appearances. In choosing a life-mate, the 'eye candy' should not be a factor, but to so many it is the starting point of the relationship. No wonder so many fail. Nicely done.

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Anand Sachdev
02:23 Jan 22, 2023

Many thanks, Eileen. You're absolutely right; we often focus too much on how things appear on the outside and miss the true beauty that lies within. I wanted to record that emotion. It's encouraging to know that you liked it 😊

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