"This could have been you, you know. You both were so happy together. This should have been you."
Samaira looked over her shoulder at her friend who had tears in her eyes and lent her the napkin she was holding beneath the heavy plate brimming with food. The only concern up until now in her mind had been about the amount of oil that was entering her system with the consumption of this wedding buffet. Was she supposed to be upset about her friend getting married instead? Was that the emotion real people felt? She nibbled at the pasta as her friend continued, "you can't live your life alone you know. The day's going to come when you'll want to share it with someone too."
Samaira sighed. They'd been over this. She'd been over this countless times with countless people.
"I don't want to get married Ayesha. That is not the prerequisite to my happiness. He didn't want it either. We were happy, yes, without that contract or confinement. And yeah, for a moment there we felt like we could spend our lives with each other but even so marriage would've never been an option. I don't like the institution. I don't believe in society's need to tag and label everything. I might want a wedding someday when I'm bored, I'll never want a marriage."
Again, she got the amazed look she was pretty used to by now when she expressed her views about marriage. "But don't you see that it's a part of life? When you finally find someone, someone whom you love with all your heart and who loves you back, why not commit? It's a declaration of this love, this happiness - to the world."
Samaira tried not to scoff, "we didn't need to declare it to the world. Our love was for us. Our love was... "
"What? Tell me? What was it?"
"I feel even talking about it to someone who needs explanation is tainting it's memory. Our love was ours Ayesha. Let's just leave it at that."
The whole ceremony went on into the wee hours of the morning. Right before the pheras were completed, she thought she felt her phone vibrate. She slipped it out, ignored the texts as she typed out a new one.
"I just attended a proper wedding. I think I'm about to faint with all these emotions swirling around me."
"Heh. You need a drink. Come over?"
She said her hurried goodbyes, wished the couple a happy and prosperous future and slipped out of the heels into her worn out chappals. As she drove towards the house that the very wheels of her cars knew all possible trajectories to, she lit the cigarette she'd been craving for all night. She parked her car in the same spot, tried to brush her unruly hair and picked up the cd she'd been listening to as she made her way towards the elevator.
"Whoa, you look terrible", he greeted her.
"Hah, I was asked if I was still unattached by atleast seven people tonight, including two prospective mother-in-laws", she laughed.
As he poured the drinks, she made way onto the bean bag and passed him the cd, "track two."
"Ah no man, I'm not in the mood for your music. I'll show you something new instead?"
"Just shut up and play it. Trust me."
He sighed, then added, "the things I do for you."
This time they laughed together and he came to sit across her bean bag. Looking at his outline in that room, across a tiny glass table beneath the music that engulfed them, she felt an unexplained yet unwavering happiness. She had needed this drink.
"So, what are we drinking to?" he asked.
"To the wedding we'll never need", said she as they clicked their glasses.