This November Saturday morning was miserable. It was bright but grey outside, and Lux knew this because she forgot to close the blinds entirely before she fell asleep. For a second she thought about feigning sickness so that she could just stay in bed all day and be left alone, but then she thought about how boring that would be. When she heard the bathroom door open, she got up to get ready.
Today, the alternative to bed was temple. Lux went with her father not so much to pray but to help her cousin cater to those who prayed and got hungry. Lux's cousin was lucky in that she won a raffle to be the exclusive caterer for the temple for a year, but she was unlucky in that her waitstaff was bought out by her competitor who made disgusting tasting katirolls. Lux, however, benefited from her cousin's bad luck: She was able to meet the person that she would later save.
Before getting to work in the cafeteria, Lux's father suggested that they first go to the shrine because Lux had not been there for a few months. The night before, Lux's mother gave her a mango to be blessed, which Lux dutifully did. Lux and her father then proceeded to the cafeteria where Nalnakka was setting up with her abbreviated but loyal team. Nalnakka greeted and thanked them for coming. She looked exhausted but happy and smelled delicious.
At around ten, the cafeteria was filling up, and Lux was relieved from serving both the polihara and gulab jamun when a man took over the polihara.
"Who is this dude?" Lux thought to herself. "Perhaps he is hired help."
After handing off the serving spoon, she did not attempt to start a conversation because he looked like he knew what he was doing. Her other excuse to herself was that she did not want to bother him. In fact, she would have been content to stand next to him for the next twelve hours shoulder to shoulder without saying a word.
Nalnakka's sister broke the silence though when she greeted them. It was obvious then that the man was Nalnakka's friend who was also volunteering. His name was Abijay.
"I heard you worked in finance," Abijay said, "Are you an intern?"
"No, I worked in compliance for awhile and now I'm in marketing," Lux said, "Why would you think I was an intern?"
"I heard that you were in high school."
Lux scowled. "Of course someone would tell him that," she thought to herself.
"What are you?" she asked and answered for him, "Thirty?"
He feigned offense, and said that he turned twenty seven a few days ago.
"Wow, he has a sense of humor, is here to help is friend on a Saturday morning, and is taller than I am," Lux thought to herself, "And he has incredibly cool hair!"
They talked for hours, which was convenient because besides serve food, they could not do much else. Though even if there was much else to do, Lux's father was coordinating the orders at the dosa stations, which was keeping him quite busy, but she did not want to look like she was openly flirting in front of her father at temple.
Abijay laughed at all of Lux's jokes, which showed that not only did he have a sense of humor, but it matched hers. His hair was really cool, and he was really smart. He worked in a parent-approved occupation: Engineer. He fit Lux's description of an ideal mate: He could wear pants and kill threatening monkeys if necessary. The clincher was when they were sitting down to eat that Lux asked her younger cousin and Abijay if they washed their hands, and they both said, "No," and raced off to the bathroom. That a twenty-seven year old and eleven year old can be equally cute in a not obnoxious way made Lux's heart melt. He seemed perfect.
Here was the thing: He was leaving to India for a month on Monday. He had stored up so much vacation time that a trip to India for a month sounded just about right.
Lux was saddened by the revelation that she probably would not see him for the next month, but she would see him tomorrow and perhaps they would be well enough acquainted to exchange contact information. At least, she would be able to get his last name and find out if he is on any social networking websites so she can innocently cyberstalk him until he came back. In the meantime, one of Nalnakka's hired hands provided adequate eye candy for her to be excited about volunteering every weekend for as long as she was needed anyway.
At around nine in the evening when she left his side, he asked if she was coming back tomorrow, and she said she was. Unfortunately, her dad decided that it was too exhausting of a day to repeat, and he told Lux this when they were driving home.
Lux thought about the possibility of driving herself back tomorrow, but she ruled that out since the drive was quite far and her father would definitely not allow it. She told her friend Christina about the wonderful, beautifully maned Abijay, and though Christina implored her to make an effort to get in contact with him to make sure he does not come back from India with a wife, and when that failed, his phone number, Lux laughed off the silly suggestions and reveled in her crush.
*Interactive Part--Two destinies: Choose your ending*
A month later, Lux found out that he was in fact engaged to be married on account of his trip to India. When Lux expressed shock and horror, Nalnakka was surprised. Nalnakka thought that Lux had gotten his number that day and was contact with him because Abijay talked about Lux to Nalnakka so often.
The next time Lux saw Abijay it was the day before his wedding. He was on the evening news with the headline: "Not Jumping for Joy." It turns out he did not want to marry the woman he met in India. He was under a curse, and it broke that day when he saw her ingrown toenails.
Lux saw that it was at the waterfalls near her town that the scene was unfolding. She went there, and the moment he saw her, he felt the desire to live again. His hair that seemed so disheveled on the news looked very cool again.
His fiancee turned into a squirrel to escape the ensuing witch hunt, but before she could escape to Mexico she was run over by a Rutgers EE bus in New Brunswick, NJ. Lux and Abijay were under investigation for kidnapping, conspiracy, and murder, but with no body they were acquitted.
Lux and Abijay married a few months later and lived happily ever after.
A month later, Lux contacted her cousin for Abijay's phone number because her motto all year had been "No Regrets." She debated whether not ever talking to him again this year would count as a regret and a mixture of boredom and strong will to see her 2008 New Year's Resolution through to the final second won over.
Her cousin teased her for a little while about wanting his phone number, but Lux dealt with it. She thought, "I'd do the same thing if I were in her situation. It's cool." Nalnakka told Lux that Abijay was a good guy and wished her luck.
Lux waited until around eight o'clock and then texted the number: "Hey Abijay. It's Lux. How was India?"
She held her breath until she felt like she was going to pass out. Then she decided that waiting for an answer via text was dumb. If she wanted an immediate answer, she would have called him.
She made egg powder and sausage stuffing to keep her mind off of things. Before going to sleep, she made sure her alarm was set, and she saw that she received two texts.
The first one said: "Hey. It was good. Saw lots of family."
The second one said: "What are you doing for New Years Eve?"
So on New Years Eve 2008, Abijay met Lux and her friends at a club in the Big Apple. As the last minutes of 2008 were being counted down by millions of people in eastern standard time, Abijay and Lux went to get some air.
"You saved my life," Abijay said.
"Uh?" Lux asked.
"It was either spending time with you tonight or watching the ball drop with Ryan Seacrest on television. I don't think I could have started another year that way."
Lux was speechless. "What did this mean?" she thought. Rather than overthink it though, she found that contentment from when they first met. She felt that she could stay this way with him for the next few months or maybe even more and be happy. She silently thanked her cousin for befriending Abijay and giving her his number and her friend Christina for enthusiastically encouraging her to text him a small message.
Two thousand and nine for Lux started with a kiss with a guy with really awesome hair.