“Madam, the thing that I love the most about him is that he is fiercely loyal to me,” she said, picking up a chocolate from the tray I held and putting it in her mouth.
“How did you know that?” I asked, keeping three more chocolates on her desk and putting the tray away.
“He comes to meet me whenever I call him,” she replied, a bright smile on her face.
But darling, that isn’t the definition of loyalty, I wanted to tell her, but stopped myself. “So, tell me a little bit more about him. Has he said that he loves you?”
“Of course he has, Madam. Many times. In fact, he is going to get my name tattooed on his arm soon.”
I raised my eyebrows at that. “And he is the one who told you that?”
“Yes. He has been to the tattoo parlour several times in the past three months, but hasn’t been able to get it done yet, for each time, they sent him back for some reason or another.”
“I see,” I said adjusting my spectacles up the bridge of my nose. “Three months is a long time for someone wanting to get a tattoo. Don’t you think? Anyway, how do you like him as a person?”
“All my friends think he is quite a catch,” she said, a dreamy look in her eyes.
“And what do you think? Do you enjoy the time you spend together?”
“I do,” she said. Her ponytail bobbed in the air with each vigororus nod of her head.
I smiled at that. She suddenly seemed to get pensive, as if there was something more she wanted to share. I put my hand on hers from across the table and urged her to speak. “Although sometimes our dates get boring. It seems he is only interested in one thing.”
She pulled her hand from underneath mine, biting her lower lip in embarrassment. “I shouldn’t have told you that, Madam,” she said hastily.
“Don’t worry. This conversation won’t leave the confines of this room. Like I said in the beginning — consider me your friend and not your tuition mistress.”
The weight on her shoulders seemed to lighten a bit at this and she gave me a smile. “Sometimes he gets annoyed at me if I don’t let him touch me. It scares me because he is so big.”
What else do you expect from a 28-year-old man dating a 15-year-old schoolgirl? I wanted to ask. Instead, I said, “I hope he has never hurt you.”
“No no, never,” she assured me.
“Are you okay with his reputation of being a womanizer?”
“That is the thing I am the proudest of,” she replied, shocking me.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, I have asked around for quite a while and found that he used to flirt with a lot of girls before. But after he met me, he has deleted all their numbers from his phone. I am the only one in his life and he loves me.”
“Ahem, and who exactly gave you this information?”
“His friends, of course,” she said looking at me as if I was an idiot for not guessing what was the most obvious thing in the world.
I looked at her and said nothing. Have you ever realized he can paint whatever image he wishes to portray in front of you if his friends are the only ones you ask for information?
“Madam, don’t worry,” she said. The look of concern on my face must have been apparent. “He is a wonderful person and he takes care of me really well. He has promised to marry me as soon as I come of age.”
I wonder how many teenagers he has said that to before. I sighed. “Okay, so what does he do?”
“He is a commerce graduate. Now he is staying at home and taking care of his parents.”
“What?” I couldn’t stop myself any longer. “He just stays at home and doesn’t earn money?”
“Not yet,” she said trying her best to calm me down. “But he is looking for a job. Till then, I can give him money whenever he needs, right, Madam?”
You poor, stupid little girl. Can’t you see he is using you for not just sexual favours but money as well?
I tried another approach. “Do you think it’s okay spending your parents’ money on your boyfriend?”
“I’m not spending my parents’ money; I’m spending my own. Like last week, I sold my laptop to give him the twenty thousand rupees he needed to buy medicines for his sick mother.”
Yeah? More like alcohol for his friends.
“But your parents gifted that laptop to you last year. What will you tell them, now that it’s gone?”
She hadn’t thought of this before. She bit her lips and adjusted her hair. “Well,” she said. “I will manage something, I guess.”
“Why did you choose him? You had so many boys of your age in school? Why not date one of them instead?”
“The ones in my school are boring,” she said, dismissing my opinion with a wave of her hand flashing her painted nails. “Plus, he has a bike. It is always so much fun to show off in front of my friends. In fact, it had always been my dream to date an older guy who has a bike.”
And just because he owns a fucking bike, you will waste away your teenage and your parents’ hard-earned money on a good-for-nothing 28-year-old who shamelessly only asks you for sex when you meet?
I didn’t get to say that to her, though, for she was hell-bent on believing her lover was an ideal man who loved her truly and would do anything for her.
How does one change the mind of a teenager in love?