Skip to main content

Translate

My first love is my last love

 MY FIRST LOVE IS MY LAST LOVE

                            CHAPTER-1


June 10th,2020. 

Munnar, Kerala.

The sky is very dark with huge thunders. It started raining heavily. Roads were filled up with small ponds. The rain drops are very large and heavy too. They are reaching the ground with a huge force. People are rushing for shelter. Few children were making paper boats and leaving in those ponds. Few were drinking hot tea and coffee at cafes. All are doing different things. But, each and everyone is attractive to a smell which coming from the mother earth. This smell distributes positiveness all over the world. It gives a good relief from any stress. And can remove the feeling of being sad.

In this situation the raindrop sound, vehicle sound, thunder sound etc. all those sounds were dominated by a sound. That's a sound of bells of an anklets (or) ankle chain of a girl walking on the road. She wore silver coloured high heel sandals. She dressed up with a white chudidar. It is just like an umbrella, She had a thin chain at her neck. It also silver coloured. It has a small locket in the shape of heart. Small letters of A and K were present in that locket. Her jumkas(a type of earrings) were silver too. She had a long loose hair which is up to her middle backbone. It is very thick black in colour and straight.

 When it comes to her face, it is covered by an umbrella of multi colours. Slowly she lifted up the umbrella. Those are her lips. They are in cherish red colour. They are very natural like the petals of a rose. Those lips got a complete feature of a rainbow in that rain i.e., her smile. After this, umbrella went up to her forehead. She had a small and cute nose which has a small curve at its end. Next,it is her eyes. They look like the doors of the heaven were opened. For every second her eye laps(eye lids) were flapping. For every single flap a man die for her beauty. Her eyebrows are like a half moon. She had complete officialness in her face. 

While she walking in streets, boys will flat by seeing her. When she is passing by the trees, those trees praises her by falling it's leafs on her as a reward for her beauty. The every rain drop falling on her, dies with happiness for the touch of her.


                          CHAPTER-2 

Exactly 5:30pm, Kerala.

That beautiful girl she passes through a tree with full of yellow flowers. Those flowers welcomes her with a great pleasure. She moves umbrella away from her head and rotates three to four times. Then a mirchi baji shop owner sees her(here mirchi baji is an Indian snack item prepared by using a green chilli and batter). She came to know that he is seeing her. So, she fastly walks away from that shop. But, she never return back to home. 

Her family members are worried about her. Her father asked every person and searched everywhere. But, he doesnt able to find his daughter. Her mother can't bare the situation that her daughter is missing. So, they approached police station for help. They gave complaint that her daughter is missing. Police officer filed FIR(First Information Report) as a missing case. Cops gave them confidence and send them.

After few minutes her father came again into the station. He is in anger. 

"sir! I am very confident about my daughter's kidnap. I know who kidnapped her". He shouted. 

"Who is that? How can you say that?And what is the relationship between them?" A police officer named Naveen Chandra asked. 

"Sir! His name is karthik. He lives alone with her mother at Kochi. He played many tricks and made my daughter Akrithi to fall in his love. I warned him many times. But, he doesn't changed his opinion on my daughter. So, now he kidnapped my daughter". He confidently said. 

"Did you saw him kidnapping you? Did you get any call from him?'Naveen Chandra shouted.

"No sir I didn't get any call from him" he replied.

"Then how can you say that he kidnapped your daughter? You gave complaint to us. Finding the thing is our duty. So, you can go now." Naveen Chandra said.

Her father left. Police officers started investigation. But, nothing they found. They asked that mirchi shop owner. He replied that I saw her here exactly at 5:55 pm. She danced here and left from the way which is opposite to me. That's what I have seen. Naveen Chandra walked in that road in search of evidence. He saw an anklet in the sand beside the road. He took that and placed it in a cover. He went back to station. 

"Constable! Alert all check posts the criminal should not cross the state border. Send Akrithi photo to every station. And I want her call records within five minutes. Make it fast'. Naveen shouted.

Call records came. It is clear that she have calls from same number and she called that number repeatedly. So, they are searching for the person who called her several times. 

What happened to her? Who is that person? Is her lover is the criminal? A single answer to all this questions is we should know about her love story.


                          CHAPTER-3

"Sir! We got the person who called Akrithi several times. Our constables went to bring him." said a head constable.

"Good! Is there any criminal record on him?"Questioned a sub inspector named Surya 

"No,Sir! He is the boyfriend of Akrithi. But, even they doesn't met for one time except calls" expressed head constable.

 "Alright! Let us talk with him". Surya replied. 

Constables brought him into the police station and locks him in the interrogation room. Surya enters that room. In that room a table and two chairs were present. Surya sits opposite to him. 

"Now, answer my questions straightly. What is your name? What us the relation between you and Akrithi? And where is Akrithi?" Surya questioned. 

"Akrithi? What happened to her?" He shouted. 

"She is kidnapped by you". Surya replied.

"No! No,Sir! I didnt kidnapped her. She is my life and everything. How can I kidnap her?" He cried. 

"Now, stop all this drama and just say answer to my questions." Surya shouted.

"Sir! My name is Karthik Sinha. Me and my mother lives in Kochi, Kerala. My father was an Army officer. He died during the war at the border, For every holidays me and friends plan for a holiday trip. So, this time we went to Munnar. Our first day plan is to enjoy in the Cloud Farming Camp. The day is very cloudy. We went to that place. At the time we enjoying the nature suddenly, a cloth diverted my mind. It's a black coloured saree. A cool breeze came by making the sound. When I am listening to that sound. Again, my ears are disturbed by a sound. It is the bells of her anklets. They are in silver colour. Her sandals are gold coloured and a high hill too. I saw her waist it was just awesome. I lost my control on my eyes. It is like a half moon covered by clouds. Slowly, my eyes cane to my control. Because she covered it by her saree. My eyes fell on her hands. She had a silver coloured bracelet with small bells. Her chin is exactly like a sweet made by milk. At that time a drop fell on her pink lips. I thought it is the praise given by the god of rain. Next, it is her nose. It is very small and cute too. It is her eyes. They are really amazing. This time my heart is hacked by her eyes. I can't describe her beauty. First women I loved is my mother and now the next is a she. I want to talk with her. I just took a step to reach her.


                          CHAPTER-4 

                 FEW MONTHS BACK

A familiar voice stopped me. That's Roy my friend. He helped me to recover soon from my father's death. 

"Hey! Karthik! what are you doing there?" He asked. 

"Nothing. Come on let's go." I replied. 

I looked back to find her but, she went. I saw the place she stood something is shining it is her chain. But, it is completely damaged. Then I realised that's the reason why I shouldn't found this chain to her neck. I kept that chain in my pocket. 

I didn't had a proper sleep that night. 

She disturbed me a lot. She came in a bridal getup. I was in bridegroom dress. We bath get married at a function hall. My mother blessed both of us. She hugged me. I was kissing her. suddenly, a voice came from front of me. It's again my friend Roy. 

"Hey! Hey Man get up! You waste fellow kissing me" He shouted.

I worked up and realised that it was a dream. I get ready myself to buy her a new chain and to present her as a gift. So, bought a chain with a love shaped locket. Inside that live shape there are to letters A and K. I showed it to Roy. 

What this letters mean?"questioned Roy.

"You silly fellow it is simple. A refers she and K refers to me Karthik" I replied. 

"How can you say her name starts with letter A' Roy asked.

"I don't want whatever her name is just she is angel. So, I selected letter A" I said.

I am very confident that she will again come to that place in search of this chain. So, it's a good chance for me to meet her. We both waited for few hours. But, she didn't came. We decided to go back. But, l saw her friend who came there yesterday.

"Excuse me! I saw you at cloud farming camp yesterday." I questioned her.

"So, you are following me? Sorry I am already have a boyfriend." She replied.

"Sorry! You misunderstood me. How can you think that I love a tumbler like you? I am loving your friend. Can you give me her number please!" I said.

"You idioti Am I looking like a tumbler?" She shouted. 

"Yes. Of course you are". I replied. 

"Whati I don't give her number to you. Get lost." She shouted. 

"Man! How disgusting! OK. I am really sorry. It's an emergency." I requested her. 

"OK done! I will give you her number take it."  She said. 

"Thank you so much. And 1 second a small gift". I gave it to her. 

"A gift to me Ohi Thank your". She wondered.

"Hello! Mam it is for her. Not, for you". I replied 

She left. We also went back to our room. Exactly 7:39 pm I called her. I thought she doesn't lift the call.

But, due to the God's grace she lifted the call. 

"Hello! I am karthik. Do you remember me?" I asked.

"Come down quickly. I want to talk with you alone." She said. 

I went out looking her. Complete road is empty. There is no one. 

After a while I saw a vehicle light coming towards me. I am confident that it is not her. But, my confidence is wrong. It is her. I shocked by seeing her. She wore a black blazer and black helmet too. She stopped the bike. It is Royal Enfield bike. She removed her helmet. She is completely opposite to my thoughts. Even though she looks gorgeous.

"Hello! Karthik right. Come on take this helmet." She said. 

I came out of my a shock. And sat back of her. 

"May I know what is your good name?". I requested. 

"Without knowing my name you loving me? How annoying is this?" She questioned.

"I think having a good heart is enough to love a person. So, i had it." I replied.

"Do you have a biscuit shop?" She questioned. 

"No. But, why?" I replied. 

"You are giving many biscuits to me. And my name is Akrithi." She giggled.

I thought my future wife is very naughty and humorous too. She stopped the bike at a place which is completely dark everywhere. It's a hill station Darjeeling. Suddenly, she closed my eyes and took me somewhere. She opened my eyes. There are some balloons coming up from down of the hill. Those balloons had few letters. I tried to read those letters. H,A,P,P,Y it is happy and B,I,R,T,H,DA,Y it is birthday. Happy birthday. Oh! Shit! It's my birthday today. Thank you so much. And she made me to cut the cake.

"How do you know today is my birthday?" I questioned her.

"I saw it in your facebook account." She replied.

 It is the start of our relationship even we didn't end it.


                          CHAPTER-5

It is exactly 4:30 pm I had a call from her. She said that this is the day to name our relationship. A word you want listen from me is becoming true now. So, let's meet today at 5:30 pm. I am waiting for you. That is the last word I heard from her.

I am getting ready in my room to meet her. A huge sound came from out. I came out from my room that's my mother. She fell down near sofa and beating her legs and hands. I confirmed myself it is a heart attack. I gave her tablets but, it doesn't work. I called an ambulance. Doctors did operation successfully. Thank god! My mother is safe. My friends helped me financially. We took my mother to home. I cared my mother for few weeks. A fine evening my mother asked me about Akrithi. Up to then I even didn't have a thought about her. Next second I called her but, her phone us switched off. I tried many times but there is no reply from her. Next day I got an offer from Army. It's my father dream to see me as an Army officer. But, I can't leave my mother alone. Due to the pressure I agreed for that and now you bought me here." I said. 

"Be a good officer at Army. Good luck. Now you can go." Surya replied. I am started from police station to meet my friend Roy. I am on the way to his room. But, suddenly a girl came into the middle of the road. I stopped my bike. She is improper and looks like someone bet her. She had many injuries on her body. I can't see her face clearly as she covered it by her hair. She came closer to me. I was shocked by looking at her face. I removed my helmet. She is Akrithi. I was still in shock. Someone from 15 feet distance shooter her. I tried to save her. Thank safe. I took her to hospital and doctor gave her treatment. I took her to my friend's room.

"Come. Eat this." I told her.

She showed her hands which are injured too. A drop fell down from my eyes. Myself made her to eat through my hands. I made her to take rest for few hours. I stood in the balcony. Someone hugged me from back side. It is her. I kissed her forehead. I made her to sit on a sofa at balcony. I sat in opposite sofa.

"Akrithi How are you feeling now? Are you good?" I asked her.

"I am completely alright now". She replied.

"Now say me what happened to you? What is the reason behind this injuries happened to you?" I questioned her.

"The day when I called you I came to our meeting spot. I tried many times to talk with you. But, you didn't lifted the call. Then my cousin saw me standing there. He asked me what are you doing here? But, I didn't gave any reply to him. He blackmailed me that if I won't come to home immediately he will say our matter to my dad. So, unwillingly I sat on his bike. But, he took me to some other place which don't no still now. He said that he had some work there. So, I stood near the bike itself. But, I saw my father's bike there. So, silently I went inside a room. I saw there my father and my cousin talking about me. So, I hidden myself and listened there conversation. They know that we both love each other. So, they can't bear it. My father itself kidnapped me. So that you will be in jail and then he can do my marriage with my cousin. But, due to my bad luck they saw me and tied me to the chair. They bet me and forced me to forgot you and marry him. But, I didn't accepted that so, they bet me".She cried. 

"Come on Akrithi! Now, you are with me. Please Hold on." I said her.

"This is the correct time for us. Come in let us go somewhere and get married. So, my father can't even touch us. What do you say?" She questioned. 

"OK I will think about our plan. Now you go and take rest." I said.


                          CHAPTER-6

Next day morning Karthik awoken Akrithi from sleep.

"Hey! Get ready within five minutes. We are leaving this place today." Karthik said. 

"Really! That's a good idea. Give me 2 minutes time." Akrithi replied. 

Both of them started there journey from Roy's house. Akrithi felt very happy as she is going to marry him and to lead a happy life with karthik. 

"Karthik! Karthik! Stop the bike. It is the way to my home. Just turn the bike. Please! Karthik!" She shouted. 

"Just shut your mouth and let me drive." Karthik shouted.

He takes Akrithi to her house. He stops the bike at the door. Her father comes out and takes daughter in and locks her in that house. Her cousin beats Karthik very much. Akrithi shouts to leave him from the window. But, he never stops.

"Sir Please! Listen to me once. After my completion I agree decision whatever it is." Karthik shouts.

"OK! Let him say. Leave him." Her father replies. 

"Sir! I loves your daughter. She to loves me. I don't know what is the problem with me. But, if I am a thought to marry her without your bloody permission. I had a chance of marrying her. I don't want to do that. I thought to have happiest life with all of you. I know the pain of leaving without family. So, you don't want to repeat the same thing in her life. If I am angry on you I can give a complaint against you in police station. So, you will be in jail and I can marry your daughter. But, I want bit only her. Your family too. I don't have father I want see my father in you. I don't have grand parents I want see them in your parents. But, you never accepted me as your son in law. I don't force you for our marriage. I understood that you don't like me. So, I never disturb you again." Karthik cries. 

He goes near to Akrithi. And holds her hand. 

"Akrithi I am very sorry for cheating you. Your father is very respectful person. So, he can give best and your cousin also loves you very much. He cares you more than me. If there is any problem this is my number yo can contact me any time." He said emotionally. 

He says all the best to her cousin and he leaves the house.  


                          LAST CHAPTER

                     FEW MONTHS LATER 

Karthik had a call from unknown number. He lifts the call surprises.

Someone is crying karthik conformed that he is Akrithi's father. 

"Sir! Sir please! What happened to you? How is Akrithi? Is she fine?" Karthik asked. 

"No, I did a very big mistake by performing marriage with him rather than you. After you went I married my daughter with my son in law. Next minute after marriage he blackmailed us if we didn't give him entire property of us. I thought if I give my property he will see my family well. So, I gave him. He treated well up to now. But, one day Akrithi had a blood vomiting. We took her to hospital. Doctors said that she is suffering from cancer. If immediately the treatment doesn't start she will die. I informed about her to my son in law. But, he didnt helped us. Next minute he took entire property and went somewhere. So, I don't have even one rupee. Please save my daughter. Please! " He cried.

Karthik dropped the phone and made his way to save her. He went to hospital and paid the amount for her treatment.

Doctors started treatment. He us waiting for the news. Doctor came out from the operation theatre. "Doctor! Doctor! How is she? Is she alright?" Worried karthik.

"Sorry to say you. I think you can understand the situation. She is in 3rd stage of cancer. It's not in our control. Better you pray for her." Doctor exclaimed.

Karthik rushes into the room. He unable to see her in that condition. He goes near to her. 

"Akrithi! Akrithi! You will be alright. Don't worry I will not allow you to die alone." Karthik said.

"Karthik! I..Know...I am going to....Die. please take care...of...your...Mother. My last wish is to see you as an Army officer fighting at border. Forgot about me l am always with you in our memories. Don't cry for me. In every drop I will be with you. I have a last wish." She said. 

"Come on say me. I will do it for you." Karthik said.

"I... want to kiss you. I want to hug you. I want to be with you." She cries.

He kisses her hugs her tightly. 

"You are always mine. You are forever with me." Karthik cries.

But, she dies. She leaves the earth and reaches the heaven. 

Karthik shouts loudly

"Akrithi.....!" He shouts.

He completes her funeral. 


                          1 YEAR LATER 

"Now, I am an Army Officer. My posting is at border. When I had enemies in front of me. I see every enemy is a cancer disease which killed my love and life. I started a cancer hospital at which my love is started. "

                              THE END

Label : Inflame Story

Author :  Kantipudi Sneha (India) 

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"A BIRD IN A CAGE" An English Story in Short

"A BIRD IN A CAGE" An English Story in Short learning English by story One day, when I was a young bird, my life completely changed. I do not know how long ago it was, but I still remember flying through the sky looking down at the green forest below.  All of a sudden, while I was looking for food, everything went black.  I crashed into something soft and was unable to move. I struggled to get loose, but I was not able to get free. I was put into a box. The walls were very hard, and I did not have much room to move. I hit the walls with my wings and yelled for help. After a while, since no one came to help me, I just gave up.  Inside the box, I found some water and food to eat. I do not know how long I was in the box.  Suddenly, the box opened and a bright light blinded me. I dropped to the ground. I felt the warmth of the sun on my back. It took a minute for my eyes to adjust to the light. When I was able to see, I looked around. I was FREE!  I stretched my wings and waved t

"The Four Smart Students" An English motivational short story with moral

​​🍂 "The Four Smart Students" An English motivational short story with moral learning English by story One night four college students were out partying late night and didn’t study for the test which was scheduled for the next day. In the morning, they thought of a plan. They made themselves look dirty with grease and dirt. Then they went to the Dean and said they had gone out to a wedding last night and on their way back the tire of their car burst and they had to push the car all the way back. So they were in no condition to take the test. The Dean thought for a minute and said they can have the re-test after 3 days. They thanked him and said they will be ready by that time. On the third day, they appeared before the Dean. The Dean said that as this was a Special Condition Test, all four were required to sit in separate classrooms for the test. They all agreed as they had prepared well in the last 3 days. The Test consisted of only 2 questions with the tota

​​"Helping Others" An English motivational short story with moral

​​"Helping Others" An English motivational short story with moral short story Once there was a small boy named Shankar. He belonged to a poor family.  One day, he was crossing through the forest carrying some woods. He saw an old man who was very hungry.  Shankar wanted to give him some food, but he did not have food for his own.  So he continued on his way.  On his way, he saw a deer who was very thirsty.  He wanted to give him some water, but he did not have water for himself.  So he went on his way ahead. Then he saw a man who wanted to make a camp but he did not have woods.  Shankar asked his problem and gave some woods to him.  In return, he gave him some food and water.  Now he went back to the old man and gave him some food and gave some water to the deer. The old man and the deer were very happy.   Shankar then happily went on his way. However, one day Shankar fell down the hill.  He was in pain but he couldn’t move and no one was there to help him.  But, th

"The Crow and The Necklace" An English Story in Short

"The Crow and The Necklace" An English Story in Short learning English by story Once a crow and his wife built their nest atop a huge banyan tree beside a river. They were very happy there. But when the female crow laid her eggs, they were in for an unpleasant shock. A huge snake who lived in a hole at the bottom of the tree came up and ate all their beautiful eggs. The crows were helpless with anger and pain. “You can’t let this wicked snake eat our children anymore," cried the female crow bitterly. “You have to find a way to save them from him,’ she said. “Let us go to our friend the jackal. He is very clever. He will surely be able to help us with a solution," said the male crow. They both flew to the cave in the forest where their friend the jackal lived. The jackal saw them coming. “Hello my friends. Why do you look so sad and worried? Can I help you in any way?"he asked. “Every time my wife lays eggs in our nest, a wicked snake living at the foot of the t

​​"Appreciation of Hard Work" An English motivational short story with moral

​​"Appreciation of Hard Work" An English motivational short story with moral short story One young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company. He passed the first interview, the director did the last interview, made the last decision. The director discovered from the CV that the youth’s academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research, Never had a year when he did not score. The director asked, “Did you obtain any scholarships in school?” The youth answered “none”. The director asked,  “Was it your father who paid for your school fees?” The youth answered, “My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees”. The director asked,  “Where did your mother work?” The youth answered, “My mother worked as clothes cleaner. The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and p

"Find your own destiny" An English Short Story with moral

"Find your own destiny" An English Short Story with moral Once five men were caught in a thick forest. The first man said, I will go left. Because my Intuition said so. The second one said, I will go the right because the right comes from the word rightness. The third one said, I will go back the way we came. The fourth one said, I will go straight. We should move forward, the forest will end and we will go somewhere new. The fifth one said, you are all wrong. There is a better solution. Wait for me.He climbed the tallest tree he could find while everyone else went their own way. From above he saw the shortest way to exit. He could also see the order in which the others would exit. He understood the problem and found the best solution. He knew that he did everything right. The others are were wrong. They were stubborn and they didn't listen to him. He was the real wise man. But he was wrong. Everyone was right. They were all wise. The man who went to t

​​"A limit of your Kindness" An English motivational short story with moral

​​"A limit of your Kindness" An English motivational short story with moral english short stories Recently Steve had a car accident. So he put his car in the garage to carry out the repair work. Since he had to go to the job daily, he decided that until the car is ready, he will travel by the metro train. One day, he noticed a homeless guy at the train station at night. He felt pity for him, so he gave him some change from his pocket. The homeless guy thanked him for it. Next day again, he noticed the homeless guy at the same place. This time Steve though to get him something to eat, so he went outside the station and brought him a meal. The homeless guy thanked him for his kindness. But Steve got curious and asked him, “How did you get to this point?” The homeless guy looked up at him and with a smile, he said, “By Showing Love.” Steve didn’t understand it, so he asked him, “What do you mean by that?” The homeless guy replied that “Throughout my whole life, I made

"AS YOU SOW, SO SHALL YOU REAP" Short Story in English

AS YOU SOW, SO SHALL YOU REAP One night, three thieves stole a lot of money from a rich man’s house. They put the money in a bag and went to the forest. They felt very hungry. So, one of them went to a nearby village to buy food. The other two remained in the forest to take care of the bag of money. The thief that went for food had an evil idea. He ate his food at a hotel. Then he bought food for his two mates in the forest. He mixed a strong poison with the food. He thought, “Those two will eat this poisoned food and die. Then I will get all the money for myself.” Meanwhile, the two wicked men in the forest decided to kill their mate on return. They thought that they would divide the money between the two of them. All the three wicked men carried out their cruel plans. The thief who wanted all the money for himself came to the forest with the poisoned food. The two men in the forest hit him and killed him. Then they ate the poisoned food and died. Thus, these evil people met with an e

"The Hospitality of The Pigeon" An English Story in Short

"The Hospitality of The Pigeon" An English Story in Short learning English by story Once upon a time, there lived two pigeons. They were husband and wife. They spend their day looking for food. In the evening they would come and rest on their favorite tree in the forest.  One evening, the wife returned home early. A usual she was waiting for her husband, when suddenly it started raining. She strated to worry. “Where are you, my dear? You never get so late," she whispered to herself.   Just then she saw a bird-catcher coming towards her. In a cage he had a pigeon. It was her husband. “OH no, what shall I do now" I wish I can help my husband," she said. She desperately tried to distract the bird-catcher by flapping her wings, but all in vain.  Soon, it stopped raining. “Brrr! It is so cold," said the bird-catcher. His clothes were wet. He decided to sit under the same tree where the two pigeons lived.  The poor wife sat by her husband’s cage. And she started

"Kismet" short story with moral

"Kismet" short story with moral short stories The fifth heat in the free-for-all was just over. "Lu-Lu" had won, and the crowd on the grand stand and the hangers-on around the track were cheering themselves hoarse. Clear through the noisy clamour shrilled a woman's cry. "Ah—I have dropped my scorecard." A man in front of her turned. "I have an extra one, madame. Will you accept it?"  Her small, modishly-gloved hand closed eagerly on it before she lifted her eyes to his face. Both started convulsively. The man turned very pale, but the woman's ripe-tinted face coloured darkly.  "You?" she faltered. His lips parted in the coldly grave smile she remembered and hated. "You are not glad to see me," he said calmly, "but that, I suppose, was not to be expected. I did not come here to annoy you. This meeting is as unexpected to me as to you. I had no suspicion that for the last half-hour I had been standing next to my—&qu