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Pen Your Pride

Please note that this is nine years after Alex and Anjali last saw each other – it is 2017

Alex

I sat next to Jasper in the large auditorium, wondering how had the years gone by so fast. I couldn't believe I was sending him off to college. It seemed like only yesterday I had started my journey of growing up and becoming a man and now I was sending my son off. I didn't feel like I was old enough to have a son in college, but being in my late forties, it isn't an unusual thing.

Arjun had convinced Jasper to attend his alma mater, which was ironic since both Chris and I went to MIT and Jasper hadn't even considered it. I sneaked a peak over at him as the head of admissions started to speak, he was taller than me with golden brown hair and eyes as dark as my father's. He had grown up to be responsible and well mannered and he had a dry sense of humor. The humor I don't know where he got that, because neither Chris nor I were very funny. Arjun could be the life of the party but his humor was more like the class clown kind of humor. Jasper's was subtler and you never knew when he was going to deliver a line. It always took everyone by surprise because he seemed so serious and straight-laced and out of nowhere he'd have you smiling.

I looked around the room to see the auditorium filled with parents and their children. There was one other kid from Jasper's class that would be attending Stanford, but yet I looked around the auditorium as if looking to see if I could recognize a familiar face. It seemed odd to think that some of the people in this room would one day become Jasper's closest friends, he would very likely end up dating some of the women sitting in this very hall. He could, like me end up marrying someone he went to college with. I looked at Jasper again, and I hoped he found his Anjali sooner in life, rather than like me when it was too late.

My eyes roamed the aisles trying to guess if someone would stand out to me. I'd scanned most of the room when I saw a woman with long dark wavy hair. She was playing around with her hair twisting into a bun and then letting it down moments later. She seemed bored like me. The hair reminded me of Anjali and how she would play with it when we went to lunch. Sometimes it would act like a curtain when she was studying something and hide her emotions behind that luscious curtain. And the one time I got to run my hands through it, it felt like silk running through my fingers. I still had the image of her from our one afternoon of passion seared into my brain.

But, I doubt that woman was Anjali, she was wearing a t-shirt with jeans and converse shoes. She dressed like she was in college herself, but her mannerisms gave her away that she was a parent and not a student. I couldn't help but think how much like Anjali she resembled or at least from what I could see from a distance. But, the Anjali I knew would never have dressed so casually for such an event. She would have seen her son off to college in style the way she used to drop off the kids to school.

The long haired woman turned her head as if she was scoping the auditorium like I was and I could see her features better now. My breath got caught in my throat. The woman looked so much like Anjali. She then turned to her right and whispered something to the young man sitting next to her. Karan, her son, was the same age as Jasper. It would mean like Jasper he would be starting college this year too. The boy smiled at whatever his mom said. It couldn't be Anjali, there was no way Raj would have let his son go to college on the West Coast, he would have wanted his son to go to one of the prestigious Ivy League schools on the East Coast. But, I couldn't get the resemblance out of my head.

The rest of the speeches seemed to drone on and I impatiently sat in the hard metal seats. "Dad, you seem awfully impatient. Usually, this is where the father tells his son to settle down and listen to whatever bullshit advice the elders are giving because it's really important. Looks like we're switching roles," Jasper said as he placed his hand on my shaking thigh. I laughed silently and stilled my legs. He was right.

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