A small college town in Florida
Myra's brand new Mini Cooper roared to a stop at her friend Lisa's home.
"Ta-da! How do you like it? 300 horsepower, fully loaded, all-wheel drive."
"Wow! Looks fantastic, Myra. Suits your personality." Lisa marveled at the tiny, flashy car.
"I know, right! I just went to test drive, but they had it in this brilliant metallic red. I can't take my eyes off it even after two days."
Lisa smirked. "You could have bought a low-end BMW for the fortune you spent on this, I bet."
"Pfft! Come on, it's cute, and it's red. Besides, only jerks ride BMWs and Mercedes. Ready to roll?"
"Yep, gimme a second. I'll give some dry treats to Romeo and be back. He has been giving me the evil eye all day today." She took quick, long strides and disappeared.
Romeo is Lisa's handsome little cat. Myra has known Lisa ever since she moved to the US, which was like four years ago. Myra is twenty-five and Lisa is only two years older, but Myra considers her very level-headed and pragmatic.
Despite the opposite personalities, they have become good friends. She keeps Myra's whimsical acts and shenanigans in check. And that's the reason Myra didn't take her car shopping with her. She wanted to indulge herself as much as possible when it comes to spending her earnings, and Lisa would advise against it.
'After all, we live only once,' is the mantra that Myra wants to live by.
Born and brought up in India, she comes from a very frugal family. Her mom thinks twice before putting cilantro in any dish because every penny counts and 'why spend on cilantro when food can be cooked without it' is her logic. The bulk of Myra's clothes, toys, and books were hand-me-downs from her older sister, Adira. There was no way she was going to buy a used car.
Her dad's not-so-profitable diamond business turned successful some five years ago, but her parents' lifestyle and mindset haven't changed even then.
Myra grabbed a light jacket from the trunk as Lisa walked back to her car and sat down in the passenger seat. They were going to their favorite breakfast place and then Myra was going to head to Atlanta for a few days to spend the holidays with her boyfriend, Dhruv.
"Nice interiors," Lisa said, running her fingers over the dashboard and marveling at the fancy leather padded steering wheel cover. "Didn't expect so much leg space. Not that you will need much." She chuckled.
"I'm not short. You are the Amazonian woman here!" Lisa was 5'11'' tall with pencil straight red hair, bright green eyes, and perfect porcelain skin while Myra was 5'2'' with sunkissed skin, deep brown eyes, and black hair with wispy bangs.
We always like what we don't have, I guess. Myra envies Lisa's straight silky hair and slender legs while Lisa complains about Myra taking away all her potential dates when they hit the clubs together. 'Men love short and cute women who look exotic. They feel intimidated by my height and find my skin color boring.' Lisa says this a lot.
Lisa has no idea how Dhruv ogles at all long-legged, light-skinned women while Myra wishes to kick him in the nuts. She had countless arguments with him when his eyes wandered around without his knowledge and she found it offensive.
Whatever happened to all those dreamy-eyed romantic men from the movies who would die to make their woman feel special. Myra was waiting for one forever and decided to settle for Dhruv when she finished her studies and didn't find anyone more interesting. Although not her first choice, she had grown to love a lot of things about him over time.
"You're being awfully quiet. What happened? Having second thoughts about your flashy car?" Lisa asked, still exploring the glove box and floor mats.
"No way!! I love it. I got a crazy dream this morning when I woke up early to pack my bags. It felt so real that it's been on the back of my mind all morning."
"What dream? That Dhruv proposed to you?"
"No silly, I told you he asked me a long time ago."
"But he didn't get on his knee and present you with a ring. So that asking and all don't count."
"Things work a little different back in the motherland. The minute I tell my parents about him, they will want the wedding and babies right away. Dhruv and I want to wait a couple more years before tying the knot because I don't want to pop babies left and right and be the mother of two in the next few years. There's still so much to live, explore, and experience."
"Fair enough. So what's the crazy dream about then?"
"That I got married to some stranger. That's my worst nightmare."
"Oooh!! Who was this guy? Did he look hot?"
"I don't know. I didn't realize for a while that it was my wedding I was dreaming about. The moment I knew, I got nervous and woke up sweating before he touched my hand to put the ring on."
"That's probably nothing. I guess you are just desperate to get Dhruv to commit to you because he's got such a wandering eye. Mmm... they are still doing breakfast tacos!"
Lisa skimmed through the menu excitedly while Myra asked for unlimited coffee, which she very much needed. Atlanta was almost five hours away, and this was the first time she was going to drive alone that far.
While eating, Lisa told her about her work and complained about how this town was such a wretched place for anyone who was not a student. Dating life sucked big time because everyone was either too young or too old.
"Maybe I should also be willing to drive five hours to meet my man," she teased Myra.
"I wish he remained in Atlanta. He got a new job in San Francisco and will be leaving in a week."
Myra's phone went off, but she put it away. It was her mom. She has made it a habit to call Myra every Saturday morning and express her displeasure about some random guy Myra rejected for some silly reason.