Thursday, May 28, 2009

Same Time. Same Place.

Heavy gray clouds blanketed the pink summer skies, but they could not steal the warm tingling feeling which the rays left in their wake. A strong wind blew swirls of dust into the eyes of the disillusioned pedestrians, making them quicken their pace. A storm was brewing, and true to their instincts, no wise human being wanted any part of it.

He stopped at the glass door and turned his back on the wind blown chaos. Once inside, he would have to weather a different kind of storm. A storm he both feared and welcomed. It would be the same as it would have been for the last fifteen years.

She would sit at the same table; she would sip the same brand of wine. She would wear yet another shade of blue and once again she would sit there without uttering a single word, till it was time to get up and leave.

Like he had for the past fifteen years, he would sit right behind her, three tables away. He would watch her elegant fingers wrap and unwrap around the stem of her glass. He remembered that gesture so well. She would always do that when she was mad at him and was struggling hard to reign in her ebbing temper.

“It’s safer for the world, if only one of us were angry at a time,” she would kid him; hours after their fights had blown over.

He missed her so much, it was unbearable. Yet, he would bear it through the four seasons spread across the three hundred and sixty four days, to endure the sweet torture of just watching her from this sacred distance, today. Once again, he would toy with the idea of approaching her, for a million times in every second. Once again echoes of the past would chain him to his chair.

Her screams would deafen him to the voice of the speaker. Memories once again clouded his vision as he traveled fifteen years back in time.

“He is not answering the phone!” she half screamed at him. He understood she was not really screaming at him. She was annoyed about feeling helpless.

“Its ok, honey,” he reasoned with her, “look his breathing is stable. We don’t want to jump the gun and raise false alarms, do we?”

“False alarms?” She hissed at him, hen took a deep breath and ran a trembling hand through her ruffled hair. She sat next to their four month old baby and placed a gentle hand on his chest. Tears flooded her eyes and she looked away.

“His temperature is still rising,” she whispered, still not looking at him. “Please call the doctor, he’s your friend after all!”

“Ok,” he said, “ Let’s check his temperature once again. If its high, I promise I will shake the doc out of his sleep. But if all’s well, we meet him in the morning, ok?”

When she still seemed reluctant he pointed out, “ Morning’s only four hours away!”

They recorded his temperature to be a decent ninety nine. While it was not normal, it was not something to panic about. He breathed a sigh of relief. Both of them had not slept in three days. Doctor’s could not figure out what was wrong with their four month old baby, but they promised they were trying their best. She would not last an hour without her son and he would not last a second without her. He would kill himself before he let anything happen to their son.

“He is shivering!” she tugged at his arm in an alarmed whisper.

That was it. He rushed her and their baby to the car and headed to the hospital. While she hugged their son to her and sniffed soothing words in his deaf ears, he called doctor after doctor telling them he would be at the hospital in five minutes.

They were five minutes too late.

For a week after that she did not speak a word. The mourners had come and gone. The house loomed large like an over decked cemetery. There were no signs of life. Two dead bodies, he and her, floated endlessly between the walls.

On the eighth day, she was standing outside the door, with her packed bags stashed in the boot of the waiting taxi.

“You killed my baby,” she said and closed the door upon him.

Today, after fifteen years, those doors still remained shut. He watched her as she stood up and walked towards the exit; the ghosts of a painful past embracing her graceful gait.

“See you soon,” he whispered and raised a silent toast in the direction of the doorway she had just departed from. “same time, same place… next year.”

*****

She shook her head in an attempt to shake away the pain. It was futile.

She knew he was there. Like always she had sensed his presence the minute he had walked in. She knew he sat somewhere behind her. She was always afraid to look.

Would he be alone?

Would he be with someone?

God! If he was with someone, she would never be able to bear it. She still loved with him with every aching memory.

She regretted every word of what she had said that fateful morning. She wished she knew how to say sorry. She wished he didnt hate her. But he had to. Else why would he come here, year after year, and not talk to her. Not once, in the past fifteen years.

She squared her shoulders. She would not think about it. She was grateful to him that he loved their son enough to come once every year to attend the annual meet of the charity organization, they had put together in his honour. It was something she had always respected and loved about him – his sense of responsibility.

She watched as the gray clouds parted without a hint of rain. Dots of crimson colored a pale sky. Soon it would be sunny and unbearably hot. But right now? Right now everything was just perfect.

She would be with him again. Soon. Same time. Same place. Next year.




13 comments:

d gypsy! said...

eh, gud to have u back, spinning the yarn of story after story...

this one reminded me of a movie whose name i'd forgotten... ( :( )

the elemental chaos of what-is-said and what-needs-to-be-said...

sometimes understanding someone too comes with a price...

comfortably numb said...

this is so tragic...If only, one can have the strength to confess:(

Mrinalini said...

sigh! this is just so meloncholic..and well, real..so much is left...unsaid.

Pollyannaish said...

this is so painful !!
while i was reading it..i wished either of them wud go ahead and talk..
one of those stories which linger on ...

The Sage said...

if only we talk...

Prakhar said...

It never felt like fiction...may be it isn't ..i dont know...portrayal of emotions is very heartfelt...

luvd the book...wrote a little something abt it :)

AD said...

i ached... terribly!

rabbit said...

this again shows that u are the best out here.

tc and hugs.

i was near to tears...

Crimson Feet said...

agree with comfy numb... this is too tragic... too sad!!

Crimson Feet said...

well.. agree with poly and ad too..

:)

and marvin...

and with rabbit the most ;)

@ prakahr... it isnt real.. with her... mostly everything is imagined! :)

Sougata said...

Hey finally you did something concrete , :). I feel so prod knowing you . I'll read the book for sure. Keep writing you are amazing .

Shanu said...

U defntly have a way with words!!

ScarletTd1ar1es said...

WOW. n u say u like my writing style. o_0. that splot was mystique. it makes you question whether ego is more important or love. but then there is always the fear of the feeling being one sided. sigh. babe u r awesum. :P