Thursday, December 3, 2009

Night Queen

She pulled the shawl tighter around her slender shoulders. Had the temperatures really dropped by a couple of degrees within the past hour? She ought to get up and join the party downstairs. The guests had allegedly come to meet her. Uncanny; how none of them seemed to notice the absence of their hostess.

A tiny star twinkled in the diamond lit sky. She winked back at the mischievous imp and smiled. It felt good to smile. She let her eyes wander aimlessly along the black cloak of magical twilight. If they had not missed her for this long, it was highly unlikely anybody was going to miss her now. She could afford to stay here for a little while longer.

The breeze lifted strands of velvety black hair off her shoulders and merged them with the inky blackness of the night. She closed her eyes and lifted her face to the gentle caresses of her unseen friend. Promptly, the night chill planted feathered kisses on her upturned face.

“Beautiful,” he whispered.

Startled she turned in the direction of his voice. How long had he been watching her?

“Excuse me?” She blurted.

“Beautiful,” he explained taking a step closer towards her, “You are beautiful.”

She did not move. Her eyes traced the outlines of his square face. He was not classically handsome, but there was something very compelling about those smoky gray eyes crinkled at the corners in a smile.

“What are you doing here by yourself?” he asked

“I am married!” she said wriggling her ring finger defensively. He laughed. The sound was deep and rich and it floated over enveloping her in its mirth. It sounded like he laughed a lot.

“Congratulations!” he said finally. “Does being married qualify you to stand on the thirtieth floor all by yourself?”

“Sorry?”

“If that’s the qualification criteria, then I confess I am a gate-crasher!”

“I beg your pardon?”

“I am single. Happily unmarried, actually. Does that mean I can’t linger on a beautiful night, on a beautiful terrace, with a beautiful albeit married lady?”

“You can do what you please!” she said and wedged her feet into her discarded heels. Closer, he was much taller than her. She was not intimidated, she was excited about meeting this stranger. That itself was a scary conclusion. She craved the added inches her heel would provide.

“Leaving?” he asked, his eyes never quite leaving her.

She just shrugged, unsure of whether she really wanted to leave. He watched her as she fastened the straps of her heels around her elegant ankles. Would she leave? She squared her shoulders and looked over her back at the artificially lit cityscape.

She stood there for a long undecided moment and then smiled tightly at the stranger before heading for the doors. He watched as she glided through the magical night and disappeared out of sight.

Her heels echoed in the empty stairway as she clambered towards her apartment. Nobody had missed her. Music struggled to make its presence felt above the rising decibels of human conversation. People had wandered off in groups and were having random conversations of their own. Her eyes sought her husband.

He was standing near the balcony, his arm lazily draped over the shoulders of his friend’s wife. She said something and he threw his head back and laughed. Their eyes met. He straightened up and then raised his half-filled glass to her in a toast.

She nodded and headed straight out of the apartment. The stranger was leaning on the short wall of the rooftop and staring into the night. He must’ve heard her arrive for he turned towards her. He leaned back on his elbows and smiled lazily.

“Welcome back,” he teased her




8 comments:

Raj said...

holy cow!
that was unbearable. what a dork husband. ufff...

“I am married!”

is it me or do women say that when they are not happy with the present scene or just to avoid an encounter with a stranger?
sacchi batana. :P

blunt edges said...

simple :)

the kind that makes me wish 4 a sequel :D

Crimson Feet said...

:O ... wtf!?! :O :O

but one can never deny the stunning silent elegance of your prose... ;)

COMMUNI said...

nice blog :)

The Sage said...

sequel, please...

Mrinalini said...

good one ;)

Anjali said...

nice :) really really...nice ;)

Americanising Desi said...

geeee now that husband i wanna beat to shreads!

dont ask me why :P

brilliant writing!