Friday, August 27, 2010

Trapped

He was the first one to wake up as usual. He rubbed the sleep off his eyes and padded into the kitchen. Sherman, the calico cat they had picked off the street, dutifully rubbed herself along his pajama clad leg. Smiling he bent down to stroke her soft fur. No matter what time he woke up, she was always pleased to see him. He opened the fridge to fetch the carton of milk. She clung on to his pajama and climbed up to his shoulder. She stay poised there as he fetched her old orange bowl and poured out a decent helping for her. She then promptly forgot about him, shut her eyes and greedily gulped the milk.

Morning routine phase I over. He sighed tiredly the smile crumbling from his face. He scooped coffee into the filter and turned on the coffee machine. He looked around their tiny kitchen. From the window, just above the granite platform on his left, he could see the garden and the clear skies beyond. It was a perfect autumn day. Pink laces decorated orange tinged clouds. The sun was beginning to look lazy and the warmth was being gradually replaced by a gentle chill. The gurgling water called his attention back to the coffee machine. Right behind the pot was the note to fetch croissants from the local bakery.

“How could I forget?” He mumbled as grabbed his jacket and draped it over his white T-shirt. “Croissants on anniversary day!” He walked the brief five hundred meters to the bakery at a brisk pace. He hated croissants. Not that it had ever mattered. She loved warm croissants with the butter still melting on their glazed surfaces. So croissants it had been for every anniversary breakfast.

They had married for love. Or so they believed. He would do anything she wanted, just to see her happy. She knew what she wanted in order to be happy. The equation was complete. Yet ever since they had gotten married, he had been restless. With every passing year the restlessness just increased. It was like something was wrong, something was out of place. And the last week he had figured out what it was.

He reached the bakery. The warm aroma of freshly baked bread engulfed him and lifted his mood by a thousand notches. The smell of warm bread would always remind him of her. Not his wife. But her. The girl with a crescent dimple who lived one door away, on their right. He had bumped into her a couple of months ago. She had hurried into the bakery clad in pink pajamas, with a white fluffy shawl pulled tightly around her shoulders. She stood in the line behind him and darted shivering smiles at him. For a week they did not speak to each other, just smiled their acknowledgments.

Finally on the eighth day he had asked, “Are you new around here?”

“About a month old,” she grinned back.

And just like that they had gotten talking. She lived with her brother and his wife. Both were doctors, while she was an artist. She painted. She had graduated with a degree in commercial arts and was working out of her own studio for the past five years. She was spending some time at her brother’s home, helping him do his house up by lending them her creative inputs. They invited her entire family for dinner. Soon get-togethers became a part of all their lives.

He looked forward to having her over. She was vibrant. Everything she did, she did it with a passion. She even listened to what you had to say with a passion. He found himself discussing things with her. Things he would have never dared discussed with his wife. His wife did not have the temperament to listen. He also discovered that with her, he could be himself. Say things he wanted to say, do stuff he wanted to do and be assured that she wouldn’t be quick to judge and quicker to condemn.

And just like that on a bright Wednesday afternoon, as he watched her walk down the road in front of his house, his heart had squeezed with an aching to reach out to her. The feeling was so strong that it numbed everything within him. He could not move. His wife had walked into the kitchen and scolded him for leaving the eggs unattended. Her voice registered in his head, but his senses were attuned to the lazy walk of that figure crossing the road. Sensing his gaze, she turned and looked towards his house. Seeing him standing on his doorway, she cracked a smile. That crescent shaped dimple dented her left cheek and he was lost again. She lifted a hand and waved at him. Reflexively he waved back. She turned around, her hair flapping in the wind and walked into her house. He just stood there.

After five years of marriage he had fallen in love.

He sensed her before he saw her. She had slipped in behind him at the line at the bakery.

“Hello stranger,” she smiled at him.

He smiled back at her. In that moment the world was a nice place to be in. The line moved and it was his turn to order the croissants. She ordered for bread. They paid for their purchases and started walking back together.

“Croissants!” She said with delight. “What’s special?”

“Anniversary,” he shrugged with half a smile.

“That’s wonderful!” she beamed. “Happy Anniversary! Are we celebrating?”

“Do you want to?”

“Do YOU want to?”

“If it means you are coming. Yes.”

“And if I am not coming?” she asked.

“Then I’ll let her decide what she wants to do,” he replied honestly.

“Well then let her decide!” She announced still smiling. “It is her anniversary too after all!”

“I think she would love to have you guys over. She loves throwing a party!”

“Are you sure?”

“I have been married for five years!”

“Of course!”

“Will you come?”

“Maybe,” she stuck her tongue out at him and left him standing at his door. Inside he could hear the coffee still boiling. He looked at her back for a long moment, but then remembered his wife did not like her coffee too strong. He headed inside to fetch the coffee and melt the butter on top of the croissants.

“Happy Anniversary!” He mumbled.

6 comments:

The Sage said...

really trapped!!! poor guy... this is what happens when you marry!!! :P

Raj said...

who names a female cat sherman?!
there is just one fairy i know who could do that.
Pink laces decorated orange tinged clouds. vivid! :P
The sun was beginning to look lazy... SUN LAZY? lovely!

He would do anything she wanted, just to see her happy. She knew what she wanted in order to be happy...a touch of delicacy there with a wee bit of sarcasm. love it.

the entire thing did have a humorous chill to it :)

Crimson Feet said...

:O .... ok.. so i guess i am only supposed to notice the awesome writing style and story telling knack u got... wonderful wonderful!!

:)

PS.
gripping and leaving a thirst half quenched

blunt edges said...

"After five years of marriage he had fallen in love."
Boy ain't that line a gem!

Loved it :)

Rain Girl said...

Oh I love this :D its described so well.. why can't I write like you? :P will make hot chocolates for you everyday - just teach me to write like that :P

and I love those scattered lil lines here n there - pink laces and all those lines raj noticed :)

P.S.: What does V's P.S. mean?? ;)

AshenGlow said...

Oh catch 22... beautifully described and wonderfully penned...

:) fight between what you want and what is right...

Wah wah!

planning to come towards the East some time? long time since iv heard from both of you!