Monday, September 03, 2007

The Morning After

He was up even before the official sunrise time published in the newspapers and getting ready to go. He had a morning flight to catch.He was trying hard to make as little noise as possible. Since she was a light sleeper, she was already awake but fought off the urge to get up. With her eyes closed she was registering every tiny movement he made while he was packing his stuff and the ‘zoooiiick’ sound of the zips. She did not want to move even though she knew he would be gone in another 15 minutes. A feeling other than laziness prevented her from getting up. For one, she knew that he would rather go like that and talk about it later. He didnot like to be sentimental about anything.
Slightly opening her eyes she saw his back as he stood against the window in contemplation. The erect head on his broad shoulders,left hand in the trouser pockets. She could neither see his face nor read his thoughts. She resumed her fake sleeping posture as he came towards her. He stood by the bedside, watching her may be for 50 seconds. But it felt like eons to her as she struggled not to break under his intent, fixed gaze. What was he thinking? Why the fuck he can’t wake her up and talk to her?
At last he picked up his bags and left. She heard the 'thhann' sound of the gate, the car backing up and the sound of car door closing and him walking back again to close the gate. She wanted to get up and see him go. But she knew she wouldn’t do it either. What if he caught her seeing through the window like that? Won’t she be giving herself away, a bit too much? Why the normal things that everybody does looked silly, awkward and odd in their case? She did not know.

Now the sound of the car grew fainter and fainter. She waited without any hope, for the faint sound of the car to become louder and louder. What if he had forgotten something? A book, or a CD or a DVD! But she knew right away that he never forgot such things. And any other thing forgotten, he would consider it as lost and purchase it anew.
Suddenly everything was still. Complete silence. She stretched on her back and remained like that for a while. Then slowly she got up and looked about herself as though she was seeing her house for the first time. She went around the place trying to feel him. She stood near the windows to see what he saw. The smell of aftershave lingered on in the Toilet. With a growing sense of weariness she went to the kitchen and put the Tea Kettle on the burner. Suddenly the thought that he might have left something to her struck her. A note or a card or some keepsake. Twice she went around the house, first very swiftly like a wind through the TV Room, Study Room, Hall and Verandah. Second time she searched slowly and more diligently with Tea in her hand. She did not actually need anything as an evidence for their time spent together. It was all locked up inside. But still, to find nothing created a sense of loss in her which she didnot feel even when he was going away.
As she poured herself a second cup of Tea, the phone rang. She knew it was him. He was calling from the airport. As usual he was early.
“Huh….ya just got up…not yet, its still brewing…. you are already at the airport?
flight is on time? ..hmm… you could have woken me up…oh, no it would not have been any trouble...Ya I knew that…okay...I shall...take care...keep in touch"

Newspapers had arrived with stale news. With that a new day would begin.

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