Sunday, June 26, 2011

A second chance

She sat quietly and looked at the lovely landscape, seeing nothing really. Just stared at nothing but vast lands of green that rushed past her. It got colder and she pulled the shawl closer around herself. Her friend owned a beautiful heritage home in lush green lands of Coorg and she was going for a break. "Break", she said softly to herself and shook her head. Kids were grown up and gone. She hardly even knew her husband anymore. He was always busy. Traveling , working and being an important man for the country's government. Usual story of the mother being the prime caretaker and the father being a guest in their lives. They had just drifted apart without realizing it. It made her sad to think the kids did not even know their dad well enough, not that it mattered anymore. She needed sometime to think about her life and what she would do with it.

He got out of the car and stretched. It had been a long drive for him. He had had nothing to eat all night as he drove, and he was starving by the time he had got here. He convinced himself that food was the last thing on his mind and yet the growl in the stomach told a different story. He picked his small travel bag and walked into the elegant house. He had always loved being here. He loved the green, the mist, the smell of wet earth, and the coffee. A sound of a car behind him jolted him and he turned to see a very striking woman emerge from the car. He took a closer look and felt as if someone kicked him in the gut.

He stood rooted to the spot. She looked up sensing someone looking at her and automatically smiled politely, and one second later, her face lost its colour. They looked at one another for what seemed an eternity, as if in a trace and at the same time a feeling of something twisted on the inside.

The owner came to greet them and the spell was broken. They forced themselves to pick up the bags, walk, thank the driver, greet the owner. Do something, anything normal as against what they were feeling. She decided she would just leave immediately. She could not bear him to be so near and not see him, not talk to him, not touch his face that she had once so well loved. He sat quietly at the breakfast table. Waiting for her to join him so he could look at her. That lovely heart shaped face that was etched in his mind and heart for so many years. He looked up at a sound and saw her approach the table. She sat down quietly and refused to meet his eye. He saw that her hands shook as she got herself a glass of water and without a word, pushed up her chair , told her friend that she would be resting and did not wish to be disturbed and walked back to her room.

He took a plate of food with him and knocked on her door, and just stared at her with a small smile on his lips as she opened the door. "Hi", he said simply, while she just stared at him. Automatically her hands clenched into fists to keep them from shaking. "Nice room you have here, do you come here often with your family?" he asked and she just nodded. "How is your wife?", she inquired, more out of curiosity than her impeccable manners. "Fine", he said and he handed her the plate. "I was starving and I am sure you are hungry too, just bought you some food", he said. She just said, "Sweet of you Ram", and turned away. "Please Resh, can we be friends ? After so many years that passed by, I am sure we can atleast be friends? Hmm? Please?". Startled, she realized nobody had called her that since she was in college. She quietly offered a nod in answer. Relieved, he said, "Great, I know this place well. There are some great places to hike and spend time. Would you like to go with me?". Not having any reason to say No, she nodded again.

They packed sandwiches and set off the next morning for a small climb through the lush greenery. It was a beautiful morning and they got talking about themselves and their family. Suddenly, the found themselves confessing about their respective unhappy marriages and empty lives. They found themselves cursing themselves for wasting their lives. They suddenly found themselves wishing they had made better choices and they found themselves cursing their destiny for having separated them when they were young and so much in love. They sat silently for a while thinking about their lives, their spouse, children and wondering what they would say if they saw them now. Would they be shocked, would they understand ? Would they heap abuses at them ? Would they accept the reality?

Instead of finding comfort in each other's presence , they found themselves confused as she thanked him for a nice day and said goodnight. She was leaving the next day and said she would leave her contact details with him and they would see how to take this further.

She woke up the next day, tried to stay calm and composed as he hugged her tight to say goodbye. She wiped her tears and handed him a folded paper. He thanked her for giving her contact details and walked to the door. Waved for as long as he could see her driving away and walked back in with a pain in his heart. "No more pain . I found her again and life is going to be beautiful again. I will laugh, sing, write poems and enjoy the sunrise and sunsets with her till the end of my life. I desperately hope she wants to do the same. Please God. Please", he thought quietly. He opened the folded paper to memorize her address and stood pained as he started into a plain white paper and heard his heart break into a thousand pieces.