She was going to get married to him in four months. They loved each other. He knew it, he told her everyday. Their wedding was going to be perfect. Everything was planned. They were fresh out of college and were taking a year off before joining university. They would roam around the world; trekking. They would live a life before settling for the usual.
They had a neighbour, a female in her mid thirties, un-wed, single mom with an adopted son. They never knew her name but they called her Ms Jacobson. They often dropped off Ms Jacobson at the grocery. It used to help Pete practice for his driving test. Martha and Pete needed a proof of age for their marriage. The only ‘proof’ was a driver’s licence which Pete was yet to obtain. So, Pete would practice whenever Ms Jacobson needed a ride. That day was just another day. But he’d appeared for his test a day before. It had become a ritual for Pete to drop off Ms Jacobson and while retuning back, he would clear things off in his mind. He used that time to get away from a life he wanted, a life that was getting to him. He dropped off Ms Jacobson that day as usual. But she insisted on him leaving. She told him that she would return on her own; that he did not have to wait. ‘He did not have to wait’. So, why was he waiting and for what? He agreed to leave her there and he drove off. He drove off to obscurity…
He never returned. Martha called her neighbour’s, they did not know. She thought that he probably needed more time. She gave him three days. He never returned. She filed a missing person’s report but they never returned him to her, they never found him. He never returned.
Martha died her death while waiting for him. Did he get cold feet? Did he not love her? She would never know. Never…
Cindy and Robert lived a mile away from the actual city of San Diego. Their mother sent them to the city every week to get the house-needs from the Super mart. Cindy was 17 and Robert, 19. He was moving out for college and they were supposed to get all the things he would be needing. Their mother did not accompany them. It was a Thursday morning.
In the Super mart, they went their own ways, picking out things they deemed necessary.
They finished the collection and met in front of the Billing counter. There were three counters. On that day only two were functional. Robert and Cindy stood in queue. The man before them had many items to be billed out. There were four people to go before them. Robert shifted to the other counter and waited there. He reached there before his sister.
She did not notice it; she was texting someone. He waved his hands, but she took no heed. He got his things billed and moved out. He figured that she would reach outside on her own. He whistled and went out of the Mart towards the car. She ultimately got all the things billed and looked around for Robert. She checked in the aisles, shrugged and strode off to the exit. A chewing gum got stuck to her shoes. She sat down, took them off and rubbed it clean with a tissue. She wore the shoe again and went out of the store. She met Mrs Natalie and her newly born baby. She cuddled her a little and signalled towards Robert. Mrs Natalie waved towards him. Cindy saw that her laces came undone. She tied them up and finally looked at Robert. He looked afraid. She gestured, asking what happened. He was shouting. She couldn’t hear what he was saying; she was deaf. She looked around- left, right; she couldn’t see anything. Then she turned around. She saw it. She saw Mrs Natalie running. She saw the car. And
Blood spill and memories
He cheated on her. When she found out, she was reading a book- The Winner Stands Alone. She would do the same to him. She would cheat on him as well. He should taste his own wrath. She did not want to be the one who takes it down lying. She wanted to do something. She called a man. Someone she didn’t love but some one she could to use. Someone who loved her. She chose Neil. But he found out. The very man, who she set out to destroy, found out… Neil told him.
He was angry, very angry. He raged into the house and slapped her. She sat there, smiling with a glass of red wine in her delicate hands. She still wore the wedding ring. Her smile was so much more than just that. It bore the resentment of a betrayal, it bore the cruelty of broken trust and it bore the vendetta of a woman.
He stared into her eyes. How dare she smile? Keith shouted,
‘I can see the reflection of your blood in the red of the wine Maya…’
Maya. That was her name.
She sat there smiling, still, for she now saw the irony of life. When a man betrays, it is always excusable; when his woman breaks free- she’s worth killing. When a man decides he has had enough of other women, he’s free to return to his family. When a lady wants to go to other men, her family stops her. The rules were different for the two groups in the game. Maya understood now. She saw the humour. She saw God laugh at her.
Rhea and Maalini had an argument. Was there love at first sight? Did it exist? Rhea never believed it. She always felt that love was calculated and thought over; it never reached anyone’s doorstep on a white horse. Maalini, on the other hand, had already seen love for the first time- three times in the past month. She loved all of them. Rhea was off the roof that day for she was annoyed at herself for not being able to put sense into Maalini’s head.
Maalini walked out of her friend’s house, her eyes misted with tears. She couldn’t stand being proved wrong. She did not want to fight over it either. She hugged herself and waited for the bus. Once on it, she spotted an empty seat. She pushed the man in front of it, irritated, and plonked herself. He looked down at her and she looked up.
Then she saw his eyes, his hazel eyes. She knew she was correct. She knew love at first sight existed. She went home and called Rhea, first thing.
The argument continued again but the tears dried up.
I Know What You Are Thinking
It was beautifully windy. Serena sat on the beach with her mother for the last time. They were shifting to Russia next week. Serena did not want to leave. Not because she loved the beach, but because she was scared of a new place. She was scared to meet new people. She was afraid of being disliked. She hated just one thing more than not being talked about and that was not being talked about at all.
She had moved far too many times because of her father’s transferable job. She hated him for it. Every move meant a change of place, friends and life. This time she was a teenage adult. She did not want to change everything for him. Her only constant friend was her mother. She had been with her forever, through everything. Serena wanted to tell her mom so much that this move wasn’t needed. But, everything had been packed already and now it was too late. Her mother had accepted these changes the way she accepted every other incident in her life- quietly.
They sat on that beach for five hours. Her father arrived at 7pm, right in time for dinner. Serena got up and brushed the sand off her skirt. She sighed and gulped in the sultry air. Her hair streaked across her face. Her mother brushed it away. They looked at each other. Serena wanted to say that she won’t move. That she would stay back. She hoped she could say it. Her mom looked at her and after a long pause she said ‘You’ve grown a lot in these days.’ Serena looked down, choking her tears back. Her mom hugged her; she rested her hand on her daughter’s auburn hair.
I know what you are thinking.’
‘Her mom hugged her; she rested her hand
on her daughter’s auburn hair.’