|Posted on August 31, 2013 at 10:50 AM|
The weather was tempting for a walk down the nearby park. She did not embrace fresh air since six months now and her mini-apartment's walls turned as sombre as his heart. Her feet took few steps towards the window and her eyes gazed at the outside world in hesitation. She felt a silent revolt heating up her heart again and a defiance bolstering her thoughts.
She took the sidewalk, through the pedestrian alley, and down towards Saint Bernardino pier. She hid her hands in her tight jeans pockets and kept her head down, barely foreseeing obstacles on the way. She was estranged facing passers-by and frustrated from the increased rhythm of her heartbeats: was it the adrenaline effect or a fear to meet with him again?
Crossing to the opposite side of the lake, she finally realised that she reached her destination. She took a deep breath, lifted her head up and released her hands off the jeans pockets. On her left side was a couple sharing a laughter, on the right was a teenage boy feeding some birds, while the vast greenscape in front was vivid with walkers, runners and smokers sitting on the benches. Although she could identify the faces of some neighbours, no one seemed to recognise her. Our nowadays' societies do not tolerate remembering the faces of six-month retirees.
She approached the lake's shore and headed towards the coffee booth at the corner. Such would be the first conversation, as short as it should be, that she will conduct with an individual other than her own. Hence, it took her time to pick her words. While waiting for her order to be ready, a laughter echoed in her ears and inflicted her body with a shiver from head to toe. She forgot the coffee order, abandoned the booth corner and followed the resonance of that laughter.
She found him sitting next to a woman beneath a willow. She approached the couple, stared at him for few seconds then, as he turned flustered trying to veil his eyes, carried back to pick her dark straight coffee. She thought, "This will be my final round in my duel with him".
She picked a bench located right in front of that willow, reposed gently her cup of coffee, lit a cigarette, and gave him a fixed look. He tried to ignore her existence but kept on failing, stealing intermittent stares every minute or two. She murmured, "Your head is eroded with grey hair now, your face is no longer frenzy, your eyes have lost their sparkles, and your outfit is as loose as a teenage boy. You use to sit with arms wide open, like a king, but now you look as confined as an inmate on death row".
He can see her lips moving but could not hear a single word. The woman next to him noticed his distraction and asked, "Do you know her?". He replied, "She used to make me laugh until I realised a laughter can not keep a man's smile forever". The woman next to him did not understand a single word but sensed his sweating hands.
She lit a second cigarette, stood up but remained still as if she had reached the edge of the world, and expressed with a sigh, while glaring at the placid water lake, "You used to be completely detached from the world while next to me; no voices, phone calls, or ex-girlfriends had ever broke that harmony we shared".
He coughed, redressed himself and laid his arms around the shoulders of the woman next to him. His move was so emotionless and artificial that it provoked his companion. "What's between you and that woman", she responded nervously. "I am your wife and have the right to know right now, even if she is an old story!". As his hands and forehead kept on sweating, he corroborated in a weakly assertive pitch, "She supported me when I needed it the most, until I realised that the gratitude of support decays facing the hardships of life".
She drew a smile on her face, inhaled the breeze of victory, and marched towards him. He turned mesmerised while the traits of retrogression invaded his companion's face. She lit a third cigarette and whispered in his ear, "Thank you for showing up in my life today. My loss turned incidental compared to yours!".
As her shadow faded away, the companion fumed over her husband silence. "Why did you marry me if you are still fond of her?", she cried. "I have spent two years with her", he replied. "During that period, she left a shadow behind every time she walked out the door of my apartment. Maybe I am still fond of her but every time you go, emptiness reigns over my house until your return".
Categories: Night Talks