Monday, August 11, 2008

Surreal Times

It was a sweaty July afternoon. The clouds covered the sky in their humid blanket making the heat stick to the skin. Sushmita was relieved to find that the electricity was still there when she return home from work. At least her office was air-conditioned. Sometimes she did not want to come back home, to this oppressive heat. Shaswat had been promising her an AC since last year but the expected pay hike had not happened.

He was already home, as usual, preparing dinner in the kitchen. "Hi Precious. How was your day?" He greeted her with a cool glass of khus-khus sherbet and the smell of freshly fried fish. "Oh the same thing. You know - the deadline for the designs is in two days. I do not know how I will complete them in time." She had sank into the soft red bean bag in the balcony. He got his own glass of sherbet and snuggled in beside her.

She was sweaty from having climbed the stairs to their fourth floor apartment. He was sweaty from the hot kitchen. Their slick pungent smells snuggled into each other, their sweaty bodies soaking the oozing rays of the setting sun. "Don't worry. You'll do it. You always do it. Talk to me about it if you want to."

She leaned back into him. Her hair, choked with the grime of everyday life, felt rejuvenated in his calm breath. She rested her head on his shoulder. She was at peace with the world when she was in his arms. Her thoughts made so much more sense when he was around.

"Lalit gets it, you know. My ideas, my designs. Even before I have completed presenting them to the team. He gets them just the way I want them to be. I talked with him all afternoon about this. He says we will have to work all night tomorrow to get this done."

His fingers were gently curled over hers with a reassuring kindness that she found every time he touched her. "That's good. Then why are you so worried. I am glad you have someone to discuss your work with. I wish I had someone who could tell me why my short-wave radio does not work!" He could hear what he was saying. He did not like the sound of his voice. He just closed his eyes and felt her weight leaning on him. He wished he did not say such things.

"Oh shush! Who can understand those nerdy gadgets you keep fiddling with! Oh it's Lalit on the phone. I've got to take this, love. Mwah." She kissed him lightly on the forehead. He watched her stand and walk over to the edge of the balcony. As she stood there, he could see her face in profile, covered with the dull warm orange of the dying twilight. As he watched her talk on the phone, he noticed that smile on her face. A smile that only appeared when she was talking with him.

Time seemed to flow, all around him, like Dali's melting clocks. He loved it when she smiled like that. A smile of abandon, a smile full of twinkles that lit up her eyes. He waited for that smile. He waited on that smile. He waited because of that smile. He waited, and time kept on flowing.

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