“What is your highest Flappy Bird score?” she asked while leaning over into the mobile screen.
“Ohho! just wait a minute! I am on it!” he evaded her without shifting his gaze from it.
“127!!?? Are you for real??” She sounded surprised, though it was hard to judge if she was being sarcastic. His head nodded in disappointment while he dumped the mobile on the sofa.
“Yeah, just 127… All thanks to you!” he grumbled as he moved towards the kitchen.
“Heyyy… What did I do? Stop blaming me for your failures!” she snapped back as she refused to move away from the sofa and settled herself comfortably instead.
It was a beautiful, but chilly Friday morning. The sun was now visible over high towering buildings around the society. And living on the top floor of a multi-storied building in a society, makes it easier for you to have access to all the sunlight at the terrace for yourself.
As he cluttered through the kitchenware, to fix a snack from the last night’s leftovers, she suddenly whispered in his ears, “No maid today again?”
“Yeah, she had to go to the doctor’s.” he replied while focusing on the question, how he wanted the eggs. After a brief moment and sudden realization, he shot back, “You have off today! That’s why you are so chirpy in the morning!”
“I think it’s high time and you should remember by now that I have my Fridays off.” she smirked, following it with a fake sulky pout.
She was completely ignored! His attention on the breakfast is worth the respect.
“I would have made you something, but then I thought we could have a brunch someplace. Let’s try out one from our list!” her voice was bursting with energy, and it made a solid attempt to grab his attention.
“You didn’t make me anything because I don’t drink tea, and that was your best bet!” he teased her while flipping the eggs. “But honestly, brunch sounds like a good idea. However, you do remember I have working Fridays??”
His stare caught her hiding behind the sofa, from where she peeked over and answered, “I do!! But you can call in sick! I am going to the terrace. You take off today or I’ll take off!” she stuck out her tongue at him, and ran upstairs.
All he could do was smile and follow her, along with the breakfast.
Because breakfast is essential…
As he sat beside her on the green, wet grass, she closed her eyes and leaned back to soak the sun in. The small rose garden at the terrace, with the sun, just strong enough to break through the morning winter chill, was a personal getaway. He could feel goosebumps all over his body, as the warmth eased him off and seeped into him. An occasional blow of wind turned it into a cycle. As soon as he kept his phone off after calling in sick, she turned towards him and stared blankly. He saw her giving that look to his plate, and then to him.
“Don’t give me that look! I’ll be fine for the brunch even with this breakfast.” he managed to speak while chewing on what was left of it. She smiled and closed her eyes again, facing towards the sun and breathed “It feels good here. Let’s just stay.”
He didn’t smile back. His eyes stared directly at the sun till they hurt, and then closed themselves.
“I felt something peculiar yesterday” he muttered as he sat there.
“I was riding motorcycle while returning from the office, and the speed was a bit high. My mind was jumbled up about something and suddenly it felt like the time has slowed down.
Like I could just give the accelerator full throttle and let the bike go on, till it crashes into something.
How would it feel? How would I feel if it crashed? Would the whole slow motion feeling would be gone in an instant? Maybe I’ll fly to a certain distant.
Floating in mid-air, slow motion.”
She opened her eyes and stared at him. His eyes were still closed and the face was difficult to read. “Well, that’s dark.” she stated, remaining composed.
However, he pictured her looking at him with a somber expression, hence couldn’t help but smirk. “I know! But I felt pretty light at that moment. Anyhow, your company does affect you.” He commented sarcastically while enjoying the warmth of the sun on his eyelids. Just the spot!
“So, what was your mind jumbled in when this happened?” her voice entered his ears, echoing in the pitch-black darkness, with the orange hue. His sigh marked his awareness regarding the occurrence of this question.
As he opened his eyes, he found her looking at him without any traces of the chirpiness, which floated across her face a few moments before. She had an air of seriousness around her. His head turned up towards the cloudless sky, in a futile hope for the sun to be covered for a bit. So, he took a deep breath and replied, “I was thinking about us…”
She felt as if the anticipation she had, just got verified. She took her time to respond and began it with a sigh, “I thought I was pretty clear about it. And it seemed like you understood.”
The voice sounded firm as well as the tone. He looked at the empty plate kept besides him as he avoided looking at her. “I know. I still understand. But that doesn’t change the way I feel.”
Her voice turned into laughter, which assured sarcasm this time. She leaned forward to inspect a rose bud in the garden and softly spoke “It’s better if we don’t talk about feelings. I think we both are pretty clear about where each of us stands.” her voice trailed a bit, as she stood up and started walking towards the edge of the terrace.
He didn’t move a muscle and kept sitting on the grass. It was difficult to get through to her, and he knew he was at fault. “The feelings were imbalanced, and I hit the nail on its head.” he spoke softly, trying to weigh-in where to place the statement.
“You cheated. Don’t sugarcoat it.” she leaned at the edge, as if to check something, and turned back and questioned, “Since how long have you not washed your bike?”
He was feeling the goosebumps again. But there was no chilly wind to cause it. “It’s been a week… And you know I didn’t mean it. It was the booze.” he retorted back, although he knew it very well how lame the argument sounded.
“So, you tell? Do you get to get away?” she spoke as she again leaned over to see something that had caught her fancy downstairs.
“No. But I didn’t hide it, or lied.” his eyes were fixated at the grass, twisting and uprooting whatever he got his hands on.
She turned around towards him, took a deep breath and sat down resting herself against the border of the terrace. “You do know I am not mad at you for it? We were in long distance relationship. We knew it could happen. We had discussed it earlier.”
He coldly smiled as he heard those words and his hands stopped. “Does it make me less guilty? Does that mean that I didn’t screw up? Does that mean things could go back to what they were?
“But the chances of us surviving were anyhow…” she tried to interrupt.
“Were scarce, I agree! But I sabotaged it. I know it. I accept it. And I’ll have to live with it.” He completed himself assertively. She just sat there, silently, looking at him, without blinking her eyes. His hands were intertwined with each other as he dug a hole in the garden with his stare.
“Yeah, and that’s why you should eat more… Let’s go to the brunch!” She casually tried to change the topic and started to move downstairs.
“I am not a fool you know… Watching a movie alone is one thing. Eating alone at a restaurant is just plain sad. I’ll ask some friends first.” he muttered as he raised his head. He was unable to notice the trace of smile that ran across her face when she heard him. “So, you don’t need me after all! I am not even counted in as company!” she looked back at him wearing that smile.
“Had I not needed you, would you be here?” he questioned her as his eyes brimmed with emotions hard to describe.
“Don’t you think I could have been a bit taller and thinner?” she chuckled as she stood on the stairs sticking her tongue out at him again.
Caught off-guard at this remark all of a sudden, a second later he burst into laughing.
They both laughed and the moment was perfect.
The place was perfect.
The time was perfect.
“Girl you are amazing, just the way you are!” he mocked singing as he stood up from the grass and carried the plates downstairs, behind her, fake dancing on the tune of it.
As he put up the dishes in the kitchen sink, the doorbell rang up. It was the maid. “Sorry bhaiyya for being late! The waiting line at the Doctor’s place was very long!”
“It’s fine Radha ji. As long as you inform me beforehand, it could be managed. Just skip the breakfast and lunch, take care of the rest.” he hurriedly replied as he took his jacket, helmet and the keys to his bike.
“Bhaiyya… Going somewhere?” the maid enquired as he reached the door.
“Yeah, I am going on brunch with her. You can do the preparations for dinner directly. I’ll be late.”
“On brunch with her?? With whom?” the maid asked in surprise. She saw around and only found him standing at the door.
He looked at the maid, and then at Her standing beside him, all set to go. “Umm… Nobody! Just my imagination! I am going to eat alone.” he smiled as he shut the door up on the perplexed maid.