The next day, she did not go out at all. Why should I go?
But her resolve melted out completely within a span of twenty-four hours and she went out; to the beach, to her peaceful resort.
There, sitting aloof amidst all the noises, she looked into the sea. It was inviting her to join, offering something. The sea smiled to her, a dazzling smile, while the last rays of the sun slipped over its bosom. They reflected in the eyes of Anitha, blind-folding her for a while, creating strange shimmering shapes in front of her eyes. They appeared like silver roads and Anitha tried to concentrate on these, but they were falling down constantly, slipping out like naughty kids, to re-appear again from above. And after a while, the images faded out altogether.
She thought of the other side of the ocean. She tried to find the land where the oil-wells are. But all that she could visualize was water, black and thick.
“You look like a statue.” Someone said from behind.
She turned around. Aravind smiled at her.
He sat down near her.
“I am sorry.” He said. “I blew out your day-dreams.”
Anitha did not hear him. She was looking at him. He looked aged and tired.
“Why? You look as if you see a ghost.” He laughed.
She was still silent.
“So, how things are going on?” He asked, with an intention to drag her into conversation. “By the way, when is he returning?”
“He left already. Four days ago.”
“Oh. That is why you are here. I see.”
She did not bother to answer. But went on looking at the sea, which was, by then, a murmuring blackish fluid.
“It is a long time since we met. “He said.
The darkness landed all on a sudden. The throng had thinned. Some of the people were in the process of leaving.
“Why? We met ten days ago. Didn’t we?”
“I did not mean that. I meant of our meeting here”.
“Our rendezvous.” She smiled
“Probable. Looking at each other through the barriers of destiny”.
She looked at him quizzically. Then moved her head slightly. As if in consent.
He looked at his watch.
“Who else are at your home?” He enquired.
“All are there. Father-in-law, Mother-in-law, Sister-in-law.”
“All in-laws. A lawyers’ forum with one more in-law. The little daughter-in-law. And what is it that the father-in-law is doing?”
“He is sick.”
“Is that what he is doing? Being sick?”
“Yes” She disarmed his mirth by a tepid tone. “He is bed-ridden”.
“Oh. I am sorry. What happened to him?”
“Let us leave them out” She said. There was a resolve of finality in her voice.
The talking ceased abruptly.
And as if my mutual consent, they got up together.
They walked along. And when they reached near a small new car, he stopped and asked: “Shall I drop you?”
“No. I don’t want to be dropped.”
Laughingly, he got in the car. The engine purred, revved up and started humming. And he raised his hand in farewell and drove off.
I should have accepted the lift. After all what was wrong in it? She thought.
Yet she felt that it was not proper.
Are we not friends? Yes and Yet ……………
( To be contd….)