As soon as the clock struck 6 in the evening, he snapped his laptop shut and hurriedly jotted down the signing-out details at the security desk of his office “jaldi me ho saab?” the guard asked, he gave him a swift smile and nodded, pressing the lift’s button several times in his hurry. The lift came and he clambered inside.
As he had expected, the traffic was heavy at this time of the evening. This further escalated his sense of urgency.. Which had started from a feeling of guilt during the lunch break at his office. He had yelled at his wife that very morning.. It was the first time he had lost his temper since the last 6 months of their marriage… She had called him on his phone several times during the lunch break.. When he hadn’t received any call of her’s, she had left messages asking whether he had had lunch?… Even then he didn’t thought of calling her back.
While working, all of a sudden, he had pictured her, standing alone with a sad face, holding her mobile, anticipating a reply from him. The moment he had pictured her, all his anger had abated and on its place came a feeling of guilt he could not suppress. He had not even cared enough to ask her whether she had something to eat or not.. And he was sure she had not eaten a morsel…it was then that he had decided what he would do…something he had not done since the first night of their marriage.
As he neared his home, his heartbeat doubled… He felt like he was meeting her for the first time.. He parked the car infront of his house, took the shopping bags and eased open the gate.. She had seen him coming through the window.. As he climbed up the stairs towards the main door, she opened it for him… He silently went forwards and hugged her tightly… He sensed her trying to stay calm but then in his warm and strong embrace, she faltered… At first she trembled and then she broke down with silent sobs which made him hug her more tightly while she buried her head inside his chest.. “I am sorry sweetheart” he whispered.. But he knew this wont be enough.
Silently, he lead her to the couch and made her sit down while he wiped her tears with his hands.. “be right back my dear, wait here for me, wont you?” he said as she nodded like an innocent child, making his break into an affectionate smile. He went into the kitchen, selected a bowl and emptied her favorite chicken soup which he had brought. After arranging a spoon, he went outside to join her in their cozy living room.
She looked up at him with those beautifully large eyes of hers which were still full of tears.. Her nose was red and her cheeks were turning pink.. And he wondered for the thousandth time how can someone be so beautiful…
He sat beside her and neared her to himself by putting his hand around her waist.. Then he loaded the spoon and blowing the hot soup to cool a little, fed her with his own hands…
“I am sorry my love” he said as she silently gulped down the first spoonful of the delicious soup… It was apparent that she had not eaten the whole day… “No, I am sorry” she said with her huge eyes looking down at her hands” he gave her a tight squeeze as she took the spoon from his hand and fed him a spoonful like he had done, the only difference being that they were both glowing with shy smiles on their faces.. And feeding each other, they finished their soup.
#IMAGINATIONS – A collection of Short Stories by AZ Damudi