Dry Rose Petals

“There is never a wrong time to visit Goa” Exclaimed the floor manager as I walked into the Rendezvous, A shack facing the beach on the Bagha …

 

“Yes , that’s true” I said.

 

“Well , are you alone Sir “ he asked.

 

And I just smiled at him.

 

“Understood, I have a perfect place for you he said, You would have a perfect view at the beach and lesser audience … Here sir”

 

“That’s just perfect… I’ll have a beer, Premium please…. and fish fingers… Yes that will be all“ I said making myself comfortable…

 

“Give me 10 minutes” He replied and walked right through the shells hung on the door frame…

I pulled out my book from my backpack and placed it on my table. Call me old fashioned but I still write in a book, Not that I don’t accept technology and change, but I love the smell of the ink, and the feel that  ink smudges  gives me.

 

My vacation was almost over and so was my book; But the endings always put me  to a corner, and  Sometimes I feel I have to be fair to my characters, but then Life isn’t just fair…

 

My eyes followed a cool gush of the sea breeze, Just to see the blue vast sea flirting with the wind…

I felt as If I was having a conversation with the sea, and I was telling her how beautiful she looked.

 

I was enjoying the trance…

 

Then my eyes turned towards a guy coming straight at me with open arms, with the pace that he had, I couldn’t get a proper look at his face.

“Aman My brother, what a great surprise” he said as he hugged me tight.

“Rahul, wow .., It’s great to see you… “ I said trying my luck with the names, which I always keep forgetting

 

“How are you ….Where have you been…. you look great… are you alone” He asked, Well I could say that he looked excited.“Hey you know what, you can answer them later. First I want you to meet somebody”

 

He dragged me out of my seat , Well that was Rahul, warm and  friendly, We were partners in crime back in the college… back then  I always thought of  him  as Puzo’s Godfather, Don Vito Corleone.

 

Then when time passes by, life gets us all busy…

 

“Aman, I am going to introduce you to my wife, Neha…. We are on our honeymoon” He said as we approached their table, He then hugged from behind…

I saw her face, as she smiled and turned around …

 

There I saw her again…

 

Dressed in a white salwar, she looked even more beautiful than the last time we met three years ago.

 

I could feel the world spinning around me, … I thought I was having a panic attack … I blinked , to ensure this wasn’t a dream or I was just not hallucinating .

 

‘No it’s all real Aman, Face it’ Said someone within.

 

She stared at me in disbelief , as Rahul introduced me to her  ‘ Neha ,meet my friend Aman, We used to be best buddies in the college, but, after the college he just disappeared, and today , after eight long years I bumped into him here isn’t that great’

Yes, Rahul the world is a very small place I said regaining my senses to normal…
I smiled at him, so he just wouldn’t see her staring at me in shock…

My waiter was kind enough to bring my stuffs to the table, “it happens all the time” He said

‘So tell me where are you now a days and how are you ’ Rahul asked with the same amount of curiosity that I saw in him when we both first saw a stash of weed in the hostel.

“ Pune,  I work as a copywriter with an ad agency, Life ‘s good , Tell me where have been?”

“Arrey  Yaar,  London , After post-graduation I settled there, We got married last month.You know how it is. parents always wanted an arranged-marriage, but I am happy that I found Neha. She’s just perfect for me” He moved towards her and kissed her on her cheek…

 

She smiled…

The same smile that she gave me years ago, when she accidentally broke my crystal vase…

I noticed that she never took her eyes off me… and then our eyes met… in spite of all my efforts to stop that from happening.

 

The wind blew her hair onto her face, and She tucked  the strides of hair  between her ears, I used to love it when she did that…

 

My mind drifted like a paper caught in the wind, back into streets of memories…

Everything flashed in front of my eyes.

The first day we met,

Our first date,

Our first kiss,

And then the good bye…

 

Rahul cut the silence saying “ Neha, Aman used to be the writer in the pack, we used to listen to his poetry when we got drunk, Do you still write Aman?”

“You know what they say; Old habits die hard…,  I still do, I am writing a book. And the Goa vacation was an excuse to complete it”

“Oh that’s fantastic, What is the book about” Curious Rahul asked.

I smiled and said “Read it, when it’s published”

He laughed out loud…

 

I couldn’t stop looking at her; ‘God ,she looked beautiful!’

 

In the backdrop the sun had started retiring back to its solitude.

 

even though I  managed to kept my sanity in check, I couldn’t help a deep  feeling of despair that  crept through my soul , leaving it hollow once again.

 

But then things started appearing more lucid and the perfect ending for my story was coming to me …

 

I told him that I was in a hurry, and we exchanged numbers.

 

As I was leaving  a dry rose, slipped out of my book and fell at her feet.

Our eyes met again as she picked it up.

I turned around and walked into the sunset.
She didn’t speak a word, but her eyes talked to me…She said “I am sorry”

And I said …..

—Fin—

 

Ayreej Rahiman

SEP 12, 2010

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