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“But they all look the same to me. How do you know which one?” Pooja was very confused seeing the never ending blue rimmed houses on the sides of the lane. She had not eaten since morning and her father was going berserk making her walk for so long.

Why did we have to come all the way to Capetown only to see her? Why was she so important? Her thoughts just couldn’t stop hitting her mind throughout. But her dad looked far from such aberrations, he was pacing about the street with such infused vigour.

The woman had to be someone special,Pooja concluded in her mind.

“It should be right around this corner,” she heard her father speak a million times.

“Papa can I please sit for a while, I am very tired,” she pleaded.

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He had finally relented. He made Pooja sit on the side bench and continued with his desperate search. Desperate. Eight years back also he had felt the same. And today probably he would see the not so befitting end to the story. The story will end that he was completely sure of but whether the pain attached with it would, he wasn’t. Who was he fooling, he thought, the pain would never end.

“The house here they don’t seem to have numbers. Could you please help us track this address,” he   asked a bystander.

“Yes of course. This is Maria’s house, right around that corner. You missed a lane,” the stranger replied smilingly.

Maria. The name itself brought a hint of sad smile to his face. After so long he would meet her. What would he say? What would she say? He knew now that the destination was not far, he in fact could see the door to the mentioned house. He settled his hair and began walking backwards to pick up Pooja. After all it was because of her she had come all along to Capetown. That is what he would want to say to himself, deep down he knew that Pooja was only an excuse. He had been wanting to make this trip since a long time. But the situations and courage never supported him.

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“Papa where have we come?” Pooja asked him innocently.

He couldn’t react. He only continued to watch the door in front. No name, no number nothing. Not even a keyhole and yet he could somewhere feel the person on the other side. He didn’t know whether it was his heart or his own senses that were calling out to her but without so much as a knock the door flew open.

She looked pale, her eyes had lost the shine they held eight years back. But it was the warmth in her skin, the softness of her expression which years and misery could not affect.

Maria moved her gaze from him to Pooja. She went on watching her with such a heartfelt emotion that almost anyone could judge what that child meant to her. Pooja was only two months old when Maria came with her to him. They had been in love but due to family pressures and lack of conviction he couldn’t fulfill his long forlorn promises.

“Papa I am thirsty,” Pooja began to talk a little frantically.

Maria quickly picked her up and in that subtle fashion followed him inside.

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“I am sorry if I troubled you. But after mother passed away I have been feeling a bit lonely. I only wanted to meet her,” Maria spoke, sitting at the oval dining table she continued to look at Pooja playing outside.

He didn’t reply.

For a while neither spoke.

“Maria, Rekha left me last month. She walked out of the marriage. And today I am here not just to make you meet Pooja but to start over new. Something I should have done eight years back,” he replied soberly.

She didn’t speak or react because inside in her hearts were emotions she had long forgotten she could feel. And she knew that to finally realise it was happening would take some time.

This post has been written for Write Tribe

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