“Only a year! Why do you always insist on calling me bhaiya?” and teenage he would always say this annoyingly.
“Why do you care what I call you?” Reema made sure she pulled his leg over this. They both knew the nuances of their relationship. It was a secret only they shared without of course saying it. Adolescence is full of such things.
Three years back he was in Boston and now he was talking about some island near Australia. He had to be a nomad, always the first one to plan a picnic and the last one to support indoor games.
* * *
“Did the flight reach on time?” her most banal conversation starter for him. She could remember saying it three years back sitting on the same chair.
“Nahh. How is Roohie now? Must be five right?” he asked softly.
She simply nodded and smiled.
“Something to eat?” he asked again with the same courtesy.
“Coffee,” she answered quietly.
“But then are you still on medicines? Didn’t you tell me the doctor asked you to quit coffee?” he spoke rapidly.
She didn’t speak for a while. He remembers. I guess then he must also be remembering that coffee is something I cannot quit, she thought.
“This is the second time in three years that I am having it,” she replied, clearing indicating her firm stand on the issue.
* * *
“How are maa baba?” he asked, the final sip of the coffee done and the mug placed back on the table.
“They are good. They miss you. I hope you are going to meet them this time,” she replied still maintaining a low voice.
“Yes. I have a longer plan this time. Something I need to tell them,” he spoke, lowering his tone to match hers.
She of course could sense that something was privy only to their ears and not to hers. She didn’t bother to ask thereby.
“I am planning to come to India for good this time.No more flying once in three years. I miss home now,” he replied softly while maintaining a very direct eye contact with Reema.
“They say once its over one shouldn’t try to open the coffin. Only skeletons walk out of it. I prefer this arrangement. It suits me,” she replied, lowering her eyes to break the line of fire on her.
He didn’t say much after that.He knew his case was over long back. He had been trying for a while now and of course moving back was his last option.
“I must leave now. Its getting late. Roohie would begin to miss me and create a ruckus,” she suddenly got up with a jerk.
“Can I drop you back?” he asked pleadingly. He wanted to see her as much as he could and then there was also the child.
“Its a walking distance I will go myself thank you. See you on 15th its the final date for the divorce case, I hope we can now return to our lives peacefully and amicably,” she replied, evading all forms of visual contact.
He again remained quiet. He knew that this would probably be the last few times he gets to see her.
“And yes we can be friends. Like we always were from the age of fifteen. This divorce has sapped us of out better terms. If for nothing else then for Roohie, she needs a father in her life as much as I would want to deny,” she spoke looking distraught for the first time in an hour.
“If only I hadn’t had that one night stand, things would be different,” he spoke almost in a whisper.
“No Kamlesh things were long gone. If it wasn’t your one night stand who knows the end could have perhaps been brought by mine. Don’t kill yourself. At least we are now better people to each other,” Reema replied smilingly.
But inside of course she knew she was going to miss him, if not as a husband then as a companion and someone she always knew would be her first love.