Everything passes. It has to. That's the beauty and tragedy of it.
She tossed around in bed, having woken up a while back, but not wanting to open her eyes yet. She could hear the din from the morning traffic outside her window and feel the sunlight seeping in through the curtains, bright against her closed eye-lids. It was brighter than usual.
It was Sunday, she surmised. That’s a good thing, right? Waking up late, having a languorous brunch with her husband, lounging on the couch, perhaps eating out or ordering in while they watched the telly all day long – that was the dream, wasn’t it? Why then did she feel reluctant to get off the bed and seize the day? Was it because, like everything else, even this day would come to an end? It would give way to a Monday bringing along a run-of-the-mill week. Wake up-cook-go to work-come back home-cook-sleep. Repeat. Come Monday, her husband leave for work – touring away out of town for a few days a week while she went to work and came home to while away the time in his absence. The mundane-ness of life overwhelmed her, almost choking her.
Then she remembered – last night, they had quarreled. It was a small thing that had blown out of proportion.
“You promised this time we would get away for the weekend. And that too after so long! You know it means a great deal to me…” She fumed. “I have always accommodated your flights of fancy. Why can’t you ever make any alterations in your plans? Do you realise you will be away for most part of the week, not to mention the weekend too?”
“That’s my job!” He replied. “Why don’t you understand that? I have to go. It is an important conference – and all last minute too. All the top brass will be there. I can’t afford to miss it sweetheart…”
“Don’t ‘sweetheart’ me!” Her voice rose with emotion that threatened to spill over.”Your job is keeping you away too long. This is not the first time and I know it will not be the last…Last month you were away for twelve whole days! I am doing my best to understand, you know. But why is YOUR job and EVERY other person in the world far more important all the time? What about me…?!!”
“That’s not true! You know how much you mean to me…” He reached for her in an attempt to pacify her.
She moved out of his grasp. “Yes. I know. I’m important only when there’s no other person or work demanding your attention. Not otherwise. I’m always last on your list”.
He sighed “You know that’s not true, sweetheart. There have been many occasions when I have prioritized your interests, even when they have clashed with my plans – work or otherwise. It’s just that I have not let you know every time I have done so…”
“Yeah..? Then why not now?”
“This is something I cannot shelve – not this time. It’s very important…”
“Yeah I know. It’s my fault, really, for expecting too much.” She had been distraught and unwilling to relent. “Go away! I am done. There’s no point talking about it…Do as you wish…leave me alone. You always do, anyway!!” She had rebuffed his advances and gone to bed sobbing, unaware when she had fallen asleep. Unaware when he had come to bed and slid in beside her.
That was last night. And now in the light of the day, it had all seemed so petty, so insignificant.
Reluctantly, she opened her eye-lids a crack to find the supine outline of her husband lying beside her. He looked so innocent and untouched by the cracks of life, like the little boy she had met and befriended so many years ago. Back when they were still in school as classmates, friends, partners in crime… When he had still not sprouted facial hair and she was a lean, lanky tom-boy of a girl. It seemed like a long, long time ago.
Yes, they were high-school sweethearts with hope in their eyes and fire in their hearts, surefooted in their expectations from each other and the world. Back then, everyone around them, family and friends alike, was either skeptical of any long-term, serious outcome of their togetherness or envious of their sureness and closeness. After all, they were poles apart in temperament and well, such things wear off with time…and distance…and other distractions. Don’t they?
Finally when they did tie the knot after dating for ten years, everyone agreed that there was something more than mere childish infatuation, something that held them together no matter how far or how long they stayed away from each other. Their peers applauded their exemplary resolve and loyalty for one another. It was the stuff fairy tales were made of…
But like everything else in life, they knew it was a hard earned togetherness. It was not all candy-floss and rainbows all the time. They had their share of ups and downs, quarrels and patch-ups. They made their way in life hand in hand, sharing the joys and burdens. It was no cakewalk, but definitely worth the journey.
A slight smile crossed her lips. He was the light of her life…The reason to get out of bed every day and trudge on ahead. She wanted to feed him and take care of him and pamper him even though she found cooking quite an onerous task. All was okay as long as he was by her side.
The morning had brought with it, the light of tenderness and forgiveness, dousing the negativity of the night.
She spooned into him, cuddling like a kitten, feeling the warmth of his body and the soft scrape of his early morning fuzz against her forehead. Sleepily, he drew her closer to him, kissing her forehead and mumbling “Is it morning already?”
“Mmm..hmm..” She replied nuzzling his warm throat, not wanting to break out of the cocoon of his arms.
“You want to sleep some more? It’s Sunday. We are allowed…” he said with a smile in his husky voice.
“Okay…” She replied.
The sharp peal of the doorbell jolted them awake and they groaned as the moment was broken. The cleaning maid was at the door, pat on time. Ironically, she was always punctual on the weekends and late to work on weekdays when they actually needed her to be on time. Whether she did it on purpose or not would always be a mystery to them.
Sighing, he got out of bed to open the door as she rolled onto her side, pulling the covers over her head to grab a few more moments of rebellious sleep.
It was 9:00 AM when she sauntered into the kitchen to find him making breakfast, humming away in his peppy way. The pan sizzled as he poured a ladle of batter and whipped it expertly into a crisp Dosa – her favourite.
Sensing her presence, he turned and hugged her close, his 7 ‘0 Clock fuzz, tickling her cheek. “Thought I’d cook for you today for a change, sweetheart…”
She smiled lazily, her cheek against his chest, lulled by his heartbeat.
She decided she would cherish the present, make the most of the time she had with him. Tomorrow was another day out of her reach but today was hers…