Kriya slept on the couch thinking he would be back. Earlier in the hour, they had fought fiercely. Like any couple in a relationship, it was nothing new. They had fought over the foot-rug near the front door to the venue of their wedding reception. For a moment, she thought why they had even started wedding talks. Nirvaan had officially not asked her to marry her. Although, she secretly hoped that he would. The huge clock struck to 12. She did not panic yet because this was not new. She had seen him storming out of arguments and reverting back, a better person, with explanations. It was just his trademark quality. All she did was hope that it would be the same this time as well.
Without realization, she fell asleep on the couch and when she woke up, it was dawn. The door still locked and some tissues lying around, she knew he was not back. He would not let anything untidy floating around. He was the cleaning genie. She frantically got up ringing his apartment and got through the wretched answering machine. She did leave a casual message asking him to return her call and loitered around cleaning the house for a change.
She hardly concentrated at work, tried him on his cell which was still switched off and the next thing she thought to do made her feel like some agent on a mission. Hunting him down in his usual places was like embarrassing a school kid by calling his pen name in front of all his friends. Hell, like she could ever do that to him. All she could do was just wait. This felt like the longest work day, hailing a taxi and returning home felt like bliss. She felt as though riding on a snail, if that were to be humanly possible. After feeling like she had spent a decade in that taxi, she reached home, paying up the fare, she ran up.
The red light blinking on the answering machine was a time-bomb inching closer to an explosion. When she hit read, it was from a bouquet store asking directions to reach her place. Strangely, she felt relieved for a minute but then it would just make an assumption that it was from him. She called back to confirm the address. Eating a tub of ice-cream nor her feng shui soothers helped her. When the bell rang, she desperately hoped it would be him.
She sat on the floor squatting. She knew it was from him, the 25 orchids spoke for themselves. The previous time it was 24 and each time when she got them, one extra flower got added. It stood for the number of times he had sent flowers to her. They looked so appealing, fresh, just plucked for her. She was glad about the flowers but part of her wanted to see him in person.
When nothing more could feel worse, she drove out to the beach. Strangely, it looked very different that evening. This part of the beach was almost deserted and people rarely ventured out but it was lit up, glittery and annoyingly beautiful. Strolling around, she desperately looked for a tranquil spot. But every inch of it was decorated. When she retraced the path backwards, she saw candles lit up. She saw a strong yet aesthetic set-up. Transparent curtains attached. A make-do shack just like how she had always wanted to be done. When she neared it, she smelt coffee on a low table. With a quilt and cushions around, it was like coming out of her diary of expressions. Even after falling for the created ambience, she could not find the maker behind all this.
When she gazed, at the far end, she saw what she had been wanting to for the last 24 hours. She knew his stance, she knew even if the Sun hit on his hair, it still looked black. She recognized the hoodie and his favorite jeans. She tapped gently on his back from behind. He turned around. When he smiled, she thought, it was surreal. It was that grin which would always make her weak and forgive him.
They sat down in the shack. When he asked her, if what he had created came close to what she had imagined, she had no option but to say that it was much better. Handing her the coffee cup, he began to apologize and said he did not mean to shock her. She stopped him and asked him how did he know that she would come here at this time so surely. He said the fact that she was there proves his conviction.
She sat next to him, head resting on his shoulder. The coffee steamed down and so did her stress with the setting Sun. When she turned to look at his face, he smiled and kissed her on the forehead and whispered a sorry. Feeling almost perfect, she got up to her feet and walked on the sand towards the rising waves.
He called out for her and asked, ‘One more thing! Will you marry me?’