The Meeting

In continuation of The Attraction

He would have liked to watch her for some more time. For some reason, he wanted to cross-check her excuse of entering the wrong room. He wanted to wait and watch her enter another I.C.U. It would be useful in two ways, Ajay thought. One, his doubt would be cleared and two, he would himself get an excuse to talk to her, ask her about the well-being of her patient. But – He could not wait any longer. She had seen him staring at her and other than that, he needed to be in the room with his wife. Considering what the doctors had said, he wanted to spend as much time as he could, with her. He wished, she would open her eyes and look at him. He wanted her to smile her beautiful smile, tell him how much she loved him, wanted her to hear how much he loved her and he wanted to hold her in his arms.
The disappointment, the pain, was back. Tears gathered in his eyes again. He walked back to his wife, forgetting about the girl he had seen. The girl who looked exactly like his wife!

When she turned to look at the man and he hid from her; Sneha knew this was her chance to rush back to the cafeteria without being watched or followed. She knew; the man was not convinced by her explanation for entering the room. She did not know how she knew it but she knew that he wanted to talk to her, so it was obvious that he would look for an excuse to talk and thus would want to know which I. C. U. room would she enter. She wanted to give him an excuse to take the initiative to talk but the problem was, she did not have any room to go to. As she entered the cafeteria, she walked into the kitchen and made up her mind to stay in there till the end of her shift and not walk out. She felt emotionally drained and was not yet ready to face him, just in case he showed up in the cafeteria. She managed to work through the remaining hours of the shift though she could not really put in her 100% into the sandwiches she made. Her lack of concentration showed. At the end of the day, she saw many half-finished sandwiches in the trays left in the bin, as she walked past one pretending to be unaffected though wastage of food affected her very much. She did not like anyone wasting food irrespective of whether it was made by her or someone else. Today, however, she could not blame the customers, it was all her fault. Today was day of the wrongs.

Ajay returned to the room, to his lifeless wife. No - wrong, he thought, she was still alive. He did not want to believe the doctors when they said she was dependent only on the machines. He could feel her presence in the room. Even though it was getting weaker, it was still there. She was not lifeless; she was a person with less life in her. Miracles happened. She had always believed in miracles and one miracle had already happened in their life, eight years ago. Another one could happen. He desperately wanted it to happen. He prayed every night for one. A little voice in his head told him, his prayer had already been answered. The miracle had happened. He had seen a look-alike of Smriti. He pushed away the thought. He was not going to be satisfied with this. He wanted his Smriti back and not some look-alike. He sat in the room for a long time, fingers intertwined, elbows resting on his knees, praying. His thoughts went back to the girl. He looked towards the bed and walked towards Smriti. It was a crazy thought, but he felt something had changed in her face. It was as blank as it was before but still it looked peaceful, unlike earlier. He shook his head and then as if he had made a decision, he turned around and walked out of the I.C.U.

Sneha walked out of the hospital, deep in thoughts. Her eyes fixed on the road. Many shoes of different sizes and colors walked past her, away from her, few walked with her, few were walking towards her and then, she saw one set of shoes stopping right in her path. She looked up; knowing to whom the set of shoes belonged to. She had seen them before, when she had tried not to look into the teary eyes of the person.

“We need to talk” he said. She stared at him, speechless. She scanned her mind for words, to say something, to refuse to talk, pretend to be frustrated, walk away, avoid him but staring into his brown eyes reflecting her image, she could not say a word. She simply nodded and he started walking towards the park in the hospital campus. She followed, mesmerized. She knew she was acting like a moron but she did not have control over how she behaved. It seemed as if whenever she was in his presence, he controlled her in such a way as if she belonged to him. She felt his power deep into her bones. She did belong to him. Now, she only needed to find out who was lying on the bed of the I.C.U.
He had said he wanted to talk, she decided, yes, she wanted to talk too.

They walked to the park, a few couples were on their way out, followed by a family of four; a boy and a girl and their parents. The face of their parents looked similar, she thought. She blinked. The woman looked like her and the man, well..! She blinked again and the strangers walked past her. She shook her head and followed him to a bench. It was time to talk.