Coming Back

This short story is also published in Writer's Ezine April 2014 Issue.

She lay in bed, exhausted. She was tired after what she had just gone through. Yes, it was exhausting but she was happy. She smiled and looked around. The room was clean. Climbing up and down the ladder had given her back pain but it was worth. All the cobwebs gotten rid of. She closed her eyes and thought about him. He had called her the previous night and told her that he was coming home tonight. She fell asleep.
She woke up with a jolt when the sunlight fell straight on her face through the windows. She saw the time, she had slept for almost two hours. She climbed out of the bed and straightened the bed-sheet. She smiled again.

She took her purse and walked out of the flat. She had planned something special for him. She walked into Archies Gallery and bought Wind-chimes and a greeting card for him. She then went to the florist and bought flowers, lots of red roses. She walked to the local Crafts shop and bought red ribbons. She returned to the flat and set to work. She stuck red roses on the walls of the bedroom with the help of cello-tape. She climbed on the bed again and tried to reach the fan. She sighed. She got down and went to the living room and got a stool. She climbed onto it and tied red ribbons to the fan and then she slipped and fell on bed, her head almost hitting the headrest of the bed. She remembered how he had once held her in his arms when she had slipped and fell while cleaning the cobwebs. She sighed and got up and stuck the other end of the red ribbons around the bed with cello-tape. She then scattered the red rose petals on the bed-sheet, of course after straightening it first. She wanted it to look unused when he entered the bedroom. She blushed.
It was four years ago that they had met for the first time. She still remembered the day when he rang the doorbell and she was in kitchen kneading the dough. She wiped her hands clean and opened the door and he stared at her.
There’s dough in your hair” he had said. No hi, no introduction. Straight to the point. She pulled out the napkin she had tucked in at the waist in her Saree and got rid of the dough.
Who are you?” she questioned, frustrated on being disturbed and being pointed out about how untidy she looked.
Raj. I saw an ad that mentions this address.” He said as he pulled out a newspaper from the back pocket of his jeans and she looked. She could not believe she literally looked at his behind as he took out the paper; he followed her gaze and cleared his throat. He showed the paper to her. She could not stop herself from smiling at the thought about how he had managed to fold the entire sheet of newspaper and make it fit in the back pocket of his jeans.
Excuse me!” he exclaimed. She looked at his face, embarrassed to be caught (yet again) staring at his behind. “This is the wrong address.” She said and handed over the newspaper back to him. It’s the flat opposite to this one.
Oh, I am sorry” saying so he turned around and she laughed out loud. He turned to look at her, wondering what was so funny. She stopped laughing and closed the door. She could not stop herself from looking at the bulge of the wallet he had kept in the back pocket.
She never understood why guys kept their wallets in the back pockets.

So that girls can look at it.” He had teased her. This was after they had become friends. A few days after their first meeting he shifted to the flat opposite to hers. He had seen the ad for a paying guest put up by her neighbour. A widower in his mid-fifties. He needed the company, she had thought then. She needed his company, she realized later. They became good friends and she fell in love with him. He moved out of the apartment two years later and flew abroad for his job. They kept in touch through emails. She could never tell him how she felt about him. And tonight, she was going to meet him after all these years. Her neighbour died months after Raj left and the apartment keys were handed to her as per the neighbour’s wish. He had left the flat in her name. She was standing in the neighbour’s flat, getting it ready for Raj.

She looked around for the last time and when she was sure everything was just the way she wanted it to be, she walked out of the apartment. She entered her apartment and walked straight to her bedroom. She walked to the desk and stared at the email she had left open on the computer screen. She never liked to put her computer in standby mode or even use a screensaver. She read the email he had sent her couple of months ago telling her that he is getting married. She closed the email and Raj’s smiling face stared back at her. It was her favourite wallpaper, they were together in it, his arm around her shoulder. Both of them smiling. She shut down the computer.

He was coming back with his wife. Though it was not exactly his first night, it was his first night in the flat and she wanted it to be special for them. She smiled. She was happy for him, yes she was. Yet, there was something deep inside her heart that felt otherwise. The weird feeling reminded her of each and every moment Raj and she had spent together and about how she believed he belonged with her. She decided to make love to that weird feeling as he made love to his wife.