Ashok stared for a very long time at his computer. He hesitated before clicking an e-mail coming from someone whose name he thought he will never come across again.
A bright smile eclipsing the sun tickled his memory. From another time, from another universe, a parallel life he long buried in his subconscious.
Her sweet laughter echoed inside his head. A bright summer day at the beach. The gentle lapping of the waves on the shore. A deal was made. Insane, surreal but a pact that colored his many days and made his otherwise humdrum life livable.
“ Ashok?” his wife called out from the kitchen pulling him back to the present. He rapidly closed his computer.
“I’m coming. Was just browsing through some e-mail.”
Ayesha laid down his dinner in front of him in the dining table.
“ what’s wrong with you? “ Nothing escapes Ayesha’s vigilant gaze.
“ Oh, kuch nahi, just thinking about some problems in the office.” Ashok stuffed the rotis in his mouth absentmindedly.
“ Office, office. When are you taking me to ma and papa’s house for a vacation? It’s been a very long time.”
“ You know we can’t afford that now.”
“ We can’t afford anything. I wished you had at least taken me on one of your trips abroad. I am so bored here.” Ayesha complained. A new twist to her litany of grudges on the same subject.
Ashok sighed. “ Maybe in the next trip if my boss will be more lenient. I can’t mix business trip with a holiday tour.” But oh he did. So many, many times. He smiled at the memory.
That night Ashok found it hard to sleep. He turned his back from his snoring wife. The lid on his memories he kept carefully sealed had been uncorked.
That smile…those eyes…how long has it been since he last saw her? That he last kissed those lips?
* ‘A Parallel Life’ is a mini series composed of non linear mini stories about the life of Ashok, his wife and his lover. I trust you my readers to be intelligent and imaginative. I will leave you to decide the beginning, the ending and what story comes after the other. In literature and in films the continuity of stories have been manipulated in many different ways to enhance the effect of emotions the narrator is trying to evoke. We can do the same here.
You can find all the stories I’ve written of this mini series under ‘ A Parallel Life’ in categories.