Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Weekday Evening

I park my car in the driveway and gingerly get out. My legs are aching from the gruelling workout that I put myself through, minutes ago. In fact, my whole body is numb. I open all the doors of the car, from one side I take my purse, from another I take my lunch box. I pick up my laptop from the back seat, my exercise backpack, my shoes and God knows what all I carry to the office, precariously balance all of it in my hands, shutting the doors of the car behind me with my foot. Thank God, the car key is still in my hands. I give it a beep or two, and without turning around I just walk towards the house.

Suddenly, I become aware of the silence around me and a nameless yearning fills my heart. I remember the song by Lonestar that had filled my car only moments ago:

I'm already there
Take a look around
I'm the sunshine in your hair
I'm the shadow on the ground
I'm the whisper in the wind
And I'll be there until the end

Now, there is nothing and I am alone. All I can hear is a haunting, incessant sound of crickets who hide somewhere in the garden.

It is a full moon night and the mountains across my house glow softly. The old Magnolia tree in the front yard stands serenely, bathing in the moonlight. The house looks like a wise elder, standing stoically, watching life go on. The flowers in the frontyard have created around themselves in a medley of heady fragrance. As I walk through the walkway, the fragrance engulfs me and the flowers make me their own.

Suddenly, the motion sensor light turns on and startles me. I remember, that I have to take the home key out of my purse to get inside. This is a difficult task as I have to balance all the things in my hand, free a couple of fingers to put in my purse, find and pull out the key and open the door. I don't like to keep things on the floor, hence the exercise. Finally, after much effort, I succeed and open the door.

The house is cold and dark but the moonlight streams in resolutely from one of the living room windows. I close the door behind me, put my things on the carpet and just stand there and try to merge in the darkness. Again, the nameless yearning pierces my heart.

Darkness, like death, is forgiving. It accepts, without question, whatever is offered to it. There are no frayed corners, no jagged edges, just a serene uniformity which exists beyond all doubts and analyses. However, I realize, I am not ready for darkness yet, just as I am not ready for death and I turn on the lights and embrace life.

I get in to take a shower but finish it quickly as I feel a pang of hunger in the pit of my stomach. Suddenly, I remember, I have to cook! I open the doors of the fridge reluctantly and I am stumped. I am so tired and hungry that I neither have the time nor energy to cook up an elaborate meal. I ignore the fruits, the vegetables and the meat and pick up a frozen entree and pop it in the microwave.

The board on the fridge screams back at me: 'Tuesday: Chicken curry, Chapatti, Rice, Raita' It is my own handwriting that says it. In the beginning of this week I had made a menu plan and wrote it on the board. The plan was to cook nutritionally balanced meals every day. But it is only second day of the week and I have already deviated. However, I am too tired to notice this and I pick up the now-cooked-then-frozen meal from the microwave, go to the living room, turn on the TV and get engrossed in the 'Sex and the City'.

Hubby arrives, and we share a few pleasantries. He, too, is tired and preoccupied. For him, I pop in the microwave another one of those frozen meals. Its ready by the time he takes a shower. He comes out, takes the food without question and plops besides me on the sofa.

The moment 'Sex and the City' is over, he changes channels. I stay for a few minutes, and get up, bored with the mindless action movie he is watching. He does not notice that I have left as, by this time, he is in his own world with the TV.

Again, the nameless yearning grips my heart. I turn on the computer and a sad, longing poem begins to well up in my heart. I close my eyes and savor it, then slowly, laboriously, type it down, tasting it along the way.

In a while, I shut down the machine and prepare to go to sleep. As I lay in the bed, hubby comes in and says,

"I love you, dear! I am so sorry I ignored you."

"It's okay, I am just so tired." I mumble, sleepily.

"Oh, my poor darling! You sleep, I will come in just a few minutes." He says, tucks me in bed, and runs his fingers through my hair, lovingly.

He goes out to say his bedtime prayer, check the doors and turn off the lights. By the time he is back, I would be asleep. As sleep slowly takes me over, I realize that the nameless longing is gone and in my mind there is a warm feeling of belonging.

His being here and his loving touch had made me feel like I was finally home.

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