Perspective

I can’t live like this…’

Melanie’s voice cracked as she spoke to her friend, Nisha. It was 1 AM Indian standard time, daytime in the US, where Mel lived. Nisha was half asleep, struggling to keep her eyes open.

‘There there…what’s the problem?’ Nisha suppressed one of her many sighs as she anticipated half an hour of wailing to continue. She was right.

‘I had to leave my bungalow and shift into an apartment complex! AN APARTMENT COMPLEX. I feel so suffocated, I open a window and there are no green spaces…just buildings all around me. I live in a concrete jungle!’

Noreen rolled her eyes. Concrete jungle, AKA the most expensive apartment complex in that city.

Noreen felt a drop of water land on her forehead. She squinted, searching for her glasses in the dim, flickering yellow light. The only light that worked in her bedroom.

‘Damn!’ she muttered, ignoring Melanie’s rants but supporting them with occasional hmms and mmms…the roof was leaking again. The sad part of living on the top floor in Mumbai during the monsoon. But it was the only flat that she got. Single people, especially single women didn’t have much of a choice, if you were lucky enough to get a house in a decent locality, you’d better take it, leaky roof or not.

‘And my maid didn’t come yesterday! I had to wash all the dishes myself and ANDREW wanted me to cook! Can you believe it? He thinks we don’t need a maid, we should cook ourselves? I’ve never had to enter the kitchen in my entire life.’ 

‘Can’t you hire a part time maid for the days she doesn’t come?’ Nisha muttered absent mindedly.

Melanie pretended not to have heard her ,’AND so I cooked, I almost cut my finger and chipped my nails washing the dishes, now i’ll have to go for a pedicure all over again, its such a drag!!’

Nisha looked at her own hands. Nails? What nails? She had given up the idea of growing them out. She had soft, tiny hands, almost like a child’s. By some miracle all the cooking, washing and cleaning hadn’t wrecked any damage on them yet. But there wasn’t anything attractive about them. Her nails were as short as short could be. She filed them at home. Dishing out a grand for a pedicure which wouldn’t even last a day didn’t make sense to her.

‘I also have to walk six blocks before i reach the parking! I mean, can you imagine walking for six blocks on stilettos? My feet had so many blisters. I’m soaking them in hot water as we speak!’

Nisha smothered a chuckle. Stilettos were out of the question for her as well. Barring a few special occasions, she wore flat shoes, sensible shoes like her mother called it, to work. Comfort over style. Plus one really couldn’t walk on the street in stilettos. The potholes would kill them. Did she mention she walked to her office? It was a ten minute walk and she enjoyed it.

‘Why don’t you wear flats till you reach the parking?’

There was a pause then Melanie laughed loudly, ‘ Hey girl that’s a great idea I don’t own any flat shoes but it will be a good chance for me to go shopping and relieve myself of all of this stress!’

Nisha suppressed another snort and muttered some non – commital words of encouragement, as she endured another couple of minutes of wailing about the traffic, lack of space in Mel’s five bedroom apartment, the fact that they had only three bathrooms instead of five, that they had bay windows in only four rooms…that….

She was relieved when the conversation ended. She never had been able to understand Melanie. She had it all. A great house, a good, rich husband, a great job…she was living the American dream but she was always unhappy.

She looked around her one bedroom house a bit sheepishly. She had one cupboard, which housed all of her clothes, shoes and jewelry. A smaller closet had some linen. The kitchen was well stocked for one person.

There was a sofa, a desk with a chair, a lamp and a bean bag if anyone came to visit. She had a bunk bed, of which the spare bunk was seldom used unless a friend came over.

The house wasn’t great. She’d had to get all the electric points fixed when she’d moved in, along with fixing the plumbing. She had a maid who cleaned for her three times a week. But she was content. Material things didn’t really matter to her. They never had.

It really was a matter of perspective. You could have it all…and still feel unlucky. Or you could have nothing and be grateful for the little you had.

She chose the latter. Her eyes closed and she immediately fell into a deep sleep, her tired body giving in to sleep’s sweet call. She didn’t notice that Melanie was calling again, this time to complain about something else no doubt.

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Melody – Part 3

For Part one – click here

For Part two – click here


He rubbed his eyes, he was so sleepy.

Farming wasn’t easy.

Oh yes, the hottest jock on the block was now your average run-of-the-mill farmer. But he liked this life. The smell of the mud on his hands, good physical hard work, sweat pouring down his back as he walked up and down his fields, talking to his crops…

Yes, he talked to his crops. People would think he was plain loco if they knew what he was doing but it was something which Jane had taught him. He smiled at a particular memory.


‘Your house is so green.’ He looked around admiringly. ‘How did you manage to grow such a fine garden in this heat?’

Jane smiled,’I have a little secret, I talk to my plants’.

He snorted,’Yeah right.’

Jane’s eyes went wide,’No, I do. I reallly do!! Last year, they were wilting and not doing well despite me trying everything so I started talking to them and look! Healthy as can be’

He gave her a suspicious look. Soon, both of them cracked up at how ridiculous she sounded.


He looked at his watch. It was 6 PM.

Wearily, he drove back to his house and sat in front of the computer. There was a mail from her. He’d received it a few weeks ago but he hadn’t opened it. Maybe it was time. It was a link to a video.

‘ Hey you…..I’m sorry I couldn’t attend your mother’s funeral…I’m so sorry.’ 

He paused the video to look at Jane, with little Jean propped up on her knee. Andy was no where in the picture. Maybe he never had been. He clicked on play again.

‘ But Jean and I..’

‘BABY JANE’, protested the little girl as Jane smiled, ‘I stand corrected, Baby Jane and I have prepared something for you. Hope this will cheer you up.’

Jane took a guitar in her hands and played the same song for him which he had sent to her a few years ago, while her daughter danced in front of her.

The Jane he knew was tone deaf so he knew the amount of effort she would have put into it. He replayed the video again…and then once more. He sniffed, trying to suppress the lump in his throat.

Her love was in that melody. It had always been there. It was still there. Despite everything. Despite him not being able to give her what she had wanted so many years ago, despite her being married for years, despite her raising a beautiful child, she still had enough love left in her for him. He walked outside to the porch and looked at the sky, softly humming to himself…coming to terms with the fact that life wasn’t always perfect, life wasn’t always fair and how lucky he was to have one person who loved him no matter what.  She was a fool, but it was ok. The world could do with some more fools like her.

Tears welled up in his eyes again but he didn’t care. It was worth it.


The End.

Melody – Part 2

For Part 1 click here:


‘I’m baby Jane!’

My five-year old daughter looked at me defiantly. For some reason, she hated her name. I’d named her Jean…yes, I’d played around with the alphabets in my name but I liked it. She didn’t. Apparently some poor kid in the kindergarten class got whacked on the head for calling her Jean instead of baby Jane and that infuriated her.

I smirked. My daughter was a lot like me…she spoke what was on her mind and didn’t feel bad about letting people know when she was happy, sad or just plain angry.

Baby Jane idolised me. And as far as I was concerned…she was the only good thing in my life. Andy and I…we were still together, don’t get me wrong. To the world – we were the perfect couple. But he knew…like I did…that we weren’t.

The front doorbell rang.

Baby Jane ran across the room to open the door knob. It was Michael. My music teacher. Oh yes, I’d started taking lessons. Music…was the other thing that brought me joy. Maybe to my little girl as well as she used to sit on the couch and watch us practise with rapt attention.

‘Mrs A! How’s it goin’??’

Michael was a college school student and an expert at the guitar. He was also my neighbour’s son. One day I’d heard him play and I’d walked across to his house. I still remember his surprise.


‘You are good at playing the guitar’ I had announced this statement very loudly when he’d opened the door. Perhaps I’d scared the poor kid.

He was startled but recovered quickly, ‘Uh yes?’

‘Can you teach me?’ I bit my lip.

‘Uhhh…’ he looked a little lost. Bloody teenager.

‘Can you teach me how to play this….’ I fumbled around in my purse and took out my phone to play the melody that I’d been sent three years ago.

‘Wow.’ Michael stroked his goatee and grinned,’Sure Mrs. A…that is beautiful but it will take some time for..’

‘ You start at 4 PM tomorrow my house.’ I interrupted him and walked away. Hell, I liked to make an impression.


To be continued…..

 

 

Melody – Part 1

This is a work of fiction.


She was pregnant.

Three years into her marriage and expecting baby number one, she should have been happy. She was happy. Kind of. She had married Andy, an amazing man who loved her a lot…she had a good job…something she liked doing and the baby was doing well as per the last visit to the doctor.

But behind that smile she hid a sadness that no one knew of apart from her. You know, there are some secrets that you just take to your grave. This was one of them.

‘Congrats. Mary told me.I’m so happy for you.’

She read the text again, a tear rolling down her cheek. A text that wasn’t from Andy.

‘Thanks. How are you?’

She bit her lip. He wouldn’t reply back. He never did.

A day later, she got a mail from him while she was at work. It had a link to a simple guitar solo by an unknown artist. She walked into an empty conference room and clicked on play…wondering what it was all about.

Musical notes flowed into the room, rendering her speechless…the guitarist seemed to be in deep turmoil…for she could feel the pain behind the music. She closed her eyes, living each moment as if it was being played live for her. In a way…it was.

Tears rolled down her cheeks and she wept quietly.

He didn’t need to reply to her…she already knew how he felt…for he was the guitarist, the love that was lost was in the melody and she was his muse.

She wiped her cheeks and walked out of the the room, wondering how long she could pretend to be happy.


Invitation

‘You know how I know man?’ Andy smirked to his friends over his third glass of beer.

‘Know what?’Asked Ron, rolling his eyes. He’d heard this story before.

‘Its in the eyes man – the eyes…I swear, I’m searching for that girl with that look in her eyes!’

Jeff snorted, a little beer came out of his nose. The entire gang burst into laughter.

‘You been searching for over a year dude – give up! These girls don’t take us seriously ‘cos they know we won’t stick around.’Ron sighed deeply.

Andy scowled. He looked around and sighed in despair. The whole bar was a sausage fest. He’d been in Bombay for a long time but hadn’t dated anyone. He was waiting for that so-called spark. His friends thought it was funny, but it wasn’t.

That’s when he saw her walk into the bar with her friend. She was a tiny little thing, with wavy long hair and dressed in white…she looked like an angel. Their eyes met briefly for a second and then she looked away. Andy felt his heart thud unnaturally in his chest.

‘Whoa man…check out what Andy likes!’ Jeff snickered as all of his friends turned around to look at her.

Andy smiled broadly at them…’Finally!  She likes me man – I’m telling you – that’s the girl I am gonna date!’

‘And what makes you think she’d wanna date you?’ Jeff look genuinely confused.

‘Cos she’s gonna look at me and smile.’ Andy stood up straight and looked across the bar to where she was standing.

After a few minutes Ron broke the silence,’Too bad…eh mate?’

Andy shook his head and continued looking at her.

She was standing alone now, her friend had gone to the washroom. Annnnddd score…their eyes met again. She blushed and looked away quickly.

Andy waited. Any minute now. And sure enough she looked at him again, a shy smile on her lips, her eyes brimming with warmth and anticipation.

‘And that’s my cue, I don’t need no invitation.Here…’ Andy handed over his glass to his friends and walked up to her.


In response to today’s daily promt – invitation.

Ruminator – Part 3

Click on the links for the previous posts:

Part 1

Part 2


I was at Fatboy’s Cafe…with you know…a couple of Fat Boys. Too much beer I guess. I took a big sip from my pitcher and wondered how long my liver would withstand this nonsense.

Randy, the bartender & I were now on friendly terms…on account of me having made this place my second…I mean third home. I checked my phone to see if there were any messages. From..you know…anyone…

Nada. Zilch. I was all alone. No mail in my mailbox. No text in my inbox. No friends. No Family. Nothing.

A normal person would have felt sorry for themselves I guess but I was past that.

A simple choice lay before me. I could continue to go down this path…and well…it would end badly or I could choose to get off this now…like today…and get a bit of normalcy back.

Normal. I didn’t like the sound of it. No, normal me was boring. Normal me would wake up in a bad mood, have a cup of coffee, rush to get ready in the morning…spend the entire day navigating through loads of BS at work, mentally kill my boss and colleagues at least three times, come back home, hit the gym and run till I couldn’t move and then collapse on my bed with some take out food and Netflix.

Normal me.

I took a deep breath. I impatiently tapped on my phone to find a phone of the one. Yeah…the one that got away. Not my ex. Or the one before him.

I deleted that photo. I deleted his number. And then I regretted it. But it had to be done.

I ordered a second round of beer, ignoring Randy’s disapproving look.

I wrote a long mail to my father telling him we were done and I never wanted to see his face again. Judge me all you want…he’d been an asshole of a parent and I was better off without him. I’d stopped getting angry at him. I was at a stage of indifference.

I wrote a mail to my HR, telling her I would be joining back in two weeks. Two weeks. I felt a bit scared. I didn’t know if I was ready to head back into the big, bad world just yet. Well…only time would tell.

Lastly, I called up Cheryl.

“I was wondering when you would call. Where are you?”

“Fatboy’s.”

After half an hour she walked in, looking stern.

“You look like shit.”

“Do not!” I spluttered as I put my glasses back on to hide my dark circles.

She smiled and sat down beside me.

Randy looked at me and scowled, “Another one of your drunken friends?”

I scowled back with equal ferocity,”Shut up and do your job.”

He grinned at me and looked at Cheryl,”She’s my favorite so far. I’d even ask her out if she’d clean up her act.”

Cheryl snorted. “She’s fucking crazy. Don’t do it.”

Both of them grinned at each other. I scowled, pretending to be annoyed where as I was secretly pleased to know that at least two people in this God Damn world cared.

“So tell me…what’s been going on?” Cheryl spoke to me, her voice unnaturally gentle. I sniffed.

I looked at her and shook my head,”No, I won’t whine anymore. I just want you to know I’m sorry for being this way but..”

“I know honey!” Cheryl interrupted me.” I know I have been harsh…I’m sorry. I’m there for you.”

She gave my hand a tiny squeeze and to my horror, I felt a lump in my throat. Both of us sat there in silence…me – drinking my beer and her – squeezing my hand and teasing me about Randy.

After a long time, I smiled and I realized…I didn’t like being alone. No…it kind of sucked.

Over and out.

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Ruminator – Part 2

For part one – click here.


I woke up with a very, very bad headache.

I cursed my self, my foolishness, the bartenders who had served me, my new friends who seemed to have nothing else in the world to do except drink, my ex – husband for not being an asshole and making me feel guilty for breaking off my marriage, my ex – boyfriend who was an asshole and my ex – ex boyfriend who was the love of my life and had never reciprocated my love…

Yeah, it was a pretty long list and that was just the beginning.

I walked over to the kitchen and opened the fridge. No water, as expected. Beer. Tons of it. And some old bread. And oh – milk.

I scratched my head. When the hell did I buy milk? I looked at the milk carton, trying to fathom how something healthy had made its way into my fridge.

I checked the expiry date to make sure it wasn’t outdated like…you know…my misery and took a swig. After I downed half a carton, I realised I was feeling nauseous so I rushed to the bathroom to you know…puke my guts out.

A couple of weeks ago, Cheryl my ex – bestie would have been there, holding my hair back as she always did.

But we’d had a fight.

She’d told me to ‘get over my self’ and ‘stop whining’ and ‘life sucks, accept it and move on’. While she might have been right, I wasn’t in the mood to hear what I already knew so I just walked out of my house…yeah I know – what is it with me walking out of my house you know….good I have two of them….

So! I walked, in my usual buzzed state to my other house…this one actually…and since then I’d avoided contact with any familiar faces for fear of pissing them off.

Yeah, I know I sound like a loser but you know what? I don’t care.

I was pissed and hurt and angry and I wanted to fucking dwell on my misery and feel sorry for my self till there was nothing else to do except move on. I wasn’t ready to move on quite yet.

It was 12 PM. Great. I could go over to Joey’s Pizza for you know…pizza and then by 2 PM Happy Hours would start at Fatboy’s cafe which was my new haunt and I was sure I’d find a couple of my new alcoholic friends to spend time with.

Come to think of it, life wasn’t that bad. I mean – look at me. I was young, attractive, rich, I could eat a million carbs and never put on weight, I could make friends wherever I went…yeah…life was good.

I brushed my teeth, washed my face, rolled my hair into a bun, put on my sunglasses, my jeans and a new linen shirt and breezed out of my house into the God – Damn sunlight.

It felt good to be alive.


To be continued

Ruminator – Part 1

Ruminator. That’s what my bestie…or rather, ex – bestie called me. I liked the sound of it. It kind of rhymed with Terminator. Made me feel bad ass.

I took a swig of beer from bottle number…who knew? I looked over to the left, there was somebody in my bed. I really couldn’t remember who. But he snored which meant that I was out of there. I had a hazy idea of how he landed up there.

NO. I didn’t invite him over. You see, me and a couple of my ..er…my drinking buddies (for lack of a better word) were hanging out. This guy, he said…he wanted to piss so all of us stopped at my place since it was the closest and then carried on to the next bar down the lane…I guess he was so drunk that he passed out on my bed.

Leaving my own apartment to run away from a snorer? Yeah well, I live in a fancy, studio apartment which didn’t have anything precious unless he decided to wreck it while leaving…

I chewed on my lip, scribbled a ‘let yourself out’ note, grabbed my keys and walked out. To where? To my other house which was around twenty minutes away on foot. So I decided to walk. I wasn’t drunk enough not to walk.

Yeah yeah…call me a spoilt, rich daddy’s girl. I wasn’t any of that. I hated my dad and all I had, was from my own hard work. I was a lawyer, currently on sabbatical following a very nasty divorce but hell, I was loving it.

My ex – husband’s house was ten minutes away. God, I hated his guts. He actually had the gall to tell me he still loved me. I’m pretty sure that he did.

I walked slowly, taking an occasional swig from the bottle. He did but it wasn’t of any use. You see, I was damaged goods by the time he & I had started dating.

Yes, I was.

I hadn’t realized that till after the shotgun wedding but anyway…I was home. I wearily climbed into bed and before I knew it, I was asleep.


To be continued…

Bonjour – Part 3

For the links to the earlier chapters – click on the links below. Chapters are listed in the order in which they were published.

https://theladyhawk.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/au-revoir/

https://theladyhawk.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/bonjour-part-1/

https://theladyhawk.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/bonjour-part-2/

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The days went by quietly. Riya spent a lot of time in the front yard, working on her book.

A straw hat on her head, a floral dress and that long hair that was unkempt and unruly and well…just so gypsy – like…Armaan couldn’t help but admire the pretty little picture she made…her sitting on the table he had made with his bare hands…beautified by a vase filled with flowers and something that looked suspiciously like a floral table cloth…thank God for women!

He sat down opposite to her, gratefully sipping on the lemonade she passed to him absent – minded, a thoughtful look on her face as she punched away furiously at her keyboard.

Come to think of it, he seemed to be seeking her out more than she was. Yes, this new version of Riya no longer pursued him. It wasn’t an act…he could make this out because she seemed perfectly content and at ease with herself.

Again, that feeling of a loss that he couldn’t quite comprehend gnawed at him.

—————————-
The following night, she announced she would be leaving soon.

“Thank you so much for letting me stay…I unfortunately have to go home now…before I get fired from work!”

Armaan took a sip from his beer bottle. “Sure…when do you plan to leave?”

“Tomorrow morning.”

He raised his eyebrows, a bit startled,” So…that just leaves us with tonight.”

She smiled,” Yeah and then I’ll be out of your hair..”

“Riya, just shut up!” Armaan snapped ,” Its been good having you here.”

Riya stared at him and then sighed,”I’m sorry…of course its been so much fun and so comfortable.”

Both of them took a sip from their bottles, ignoring the white elephant in the room.

Armaan got up and sat next to her.

“Why don’t you stay longer?” He asked her abruptly, almost rudely.

Riya smiled sadly,” Unfortunately Armaan,I have a child at home who is waiting for his mother to come home. I can no longer be an impulsive person and do whatever I want. Whatever I decide has an impact on his life as well. Whoever I bring into my life enters his life as well. Its called growing up.”

Armaan frowned as the true meaning of her words sunk in.

She put her head on his shoulder,”But this has been amazing…being here with you.”

He sighed. Even now, even after so long…he knew he wasn’t good for her…No…Riya and he…perhaps they were soul mates but he wasn’t right for her. He’d always known this and that’s why he’d always held himself back.

He put his arm around her and kissed the top of her head.

“Riya…I..”

“Shh Armaan just hold me like this. Don’t spoil it.”

————–

Bonjour – Part 2

For part 1: click here https://theladyhawk.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/bonjour-part-1/ 

————

Armaan studied Riya’s face from the corner of his eye. She looked the same. Sure, there were a few wrinkles around her eyes but that was it.

She was quieter as well. Her eyes were shut, he smile when he realised that she had dozed off. Well, they still had half an hour of a drive left and she would have been very tired. He decided to drive slowly so that she wouldn’t wake up. 

He felt a bit restless and he couldn’t understand why. Riya. He had never been able to figure out what she meant to him. All he knew was, she mattered to him. The fact that he mattered to her, mattered to him. She made him feel at peace. At ease. And that also made him very uncomfortable. 

He didn’t want to think about the next few days ahead. 

It was odd…that after so many years…they were going to be under the same roof. He’d found put through a common friend that she was bag packing around the world and he’d invited her to visit him in Australia. On a whim. He lived in the countryside, where he bred some livestock and grew crops. Armaan the farmer. He snorted, remembering his parents reaction when they had found out what he did. But he liked it. The clean air, the scent of the wild flowers that grew beneath his bedroom window, the solitude. He’d always been a loner. But at times like this, yes..a little company never did anyone any harm.

————–

Dinner was fun. Riya seemed a bit like her old self as she narrated stories of her adventures in the other countries she had traveled to. 

‘This pie is yum!’ She exclaimed as she reached out for a second helping.

‘Yeah my uh…friend..uh Christina baked it.’ Armaan spluttered, his face going red.

Riya raised and eyebrow and smiled. ‘Yum.’

—————

‘So I’ll be up early…you can sleep in…there’s milk and eggs in the fridge.’

Armaan hovered around her bedroom door as he watched her unpack.

‘Sure thing. Thanks for letting me stay.’ She got up and walked to the door.

‘Good night.’ And with a peck on the cheek she shut the door. 

—————-

To be continued…