I crawl the web for things to read and smile about. Or even cry about. I am a victim of the information and social media age. And yet, I saw these adorable pictures on Facebook last week. Shared by a group called short stories. Obviously, all the silly romantic aspirations came up with a blatant force. So I sat down to write what I felt must have been the story behind the pictures. Also, a picture speaks a 1000 words and all that jazz. So the short story is within that word limit. Go ahead. See if you agree with this story. Or better yet, let me know if yours is different.
The silly romance.
She wakes up late most mornings. Her hand reaches out to touch him – her own little quirk. She wants to feel him beside her every time she wakes up, to know that it is going to be fine, every-time. But the hand comes back empty. Groggy eyed, she trundles out of bed and cannot yet recognize the smell of tea boiled with heavy cream wafting in. Her favourite – ever since she met him.
He loves making tea for her, for the both of them. This is what they do early mornings – sit by the window, looking out at the world, sipping their tea and talking nonsense, some sense, much sense. The cat would squeeze in between them, often twirling itself around her ankle and somehow making himself comfortable. He isn’t surprised. Cuddled up next to her, anyone would feel comforted.
It is surprising though that when neither of them were looking for love, they found each other. Rather, one was actually shying away from being in any sort of committed relationship. And the other was neck deep in work. And one fine day they met, and nothing has ever been the same again.
It was pouring that day. Legs half submerged in water, she was walking towards the pet store to buy cat nibbles. He was hanging around, waiting for the rain to let down a bit so that he could reach his car. He held out his hand, helped her cross the last bit of gray mess on the road. They started talking, she handed him the umbrella and forgot to ask for it back while bidding goodbye. That goodbye started the story.
Or maybe it was in the autumn. He had been worked up and was walking on the sea shore to clear his mind. He didn’t notice her following him with her eyes, jotting down mentally how his hand balled up into a fist when he saw the boys picking on the stray dog, how he didn’t miss a beat to offer help to the lady with several shopping bags, or how his eyes crinkled up as he laughed, at what must have been a joke, shared by someone he ran into. It took all her courage to walk up to him and pretend to just notice him, smile slyly and move away. She knew he would follow her with his eyes now.
Then again, maybe it was just a normal day. He was at work. She was coming back from hers. And they met at the bus stand. They did not notice each other. But when, several months later common friends introduced them over a pot-luck dinner, she knew that he knew. Destiny has a wicked sense of humour and time.
Now, as they sit on the nook beside the bookshelf she cannot help but smile. Life has taken a topsy turvy turn, one she wouldn’t have imagined. She who was always up for a game of chance. And he who had planned most things far ahead. But this was life’s clever move. One they did not see sneaking by them. Just as she does not notice him coming up behind her everytime she tries her hand at cooking. She is terrible at it, she says. He corrects her dishes every-time. But secretly she messes it up just so that he would come by. Not so secretly, he smiles every time she tries to attempt. He slips his hand around her waist and hugs her, kisses her neck and watches her cook. Unlike her, who never looks up when resting her head on his chest.
She messes things up. Picking up something and putting it somewhere else. But he can ask her for whatever he is looking for, and she more often than not, knows exactly where to find it. He hates clutter and yet he keeps his cool when she sees her drawing paper and colours strewn across the living room floor. They make up silly excuses to get back early to each other, they prefer to eat by themselves so that they can share a plate. They discuss politics, they discuss people. They talk about families – both their own and the ones they do not know. They plan, they pre-plan, they cancel. They hang out with friends. They hang out as friends. And they come back home together.
They have fights and she can usually feel it when the fights are about to happen. So she quickly takes out all her trash and cleans up the room. He does his bit too, pretending to not be worried about work and only about her. When she falls sick, he is the one to gently nudge her awake, standing there with a glass of warm chocolate milk. When he is unwell, she loses her cool too, worrying about unnecessary things that could have been kept for tomorrow. It is not just her nerves giving up on her, but her attempt to show that she can take care of him when he needs her to man up. She fails. Almost everytime. And yet, the very next day, when she wakes up, she can smell the eggs being fried to perfection. Because she tried.
And she is now adamant on trying this out her whole life, on not giving up on him and on her. On them, together, and the awfully silly romantic lives they lead. But as it, it is theirs to call it silly. Only.