Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sooner than soon. Or later than...

In a small town beauty is overrated.

Here’s what happened the other night. I meet her after a long time. Years. But she always was there. In a book I read for 5 minutes at landmark. In a poem I heard the neighbor's kid recite. In blue school uniforms that pedaled on thin tires in the morning sun.

I wonder what to wear. It’s after all a date.

We never hug. Or it’s always awkward. The hands are either too soon, late or never. So we grin.

We decide to walk down to the restaurant.

It’s a new place, as shiny as a freshly minted coin.

Sitting opposite each other, we check the other out, after pushing the too cheerful vase of flowers aside.

She leans forward and winds her finger on a messy coil of hair. They haven't straightened out in all these years, I hear her unsaid words.

We are ageing gracefully, we both agree.

There's a melancholy jazz player playing. I play with a lone aster.

Shall I wear it on my hair? I ask her

I'll pretend we aren't vaguely related, she assures me.

So I wear it with careful carelessness. That’s my style statement this beginning of summer.

You look beautiful, she tells me.

It was way back in school. She made a dashing Romeo. And I made a vulnerable Juliet. Her boyish charm and confusion added to the endearing nature of the Romeo in our schoolgirl hearts. The ridiculousness of the situation and me as Juliet added to my complete misery.

So I stood there feeling completely idiotic behind a flimsy curtain, on a stool stolen from the school convent. And looked dolefully down at Romeo.

You look beautiful, Romeo said in unwritten Shakespeare words.

Only both of us knew it wasn't at Juliet that they were directed at. It wasn't even Romeo talking.

We both remember it simultaneously.

You look beautiful, she tells me again.

And so I become. For her. And me.

The streets are quite empty when we walk back. She takes my hand while crossing the roads. Our minds are filled with the conversation of the last few hours and so no words on our lips.

We reach the gate of my house. Mom's left a light on.

Warm lips fall on smooth skin. There's a friendly smell of gin on her. And a smell of long absorbed perfume, a little stale and a little salty.

I don’t tell her that she's carrying faint trace of lipstick on her cheeks.

Goodbye. I'll see you in a week. Or some months. Many years mostly.


Blogger Sudarshan. A. G. said...

And they danced to the Aster's tune

1:08 AM  
Blogger Sudarshan. A. G. said...

Ugghh.. That was a hasty comment!

12:13 AM  
Blogger Shim said...

Hmm..... U met S! well, was a flash back for me . same story holds good with another S who also happens to be a D.

5:21 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Dalloway said...

Suddu: Hehe! Astaire!

Shim chech: Yeah, I met her! :)

9:48 PM  
Blogger aks said...

sweetheart...a beautiful one as alwayz...

4:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Goodbye. I'll see you in a week. Or some months. Many years mostly."

I hope thats not for your readers

11:47 AM  
Blogger Rambler said...

Rusty neurons lead me here.. and I instantly got hooked to this post..Role reversal of sorts of Romeo and Juliet interested me a lot.. a very nice and novel thought

6:35 AM  

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