Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Yellow Suitcase

       Little things she will not miss now. Her socks. Her bag. Her plaits. Her long hours in front of the mirror practising to dab on lipstick without it being visible - so she could tempt Him with them. The polka dotted underwear. The 30A Enamor bra that she has been towing for 10 years. Though she can't fit into it anymore, she still has it. 
       It is in her yellow suitcase. That old container of secrets. The treasurer of Valentine day cards, Secret admirer cards, love letters scrawled in a boy's handwriting. Folded and refolded many times. Cinthol powder sprinkled across to have them smell nice when she opened them. Now they crumble in her hands. 
       Sighing, she arranges them in the paper-bin. Fondling an old silver chain with a heart shaped locket. He had put it around her neck last week. Just like he had all those years ago. He had brought it for her, wrapped up in a leaf torn out of a notebook. Hidden away in his school bag. They had been scared someone would see them. He had fumbled with the clasp, while she held her hair away from her nape. He had hardly dared to touch her, and yet, she had hugged him fiercely and demanded his mouth. And just when they had parted, they had seen their class teacher pass by in the corridor. How they had fled!
       Little things she will not miss now. Her old watch. The one she would check impatiently when she was waiting for Him. Stomping her feet in mock-anger when He turns down the corner. Then flinging all shyness aside, running into His arms. The world could go fuck itself. She was 15 after all. As grown-up as she could be. And she was in Love with this sexy 17 year old God.
       Oh, what agony it was to love someone and not be able to indulge in all the glorious wonderful things that Love brought with it! Oh, to hide from prying eyes of their teachers, and classmates and their families! What agony! To sneak up in the canteen after school was over and steal a kiss. To pull apart as if struck by lightning, the moment they heard any sound. To have that tingling all over everytime they saw each other. To continue talking to friends when all they wanted to do was spend every waking moment with each other. To keep wishing that they did not have to give a damn about exams and tests and marks.

20 years ago. How time flies by! 20 years. During which He had gone off to another country to pursue higher studies. During which she had studied and worked and married. During which they had lost contact. There were no mobile phones and internet then!

       Her marriage was a successful one, technically. She saw her husband twice a year. When Mr. Husband was home as Mr. Husband for 10 days and not as 'Captain-General' in the Indian Navy. It was just a matter of convenience that they did not opt for kids. 
Twice a year Mr Husband remembered that his wife was a woman. 
Twice a year, for 10 days each, she lay under him like a mechanical doll. Making the right noises and touching the right places. While her mind went back to her Lover. 
She often wondered where He was. And if He was married. And if He kissed His wife the same way He had kissed her. Gently, lovingly. 
Her tears for her lost Love delighted the husband who thought it was for his skill at Love-making. 
       Now her husband was no more. Befitting his status, He was given a 17 gun salute at his burial. She walked and talked and posed as the Grieving Widow. Sadly there was nothing that she remembered of her husband, to miss. Except the smell of cigars whenever he was home. 
       5 years of working in an NGO and being a Social Butterfly in Mumbai had not eased her Loneliness. She would never find peace until she found where He was. She wished she could get hold of a Time-machine. She would have changed everything. 

       It was some days later that her neighbour's son started coming over every time his mum was out. She welcomed him and his mum was grateful that her child did not get bored alone. She found him a very intelligent and typical of his generation. Hooked onto the Internet. 'Don't you have a boyfriend, Aunty? How can you not have one?' - he asked with all the wonder of his 11 years old wisdom. 'Well, I'm trying to look for this friend of mine, but have no idea how to' - she replied. He squealed and hooted with laughter. Surprised, she waited for him to speak, half-expecting a 'You are mad' from his mouth. But no, he immediately switched on her computer and before she knew it, she was learning how to use the 'Search' options in Orkut and Facebook and half a dozen other sites! It was Wonderland to her. She had never imagined looking up someone in the world would be so easy (or difficult when they faced about 773 results for His name). Through the next 3 days, they filtered the results and settled down on 2 profiles. She decided she didn't want to compose the message in front of the kid. It was much too intimate for her, all this contact-making thing. Over too much Vodka and Wine, her Best friend convinced her to stop living like a 'Fool' and write to Him. They sent the message that very night - to both the men.
'Hey, Do u remember me? We went to school together at Doon. It is all right if u don't.'
       Days went by without an answer. Then her inbox showed a new message. It was not him. The man had replied 'No I don't. But I wouldn't mind, looking at ur picture' n a leering smiley face. She blocked him. She waited some more. 
       And then the pumpkin turned into a chariot. It was Him. He had written, that he did had never forgotten her! Funny how she still felt like a young schoolgirl. She resisted the impulse to hoot and whoop and twirl around the room. 

       They talked for hours, and days. And she learnt that He stayed in Mexico and his wife had passed away years ago. He hadn't remarried, 'never got the hang of it' he had joked. He had one teenage son who was off to college. He was pretty much alone. And dating. Yes He was dating on and off. But if she ever came to Mexico He sure would be glad to catch up!
She booked her flights. And then told Him there was some Charity she was expected to be attending in the States, but she would definitely like to meet Him, if He was, er, free.
       They spent 2 weeks together. He hadn't changed much. She was scared that He would have become paunchy and bald like most of the middle-aged men she knew. While she was confident her looks and figure would make His eyes pop out, she did not want to be dismayed. Even when she saw the photos He had sent across, she was not too sure. But when He came to pick her up at the airport, she recognized Him almost immediately. Hair peppered with a little grey, yet the same twinkling hazel eyes and the sexy arms. And His massive chest. She trembled when He greeted her with an embrace. He still wore Christian Dior. She almost had an orgasm then and there. He took her to a hotel near His ranch. They went places. They tried acting formal. It didn't work. Then He flirted and she giggled. They reminisced. They laughed. It did not take Him long to be bothered by their chemistry. 
       That same night she broke a nail and He bumped His head. 
       He had thought of her often, He said. And longed for her the same way she had. He had come back once and tried to visit her old house. But it was inhabited by new people who had no idea where her family had moved. He had given up hope then and there. 
       They spent the rest of the week in a dreamy haze. He could not have enough of her and she of him. One week later He put around her neck, a platinum chain with a little platinum heart. No diamond ring nothing. Heck, she was still a school girl wanting diamonds, when he was giving her platinum! He kissed her nape, she trembled as that delicious stinging ray made its way up her spine. And then He popped the question.
       The precious four words. 
       Needless to say, she agreed. 'I should have done this years ago' He mumbled. 
       She agreed to that too. 
       Smiling, she turns her head to look in the mirror. The little heart on her chain lies nestled between her breasts. She powders her face and leaves. Her flight is at 9 tonight.
       Little things she will not miss now. 
       Her Yellow Suitcase. Her Years since school. Her Longing for Him.
       Little things she will not miss now.


Rachit said...

this is the best thing that I read since many days. Beautiful :)

Shilpa Nair said...

Thanks Rachit...U have been the 1st one to read every post of mine, n I'm so glad for ur feedback!!!!

D2 said...

This was amazing! And I loved the line, "That same night she broke a nail and He bumped His head".

I like how your writing is so subtly expressive and the fact that it isn't when I'd rather it not be. Excellent writing. :)

Anu...:) said...

Very nice...:) :) :)

Shilpa Nair said...

Taanguuuuu D2......I'm so bad when it comes to showing my appreciation....but I hope u really know how much it means to have u folks coming to read my stuff.....Absolutely grateful.... :)

monty said...

so atlast shilpa has come up with a very happy ending indeed right...!!! nice! thats the word for this one:)

Shilpa Nair said...

@Monty - Finally...the grieving Black Widow smiles...hahaha ;)

Romeo Das said...

Nice writeup Shilpa! Enjoyed my stay here. Keep blogging :)

Romeo Das said...

Nice writeup Shilpa! Enjoyed my stay here. Keep blogging :)

Sidra Sayeed said...

I enjoyed the description of the school days throughly, and definitely felt that it was someone older reminiscing about the past, the bluntness, the swearing going hand in hand with what you wanted to express. I felt that the ending was a bit hushed...would have liked to read more about the feelings, the emotions as they touched, as they spoke, as opposed to the things they did together...that by no means is stating that it was any less enjoyable a read than it was but those are my thoughts...
I wrote a story last october about lovers meeting after a long gap: Zike-e-Ziarat check it out if you get a chance...

Shilpa Nair said...

@Sidra - Glad u liked it :) I know what u mean by 'hushed up'...I felt too, that something was missing, now I know what. Thanks for pointing that out :D I think I will try to take this n try to put in some more stuffing :)Do come by again!

Shilpa Nair said...

@Romeo - Muchas Gracias :)

Enchanta said...

Wow. Even "happily-ever-after" can be this gripping too!

On a passing note, I wonder what we would have done without facebook!! :P

Shilpa Nair said...

Enchanta - without FB, u n i would not have freaked out...! Hahaha