Saturday, June 7, 2014

(L)ooking through the glass window

(Excerpt from my attempt at writing a bit of fiction. A very amateur attempt  and this is just a portion of it. Did not want to put any reader to coma :D The name of the story started with L and it being weekend, was unable to think of anything else; hence this mess :D ) 

The smell of freshly brewed coffee wafted as Sam sat nursing a headache. She promised not to ignore her sleep again. She hoped to keep her promise for a day at least. But the clients were important. The presentation had to be immaculate. The facts had to be accurate. She needed to be on top of things. Now , she yearned for a mug of coffee. She knew the lady in the opposite apartment would have it ready. Along with the malt drink for the kids. Could she pop over just this one time and get it? She seemed like a nice person. She would not deny her. Sam wanted to crawl back to bed with some buttered toasts and a steaming cup of coffee. What she did instead was shake off the reverie and get a shower. If she did not hit the road in the next 30 minutes, she would have to negotiate the mind numbing office traffic. The steaming cup of coffee? Some other time – 

Saturday for sure! She made a deal with herself. No work this weekend.
Quarter past 8, she swerved her way out of the apartment. She did not notice Annie waving her kids goodbye. But Annie did give a fleeting glance to the red sedan. The hatchback had been changed for the sedan three months back. The car still had its sheen. How Annie longed to be able to go on a long drive herself. Now most of her car rides ended up being errands. The kids were into music and tennis and swimming. Even the weekends were packed with the classes. She should try to squeeze in sometime and go for a relaxed ride with the music on. Maybe Saturday morning. She should give it a shot. As of now she had to hurry and pack her husband’s lunch. 

It would be a while before she had a chance to catch her breath. Getting the breakfast and lunches ready for the children and husband left her with barely enough time to even sip her cup of coffee. Once they were gone, the house reverberated with silence. The chores beckoned. The laundry,the kitchen, the dishes, the floors – every bit had to be kept in order. She could get some help. She felt a special joy in doing it herself. Her home, her family - she mothered it. She could have gone the ‘sedan’ way. Taken that overseas assignment. As she slipped her apron on, she wondered if a business suit might have fitted better.

Her feet hurt. Her shoulders ached. The neck felt stiff. Her eyes felt dry. She was thirsty. But the figures were not matching up. There was something amiss somewhere. It was midday and the meeting was due in another hour. She had to get the report straight. Jyo popped in with some chocolate brownies. It was her child’s second birthday. She was leaving work early. Sam sighed. Lucky! She took a bit of the brownie. It was delicious. The sudden sugar rush made things clear. She saw the elusive rounding off error. She had just saved herself an hour of plodding through blind alleys. Thank God for that. She had just enough time to grab a sandwich. But if she changed the axes of one of the graphs to give an overlay report? That seemed like a good idea. Surely the clients would not have thought of that view. The sandwich could wait. Coffee and crisps from the vending machine would just work fine. 

She sat devouring the book. Her guilty pleasure. She had three quarters of an hour to go by before she would rush to the gym. An hour on the treadmill. The habit of more than a decade had helped her keep in shape. It also helped her unwind. An hour of no thought about any duty. An hour was all she could manage before it was time to grab the kids from school. The sight of her two girls rushing towards her as the school gates opened was priceless. The sweet smell of their sweat, their talking over each other to tell whatever happened, their fighting over which song to play, their rummaging for any snacks, their very presence was ethereal. Annie watched their heads dipped silently over the plates of food she served once they were home. She had her evening cup of tea and the girls quietly slurped their food. She had cooked rice with vegetables and a lentils soup. The girls loved the soup. With the energy back in their body – the chattering commenced. 
All she could manage was smother them with kisses. They went to the play area while Annie stood 
in front of the refrigerator pondering about dinner. She had to get it ready before it was time to sit 
with the girls for their home assignments. It was all quiet. He had the keys to the house. He preferred coming over quietly. And surprising her. But she always knew. Each day he came in at a different time. But every day she knew. He never startled her. He just stood there letting her slowly realise his presence. She was aware of his aura. She let him feel as if she did not. She carried on whatever she was doing – folding the clothes, ironing them, doing the dishes, chopping the vegetables, cleaning the kitchen board. She carried on, till for some activity she needed to turn in his direction. Then Annie looked into the eyes – of Phil and came into his warm embrace. 

They were all seated at the table. Warm rice, mixed vegetables, fish fry, salad and yogurt. Sam loved fish fry. She was swept by nostalgia as she heard her mom over the phone. She should not have asked what they were having for dinner. She had a burger, potato fries and cappuccino. She lied. It would be a long time before she could even think of dinner. Her pro-activeness had landed her neck deep in work. The clock was edging towards nine. She let her parents to have their dinner in peace. She promised she would eat better. She promised she would call on time the next day. She promised herself that she would keep those promises. The silence was permeating. The humming of the air conditioner was the only thing that made her feel there was life. An hour more would suffice to get the job done. Her thoughts went to food. She had kept an extra helping of the brownie in the morning. That would suffice to keep the hunger pangs at bay.

Some strands of her hair had fallen off from the grip of the band. She had a hint of dark circles under her eyes. Her body seemed exhausted. But the lips- they curled into a smile. The smile of being in the presence of someone you love. Sam looked down. She felt guilty at having looked through the glass window. She felt like a voyeur. She put the key into her apartment door. The click was deafening. As she glanced at the stark living room, she felt the absolute lack of life. She had no intention of making the instant noodles. A warm cup of milk would do. It might even help her sleep. Though sleep would not be so easy to come by. With the laptop, the iPod, the iPhone and the e-reader for company she would think for a long time. About the numbers, the analysis, her presentation, her attire for the all-important meeting. Amidst the clutter, a harmless thought would cross her mind. She could have gone the ‘family’ way. Not taken the overseas assignment. 

To be continued... maybe... :) 

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