Her Teary Eyes

 She slipped into a sandalwood shade pyjama, pulled over her head a jacquard cotton salwar top and pinned the pleated maroon shawl on the shoulder.  Na, she wasn't going to wrap the dupatta around the neck. In the years, she had grown a little fat, the shawl flowing down straight would make her look a head taller than she was to compensate for that. She stood in front of the mirror on the dressing table, it not being a full length one, she couldn't figure out how the designer maroon sandal matched with the rest of the attire.  But she confidently presumed it would provide an elegant matching. With a self-pride oozing from her into the surroundings and a bright smile on lips, she took her purse, locked the room and stepped into the hotel foyer.  From there into the doorway and to the walkway outside. 

The air outside was a lot freshening.  Hibiscus plants lined the sides of the walkway.  It had rained a while ago.  A lazy breeze originated somewhere in the valley of Neem trees cuddled her hair and made a strain come loose and fall on her forehead.  She touched it fondly and passed her hand over the hibiscus leaves shattering the pearled water dancing on their edges.  

The eastern horizon was big, streaked with the golden glory of the morning sun as though a beautiful lady had sashayed along the sky's edge dropping her gold cannister down letting its content spread in sheets.  

She crossed the gate and entered the main road.  Clusters of old shop buildings stood on its both sides without having changed much.  Men sat lazily in rows on the shop veranda sipping coffee ogling at the females moving along the road.  At the last building, she turned left.  After that, it was a stretch of battered mud path.  Its surface smooth like glass.  It was possible to lose control quickly on its surface, so she ambled along. Yet she lost control and skidded sideways a few times.  She hiked up her pyjama not to be soiled with the mud.  

At the exit of the path, she entered the beach.  It was like stepping into a sand river.  She removed her slippers, took them in hands and wadded forward. Her legs squelched in the sand.  There was nobody on the beach, except a few youngsters swimming in the sea far away.  She saw the cement bench from a distance.  She walked faster and conquered the sweep between her and the bench with a vigour that was wasted on her for long years. 

The sun had risen more into the horizon, the sea squirmed making a thousand wavelets and each reflecting the sun's gold again and again.  It was a beautiful sight, making you stop and decide to go back to the beginning and start over once again with the freedom of a young mind. 

She felt the wait was getting a bit longer. She unzipped the purse and fished out her cell phone to make sure she hadn't made a mistake in reading the message in her overwhelming enthusiasm.  No, she reread it-- sharp 8.  And the time was now ten past eight. 

She passed her fingers on the bench, to renew the familiarity.  Was it the rain that had stopped him?  Her eyes stretched one more time to reach the farthest end of the beach and the mud-path starting after that to see someone making it and rushing into the sand river.  How would he look like now, put on weight, his voice got heavy?  What about his family? His wife and children? They were the thoughts she had been tossing in her mind since she got the message yesterday. ''See you tomorrow, sharp 8.''

***

The facilitators for the presentation were welcomed onto the stage. A small group of men and women marched onto the stage and got seated.  She passed her searching eyes over to figure him out using an old memory still glistened in her mind  He wasn't among them.  Was it that her eyes had gone fussy or had he changed beyond recognition. Her heart began to beat faster burning her throat.   

''Can I get your attention please,'' a man among them moved to the front.  ''There's a slight change in our program today," he announced.  "The subject specialist Mr Somanathan is not going to be with us.  But don't worry, we have an able hand in his place, Ms Shriletha.''  A lady is a blue sari moved forward. She smiled and greeted the stage.

So what has happened to Somanathan? Her heart racing inside was going to jump out of her throat.  ''We sent Somanathan to head another team, next city.''   

She thought of another ''sharp 8" wait twenty years ago. Not in the morning but in the night, at a railway station. Her tearing eyes blocked her view of the conference hall for a full second. 

***

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging challenge.  


This is my sixth post in the series. #writetribeproblogger #writebravely