We are back at his favourite haunt, his balcony.
He points out the tree that has been promising to grow to provide some cover and privacy. He has been encouraging it silently over the last five years.
“Perhaps the tree does not listen. I am sure it is a man”.
The breeze is cooler here, and fresher. In some ways that a Chennai breeze can never be. Or is it just my soul calling out to me; I lost it some time back here and have been searching.
We are comfortable now, sipping at the drinks he has so thoughtfully made. A man grown up finally. He remembers now to ask if I want some ice and I smile. His wife has trained him well.
He gushes about how happy he is finally to be able to relax and do things his way instead. He misses her, but he will never admit it. Not even to his closest friend, because that would mean he was no more free. And he believed in the power of words, of uttering them out loud. And talking about love meant he had finally become grounded, inhibited.
A call every ten minutes to her, and he shrugs.
“You understand how women worry”.
No, I don’t. But I just smile and nod.
He talks about the book he is working on.
I have stopped listening for the last five minutes, but smile and nod.
“Right. You are tired”.
Yes, I am.
In more ways than I know to say.
Why is it we do not remember being young anymore, I wonder?
I feel my age in my bones and look at my skin, wondering why the wrinkles do not show.
At times I search, obsessively, through the strands of my hair, for the white that should be there.
I wonder every month if this is the month when my body tells me that I have crossed from being a woman to just being.
I look forward to the day I can just close my eyes and say, “Don’t you see? I am old and I have earned my right to rest”.
And yet, there is no rest for sinners. And no sleep for the dreamers.