“There, there”, she continued, “You need to take home some flowers today, it seems!” “But I never started the quarrel in the first place”, Neil interrupted, “I wish she were a little understanding. How many times do I have to remind her that I love her and these trivial things barely matter.” She rolled her eyes in perfect disagreement, stood up from his cabin chair, walked towards him and now sat above his table and leaned, “As many times as you forget to mention that you love her Neil. Besides it doesn’t matter who started what. As long as you keep offering your contributions to heat up the argument, you are no paragon of virtue.” Neil shrugged, “Its your birthday and somebody else will be getting flowers”. Her radiant face dimmed and an effortless smile arced between her cheeks. “You had given me so many joys in so little time; no flower can ever vie the happiness that blooms in my heart.” He sank into her captivating eyes as he let her speak without any intervention. The air between them filled with the aroma of her same lavender perfume he knew she wore ever since their days at college. Memories of the past crushing his heart. He wanted to touch her again and feel the warmth of her hand as he held those when they met, bury his face in her bosoms as she hid him away from the world and its worries. He wished to watch her sleep again, see the moonlight force through the window panes to illumine her angelic visage. He wished to smell her soft wavy locks again, hold her and go to sleep himself. He wished. “And somebody else? It is your wife we are talking about”, she ended. Neil turned his back to hide his despair. He gulped down a big lump in his throat and sighed, “I miss us sometimes.”
He heard sounds of the door opening and closing. He knew. And after what felt like ages he turned back. She was gone. Again.
His colleague stood by the door perplexed. Neil requested him to look over his work for the day, grabbed his stuffs and hurried his way out.
He sat inside his car and while he buckled the belt, she came and took the seat next to him. “I thought you left”, he murmured. “And so you were planning on driving with the opposite door flung open?” she retorted.
“Well, I was hoping you’ll return.”
“Who would help you pick the flowers otherwise. You are utterly hopeless in that sphere, right?”
“You left only once, it doesn’t mean you have to keep repeating that.”
“I was not given a choice, you know that. Aditi loves you immensely and she does almost everything to keep you happy. Didn’t you say she could charm you in a way nobody else can? It took you almost two years to move on. Its time you get over the past too.”
“I know that all. But no one understands me like you do and nobody ever will.”
“That is what soul mates are made for Neil. I cannot be with you like before. So let me come to you atleast when I sense that you need me.”
Then there was a long silence. The sound of horns honking from divers vehicles on the road, people chattering, swearing and ranting in indistinctive tones and voices in the shops on both sides of the street prevailed all the way to the florists.
The doorbell rang. Aditi opened the door. Seeing Neil at such an unexpected hour and with a gorgeous bunch of fresh roses took her by surprise. He opened his mouth to speak but she hauled him inside and wound her arms around him, “I regret for what happened earlier today”, Aditi spoke, “I shouldn’t have been infuriated by your decision to relocate. The thought of refurbishing a new place just took me unawares. I know this place haunts you with Nidhi’s memories. She was a really close friend to us. If only she were a minute late in stepping into her car, the mishap would have never occurred and we could all celebrate her birthday today!”
“Are you wearing a new scent?” Neil enquired as Aditi withdrew her arms to look at him. “Yes, it is called Encens et Lavande.” “I noticed the way you pause by the lavenders at the florists to smell them and ordered it online. I had even sent some of those orchids to your office this morning in silent acquiescence.” Aditi chuckled, “You liked it, dear?”
He saw Nidhi leave. She might have realized he was happy in his world again.
Neil managed a broad grin. He pulled Aditi into his arms and whispered into her ear, “Very much.”