And she left!
Smita had left my home. Our home. And that envelope lay still on the center table. I had not accepted it, and she had not taken it back. But what do I do now? I certainly did not need all that. I did not want her to leave with a burden. I was equally burdened, but I had not thought of wrapping all my love for her into a kit and handing over to her.
I glanced at the bright red wall-clock on the opposite wall. This one reminded me of Smita. She had been so fond of the color back then, that everything in the home exuded the bright red hue… the wall-clock, the sofa covers, the curtains, the cushions, and the bedroom wall, where she hung the framed wedding picture. She looked beautiful there. And happy.
She was a vibrant girl- always happy and unrestrained in her laughter. I could hear her laughter today, the entire home rang of her cackle, and never had I missed her more. But Smita was angry today. I knew she wanted me to snatch her bag, throw it away and hug her hard never to let her go. But I did not do that. I wanted her to leave this time. We needed a break.
I realized that I had spent the last 40 minutes thinking about how much I owed to Smita, and I could spend a lot more time thanking my stars and cursing the chances. But that was not the best thing for the moment. I had to get over her and hope she forgot me soon. Where was my laptop?
“Smita, where have you kept the laptop, honey?” I had almost finished the sentence when I realized that she was not there to come running dangling those bangles and managing her saree. I remember the last time she had come just like that. She was kneading the dough and painted a streak of white on her forehead with it. That flick bothered her so much! But she looked beautiful.
Smita had placed my laptop safely on the couch, for me to locate easily. I always sat on the couch while I worked, so she knew I would check it there. And I smelled coffee. There it was, right next to the couch, on the table. It was not hot any more… fit for me to drink, just the way I liked it. She knew me so well. But I had to make her leave today. I had no choice.
I switched the laptop on while waiting impatiently for the Welcome screen to vanish… and bang… The wallpaper! The very image of Smita kissing me on the cheek gave me jitters. She was right― Green color did not suit me much. But something about this picture made me look so happy. I know what it was― she stood with me!
I waited for a moment, glazed into her big brown eyes while she laughed at me from the other side of the screen. I stood up, and ran towards the door. Barefooted. I had been rude to my Smita. She was concerned about me undeniably and constantly for the last 6 years. What kind of a wedding anniversary gift had I given to her? By asking her to leave? I needed to be fast and stop her. I could not live.
Hurriedly, as I ran out of the avenue, I saw her there… in the Park, gazing at me from a distance. She knew I would come running and panting. She sat on that customary seat, where we had sit for relaxing after a long venture of finding a home in this locality. That bench was where we had finalized this home. That was where she had chosen which walls she wanted to paint in Red. I could not move a step ahead. The only thing I did was to stand there, in the middle of the road, looking at her and hoping that she read my eyes from there. And she did.
Quietly, she picked her bag and slid it across the track to reach the gate. She had difficulty lifting it when she reached the narrow gate. I hurried to reach there, but a young boy had already offered his help to my visibly-pregnant wife. She was very conscious of her baby-bump, but I had let her out today. She reached me, expecting me to tell her if I loved her. This was a special day, our sixth wedding anniversary, and I had not said it yet.
“Why did you walk out? How was I going to live?” That’s all I could say, before breaking into tears and hugging her in the street. My shoulder could feel her tears. I wanted my Smita back. The one who hit me with blows if I ever dared to hurt her. But this one did not. She just hugged me back and cried, while that red envelope lay silent on the center table. I did not need that ‘Happy Anniversary’ Card. Did I?