She didnt have her camera that afternoon so she decided to memorise all of it.So she did.
The wall was the brightest shade of yellow and the curtains a dark green-failing miserably to keep the Delhi afternoon sun out. There were little beads of sweat lining his new haircut- his otherwise black eyes shone a translucent brown in the sun. There were old beer bottles kept on the windowpane- the green glass glowing in the sun and bursting out into the tendrils of moneyplants. "Epipremnum aureum", she remembered reading off the blackboard sitting sweating in a classroom a few thousand moons back- under a whirring ceiling fan, amidst the bustle of Tollygunge. The leaves-more green than yellow- tried climbing up the wall standing at a sharp contrast to the yellow. She missed her camera.
He read the menu with his eyebrows bunched together-like he'd be tested on his knowledge of it.She stared straight at his face noticing the dark circles.
"Vodka Lemonade," she thought.
"Vodka Lemonade. And you?", he asked.
"Pineapple Juice with White Rum."
The ugly bit was done away with while they waited for their drinks. Not very surprisingly, she didn't cry.She never did once the worst was over. He knew it was only when she feared the worst that the tears came and the fights got bad. Past that, there was only the tapping of finger nails on the touchscreen and the occasional cough punctuating the radio silence she was capable of gutting people's beings out with.On bad days, he'd do just about anything to dig a word out of her mouth. He remembered her telling him of the times her grandmother would tell her that she'd be a pauper if the government ever levied taxes on words. He wanted to ask her if the bulb in her staircase got replaced.
She had only begun to fidget when he asked her if she'd mind a smoke, he had forgotten his cigarettes in the car. They walked to the little balcony that overlooked the market- she lit one in silence, looking down at the cars that came in and went out in queues managed by the whistling of the attendants in orange caps. He noticed her chipped finger nails when she passed on the cigarette and she noticed how their skins touched for the last time. "A Parenthesis in Eternity,"she had called it when she described their first meeting. On someone's balcony, sharing a light one sweaty summer night because he couldn't find his lighter.
She took in the smell while they drank. That weird concoction of aftershave, iron, tea leaves,cologne and sweat laced with the tang of cigarettes. She will remember this more than anything else, she thought. Well, apart from the time he held the blower to the back of her head because her sprained shoulder wouldn't allow her arms to reach there, and maybe the time when he tried massaging the back of her neck and she exclaimed how bad he was. He remembered the way she'd move her lips in sleep- like she couldn't shut up even in her dreams. And he remembered the way she twisted her hair into a bun and threatened to cut it all off if it got any hotter.He never believed that she would. But that she didnt need to know.
She left very suddenly, almost as if she had forgotten something very important back at home. She said no to the constant offers of being dropped and drove back with a slight headache from all the drinking, and rushed to her cupboard the moment she reached. Running her urgent fingers through the pile of clothes, she found the CDs and the plates.
The only proof of the life that had burnt inside her in silence three months back-buried under layers of skin and blood, sometimes shrieking out in bursts of pain. She put them all in a big manila envelope.
This he didn't need to know.