He lay sprawled on the road. His face calm and serene, not a scratch on the cherubic face. Splinters of glass lay scattered on the road mixed with flowers strewn around- tiny orange blossoms and the curious onlookers were slowly dispersing. Only when he was lifted and wheeled away, blood glistened in the evening rays of sun. Splash fell the water, rinsing away the blood from the flowers and the road. Passing vehicles were now crushing the orange blossoms and he did want to collect them all over again and smell the heady scent. Twenty six is not the age to die and definitely death by a road accident is not pleasant. He would have loved to die peacefully, calm and sleeping. God was one person who never heeded to his wishes. Drawing a few breaths, he moved away. It was time.
She closed the book she had been reading and peeked at the clock. It read five forty five. He usually arrived by five. Of all the three odd months they had been together in this tiny world called their home, he was always punctual. Their evenings were spent in strange silence. He would sit in the living room watching hours and hours of television while she sat by the sofa reading, sewing and at times, simply humming softly to herself. Their dinners were always short, the only sound being the clangs of cutlery on the plates. He liked neatness everywhere and she tried hard to keep things organised. Even if he found the house a mess, his reaction would be a cold stare. That stare always sent her scurrying, cleaning and wiping the house. She tried hard to remember the last time she had seen him laugh and failed miserably.
He always wanted to be home- he would pounce the moment the clock struck five. She always sat near the window sill on the living room, watching her favorite sparrows. The pair had moved in recently to the orange tree shading their hall and he knew she loved watching them. She loved to breathe in the aroma of orange blossoms, her eyes half- closed and head thrown back. The placid golden yellow rays of the sun would wash over her angelic face as her gaze lingeringly followed the sparrows and the blossoms.
He loved the way her nimble fingers held the needle and the glorious patterns she stitched on her pillow covers and kerchiefs. He never complained about the way she kept her house. The orderliness, the cleanliness and her artistic touch in flowers adorning the corner vase, he grew to love them all gradually. He was worried when she didn't do her routine- he was annoyed that she might be sick when he saw the house in a mess. And he knew one stare at her would bring her back to life and pink of health. He loved the silence they shared together.
He was a man of less words, that she knew well before the wedding. She tried hard to impress him during the early days and failed to get so much of a smile from him on her home making skills. He seemed to have shut her off completely...or she wondered if she had ever gone through the wall between them, being shy and coy herself. They had week end outings to malls and movies. Her efforts to strike romantic conversations with him back fired as he completely closed off her from casual pep talk. She was wondering what went wrong and tried to solve the riddle herself. After few nerve racking trials, now she was resigned to fate. Some day, he will...
He knew she tried to breach his barriers- his carefully erected walls. He was not going to let her do that, he mused. Memories of a painful past hovered in front of his eyes. He had always been an introvert and so when Deepa entered his life like a thunderstorm on a rainy evening, he was sucked up by a whirlwind of passion and love. Her chirpy demeanor and ringing laughter alighted his soul and he felt he found his soul mate in her. She came home, cooked for him, even bedded him and finally ditched him for his boss. That bitch! His blood boiled even now, thinking of her.
He needed time- a few months at least, to size up this petite, young woman that has been his wife of three months. He did not want to repeat the mistake of falling for a wrong woman the second time...She was chosen by his parents and he had married her- had he a choice? No! These three months had been a living hell, he thought. God, how much he did want to talk to her, to caress the fine lines on her brow, to wipe away tiny rivulets of sweat running down her spine, to feel her thumping heart beat every time he came near her...The very thought of her made him ache for her...long for her...
She was so much engrossed in her own thoughts that the shrill noise of telephone startled her. She picked up the receiver and whatever being said on the other side must have been bad, real bad. He kept watching her face go from a dull pink to a sheet white and she fell with a noisy thud on the floor. He wanted to pull her up in his arms and soothe her, wake her up and utter whispers of loving words... The sparrows chirped and the orange blossoms swayed in the cool evening breeze, the aroma wafting through the thin curtains. He could never tell her his last words- I LOVE YOU.