He sat brewing his coffee with the past knocking his door, he knew it was her….
He must stop...stop looking back when a bright future was beckoning. It was over between him and her. She is the last thing he should be mulling over, especially when he was running out of time.
He stirred the coffee with more vigor but the knocking continued. Only this time it wasn’t in his head.
Gosh it was really her! No one else knew he was up at 4:30 in the morning, getting ready to fly far away forever from this mess.
“I’ll not let her stop me. Even if it means slamming the door on her face.”
She stood there in a halter-neck printed chiffon top and a lavender satin skirt. He faltered momentarily. The dress was new and the skirt too short for the cold outside. It was not as if he hadn’t seen her in much less but she always dressed conservatively for the outside world.
At least somebody had the time to dress up and look good, he thought wryly.
“I came to say good bye.” She said a little apologetically taking in his busy disheveled look.
“Okay….Goodbye!” he said trying to keep it short.
“You can be a little more emotional…for old times’ sake.”
“I am sorry but I’m actually very late. I had set the alarm on my mobile but forgot that it was Sunday today and the alarm was set for working days. Thankfully a second alarm set at 1:30 hours later woke me up.”
“Oh that’s bad…how much time do you have?”
“Okay you get ready; I’ll fix you a quick breakfast and get the house in order for the landlord.”
“Thanks, but you don’t have to do that.”
“I am here anyway, so let me do that and don’t waste anymore time.” She said slipping into the kitchen.
He shaved and took a quick bath, making sure the bathroom was locked. He slipped into the bedroom in a towel, making sure her back was turned. No embarrassments and complications at this stage.
Thank god, he had his best shirt and trousers dry-cleaned and laid out on the chair the night before. Mr. Malmros will meet him right at the airport and he wanted to make a good first impression. He dressed up in record time. His mobile phone rang just as he came out of the room, rolling his luggage to the door.
“Okay, I’m coming.” He spoke into the phone. “That’s the cab!” he called out to her.
She came sprinting, a plate in hand. It had two cold cut sandwiches and a cup of water. She had mixed leftover cooked chicken mince, mayonnaise, and herbs from his refrigerator, seasoned them well, and pressed together into sandwiches.
After a few bites, he reached for the water. “You don’t know the condition I am in. I can’t have any more.”
“Have the rest in the cab.” She suggested as he swallowed the water. She put the rest in a paper bag and put it in the side-pocket of the backpack he was carrying.
The cab driver stepped in and carried away a suitcase and a bag.
“I’ll clean the house up and give the keys to the landlord,” she said.
“Oh, great! Thank you!” He said with relief in his voice. That took care of his major worry. He could trust her. She was the kind who kept her promises.
She helped him take a quick account of all the essentials he needed to take. His wallet his, his phone, his papers, his passport….
Reassured he bid farewell again, this time meeting her eyes. “Good bye!”
Tears sprang to her eyes, lining the rim and giving the eyes some sheen.
He quickly turned away and started to say, “And give my regards…”
Two hands hugged him from behind and her head leaned on his back. He caught a whiff of lavender in the air.
He pulled the hands away, and without turning said, “Give my regards to your dad and mom, and thanks for everything.”
He ran down the stairs into the waiting cab.
Thankfully, there wasn’t much traffic on the roads in this city that never slept. He told the driver to step on the gas and he readily complied.
Some time, in between looking out and looking at his watch, he opened the paper bag and bit off the sandwiches. Light, but delicious, it was just the food he needed.
He was the last to board the last bus carrying passengers to the airplane, but he had managed and that was all that mattered. He couldn’t have made it without her help though, he admitted to himself.
Sighing a bit, he sat back, watching the plane lift off the grounds. As the signs went on and lights went off, he tightened the seat belt.
Suddenly the belt turned into her two bare hands clasping at his waist again. He didn’t pull them apart this time but closed his own hands on them, caressing them softly. Her body against his back was soft and warm. He leaned back some more. The smell of lavender gathered around him filling his senses and widening his smile.
Then, just as suddenly as it had formed, the illusion broke. He was left clutching at the arms of the seat, hurting his fingers and nails. His back was against a cold hard surface. His face contorted and he felt breathless.
A passing airhostess grew alarmed at his expression.
“Sir, are you okay? Do you need more air?”
“I need…lavender,” he said half to himself before tears gave way. He leaned wearily to the window watching the plane ascend to the white vastness above.