Devi cracked her knuckles and stood by the railing. The clouds above her looked beautiful, with not a care in the world. The light breeze fluttered the blue skirt she was wearing, it had been her mother’s favorite skirt. Maybe that’s why she chose to wear it today, to meet…. him.
The temple gates were open but there were no bells ringing. Just when she thought nothing can break her today, her insides turned when she saw him…
He walked up the steps slowly, towering as he neared her.
“Hello Devi” he smiled, “How are you?” The man had a coarse voice, which Devi hadn’t heard for fifteen years.
“You wanted to meet me. Why?” , she managed. She hadn’t forgotten how charming his smile was, she had the same.
“Is that how you talk to me after so long?”
“How else should I talk to a man like you, Appa? Tell me” she stood firm. She reminded herself that if she breathes slowly, her face won’t give away anything.
“I was in town. That why I called you” He faced her.
She looked at the rock at his feet. Che. “Uncomfortable?” He asked, “You always looked at someone’s feet when yo uncomfortable.” He seemed pleased with himself. She knew she could strangle someone then.
“I have missed you, chinna!” He continued. “Not a single day has gone where I wouldn’t think of you or your mo….” He stopped when she creased her brows
“No. Don’t. I don’t need this small talk from you”
“I just wanted to meet you. It’s been a long time. I was just wondering….” he cleared his throat
“Wondering what?” She stepped closer to him, facing him eye to eye. She was tall too. She was his daughter.
“You have your mothers eyes. But with more fire in them…!” He fidgeted with his collar as he spoke.
She could feel her temple throbbing. She had so much to say. So much to vent. But her lips wouldn’t comply. Her mouth wouldn’t open. “Aiyo Devi! It hurts! Help me…!” kept echoing in her ears like a nagging ear worm.
“Yes. They have a fire in them. Do they scare you? I think they should” she pursed her lips and bore into his eyes, into the depth of his silly soul.
“I am a changed man” he stammered. “Learnt so much. I was so wrong! I just want to have you back in my life!!”
“How dare you?” This was blasphemy. She shouldn’t have agreed to this moment. “How dare you even think about showing your face to me today, let alone ask for me back?? Who are you??”
“Chinna ssshhh. Don’t say that. Look. Let’s talk in a calm place. You are sweating. You don’t even know what you are talking!”
“Leave” she now looked at a bitch with her litter jumping around in the yellow evening. “Just leave and never come back” She bent to pick her jhola and began towards the gate.
“We haven’t even spoken….” he begged.
The bitch now limped while playing with her litter and wagged her tail.
Devis chest felt heavy. No this wasn’t a heart burn. This must be how it felt to have closure.
“Chinna please don’t break an old mans heart…”
His words made her stop in tracks and smile.
She turned to him with no broken brow and said “Breaking your heart pays for breaking my mother’s face”.
She turned away from him and took off, her blue skirt happy in the wind.
~~Writing after a year. Absolutely rusty, as always. Comments most welcome!~~