Connecting Online

Although you're far... 

“Meet me tomorrow?”

Leanne had to read this line twice before she comprehended what he had typed. She had been chatting with Mr-I-Won’t-Give-Up for two weeks now, but was surprised that he wanted to meet face to face. She had felt an instant connection with him. Their conversation was crazy, fun and harmless. Just what she needed to get her mind off Felix and the state of their marriage.

“How did it all go so wrong with our marriage? Leanne wondered.

Life had been going well even if they lived in a small apartment in a not-so-great neighbourhood. They both worked hard. Evenings were spent cooking together, catching some television and just talking. They had hoped to build up their savings in a few years to buy a larger apartment to accommodate that big family they had always planned. Somehow, their savings could never keep pace with the rising prices of property. This was the one thing that got them down.

“Are you still there?” Mr-I-Won’t-Give-Up typed.

“Yes.” Leanne typed back hesitantly. “I’m thinking.”

“I’m not pushing you. There’s no hurry. But I would really like to meet you, Ms-Glass-Half-Empty.” he said, adding a smiley at the end of the sentence. “I can never understand your nickname,” he continued. “You seem so positive. Isn’t it funny that my nickname is just the opposite of yours? I will never give up!”

Leanne’s thoughts went back to her marriage. The problems started four months ago, when Felix  started working long hours. Instead of the usual 6 pm, he had started coming home at 11 pm. Even later, some nights. He hardly ever answered his mobile phone after 6 pm. When he did, he was always in a hurry and she could hear a lot of voices in the background. This seemed strange especially since her calls to his office went to the switchboard and all she got was a recorded voice, saying they were closed for the day. When she questioned Felix about the background noise, he told her that he and a few colleagues had gone to catch a bite just when she called. It all started to seem terribly fishy to Leanne.

These days, Felix always came back too tired to talk. After a couple of weeks of waiting up for him, Leanne decided not to bother and now went to bed before he got home. He let himself in and she didn’t bother to keep  track of what time he got home. She had also stopped cooking and started to order in – pizza, Chinese or Indian. Some nights she went to sleep on an empty stomach. These bad eating habits were causing her to put on weight.

Felix got up later and later each morning and was consequently in a rush. No time for breakfast together too. No time to talk. No time for each other.

Resentment started to build up and Leanne felt their marriage steadily going down the tube. To his credit, for the first two months, Felix had tried to make it up to her on the weekends. Then, inexplicably he started to work on the weekends. When she questioned him, he said, “Think about how all these extra hours will convert into savings, sweetheart. We’ll get our house sooner now.” Leanne wasn’t impressed. “Damn the house,” she said angrily. Felix just smiled nonchalantly.

Two months ago, during some downtime at work, Leanne signed on to Friendship.com. This was the site where she had first met Felix. It was not a dating site, but when they connected here, their friendship soon turned to love. Leanne decided to use her old nickname, Ms-Glass-Half-Empty. Strangely, back then, Felix had the nickname Mr-Glass-Half-Full. Their meeting seemed destined to be. Until recently, whenever she grumbled about something he teasingly called her Ms-Glass-Half-Empty. When she signed back on the site, she meant to just browse. However, soon she found herself getting into chats with a couple of women and then she connected with Mr-I-Won’t-Give-Up. He was friendly, funny and married! “But what does that matter,” thought Leanne, “we’re just friends connecting online.”

Now, he wanted to meet and so did she. She was lonely and longed for good company and light-hearted banter. “The kind of stuff Felix and I enjoyed until he spoiled it all.” Leanne thought.

“Okay. Let’s meet” she typed. “But where and when?”
“Tomorrow evening at 6 pm? At that new cafe, Coffee & More?” Mr-I-Won’t-Give-Up responded immediately.
“I’ve never been there,” she said. “I heard that it’s good. It opened about six months ago, didn’t it?” Leanne asked.
“About four months now,’ he responded.
“How will I know you?” she asked.
“I’m the evening manager of the cafe,” he typed. “You can’t miss me! But just in case, I’ll wear a red rose in my buttonhole!”
“See you at 6 tomorrow evening,” she replied.

Leanne thought it kind of strange that he wanted to meet her at his workplace. “That’s his problem,” she thought.”For one thing it will be a safe place to meet!”

The next day, Mr-I-Won’t-Give-Up was not online and Leanne wondered whether to keep her date or not. “It’s not a date,” she told herself. “We’re both married. Just friends….”

Always punctual, Leanne walked into Coffee & More at 6 pm. There he was sitting at a table grinning at her. Suddenly, Leanne felt giddy, as he got up and walked towards her. Gently he led her to the table. “I said I will never give up, didn’t I, Ms-Glass-Half-Empty?” said Felix.

 

I’m blogging through the 31 Days of October.


31days

I’m desperately behind because of a poor internet connection. But I’m not giving up – I’m back dating all the ones I missed out on! 🙂

Pic credit: Aphrodite via Compfight

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Sentenced For Life

Sentenced For Life is one the longest short stories I’ve written! 😉 I would love your feedback.

MC900390722

Taking a sip of her first cup of coffee that morning, Sameera allowed her mind to wander down memory lane. And wander it did, taking her right back to a cold winter’s morning twenty five years ago.

Twenty five years ago, Sameera was twenty-three – a lovely young woman, full of energy and joie de vivre. Her job her to travel out of town for ten days of the month. During that time, she stayed in a hotel. She missed her Mum’s cooking and her parents, but she enjoyed these days in her own company too. She would get up late, have a leisurely breakfast and saunter down the road to the office. After work, she would wander around the shopping area close to the office. She was not a big shopper but enjoyed buying little things to take back home. She would then buy a snack – something sinful usually and eat it as she walked back to the hotel. Once back in her room, she would call her parents, read and watch television. Most evenings she would order room service for dinner. Although she was working, these ten days seemed like something of a holiday to her.

On that particular morning, Sameera was woken up by the telephone ringing in her hotel room. Half asleep, she picked up the phone. “Hello, sleepyhead,” said an unfamiliar male voice. “I’m waiting for you in the lobby.” “You’ve got the wrong number, sir,” Sameera responded, trying not to show her irritation. “You are Sameera, aren’t you?” the man asked. Now Sameera was well and truly awake. She wondered who this was and said so. “Come on. You don’t remember my voice? I’m so hurt,” the man said. Not ready to play games so early in the morning, Sameera banged the receiver down. He called again. “I’m waiting for you in the lobby. It’s completely safe to come down and find out who I am,” he said. She could almost hear a smile in his voice, and what a nice voice it was! Sameera’s natural curiosity won. “Okay, I’ll be down in twenty minutes, “she said looking at her watch and realizing it was only seven. “Twenty minutes?” he laughed. “You don’t need to dress up too much for me. The last time I saw you, you were wearing shorts!” Sameera didn’t find that funny at all. She wondered, “I haven’t worn shorts since I was seven years old. Who could this be?”

Having a quick wash, Sameera pulled on a pair of jeans and a tee-shirt, ran a brush through her hair and set off for the lobby. She looked for a familiar face in the lobby. The only people she saw at this time of the morning were the night receptionist and cashier. Irritated, and making a mental note to complain to the hotel manager, she started back for the elevator. Suddenly someone popped out from behind a pillar. “Sameera! You’re all grown up and you didn’t inform me!” said a tall and vaguely familiar looking man. “Who are you?” she said asked. “Isn’t it sad when one’s wife doesn’t recognize a man?” he laughed. Sameera blushed, then smiled. “Sanjay?” she asked. “After all these years. How did you know where to contact me?” “I visited your parents two days ago. They told me that you were in Bangalore. Since I was coming here, I asked them where you were staying. I decided to surprise you and asked them not to tell you.” “So you are going to continue that silly joke,” she asked. “It was never a joke,” he answered.

Sanjay’s parents and her parents had been friends for years. Sanjay and her brother Karthik were classmates. Whenever Sanjay, seven years older than Sameera, met her he would tease her saying that she was his wife and he was just waiting for her to grow up. Both sets of parents thought the whole thing was hilarious. Sanjay’s parents even referred to her as their daughter-in-law. Sanjay had gone off to study and his parents moved away to another city and it was about twelve years since they had met. She blushed thinking of how he had been her fantasy husband through her teen years.

“Sameera,” a loud voice brought her back to the present. “Coming. Do you want your coffee now?” she said as she walked in to the bedroom where her husband was still lazing around. “Get up, lazy bones. We have a long day ahead of us,” she said. “Remind me again why we’re celebrating our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary” he grumbled. “I’ve been married to you all your life, remember?”

I’m blogging through the 31 Days of October.


31days

I’m desperately behind because of a poor internet connection. But I’m not giving up! 🙂

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The End

yellowbowtie

 

How she laughed looking at that picture! How silly he looked in that white suit with a big yellow bow tie! If anything, the picture went to prove how mismatched they had been. She would never have condescended to stand next to him, if he wore such an outfit! To think that she had wasted time and tears over this odious man! What had he hoped to achieve by sending it to her? Was it proof that he was happily married now? What did she care, anyway. She herself was married for over a year now and well over him for the last four.

 

The End is written in response to a prompt from a Facebook Writing Group called GBE2. Here’s what the prompt read:
We’d like you to write the ending of a fictional story, but NOT the beginning or the middle. Jump in to your piece somewhere right near where everything gets wrapped up and then take us to the end.

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The Last Day

domestic violence

He seemed to take forever to get ready. He kept yelling, as usual.
“When will you ever learn to fry an egg? Useless woman!”
“How many times have I to teach you how to fold a d*** shirt?
Today, I was so tempted to answer back. But I bit my tongue. I knew it was my last day there.
At last, he left.
When his car was out of sight, I turned on the gas, took my bag and shut the door behind me.
A creature of habit, the moment he got into the house, he would light a cigarette!

100 Words on Saturday - Write Tribe

*****

Domestic violence is a very present reality for many women all over the world. We often wonder why women stay on in relationships in which they are abused. A blogger friend of mine, herself a victim, shared her story on Everyday Gyaan in her post, Why Do We Stay?

In my story today, I’ve tried to capture the fear and anger of a victim. However, this one has made a choice to escape. She also made a choice to have her revenge. I’m not advocating violence and revenge against the perpetrators of domestic violence. But sometimes, victims are driven to violence – this is a reality, but rare.

In most cases, like my that of my friend, Kim Sisto Robinson’s sister, the violence ends in the tragic death of the victim.  Kim in her blog, My Inner Chick is constantly urging us to speak out for the victims – to be the voice of the voiceless.  Please read her post Silence Is A Killer‘ and take the pledge to never be silent again.

 

I’m blogging through the 31 Days of October.


31days

I’m desperately behind because of a poor internet connection. But I’m not giving up! 🙂

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There She Was!

 

Vidya Sury 28.10 (7)

“I can’t wait for the surgery to start reading again,” she had said.

“Wonderful!,” I  had responded. “Hey, I’ve been transferred to the US for three years!”

Now there she was,  engrossed in her book. I had waited three years to see this.

She’d have to start calling me ‘Rahul’ and drop the ‘my eyes’.

 

This is written in response to 55 on Friday at Write Tribe.

*****

My grandfather, an avid reader, lost his sight almost completely when he was in his sixties. My grandmother would read to him every afternoon – and I can still recall her voice and his interruptions now and then to correct her pronunciation (!) or ask her to re-read a line.

Many people volunteer their time to read to the blind and the visually impaired. I have been seriously thinking of getting involved with the Talking Book Project.

 

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