He watched as the bedroom curtains parted and she looked out, inhaling the fresh scent of the new day. She wrinkled her nose a bit (the garbage man did leave his imprint!) and he saw annoyance creep on her delicate face. Poor darling. He hated her to feel anything less than perfection.
He watched as she left the window. Even if he did not see her, he knew exactly what she was doing. Brush her teeth, check on her kids, walk down to the kitchen, boil milk, light the lamp……he knew. He inched forward, hoping to hear her sing her bhajans. Lovely voice! Anything his beloved sang was lovely indeed.
She came out to gather the flowers for her morning puja. She went back, gathering the flowers and the newspaper. Thirty minutes later (yup, he knew her routine now) she came and sat on her favourite chair by the window, with her cup of tea and the crossword. Since her husband was out of town, she usually finished her crossword before heading for her walk.
How lovely was her gait! And her smile, as she wished the watchmen a good morning! He was careful not to follow her too closely, but he knew there was no way she would know. He was too good at this, at stalking.
He watched her intermittently during the day as she sent the girls to school, gave instructions to her cook, and logged on her computer to start her work. Does she know I am around? Does she care for me the way I care and love her? Does she think of me as she goes around her daily routine?
Probably not. He had spent hours watching the people he loved, and knew his love was far greater, deeper, and more intense. He was blessed (or cursed) with this ability to love unconditionally, but to date no one had returned his love the way he wanted it. His life was full of disappointments, promises forgotten, and betrayals. Would she also do this to him?
It was night. The kids were in bed. She was standing in the balcony talking to someone. Snatches of her conversation drifted towards him. “What did the doctor say……..scan is done?……….did you tell appa?……dementia?…….any medicines……”.
She had switched off her phone.
She stood silently in the dark. He could feel her pain. She was all alone. Her eyes stared ahead, seeing nothing. Or everything. His heart went out to her. What he wouldn’t give to hold her, console her, and let her know that he would always be there to take care of her? Why couldn’t she want him? She just had to invite him once, and he would be there in an instant.
Tears rolled down her cheeks. Silent drops of pure anguish. She turned her head upwards. Looking to the heavens for some comfort. And then he heard, nay felt, her say his name. Just once. Quietly. But that was enough.
He leaped forward, willing himself to magically appear by her side. A gush of wind seemed to be lifting him towards her. In his haste, he did not see his peacock feather float down.