Gyanji were looking at her. She was quiet and unusual. She didn’t get him tea this morning. He was worried, he shook her fragile shoulders. She didn’t reply.
54 years and now this deal was broken. He felt angry and betrayed. He felt cheated.
Maya was not hearing the sounds, she was listening only to her heart and the echoes that pronged in her sonorous ears. She looked into the fog and saw Dia’s smiling face fading into the white fog. She could hear Dia calling her but the voice also faded with her lips.
Before anyone could take Maya away from the echoes and the fog, she wanted to tell Dia- how much proud she was of her and that she did care about her. Time was gone and may be it was too late.
Mohit came and took her away to the next room. She kept looking at his face and wondered-had she been unfair to Dia, did she thought about her as much as she could? She wanted to talk to her and ask her about her anxieties.
She remembered Dia’s words - you will surely miss me some day! She went out and tried to look at her things which she had left before leaving home. There were not too many things as Maya had already given them to her nieces. She found a bag in the last shelf of her almirah which had greeting cards Dia had created. She missed her warmth and affection which was seeping out through those sweet wordings she had written on them.
It was getting dark and Mohit had to go back. He came to Maya and said he will phone her later.
Maya was left there with echoes and fog. She did realize she was unfair to her and didn’t value her smile. She always thought of her smile as a comforting indicator telling she was fine. She felt guilty of not looking behind that smile and understand the real Dia and how much pain she had in her heart. She felt guilty of not hugging her at the time when she wanted one. She felt guilty of not smiling with her when she wanted it. She felt guilty of not telling her she was not alone. She felt guilty of not filling the vacuum that was left in her life.
Tina was asking for the fifth time but Craig wasn’t listening. He was flipping tv channels and kept biting his nails and also some cuticle skin. Tina stomped her feet and took the remote away. Craig said-‘yeah you can make chicken for dinner.’ Tina shortened her short eyes and yelled – ‘I was asking about did you pay the credit card bill and you are telling me about chicken, Craig you don’t listen to me anymore. You’re always busy with your TV or newspaper. I have asked you so many times and you don’t care’. Craig knew it was time to shift his too occupied mind from TV or else Tina would have surely gone on flames. Craig said sorry but Tina kept yelling. She went to the opposite divan and threw his clothes on the floor. Craig got up and went to Tina and tried to give her a hug. Tina pushed him away and went to bathroom and closed the door. Craig could hear the faucet running and Tina babbling while brushing her teeth. Craig wasn’t getting angry instead he kept smiling -it was a normal thing for two of them in the past beautiful years of wedding.
Tina came out and she had changed her clothes and went to the bed and started reading her glossy Cosmopolitan . Craig said sorry and he knew the role reversal was in its full form. She didn’t hear his sorry and kept flipping the pages creating a weird disturbing noise. He started looking for his night suit in the wardrobe and couldn’t find it. Tina knew behind her pages of Lifestyle tips that Craig needed help but she made sure to look engrossed. He gave up and asked Tina. She didn’t reply and waited till the same fifth time and then answered that it was in laundry. By now again the role reversal was in its full form. Craig started yelling and several waves swept across his forehead. He looked out for some other alternative cloth but couldn’t find anything. Tina’s clothes fell from the shelf and she gave half glance through her magazine and taunted him to be careful. Craig was in no mood to listen anything and went outside the room slamming the door behind.
Ten minutes must have passed. Tina kept thinking why isn’t he coming to make peace and Craig kept thinking lying on the couch why isn’t Tina coming to see him. Another five minutes passed thinking. Tina came out and straightaway went to kitchen and gulped very little water. She then looked at Craig and told him to wear his old night suit. Craig got up and went to the bedroom.
Craig slept facing on the other side of bed and Tina went back to her Cosmo. Craig told Tina to switch off the light as he couldn’t sleep. Tina switched off the light declaring that why every time he has to sleep when she prefers to read and kept babbling that she is tired of his stupid habits. Craig also yelled and made his stand clear that even he is also not very happy being with her. Role reversal was no longer there as both of them were dominating their roles and no longer remembered why they fought in the first place. Tina slipped inside the warm blanket and realized she was very cold. She tried to change side and accidentally touched Craig’s warm feet. She felt warm and relaxing. She didn’t remove her feet which was touching him very lightly. Craig felt Tina’s smooth feet on his very warm feet and felt nice. He didn’t try to remove his feet. Tina coughed a bit and then more little later. Craig half turned ensuring to remain in his side of bed and asked if she needed water. She said no thanks and this time her tone was milder. Craig turned a bit more and asked her if she was fine. She said she was alright and her throat was hurting a bit. Craig then turned nearer to her and said she shouldn’t have yelled so loud. She also asked him why he behaves so ignorant towards her. Their tones were now milder. Both of them came close and Craig kissed Tina on her forehead. Tina kept her head on his chest. He kept caressing her hair and she closed her eyes.He promised to take her out for dinner the next night. Tina opened her eyes wide and asked him about the credit card payment. He said she should have reminded him.
The role reversal was in its own gear again. It was in its own gear since the last thirty years.