Stories Varied - A book of short stories (Part 8, page 1 of 4)

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Part 8

It was still dawn when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi Airport. The early morning February air was pleasantly cold.

I was travelling to Bengaluru to attend a college friend’s wedding. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. The wedding was also going to be a reunion of our batchmates. But what I didn’t know was that the reunion would begin much ahead of time; right in the queue in front of the airline counter.

I was almost sure it was she. Same height! Same long hair! Same complexion! Curiosity had my eyes glued to her. And then about 60-odd seconds later, when she turned, she proved me right. My ex-girlfriend stood two places ahead of me in that queue. We had never met after the college farewell. [*]

Her face bore the same tinge of sadness that drew me towards her then; maybe a shade or two deeper than before; and certainly more attractive for that than ever. But when our eyes met, as if stirred by her soul, her whole frame got animated. While I stood rooted, unable to take my eyes off her, she gave way to the couple behind her in the queue. When it was our turn to obtain boarding passes, she took hold of my ticket and opted for two seats aside a window. And it was only when we rejoined in the lounge, after going through our separate ways for the security check, that she opened her mouth.

“What a pleasant surprise it is Mohan,” she said extending her hand.

“More so for the accompanying privacy,” I said unable to hide my joy, grabbing her hand.

“I suppose you are going to attend Madhu’s wedding,” she said in all anticipation.

“Now that we’ve met, won’t I walk in your tracks,” I said smilingly.

“Why didn’t you bring your wife along?” she said.

“I don’t know of any ‘wife for hire’ in Delhi, do you?” I said jocularly.

“So, I got the wrong feed then,” she said with an apparent relief that surprised me.

She led me towards a row of vacant seats, and occupying one, she reclined in it as if to demonstrate her state of mind. Sitting beside her, I felt that portended a major turn of events in my life.

“What about your man? I said tentatively.

“Tell me if you know of any ‘husband on hire’ for a divorcee,” she said pointedly.

“I’m sorry,” I said with mixed feelings.

“What for, is it because I’m a divorcee or you can’t find a husband for me?” she said in jest.

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