I am sharing a short story (part 1) that I had written some time back. Cannot believe how scared I am. I feel so much respect for all you guys sharing your short stories with the world. I am feeling the fear and doing it anyway…
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Radha opened the door quickly and flung the keys onto the coffee table. She kicked the door shut with her heel and surveyed the room. The cushions on the sofa had been nicely plumped up. Everything was well dusted and the light from the overhead lamp bounced off each surface. More importantly, the room was free of items which belonged elsewhere in the house. The dining table beyond was clean and an empty vase was waiting for the flowers in her hand. The only thing that marred that neat look was the keys which she had carelessly dumped on the coffee table. After having put in so much work since morning, how could she be so careless? Radha picked up the errant keys and hung them on the hook next to the door.
She looked at the list of things to do that she had stuck on the fridge. She had been on her feet since morning, but there were still a hundred things to do. She wanted the evening to be just perfect. It had to be. The memory of this day should stand out even years later. It was a special occasion, after all.
First things first. She stuck the vase under the tap and let the water bubble up to the neck. She dunked the long stemmed red roses into the vase and placed them at the center of the dining table, right next to the expensive candles she had bought nearly a year ago, but never lighted. For today, lighting them would be definitely worth it.
Radha went into the kitchen and took stock of the prep work she had already completed. In the morning she had a trial run of her planned menu. The recipes had come from various blogs on the internet and she had to be sure that they would turn out the way she wanted. With a little tweaking, they seemed perfect. The ravioli dough was resting and the mushroom filling was ready. The banana cake was cooling. The icing mix was ready. Radha washed her hands and wiped them before launching into making the chocolate sauce to go with the vanilla ice cream and the cake. She then finished making the rest of the dishes and went to her room to get ready.
The butterflies in her stomach had not settled since morning. It was then that she had found out. They had been waiting for more than two years. Tried so many times. And then the wait. Anxious. Hopeful. Finally the disappointing results month after month. Depression. The stress had gotten to them. They argued for things which both of them knew, did not matter at all.
Rajesh would come home from work with the cellphone stuck to his ear, making no eye contact with her. He would fill his plate with food and sit in front of the TV watching mindless comedy or reruns of movies he had watched countless times before. Most attempts at conversation were sentences from her and words from him. He did not share his thoughts with her. She would then just leave to finish clearing the kitchen and get ready for bed. Rajesh would start snoring within minutes of his head hitting the pillow. Radha would lie awake waiting for sleep to come. They had nothing to say to each other. Unless it was that time of the month. It had almost become a chore. But they could not let the precious few days earmarked by the doctor pass. They had to do their bit and wait for nature to do hers. Then wait for a few more weeks to know if their efforts had borne fruit.
Today’s news would change it all. They could forget all the stress and uncertainty of the last two years and celebrate. They could go back to being the loving couple that they had once been.
Radha pinned her sari to the shoulder of her blouse and looked at herself in the mirror. She touched up the kohl around her eyes and the lipstick on her lips. She teased tendrils of hair from her ponytail and let them fall on her forehead, letting them frame her face flatteringly. Final touches. She stood sideways and checked her profile. She smoothened a hand over the elegant pleats over her flat abdomen.
The doorbell rang. Her heart skipped a beat. He was home.
will be continued…