(Photo Credit: Sue Vincent)
A flaming sky provided an accidentally breathtaking backdrop into which the two silhouetted figures stared fixedly. Seemingly. Resolutely. Inevitably. The magnificent orb that was the setting sun slowly began plunging down but not before lending a marvelous hue to the surrounding sky. But for some random, asymmetric and isolated chirping of birds calling out to their flock, the silence was deafening. The promontory on which the couple was standing sloped up from the ground like the broad back of a humpbacked whale.
“The clichéd flight of time has finally touched us too” said Venky with both hands on his hips.
Without taking her eyes off the sky, Ash replied, “Time stands still only for calamities and celebrations.”
“Isn’t this a calamity for me and a celebration for you?” There was no hiding the stirrings of sarcasm in his soft albeit determined tone.
“Since you claim to be an avid reader, wasn’t it Shakespeare who said ‘One man’s meat is another’s poison?” Ash wondered out loud.
“It was Lucretius, the Roman poet and philosopher. He peddled his intellectual wares in the first Century BC.”
“Good for him. Did anyone end up ‘buying’ what he plied intellectually?” Ash attempted to bring in a hint of misplaced humour.
“This is about neither poems nor proverbs. It is about us.” Tension filled the air. It was so taut one could cut it with a knife.
“It is not about us. It is about me going away to carve out a new future; a new hope (forgive the corny analogy to Princess Leia) & a new beginning. That is it.”
“That is it? That is just it?” Venky’s voice rose an octave (or two).
“Stop screaming. You are polluting nature”.
” Ok. If this is what you really want, then so be it. But I will wait. Wait for as long as it takes for you to be ready and to be back. For as Nuala O’ Faolain said, ‘The wait is long, my dream of you does not end.’ “By now Venky had more or less reconciled to the fact that there would be no turning back for Ash.
“Waiting is the hobby of an idle mind” responded Ash.
“Was it Mary Gordon?” Venky’s eyebrows were now raised.
“No. It was me just now.”
The hills echoed with their laughter as they slowly treaded their way back down to the small rectangular patch of grass where her even smaller Peugeot was parked.