Fiction: Home is…

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Time hangs heavy on my hands as I bustle around doing this and that. It’s not even 6 hours since I woke up and it feels like days. In an unusually productive Saturday morning, I’ve cleaned and scrubbed, prepped for the week, done my grocery shopping and made lunch. I take as much time as possible to make lunch because I don’t quite know what else to do. My heart feels heavy and there’s a certain restlessness that rises from deep within.

I settle down in front of the TV with lunch intending to watch some mindless entertainment. Instead, I find myself drifting off in different directions. My mind wanders. To a conversation earlier today. He’s travelling again. For work. I’m not sure when he’ll be back. He said it would be a week. It’s been ten days since he left with everyday promising to be the last. Tears threaten to flow. I hate feeling this way. I hate this emotional dependency. I shake my head, as if to snap out of this morose mood I’ve found myself in. I pull myself together and finish lunch.

As I carry my plate to the sink, I find my mind drifting again. I busy myself in trying my hand at baking. This is one thing I haven’t been able to do without his help. Today, I’m determined to change that. I immerse myself in the task at hand, carefully measuring and mixing. It takes me four hours. I’m grateful for the time that passes. And before I know it, it’s late afternoon. I sink into the couch for some rest.

It’s two hours later that the brass knocker on the door wakes me from the involuntary nap I seem to have taken. I look at the clock. It’s 6.30. Who could it be? Perhaps a neighbour needs something. I open the door and can’t believe my eyes.

“Kannamma…” The words fill me up with an indescribable joy. He’s back. As if on cue, the oven timer goes off, filling the house with the aroma of freshly baked bread. “You baked?” His question is full of surprise, happiness and laughter. Yes. I did. He steps in and gathers me in his arms. “It feels great to be home.” Yes darling. It feels like home finally, I say as I melt into his embrace.

Fiction: Mornings

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The sunlight streams through the window curtains, waking me from sleep. I stir, only to feel the heaviness of his arm around my waist. His head is buried in my neck, like he’s trying to burrow away from the rising sun and snatch just a few more minutes of sleep. The feel of his thick curls against my cheeks makes me smile involuntarily. It’s these few precious moments of peace before the world rises that give immeasurable joy.

I turn around and gather him into my arms. His embrace tightens around me as he pulls me closer. I sigh and snuggle into him, relishing the warmth of the morning, the softness of his touch and the tenderness of his embrace. He opens his eyes and smiles, that gorgeous, open smile that never fails to melt my heart. And then, as if to wish me an amazing day, kisses me deeply. I melt into that kiss. That kiss that never fails to lift my spirits no matter what.

Just as we think we have some time to get cozy, the room door bursts open with a loud thud. Before we know it, the bed is a tangle of arms and legs. There’s laughter and breathless shouts, and a mass of curls to rival their father’s. And I know my day has begun well. I gather the three of them in my arms, knowing that I’m blessed to have this.

Fiction: Home…

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It’s nearly 11. We’ve had a long, interesting conversation over dinner. I clear away the table and take them to the sink. The kids, now all grown up and full of teen angst, help grudgingly. They know he expects them to. I tell them I’ll take care of it. They smile, say good night, and go to their rooms, kissing their father good night on the way. He smiles and settles in his armchair with a book in hand. I clear up the kitchen, turn off the lights and join him. He looks happy. My heart fills up. I settle down on the couch across the room from him.

He gets up from his armchair, turns off the lights, leaving the gentle, soothing glow of the pedestal lamp. He pulls the ottoman out and settles down on it, directly in front of where I sit. I raise my eyebrows in question. He smiles, bends down and takes my feet in his hands. I sigh and make myself comfortable. His hands work magic on my feet. I feel myself relaxing. Outside, the night sky has a reddish hue, signalling an impending storm. Thunder rolls. I feel the coolness of the breeze through the balcony door. The coolness signals the start of the rains.

Oh! How I love the rains. They make me insanely happy. He knows my special relationship with rain. His hands continue to massage and caress my feet. I sigh with pleasure. It’s as if he instinctively senses my need and mood. The scent of fresh earth wafts in with the breeze. The first pre-monsoon showers have arrived. It begins to rain.

He gently sets my feet down and gets up. He puts his hand out. I put my hands in his and get up. I look into his eyes, searching for love, for desire and for passion. I find all of them at once. His hand feels warm on my hip. He takes my hand in his other hand and starts moving slowly, as if dancing to a melody we cannot hear. My body responds to his every move. After about ten minutes, he pauses. He puts his fingers under my chin and gently lifts my face to him. What if the kids see? “Let them know too how much I love you,” he says without a moment’s hesitation. I smile. He places a gentle, tentative kiss on my lips. I kiss him back, wishing this moment would last forever. The kiss deepens as his hands caress my back. I melt into him, surrendering my will like I’ve done so many times before.

I hear the room door open and I know one of the kids has stepped out. He knows it too but makes no attempt to stop or step away. Instead, he gently breaks the kiss and pulls me into his arms. He kisses the top of my head and hugs me tight. I let myself go, feeling his every inch against my body. I hear the room door close again, much more quietly this time, and I know they’re fine. I smile against his chest, knowing that I’m now home. He is home. And I’m there. Finally.

Fiction: Endings…or new beginnings…

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Is it the end? I look up at him, eyes brimming with tears. He looks away, unable to bear the intensity of my gaze. And then, as if composing himself, he takes a deep breath and meets my eyes again. “No. There can never be an end to us. This is a storm we have to endure. Alone.” I know he is right. I can feel his pain in his eyes. I draw myself close to him and kiss his deeply. He returns my kiss with an intensity that’s hard to define. As if he knows the next twelve months are going to be difficult, at times almost impossible to survive. With a deep sigh, I turn on my heels and walk out of the room.

Time flies, whether you’re having fun or not. It’s almost eight months later that I recall his words, as I see his name flash on my phone screen. I realise with a jolt that these months have been tough but not impossible to survive. I wonder if I should answer. And then it hits me. This is love. Whether we’re in touch or not, whether we talk to each other or not, that emotion will never change. I pick up. “Can we meet? This evening?”

Later that evening, we sit next to each other at the coffee shop. He reaches over and draws me closer to him. I let him. My body instinctively snuggles against him as if it’s never forgotten what it feels like to be with him. “The storm is over”. His words are like balm to a bruised heart. I turn to face him. He cups my face in his hands and kisses me again. After eight months. This time it’s different. The kiss is reassuring. It’s deeply affectionate. And it’s full of promise. Promise of a better future. Of happiness. Of love.

Fiction: Mornings…

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I turn over, stretching lazily. I feel his hands warm and heavy over my stomach and his nose buried in my neck. I feel a rush of affection. I reach over and touch his hair. Rough, curly. He stirs. I turn towards him and pull him into my arms, as memories of last night come flooding back, filling me with desire and warmth all at once. His arms tighten around my body and his legs come around my waist, as if to pull me into his embrace even more closely. I snuggle up. I breathe in deeply, the fragrance of his skin filling me deeply.

He stiffens. I sense instinctively that he needs me. I kiss him gently, seeking his lips and caressing his skin. There’s something beautiful about this man. The gentleness of his touch, contrasting with the demands of his body. It’s like he knows what I want. And how. He’s now fully awake. He props himself on his elbow and looks into my eyes, silently seeking consent. I press my body against him. And he makes love to me. A slow, sensuous act made better by the knowledge that his love for me is far deeper than he cares to admit. His lips seek every curve, every crevice, as if to memorise every wrinkle on my body. He seeks out my breasts and caresses them. He buries his face in my chest as he brings me close. And I relinquish control willingly. I surrender to his needs, knowing that my own needs will be fulfilled many times over much before that.

He fills me up, with an ardour I’ve never felt before in our years together. The intensity of his desire surprises me. Every single time. As he makes love as only he can, I feel a joy that’s inexplicable. He turns me on my stomach and continues his lovemaking, an act that frustrates and excites at the same time. An hour later, we lie spent. The weight of his body on mine feels fulfilling in ways I cannot explain. He finally brings me on top of him and hugs me close. He kisses me deeply and says, “Good morning babe. Coffee?” And I fall in love all over again. For the zillionth time.