Keeping his laptop on the backseat, Prayas adjusted the rear view mirror to see himself, he let out a smile at his own stub and returned the mirror back to its place and picked the bag from the car and moved towards the Laundromat. The weekly laundry was a boring routine but had to be done and he was happy that his company had laundry installed in the office premises for bachelors like him. He got the tokens put all his clothes in the machine and started the machine. It will be twenty five minutes before he will have to change the mode to dryer and restart the machine. He sat down on the couch, another two minutes and his thoughts kept on lingering how his life had changed in past few months. He took out his cell phone, kept scrolling names, until he struck across the name Divya, a name which he wanted to remove from his heart and from this phonebook. Suddenly he noticed someone else in the room. She was facing other side but he could see the silhouette, she was tall and slender. Black hair neatly tied in a bun were wet, her T-shirt and her jeans were showing her waistline. She turned and became conscious of his gaze . She adjusted her T-Shirt and came back and sat at the couch. Prayas said “Hi!! Poorva?? I am Prayas”. She stammered “yyeah…Hi, Do we know each other?”.
“No” he said “Just saw your name on your ID card and thought of striking a conversation”
“What? And why you want to do that?”
“Well, firstly my laundry has still around half an hour to go and I am getting bored, secondly you have a nice figure. Thought I just might get lucky”
“If that’s a pick-up line, this is the worst one I have ever heard”
“No, actually I have seen best of pick up lines failing so thought might just try the truth this time”
“Huh” she ignored him and looked on the other side.
Prayas looked at her closely, she had large black-brown eyes highlighted through a faint line of Kohl. Her face was round with a bit flat nose. She looked beautiful in the white t-shirt and blue jeans. The line on her t-shirt “United Colors” made him wonder how many colors will she be having in her life.
Poorva snapped back “Why are you staring at me like this?”
Shocked initially with her calm and deep voice, he laughed “Well there are only washing machines and you to look at and you provide a better view.”
Poorva was irritated by now “are you a subject matter expert for corny lines”
Prayas smiled “Which division are you from?”
“Personal Relations” she replied.
“So you are the one who gets paid for lying about our company to general public”
“Do you have any idea what PR is all about, how important it is for a company” and she went on for a few minutes. And he kept on listening enjoying the energy and enthusiasm she exulted while speaking about her job. Her face radiated a confident glow, the eyes grew wider and he could feel something rushing inside him.
“By the way what do you do in this company?” she asked
“Oh me, I am a Consultant” he replied with a smile. For the first time he was actually enjoying being with a girl. It has been 6 months since Divya was gone and he never felt this for anyone like he was now.
“Have you heard that joke on consultants” She asked
“Oh yes, the shepherd one… yes I have, I am the same consultant. I get paid to talk” He smiled.
And he went on talking to her, with every passing minute he felt closer to her. For first time in six months he felt zeal to live, “Life is not over” he told himself. Suddenly the beeper of the machine put an end to his thoughts and a break to their conversations. He saw his laundry was completed there was still three minutes left for her machine’s timer. He went up slowly to the machine pick up the bucket and starting taking out clothes one by one. He wanted to do it so slowly so that her washing also gets completed and he has a chance to go till the gate with her. He couldn’t believe that he was doing this. Suddenly she got up and switched off the machine, he asked “what happened?”
She replied “Nothing, two minutes only they will be done”
Together they walked towards the gate talking. She couldn’t believe that actually she liked him. He seemed to be so rude and irritating, but he was so genuine and caring. Her mind was wandering about so many random thoughts, yet she could hear and understand every word he was saying. They reached the gate and showed their ID cards to go out. It was time to go, She couldn’t it was time to go.
“How do you commute? Can I drop you, I mean only if it’s okay with you?” he asked
“I take a rick or the company bus” she said clutching her car keys and slowly sliding them into her handbag.
“Come then I will drop you home” he said “Where do you live”
They sat inside the car and he could feel the adrenalin rushing into him. He put on the music and drove out of the parking. The faint romantic tunes from the speaker, made the crazy traffic filled road to him as the most exotic setup. First time in his life he was blessing the traffic which gave him more time to spend with her. He stopped the car, “I can’t believe we reached your home so soon”.
She smiled “Thanks for the ride, Ciao some time” and got out of the car. He looked at her moving towards her house, he started the engine. Just when she turned and he could see her walking back to him. She leaned on the window and said “Why don’t you come up for a cup of coffee?”
“Sure”, he said and parked the car. Moving upstairs they entered her flat. He couldn’t stop himself and held her hand, she turned to him and he pulled her close. She left herself loose which he felt as her consent, put his arms around her and removed her hair clip, she left a deep breath and closed her eyes as her hair loosened themselves and fell over her back and he bent forward put his lips on hers and closed his eyes.
He couldn’t believe himself, everything was back he could feel her warmth and softness. The tenderness he always loved was right here in his arms. He held her tightly and felt her close to him with his closed eyes. She was the world to him, nothing could ever mean more than her, this was ecstasy he could see his life with closed eyes he could see her serene face, Divya’s face. He opened his eyes suddenly and saw Divya staring at him with her wide eyes. He was scared, and shocked as he moved away from her. Poorva opened her eyes and smiled with a blush. Prayas couldn’t see her face with his eye’s back. All he could see was Divya staring at him. Poorva looked back “What are you staring at?”. Looking at a photograph she said “She is my cousin Divya, She died in an accident six months ago”.
“Come on, you sit down and I will make some coffee for you” Poorva headed towards the kitchen.
“No”, he looked towards his cell phone and said. “Its getting late, may be some other time” he moved out of her house looking at his cell phone, seeing the name which he wanted to erase from this phonebook, his life and his heart but couldn’t.