Love Is In The Air
By Neel Anil Panicker
It took just a week after she had waltzed into his life for Raghav to realize what he had been missing all these years.
Propped on the bed, with his head tucked into a feather light spring pillow and his eyes half closed___ dreamy and in a daze, Raghav felt his chest swell. That swell travelled all the way upwards and ended up in a smile that splashed across his face that now stared at the empty wall opposite him.
His heart beats chimed in a slow tick tock manner. A quiet stillness pervaded the house lulling him further into the arms of bliss.
For the first time in his life Rags had stumbled onto peace; peace that had eluded him for ages, peace which had been playing a sadistic hide and seek game with him all these years.
A faint but jarring buzz extricated him from his thoughts.
He leaned forward and glanced at the mobile phone that sprang to life at the oblong bedside table.
‘Priya calling’, the display screen screamed.
‘Damn it’, he muttered. ‘Now what does she want?’
A sudden pain throbbed through his veins. His hands began to shake. He reached out to his temple as beads of sweat began to form around his forehead.
The pupils of his eyes constricted; within moments his world turned pitch dark.
Macabre scenes began to play out and he found himself floating in Memory Land. Evil witches with horrifying yellowed nails, mile length hairs and forked tongues spewed fire and doused small little humans with their poisonous emissions.
And then he saw her___ a tall__as tall as the tallest eucalyptus tree in the City Park, may be, even taller, he thought, __frightening, evil looking blood sucking vixen advancing towards him. She held in her hands the thickest axe that one could ever imagine. Her large bulbous eyes, blood red and murderous, threw hot concentric fiery flames burning to cinders all around her. Inches away from him, she lifted her massive axe ….
‘No!!!’, screamed out Rags.
In a flash Raghav jumped out of bed, grabbed the phone, dialed her number, waited for what seemed an eternity, heard the click on the other end,and then shouted out into the mouthpiece,
“You bitch, take whatever you want__the bungalow, the cars, the estate, jewellery, everything … just, just leave me alone”!
And with that he slammed the phone shut and smashed it to the floor.
He didn’t wait to see it break into smithereens.
‘Good riddance’, he muttered, and tucked himself back under the warmth of the sheets.
No, not for anything in this world, he resolved, would he trade this new found solitude that had so serendipitously ambled into his life.
A solitude that he had craved for but one that had sadly eluded him all those horrific years, years that were dotted with too many forgettable events; events whose memories haunted him to this day__every waking hour of the day and night.
Until Leesa slipped into his life. The thought of her brought sent his blood rushing back through his veins. His face flushed crimson red.
‘Come on’, he asked rhetorically to himself, ‘Who the hell falls in love at sixty-eight?
The answer leaped out from the inner kernels of his heart.
There was a lilt in his voice when he said that. His chest once again swelled with unbridled joy, his excitement and enthusiasm not unlike that of a ten year old lad who has just discovered the limitless joys of cycling.
Exactly two weeks had passed by ever since Leesa came into his life.
By now he knew what she meant for him, what she stood for in his life. She was his all, his everything, his very life itself.
He placed a hand over his heart, as if in confirmation.
On the bedside table, the alarm clock sprang to life.
He knew it signaled the start of the day.
But he didn’t budge an inch. It rang for a while, painfully finishing its quota of five metronomic rings.
Its owner ignored the intrusion, busy as he was in greedily stealing a few extra minutes; minutes of sheer happiness, of peace of mind; of oneness with Nature; and therefrom, hopefully, a contentment of the soul.
After an abominably long time, Raghav slipped out of bed and headed for his bath. In less than five minutes he was out, his non-existent bald pate still glistening from the effects of the cold shower rubbed the towel against his back and at that instant the clock on the opposite wall chimed.
His eyes darted up. The hour hand stood at five. And keeping it company was the minute and seconds hands as well. i
Another ten minutes. That was all he had before his date arrived.
Date. He rolled the word around his mouth, his tongue curving up to kiss the soft upper palate to finally let out a slow breathlessly gasping ‘d…a…te___with Leeessssaaah’ .
His felt better, the exercise doing wonders to his appetite; his larynx, stomach and internals almost satiated, as if by some inexplicable magical power.
He walked into the kitchen, looked around for the kettle, spotted it nestling, partially hidden behind the cooker; his multi-purpose vessel, the one which he made use of to conjure whatever ‘five minute quickie’ that he prepared to help him last through the day and deep into the night.
A minute later he was out of the kitchen, his hands holding an extra large flask of hot piping coffee as well as a packet of his favourite Bourbon biscuits.
Placing his goodies on a low rickety stool, he sat on the only available chair in the house, and waited for her arrival.
Sitting on his chair by the window, his eyes eagerly scanned the mile length lonely stretch outside, his ears tuned to the metronomic but soothing sound of leaves as they forayed back and forth out of large, tortuous branches that clung onto to high conical trees.
- And then he saw her. There she was, in all her glory__ all of seven inches, and when she flapped her green feathers what shone bright and beautiful was the most gorgeous and pure all white plumage with the faintest hint of green.
- Rags watched as his lady love perched on the bird feeder and pecked onto her feed, gingerly opening her down-curved bills to reveal a gorgeous mouth that had reddish yellow markings in a dizzying pattern.
- Spying her from the corner slit of his window sill, Rags felt a massive elation surge in his heart.
- His eyes feasted on her flesh-coloured feet, her red eyes, and even at her tip that turned upwards in regal splendour.
- And when she let out a faint squeal, perching and pecking the dishy spread that awaited her in the feeder, Raghav, for the first time in his hitherto sodden life, felt an orgasmic delight not experienced ever before.
- ‘Oh, my dear little humming bird… I will take care of you, feed you, you who comes to meet me from 2000 miles afar…and so what if you come only during the winters,
- I will still love you like I have loved no one ever before because you are my very own Leesa’.