By Neel Anil Panicker

Jamie spent the whole day browsing the antique store and left with just one thing.

The thing that she left with, she clung to her chest, and even the far clouds above and the attendant thunder showers and lightning that followed minutes after she had stepped out of the quant little curio shop didn’t damper her spirits one bit.

Taking small strides past the corner lane, she
joined the evening multitude of harried men and women, all elbowing their way past one another, as they scampered towards the nearest metro or Inner Circle bust stop that would ferry them to the sweet, enveloping warmth of their homes and loved ones.

Unburdened by any such worry, Jamie quite magnanimosuly allowed them the space, deftly stepping aside, moving to her left and right as the case may be, to ensure that quicker, more urgent footsteps sped past her.

She wasn’t in the rat race, definitely, not now, she told herself.

Let these men and women, the hard working souls driven by purpose and motive, of making good their responsibilities towards their respective spouses, children, parents et al…let them own the streets, let them rush out of their offices and establishments and let them catch the trains and buses and what have you to unite with those who awaited them, the ones for whom they worked so hard for.

At 75, Jamie, could afford not to be them.
He had done his due.
Slogged his way way through life, fulfilled all his responsibilities—wife—loved, looked after and now deceased; children—two—the girl, married off and happy–the boy, ditto, plus, married, divorced, four kids as added bonus.

His nest had flown away; all happy or sad, or in between, but still,leading theie own, independent lives.

As a  fresh burst of showers hit the gravel road under his feet, the septuagenarian clutched tightly to his chest the thing most dearest to him, wrapping his large palms around the square shaped cardboard box, knowing that come what may, he had to ensure that not one drip of wintry raindrop seeps through its margins, and despoil its content—a bronze figurine of an all Black American beauty, one with an hour glass figure with nothing to cover her modesty save for a silk foil tantalizingly wrapped around her you know what.

As he headed towards his car parked a few streets away, his fingers caressed the box even as his eyes lit up and his heart swelled with anticipation at the sensuous delights that awaited him.

Call it old age debauchery, or harmless self indulgence, Jamie, the once revered Professor of Quantum Physics had now taken to exploring the dynamics of human physiology the only way he knew it now, the only way that he could pour some  unadulterated hedonistic pleasure into an otherwise stake existence.

#neelanilpanicker #flash #fiction #shortstory #FLF #writephoto


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