By Saniya Saraf
The walking frame creaked as I took a lumbering step forward into the sun. A wrinkled countenance matched with eyes that coruscated years of existence.
“Unforeseen and unappreciated!” I had retorted when my grand-nephew made an inquiry into my conceptualisation of a century worth of efficacy.
The answer was gold dust, a highly sporadic well-appraised assessment of my thoughts. My hundredth birthday was most definitely an unforeseen event. Its feasibility exponentially decreased with the increase in the years I spent in my camouflaged suit, under the weight of its many badges. I knew I was to return to dust, just not that of the region I was born to. For someone who was considered to be wearing a shrine under the guise of a uniform, I seemed to have to seen shrines of all genres except my own. I had no qualms with the life I had lived. My father instilled in me discipline and my mother doted on me. She was a beautiful woman and had a fondness for Hollywood evening gowns. It was all she ever wore. She was rather whimsical, her behaviour inconsistent and disposition dismissible. I still loved her, of course. She was a forbearing woman. To her, I could do no harm and so I never did. I did regret absenting her funeral. She would have liked if I had responded to her letters. They were lovely. The credos I had set for myself, as a son, suffered at the cost of her last letters but it could not be helped. I was playing a part in safeguarding national security. I was certain however that she understood my circumstances for she was a very accommodating woman.
My pace slowed and my laboured walk turned into a dawdling loiter. A bubbling tingle grew as I approached. The ticket clutched in my hand, covenant of a thousand pounds. I never cared much for wealth; my profession did not commit it. My first wife was a blue blooded kind. She dressed herself in emerald earrings and French lace. She had come into our marriage with her money. It was all she ever truly cared about. She was very pretentious yet she did not know to present herself. She laughed too loudly and cried theatrically. Not the smartest of the lot but her self-deceptions set the seal on expectancy of her success. What she lacked in acumen, she made up in luck. That paved her path to earn even more money! She did not need it. I never held any grudges, not even when her money became an imposing strand in our companionship. She had a nasty habit of imagining all sorts of ridiculous things. She did not care much when I found my second wife. She had all her money take my place. I still loved her, of course. She was once a forbearing woman.
My second wife seemed solemn in comparison. She wore hues of browns and burgundies and her glasses were round and modest. Her fluidity was what I admired most about her. Her expressions were finite and in accordance to the person sitting in front of her. She did not earn much. She had, at times, reminded me of a frightened mouse. I had pitied her silent nature, often. She was resentful of her dependence on me. She had, at a point, refused to love me! This was intolerable to me. I could not drain my hard earnings on a woman who found our relations questionable. I knew I should not have to ask for love. That is why we could never conceive. I will always love her, of course.
I reached the crossroad and closed my eyes. A deep seated satisfaction lingered in my body. There was nothing I had done wrong. My life was one of honour. I stood straight, proudly awaiting my discerning. The sun grew bolder and as I squinted my doddering eyes, I saw the shadow of my adjudicator. She wore a burgundy evening gown, made of lace and her emerald earrings glinted under the blinding sunlight.
It was her.
Image: Crom Shin via Flickr