I am a techie. Mostly busy with meetings, technical lectures, project designing and all. My home is the 16 square feet office space but whenever I need to breathe free air, this is my address. Watching the sunset, sitting on a park bench, fills me with new energy. Generally, I visit here when I am professionally exhausted but this time the reason is different.
Last night I had a fight with my wife. No, we didn’t punch each other. Just eaten her words for the breakfast as well as in the lunch. May be the relation is not working anymore. I need a break.
“Excuse me! May I sit here, if you are not expecting anyone?” I asked the old man who was sitting at my favorite spot.
“My pleasure son.” Replied the old man without moving an inch.
The old man, probably in his late 60’s, had covered 2/3rd of the bench. Maybe he is expecting someone, a bouquet of flower was kept on his left.
I squeezed myself in, loosen my tie and tried to relax. You don’t get what you want, that’s life and to experience the same there is a device called phone.
“Now what?” I answered the call. It was my wife again; politeness was just a dictionary term and had no relation with me.
“You haven’t paid the school fees. Got a call from them.” She had no mercy.
“I… I… I forgot. I …”, I was really sorry and could not make out what could convince her.
“Sure, you did. You have time for everything else but for us. People like you should not get married.” She was irritating me.
I forgot that I am at a public place.
“The time I put in brings you new clothes, the house EMI and the food you eat. I have several works and deadlines. What do you do? Sit at home, watch TV and complain. Take some responsibility and manage such things on your own.” I hang up the call and switched off my phone.
“Did you had a fight with your wife?” the old man asked while his eyes are gazing at the sky.
“That is none of your business”, I replied rudely.
“Yes, you are right but let me share my experience with you.”, he replied this time making an eye contact.
I didn’t say anything, perhaps I was not in a mood to get myself indulge in any arguments.
He didn’t wait for my approval either.
“When I was at your age, career was the prime focus. Work is unending but we keep on running ignoring the fact that life comes with an expiry date. A hug or just saying I love you works more than an expensive gift. Just ask yourself when you had the last happy moment?” The old man words were getting into my head.
“Here son, take this and try again. Goodluck!” the old man took out a rose from the bouquet and handed over to me.
“No thanks, it’s for someone you are waiting for. Right?” I answered politely.
“Yes, it’s for my wife. Today is the day when we first met. We have always celebrated this day. “A glow on his face is clearly visible even in the twilight.
“You should take this. She won’t mind.” The old man handed over the rose to me as he stood up to leave.
“Are you leaving? Has she arrived?” I could not make out the reason.
“Yes, I am leaving son. I have to reach a restaurant for the dinner”, he replied, ignoring my other question.
“Won’t you introduce me with her? It’s lovely to meet a couple who are deeply in love.” I was curious to know.
“She died three years back.” The old man replied with a shaky voice.
I was about to say something, but he put a reply to that as well.
“The only reason to celebrate this way is to keep her memory fresh and alive. We can always die for someone we love but she wanted me to live, the same way we use to be. Take care.” The old man left.
I was puzzled, could not react to the situation.
So many thoughts come to my mind without any invitation. My wife left her job at the peak of her career just to make sure that our son gets enough time and care. She starts her day early and last to go to the bed. For the last 5yrs I haven’t took her for any vacation. The last time we had a happy moment? I don’t remember. She works tirelessly all through the day, taking care of all but I have never said thanks for it. She left her job, her friends, her individuality, probably everything and I am questioning her existence. May be because in back of my mind I thought that since I am earning, nobody has the right to question me or show me my mistakes. The old man is celebrating a day for the last three years for someone who doesn’t exist. He was right, everything comes with an expiry date. Even if I have billion Dollar in my account, I can never buy back the time I lost.
It has been a few hours since the old man left. I was flooded with memories and I can see a happy me always when I was among people I love, I care. I should make the things right before it’s too late.
Several notifications flashed as soon as I switched on my phone. Among them, there were at least 10 missed calls notifications and 5 text messages from my wife. She was worried.
“I am sorry honey. I should not have spoken like that. Please forgive me. Give me a chance, this time I’ll not disappoint you. I love you.”. I texted my wife because saying sorry in person is not easy and men don’t cry.