Story 42

She turned the key in the lock and unbolted the door. The moment she opened the door, the smell of stale air reached her nostrils and the dust made her sneeze. She walked in and coughed as the assault of dust-filled air continued. She walked towards the window and pulled open the curtains, dislodging more dust into the air. She sneezed once again before opening the windows and letting in fresh air. She looked around. The layer of dust on the floor was proof that no one had entered this house for a long time. She looked at her footprints that had formed on the dusty floor. She smiled. It was as close as she would get to a ‘Vadhu Griha-pravesh’ (The bride's first entrance into her new home and the new life.)


She did not care about anything as long as she had him standing next to her. She turned around realizing that he had not said a word after she had opened the door and stepped in. She had not even looked at him on entering the house and had gotten busy opening the window. He was still standing at the door; staring at the footprints on the dusty floor.


They had been friends for a long time, now they were husband and wife. He never came to her house, he said it made him feel poor and in addition to that he said her parents hated him. Hated, was too harsh, she had thought then. Maybe, they did not like him – that’s all, she had convinced herself but when she had told them about her decision to marry him, her parents had turned cold and had looked away. She was less likely to see them again. 


“What a griha-pravesh!” he said looking at the footprints and stepped in, leaving his footprints next to hers. He reached where she was standing and looked up at her. She tried to read his face. His statement sounded sarcastic. Obviously, he was not happy with her decision to elope with him and get married in the court of law. But, there was no other choice; had there been – he would have preferred taking the other option but other than this one, all other options ended in their paths being separated and that he could never live with.


She had spent time with him in his hostel; sneaking into the hostel in the darkness of the night and tiptoeing out before dawn. This was the first time she had come to his house, their house. She knew he was not happy getting married like this but they did not have any other choice that could let them stay together and living separate lives was out of question. Their friends had made fun of them in the beginning, saying their story was too much Bollywood-like. They did not care what their friends said – the only thing they knew was – they had to get married and soon.


Her rendezvous with him in the hostel had led to a positive result on the pregnancy testing strip. She had told her parents about it and hell had broken loose. How could she have been so na├»ve assuming that her parents would understand and get them married. 


His hand on her waist brought her out of her reverie. She smiled and he brought his lips closer to hers and they kissed. ‘Welcome home’ he said as he lifted his wife in his arms and took her to the bedroom. He saw the mess and put her down on. She laughed as she steadied herself on her feet. He started to clean the bedroom as she walked to the kitchen and cleaned it. She walked to the bedroom. He had finished cleaning it. Also, he had spread a new bedsheet on the bed and then he had fallen asleep. She smiled and walked closer. She saw his tired face and ran her fingers through his hair. He did not move. She slid in bed next to him and watched him sleep. 


She knew their decision to get married was only based on the fact that she had gotten pregnant; of course there was the option of abortion but she had not wanted to go through with it. On one hand she feared she was not ready but on the other hand her body had already prepared her for the new life she was about to live; therefore she was sure she was ready to lead this new life she had hurriedly stepped into.


They had just reached their legal age for getting married but they still had a long way to go as far as experience was concerned. She was a pampered child, he had already been exposed to the hardships of life. Even then, was he really prepared for the responsibilities that were ready to jump out at him? When she had entered the house, she had momentarily forgotten about him. She had tried to convince herself that she did not care as long as he was with her but in reality she had been shit scared. And, in that fear she had stepped in without realizing that he had not stepped in with her. When she had turned to look at him, she saw that his face registered sadness. Maybe even he had realized that she was scared of the future.


When he had moved closer and kissed her on the lips, she had been back to the hostel, kissing him and making love to him. She was, once again, the girl who had fallen head over heels in love with him. Gone was the woman who was worried about the future. 


She was deep in thoughts when he opened his eyes. ‘Scared, aren’t you?’ He asked.
“No” said the girl who was staring at the boy she loved. The woman and the man who had begun their new journey could wait. It was the moment for the girl to make love to the boy who meant the world to her. She moved closer and kissed him on the mouth and he wrapped his arms around her. They kissed until they were breathless and then they kissed more; then they made love.


They did not know what future had in store for them, they did not say it to one another but they were scared. And, that would perhaps be the case for the rest of their lives. The man and the woman who stepped out into the world might be scared, might become weary of facing the hardships of life, the man and the woman might even fight due to their differences but at the end of the day, the boy would make love to the girl and the girl would rest her head on the boy's chest and hear his heartbeat, both of them enveloped in their love bubble.

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