Story 19

She stood at the shore and watched the waves crash at the shore. At some distance, a few young boys and girls were sitting around a campfire; laughing, chatting and someone was playing a guitar and the girl next to him had rested her head on his shoulder.

A lonely dog wandered along the shore, sniffing the sand at intervals – perhaps looking for something to eat. He looked up when he came near her and then continued walking towards the campfire – ignoring her, like most of the people in her life did.

She walked forward and stepped into the water, waiting for a wave to come and crash at her feet.
She saw a huge wave approaching. Perhaps the seventh wave – this was something she was told when she was a child. She had never counted waves herself.

She took a deep breath as the wave came closer. It looked much bigger than she had expected. But, she did not step back. She stood and waited.
The wave crashed at her feet, almost reaching up to her knees and soaked the dress she was wearing. She laughed out loud, enjoying the feeling of the sand slipping from under her feet.

The girl who was sitting next to the guy playing guitar, raised the head from his shoulder and looked towards her – “grandma, are you okay?” the girl called out and stood up.
“I am fine, honey.” She replied as the girl started to walk towards her.
“You carry on, do not worry about me.” She added but the girl had almost reached her.

“Let me take you inside” the girl said.
“One more time…” she said with sparkle in her eyes.
“Okay” the girl said and held her hand. The girl started to walk but she stopped her.
“Wait for the seventh wave” she said and giggled like a small child.
“You really believe that?” the girl asked.
“I do. That’s what your great grandpa used to tell me.” She replied placing her wrinkled hand on her granddaughter’s cheek.

“Okay” the girl replied and then counted the waves. Then, both walked deeper into the water and waited for the wave. The huge wave reached up to their waists and they could taste the spray of water on their lips. They both giggled as they felt the sand slip from under their feet.
“One more?” the girl asked.
“No, take me in” she replied.

The girl put an arm around her waist and started to walk towards the nearest house, their vacation house. Her arthritic bones had already slowed her movement and now, the soaked dress added weight, but she was high on spirit. She felt young at heart. She had felt that way since the time she had come here with her granddaughter.
“You go back to your friends. I will walk in.” she said to her granddaughter as they reached inside the house.

“Let me walk to your room” the girl insisted. She did not say anything but smiled.
When they reached the room her granddaughter exclaimed, “Oh” as she saw a bare-chested old man sleeping in her grandma’s bed.
“I am sorry, I did not know...” The girl apologized.
She smiled. “No need to apologize, honey.” She said and kissed her granddaughter.
“I should go back to my friends.” The girl said. “I will be staying at my friend’s place, tonight.” The girl added and smiled.
She knew, by friend her granddaughter meant the boyfriend on whose shoulder she had been resting her head.

She knew her granddaughter really loved the boy; just like she loved the man who was sleeping in her bed. She had taken years to reach where she was now; she did not want her granddaughter to take that long.

“Listen to your heart, do what feels right; care a damn about others.” She had advised her granddaughter. She had even fought with her own son, supporting her granddaughter.
Now, here they were, against the will of her son, spending time at their vacation house. She had her own memories of this place. Her decision to come here was not solely for her granddaughter, it was personal as well.

She went to the bathroom and stepped out of the wet dress. She stood under the shower and cleaned herself. She put on a bathrobe and stepped out of the bathroom. He was awake.

He looked at her as she came and sat next to him in bed.
“How are you feeling now?” she asked him. They had met for a quiet dinner, but he had stayed because he felt sick.
“Much better” he said and placed his hand over hers.
It felt good.

“Can I stay for the night?” he asked, and she nodded. She got up from the bed and walked to the wardrobe; she pulled out a night gown and took off the bathrobe, aware that he was watching her. She put on her night gown and then faced him.
“You look beautiful” he said, and she blushed.

She climbed into bed next to him and as he wrapped his arm around her, she rested her head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat. She had spent her life doing what others asked her to do, she had sacrificed her love for this man to marry the one her father had chosen for her. She had been loyal to her husband, gave him children; but deep inside she had always felt alone.

She loved her children dearly, she dedicated her life to them; when they were big enough to take care of themselves, they moved out of the house.
She had been a good companion to her husband, had been there for him when he needed her – one day, he left her forever. She felt lonely in true sense.

During one of the vacations with her son and his family, she had seen him – the man she had loved once. She could not resist the temptation to go and say hello; so, with whatever speed her arthritic knees allowed, she walked up to him and said hello.
He had been too happy to see her, the smile on his face was the proof. They had held hands as they talked and when her son called out to her, she kissed him on the cheek before she left.

On reaching the house her son had objected to her behavior and she had walked back to her room without saying a word.

The next day, they moved back to their house in the city. It was her granddaughter who insisted that they visit again and she reunite with the man she loved.

She had met him again and this time she kissed him on the lips. It felt like the old times; like time had stopped, the years of separation did not matter, then. As he had held her in his arms and she had rested her head on his shoulder, she had travelled back in time. She felt young again.
Her granddaughter had done her a huge favor.

She lifted her head from his chest and kissed him on the lips. After journeying through life, she had finally reached where she was meant to be – in his arms.

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