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IF YOU SAY YES

 

I put my ID card in the laptop bag and hurried down to the main gate. As hard as I tried to manage a leave for my one year anniversary, I couldn’t. It was a big day at office. We’ve been trying to pitch in a campaign to a reputed client and as luck would have it, the much awaited meeting coincided with my anniversary date. So I had to put my personal big day aside and make it to office to give the presentation I’ve been putting my heart and soul into, since last week.

The presentation went quite well, I was appreciated by my seniors for my convincing skills, and so I was in a quite pleasing mood except for those ounces of guilt that crawled in the corner of my heart for being late on my own anniversary day. I sat inside the car hoping he doesn’t manage to find the gift I have cautiously hidden inside the cupboard.

“What if he doesn’t like it?” a visible frown appeared on my forehead.

“Of course, he will. He has a thing for vintage memoirs,” I comforted myself.

It’s hilarious how I still have those butterflies people talk about, running in my stomach every time I’m about to do something for him or just see him. Three years of courtship, a year of marriage and here I am, feeling like a sixteen year old all over again. I embarrassed myself thinking of it and consciously tried to drift my mind to something else.

There was heavy traffic on the head and it would still take me half an hour to reach home. I looked at my watch impatiently, wondering what he must be doing at home alone. And I couldn’t refrain myself from pondering over him again. “Wow, it’s been a year”, I wondered and my mind wandered back to (10) when we came across each other for the first time.

Well, we had met on a dating website. He had two pictures from his travel diaries and two decked up in formals, so I could barely tell what kind of a person he was. Thanks to his attention-grabbing biography along with somewhat similar interests and the nine uninteresting left swipes before his profile came up, I swiped right on him nevertheless.

‘It was a match.’

I kept my phone aside, smirking and few hours later, on casually unlocking my phone, I happened to find a notification from him.

“If you say Yes, I’m going to buy a house, paint it red and yellow, decorate it with fairy lights and sit with a bunch of wildflowers waiting for you to come home every night.”

I gaped at the text message for a moment and was petrified by it. “What an incorrect judgment of personality”, I thought to myself.  But something (he now calls it ‘the moment of enlightenment’) struck me and just before hitting the ‘unmatch’ button, I thought of giving him a benefit of doubt. What harm could it cause me anyway?

“Excuse me?” I replied.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I meant ‘Hey’. Stupid Autocorrect.”

My lips curved into a smile. I like men with good humor; I wondered if I had mentioned it somewhere. I realized he had taken bits and pieces from my likes and interests and made it into a hilariously dramatic statement. Fairy lights and wildflowers are my favorite things and red and yellow are my favorite colors.

“Hahaha, well played”, I typed.

“Yay, I knew you would get it!” he typed back.

And that’s how it all started.

We met for the first time, after some months of long, meaningful conversations to make sure I am fully aware of all the usual required details about him and thankfully he didn’t mind it at all. He would keep telling me, “Whenever you’re ready.”

I was my messy best on our first date. I dropped wine on my dress while cracking up on one of his incessant jokes and dipped the ends of my hair in prawn curry. We had a three hour long dinner coupled with oodles of laughter and lots of food and while bidding goodbye, I apologized to him for being so cluttered. “This is not how I usually am”, I tried convincing him while I hugged him and then we walked in opposite directions. Minutes later, I received a text message from him that said, “I would rather be with a girl whose hair smells of prawn curry and dress smells of wine than with anyone else in this world.”

It was always about these little things and small gestures for both of us. We loved to surprise each other and were addicted to the smile glued across each other’s face post the surprise. Once I had arrived at his office building and asked the watchman to deliver him a box of his favorite homemade cakes. It landed up in his conference room while he was in the middle of a presentation. We had a good laugh about it later. There have been so many beautiful moments that have turned into indelible memories overtime. Our first kiss on the beach, our first trip to the mountains, our first marathon that we managed to complete, our first drunk karaoke. Sometimes I still fail to believe how we sang “We Found Love in Hopeless Place” in our drunken broken voices as a hundred odd people cheered for us.

We have spent days doing nothing but lying on the bed binge eating donuts and binge watching television shows. We have stood on dividers and danced to Michael Jackson songs. We have chased the moon in a scooter and have driven all night to watch the sunrise from a hilltop. Nights have turned into days and winters into springs, but our love for the little things and for each other remained just the same.

I reached home and rang the bell…once, twice but no one opened the door. Confused, I took out my keys and unlatched the door. The house was unusually dark. “Vikrant?”, I called out but no one answered. I walked slowly towards the bedroom door and pushed it open.

The room was adorned with my favorite kind of fairy lights and there he was, my curly haired boy sitting with a bunch of wildflowers and a box of yellow and red paints.

As I ran towards him and hugged him tight, he whispered into my ears, “Sorry I couldn’t paint the house red and yellow. I ran short of time.”

I stared into his eyes.

“Shut up, you silly boy” my smiles struggled through tears as I hugged him back again.

He beamed, hugging me tighter.

“Thank you swiping right on me, love.

Happy Anniversary.”

 

-SHRAMONA PODDAR

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