“So you have a girlfriend?”
I smiled over the onions and replied without looking up, “Yeah.”
“Oh, where is she?”
“Hmm, about six hours away. By flight.”
“You must be missing her terribly, wouldn’t you?”
This time I laughed, “You have no idea!”
I wasn’t being very verbose but that wasn’t a deterrent for this girl as we ambled about in our small kitchen, preparing our dinner. She wasn’t as reticent as I had previously thought, just careful with apparent strangers.
It was almost two weeks since we had first met and her headache of an uncle had finally left us. If I hadn’t known better, I’d have said he made his living ‘playing house’. But he made enough mentions of his brilliant deals and expertise in every imaginable field to make me discard that possibility. Avisa and I hadn’t managed to talk much, didn’t realize that we hadn’t talked much till her uncle left us, it seemed he done a great job filling up all the void spaces in the conversations.
But strangely enough, we weren’t really uncomfortable with the sudden drop in the noise level in our new home. We seemed already adapted in some weird way to each other. Probably we were more suited than I could have hoped for! Moving from little conversations to long-winded personal stuffs seemed almost natural, an onlooker would have thought that we’d been together from almost forever, and it was all because of her.
“So do you guys plan to marry?”
“How soon?” she asked as soon as I nodded.
This time I looked at her and smiled, “After you and I are done, I guess.”
She didn’t smile. She gave a small shake of her head and turned away. I belatedly started comprehending that she might not be as fast as her old hometown. I started making light of the joke, “Already so eager to get rid of me? There’s still a few years till you’ll be free of me.”
This time she managed a wry smile. “I could do worse.” she said saucily and went to lset the table.
That night as I lay to sleep, the last few days’ non-stop toil catching up with me, I let myself drift, a rare luxury.
The plan was moving along fine. It seemed I had panicked. The haunting similarities were only superficial, I assured myself. There was no one on this face of the earth who’d ever compare in any way, mostly the worse ones, to that girl I’d once known. I think I’d almost manage the few years we’d signed up for. Of course, living with another unknown human being wasn’t easy. Though to console myself I’d looked at it as good practice for the future. Maina was enthusiastic about what we’d planned. But then she didn’t know about my nightmare either.
I wasn’t sure if I knew it myself, how my nightmare was resurrecting in the room across mine, and crossing over through the open doors. Sometimes it’s not just the dead who haunts.