How many frogs? Hello Again
Radha saw a text message pop up on her blackberry. "Good time to call?", said Deb's avatar, a hockey stick. A hockey stick?? Radha's was a frozen cherry. What does your avatar say about you? Probably that he stuck with the default. Radha tried to stop herself from over-interpreting. It was 6:30 pm. She was still at her desk. The data she was reviewing was not in spec. Suddenly the desire to get away overwhelmed her. She dialed for him.
Radha was surprized at how smoothly things had gone between them. So far. She'd always dreaded being set up like this. She'd seen other people languish for months in these conversations. Have you decided? Is it being pushy if you ask? There is this other interesting guy on my horizon. What should I do? Block him until you are ready to say no? Until you are ready to tell me that you've found someone else?
Of course, there's also the well meaning family keeping the pressure up. Did he propose yet? Why do you need to meet? ... It could get bad. Depending on how emotionally secure you are, it could get really bad. Anyways, she was in it now.
They'd mostly been catching up on each other, these past few weeks...
Deb worked for a biotech startup doing instrument design. Ten years ago he had been engaged to marry a girl for a brief period. He had been in a car accident with the girl. She had not survived. He'd blamed himself, underwent therapy.. People around him had been sympathetic for a while and then urged him to move on. He couldn't do it then. Little things like a photograph, a coffee mug, or the watch that she had given him, that he still wore.. such remnants from their unfinished relationship crowded his life. Before he knew it, ten years had gone by. Today, she was more like an unconscious habit that gave neither pain nor comfort.. just a vague bit of regret for what could have been. Deb's younger brother's wife, Moni, was the one who'd finally coaxed out of him a promise to try and look for someone... perhaps a divorcée, a widower, a middle aged single woman.. a woman. Oh yes! The yin and the yang... And people's inane belief in it as the cure all. Hard to battle such deep-rooted convictions!
Radha sat wondering what she'd learnt about Deb from his past. That he was dedicated? Or, that he refused to take charge to change course of things; once something untoward interfered? Certainly not your alpha man. Did she want an alpha man? She was more than capable taking care of herself. She'd gotten set in her ways.. a quiet reliable sort of a partner would be the sensible choice today.
Radha, in turn, spoke of her mom, of her brother Rana, impatient to get married at 27! Interesting that, knowing your mind at 27. Radha was living with her boyfriend, Joy, when she was that age. She'd also thought she knew her mind. Then Joy lost his job. The moodiness started. The quarrels became a daily fixture. Joy began to hit Radha now and then, when in a fit. Their relationship escalated to a point of no return. It was the hardest thing, to walk out on the man you had decided you were going to spend your life with. Hard to accept that it was over! Over before it begun. For women, its harder because they are programmed to take it as a personal failure. you couldn't to make it work!
Radha also spoke of her father. She had struggled hard with his loss at 22. The night the news came Radha was out with friends. She returned home dazed. Her room mate was away visiting family. Sumit, correctly assessing the state she was in, had refused to leave her alone afterward. Radha hadn't protested too hard. In the middle of the night, she had come for his sleeping form on her sofa. She came with no clear intention.. just seeking physical warmth and distraction.. unable to stand her own desolation by herself. Anything to fill the gaping hole in her heart! Their whole love making was stained with Radha's unstoppable tears. Sumit had wanted to hold on after that.. been more than willing to marry her. Radha had been appalled. Nobody takes responsibility for Radha Menon's lapses. She'd stubbed him out like a spent cigarette.
The pair lay facing the bay windows of Deb's 30th floor apartment. With the talking done, they'd both gone quiet... the failing evening light created dark shadows around them. They toyed with the stem of their glass of chardonnay... lost, in their own thoughts.