The breeze is stronger now; autumn leaves fly, tiny pink flowers roll off and down the barnacled steps into the water. One such golden one nudges my shoulder and falls to the ground. I remembered never allowing a single one that touched me ever fall to the ground. I always collected them and they found their way into books, pressed in pages. For good luck. That was a long time ago. I was in school, younger, simpler in my beliefs and faith.
I have so many thoughts bursting out of my mind that I have to just get it out of my mind. So many things fill over. The noise inside my head remains louder than the clamour of the waves crashing onto the rocks that fringe the entire span of the walkway. It is silly, funny really just how much of difference a mere phone call can make. I am too afraid to think about it. There isn’t a word that can logically come close to how it really can be described. It is as if a fragile piece of some shapeless thing needs to be protected and kept under hold, nothing to be said, as if, it will shatter beyond control.
All I know is that whatever is there, it is so precious that I don’t want to lose it.
I look up. And there he is, standing, his lop-sided grin and his twinkling sure eyes staring back at me, his head at an angle. He looks kind of funny with a halo of those pink flowers behind his head, a golden leaf balancing and struggling to maintain a seat on his head. It flies away, the way time has.
“Come, sit.” I beckon him beside me. He sits and takes my hand in his.
He sits as the sun lights his hair in streaks of brown and copper. The rays play up the lines on his face, tiny meandering streams of laughter, crinkled eyes that bespeak wisdom, a hint of ravages of time and glitter of a sense of life.
“Priya,” he is solemn.
I can feel the pit of my stomach turning over. A rush of blood warms my cheeks and I wonder if he knows. A part of me wants him to know and a part of me wonders where it will take me. A million electric sparks have rushed through and I wait.
He sighs. I sigh. Twenty long years it has been.
“I wonder about things, this life actually.” I say, gazing at the sea and turning to look at him. I find his eyes and they stay. “ I won’t say this life has been a waste…”
He waits for me to continue.
My eyes well up, “…we did what we thought was right but would that be a waste in comparison to what we could have had together?”
He sits there, silent for a moment and finally draws me in a bear hug. It amazes me how much of a comfort it can still be…after all these years.
“I guess,” he mumbles into my hair. I can hear the pain in his voice, “we wait another lifetime for that. When I get you there, I’ll never let you go.”
It was a journey that had started not that evening when we met once again. It was a journey that had brought us together after years of having spent our life going through our separate ways, fulfilling our duties as children, parents, spouses, as everything but what we meant to each other.
Home is not a place. Home is a person. Even for a few hours, it felt good to be home.