It was a beautiful Monday morning. The hills that were once covered with green leaves had changed into a beautiful blush of orange, red and green. It seemed like a blessing from the Almighty. Fall seemed like a perfect change in the midst of long days of summer to short, gloomy days of winters. The breeze lulled the leaves gently and they flowed along in pure ecstasy and joy. It was a season that brightened a person’s life and changed his perspective towards things.
This morning, two friends, homemakers, in mid-thirties, Janice and Kamya were jogging in the park, trying to burn the extra calories that they had accumulated during the weekend. It had become a ritual and something that they both looked forward to. Even though the season was of spirit and joy, it seemed that Janice wasn’t in high spirits, as she continued to jog with a glum face.
“Monday blues?” Kamya asked.
Before she could even finish her question, Janice erupted like a dormant volcano. “I don’t think Karan even cares about me. All he is worried about is his position at work!”
Kamya was in no mood for husband- bashing in the morning. It wasn’t something she anticipated from Janice too. Usually she had a positive outlook towards things.
“What’s wrong?” she recognized the nuance in her voice.
“He doesn’t help me with anything. Just because I am at home doesn’t mean I have no work. He comes home late at night, hoping that everything would be done. Last night, I stayed awake the whole night with Sarah, while he snored to glory. Lately he has been keeping his distance from me. I don’t feel so good about how things are working out at home”, Janice kept accusing.
“He has been busy too. The management is very demanding these days. He did take you out for dinner last week.” Kamya tried her best to calm her down. She knew Karan cared about her like any other normal husband.
“It is easy to prophesize, but if only you were in my shoes… The kids don’t listen to me. Today when I gave Manya her breakfast, she hated it and threw it in the sink. No one really cares about my feelings. I am questioning my existence in that house. I think they want me out….” Janice lamented.
“I think you need to calm down. Take a break!” As she saw beads of perspiration accumulating on her headband, Kamya suggested that they should rest for a while. They rested on the bench, amidst the trees, that provided shade and beauty.
Kamya offered her a bottle of water. “Come on, calm down! I am sure everything will work out fine. We all have these days.” But Janice was in mood for rationalizing. She was pretty adamant about her opinion.
Next to the bench sat another young girl, dressed in her track suit. Looking at the radiant face, you could easily make out that she was in her early twenties.
Looking at the two friends, she smiled and said, “Hi! I am Anita. It is nice to see you guys have company.”
Kamya went ahead and shook hand with her. Janice was in mood for this nonchalant conversation.
“Where do you live? We never saw you around.”
“Oh! I just moved from Philadelphia . I got a job with a tele-marketing company.”
“So do you like it out here?” Kamya asked. While they both carried on with their conversation, Janice kept sulking on the bench.
“Yes, it is beautiful especially this time of the year. I had always longed to come here, visit, but never got an opportunity. Is there something wrong with your friend?” Anita pried.
“Oh! She is having one of those days! Janice? Come here….” Janice couldn’t say no to her stern voice. It compelled her to leave the bench and join them. She smiled unenthusiastically at Anita.
“So are you all alone? Any friends or family around?” Kamya continued her animated conversation with Anita. It seemed so easy to converse with her. It seemed like she had known her for ages. That’s easy for a woman, Kamya thought looking amused. “Any boy-friend?” Kamya asked winking.
“No and I don’t think I need one too. At present I am looking forward leading this life on my own.” Anita’s voice almost became inaudible.
“I usually don’t open up in front of strangers, but…”, Anita’s voice trailed off. “I was married for around six months. Last month, my husband met with an accident while returning from work and died on the spot”, she reminisced with a mournful face.
Janice and Kamya both looked at each other with utter disbelief. Anita had looked so fresh and buoyant, full of life.
“Oh!” that’s all the ladies could reply. It was pretty shocking.
“Yeah, I guess that’s life. I moved away from Philly because his memories kept haunting me there. I couldn’t handle it anymore. Anyways, nice talking to you guys. Will see you around sometime. I have to leave now.” And she left both of them in a vacuum.
“Wow! Could you have ever expected this looking at her? I wonder what baggage each person is carrying in their life.” Kamya rambled.
She looked at Janice, who stood shocked at what she had heard and seen.
“So, what do you have to say?” Kamya implored.
“Nothing”, she stared at Kamya with tears in her eyes. “I get the message Janice!”
They continued jogging while the sun glimmered between the colorful trees. It was the beginning of a new day…
Image Source: [http://www.flickr.com/photos/eustaquio/5213540199/]