Afternote- I won!! Yayy! :D
They were an ordinary couple. The type who never stood out at any gathering. They didn’t profess their love for each other in an outlandish manner. Mir never bought flowers for her and Heena never lit those fancy scented candles in the house. They kept each other happy with living up to the little that was expected of them. He replenished the basic household requirements; she cooked the meals and helped supervise their cafe.
Running a cafe had always been her dream. The sound of mindless chatter, the jingle of laughter, the echo of expressions that meant different things at each pitch...she often looked at those people and wondered what her voice may have been like. Maybe it would have been the confident orator like; or a little shrill....maybe childish.....and would soon lose herself in a reverie of pleasant dispersed thoughts until someone came round at the counter only to catch her bright 100 watt smile.
A pretty package covers up the product’s inner flaws. Smiling was Heena’s idea of taking the onlookers attention away from her inability to talk....short lived as it may be. The world however had tried to convince her that she was different. Her mother had said she was talented. Mir had told she was special. The one trait however that everyone agreed unfailingly upon was that her eyes could talk.
As she and Mir were on their way to the cafe, Heena’s gaze stopped at a dress in the display case of an uptown designer store. Beautiful was an understatement given the task to describe it. Made of white satin and a tinge of lilac that melted with the white, it looked stunning in the display. What only helped was the sunlight that got all the pearls in it to glow ever so much to make it look fitting for an angelic attire. She was spellbound. Suddenly she had the craving to touch the soft gleaming fabric....
And she heard Mir’s voice behind her. ‘Like it?’
Broken from her thoughts, she fiercely nodded a ‘NO’.
He smiled, held her hand and they walked on. The dress stayed on her mind.
That afternoon as Mir left the cafe on his way to the electricity office, he asked the customary, ‘Want me to get something, on the way back?’
She smiled and nodded to mean no.
‘Okie Dokie! How about the dress then’, he said, winked at her and left before she could react.
Really? Would he?
All day long, her thoughts were caught in the same loop.
He doesn't believe in this gift giving ritual.
He may not find the time.
Maybe he was kidding.
Maybe it’s too expensive.
He may not know if it fits me.
But it did look my size.
Would it be in a silver gift wrapped box?
She warned herself not to get carried away.
But her vow didn’t last.
She imagined herself frolicking with the dress in front of the mirror.
As he returned in the evening, she greeted him with expectant eyes and the prettiest smile ever. He smiled back, patted her head and moved towards the kitchen.
There was no package.
Why hadn’t her eyes spoken? Why didn’t they tell him she wanted it? Why had they failed her? She tried to be extra chirpy and pushed away the thought with her signature smile but it wouldn’t come. Her smile too had deserted her.
An hour later, as she returned from rolling down the blinds, a package sat at the counter table.
Confused, she opened it and there shone back in its finest beauty a white dress. HER white dress.
Attached to it was a card that read, ‘I told you my dear, your eyes speak....Love, Mir’
Her heart danced. She smiled. Her natural lopsided, warm smile.
With zero effort.
Half an hour ago,
As he walked back into the cafe, he scanned to see the strength of the customers and bubbling at the counter was his wife, barely able to contain her excitement, poised with a childish lithe. She seemed different. Cheerful. Expectant. He entered the kitchen and looked back at her to examine the reason for this happiness , but what met him was a sad, dejected face. The sudden change in so little time surprised him. Surely he had done something wrong. But what.
Had he forgotten something? He tried to recollect their last conversation. What did he miss? And he remembered. The dress? Did she want the dress?
He dialled the helpline and got the store number- Unavailable.
He rushed from the back door and ran a mile to the store- Shut.
He turned to leave.
He had tried. She would understand that. He thought of her sad eyes. And he thought of her expression if he got it.
He bribed the security guy to let him in, picked the dress from the mannequin, left the money on the counter with a note,
‘Took the white dress....I don’t generally do this, but what can I say....I think my wife kinda liked it.’