#10: The waltz at midnight

#10: The waltz at midnight

I’ll try making this a happy one.

lighthouse at night

“Hey,” you whisper to me,

“I have to show you something.”

I open my eyes, slowly,

adjusting to the darkness,

and to the shape kneeling by my bedside.

I can see the mischievous glint in your eye

as you eye me putting on some warm clothes. 

We drive;

we drive so far that it would’ve been sunrise,

but when you said, “We’re here.”  

it was still dark. 

You held my hand

And led me through a maze of stairs 

before reaching a door. 

You smiled that mischievous smile

which promised me a wonderful time.

And it sure did, because

When you opened the door, 

the sky was infinite. 

The stars were spilled out like a packet of silver glitter

and the moon forgot that there was a party

and the sound of the sea vibrated through my bones

and to you.

As if it wasn’t perfect already,

you took my hand, placed it on your shoulder,

took the other in your hand,

while your other hand rested on my hips. 

You whispered, “Happy birthday,”

against my mouth, so soft that I could barely hear it,

and we began to sway,

to the sound of the water lapping against the rocks. 

To the sound of the wind rustling the trees. 

To the sound that the stars made, 

heard by everyone who wants to listen.

Advantage of Foresight

“Why are there so many people outside?” My wife’s eyes widened at the people my clinic. Being a psychiatrist is a good cover.

“I’ve been overbooked,” I smiled sheepishly at her.

“But… But…” she stammered, a first for her. She was always going on about how much of a family man I was, having no more than 5 patients a day.

And I was a family man. I didn’t just take the Foresight sacrificing a day of my life for each foresight I make for myself. It was for my family. And I wanted to know how much people were willing to pay.

And, it blew my mind away, when people offered me what they did.

“What about dinner?”

I sighed a deep, unhappy sigh. “I’ll be late today. We’ll have to postpone it,”

She longingly looked at me and finally looked down, proving that she isn’t used to being let down. I kissed her forehead, a sign of apology between us. She turned and left without looking back.

Now I have work to do.

Fire in the Mountain!

Fire in the Mountain!

“Fire in the mountain, run, run, run! Fire in the mountain, run, run, run!”

Some people never get tired of celebrating.

Dodging some kids playing and chanting, I hurriedly made my way to the end of the street when I heard someone calling me.

“Aurelia!”

Heat rushed to my cheeks, before even looking at him.

It was Flavius, running towards me to catch up. “Shall I walk you home?” he offered.

It was getting late; almost sundown. My mother would reprimand me for being so late. But with Flavius escorting me, she was almost lenient.

Almost.

I meekly nodded, and he fell into step beside me.

“Did you enjoy Vulcanalia?” He asked.

I turned and lifted my head to see him. A small smile played on his lips. He knew how much I enjoyed.

“I did,” I said. I remembered the moment that happened yesterday, when he pulled me aside before leaving, and we lit a candle in honour of the God of Fire, Vulcan. I remembered the way the fire danced in his eyes, his warm brown eyes that had momentarily turned into a shade of dark red and looked like a Roman God himself. I loved it.

We walked quietly for a while, up until the street that led to my house. His arm kept brushing mine, and I didn’t want that to end.

When we finally reached my house, my mother was outside, watering the plants, cursing under her breath, undoubtedly the Festival of Fire, which had dried up all her plants.

He couldn’t stay longer, even though I wanted him to. He held my hand in his, with a hope in his eyes. “Aurelia-”

I never knew what he was going to say because just then, the Vesuvius erupted. Smoke and ash fell all around us and on us, undoubtedly very hot. But there was no where to run.

It seems the god Vulcan was not happy with Pompeii’s sacrifices.

An Unlikely Meal

Aru gets up from his comfortable chair in the middle of a suspense thriller flick to pick up a call. No sooner has he spoken to his phone than a voice begins bossing about.

“We need to talk,” the voice says.

It is his senior from work, Priya. He sighs in exasperation and feeling irritated for the nth time in half a year, he asks her, “What did I do now?”

“Not yet,” she replies. “You’re going to buy me lunch and do something for me . Do you have a place in mind?”

Aru’s mind is reeling. What is it that I need to do for her? he thinks. And why am I supposed to buy HER lunch? “Park Lane,” he says, “Tomorrow afternoon, 1:30. Is that okay?”

“Fine,” she huffs. And hangs up.

He plays this twenty-seconds-long conversation over and over again in his head, trying to figure out why she was asking for help. She never does that. Even if she wanted help, she would boss about and say that it was the for good of everybody and never admit that it was for herself. He tries remembering if there was any change in her voice, but quickly dismisses the idea. If there’s anything she hates more than asking for help, it’s looking weak. As much as he despised and feared Priya, he always pitied her.

The next afternoon, he sits waiting for Priya at Park Lane. He picked this restaurant because it calms him. The restaurant has plants all over the place and the furniture is all wood and picnic themed. It’s an organic restaurant, actually, but it serves some of the best quality food in the city. There are flower baskets hanging from the roof top and his hair just brushes the bottom of the pots. It gives him a feeling of forestry in the heart of the city.

It’s 1:30. And he’s expecting a grand entrance by Priya. But it doesn’t come. Instead, a red eyed Priya enters. Except for that, she looks the same: a five feet tall woman with two feet high heels and always overdressed for the occasion. She’s probably running out of ideas to torture me, Aru thinks. Or, maybe she’s quitting.

They decide order their food before their “talk”. Aru orders a North Indian Thali and Priya — no surprise there—asks for a vegetable salad, a glass of orange juice and bottled water.

“So.” He says as he pours water into the glasses.

“No one must know about this meeting,” She crosses her arms and looks out. “Ever.”

Aru doesn’t speak.

“I’m leaving,” She says.

His head jerks up. “What?!”

“You heard me.”

For he reasons he still doesn’t know, he starts laughing, holding his stomach and his eyes watering. He doesn’t stop for a while. She doesn’t say anything. Instead, she has a soft longing look in her eyes and a tiny smile of defeat. Aru sees this and stops.

“Why?” he asks softly.

If this was any other girl, she would’ve burst out crying.

But she is Priya. Priya doesn’t cry. At least, he has never seen or heard her breaking down.

She seems guarded. She has the same hard look on her face as she had when she lost her mother, which was when Aru had started working for her. He sees her as a human now. He leans back and says, “Talk to me.”

She raises her eyebrow in that unnerving way that suddenly becomes endearing. And for the first time ever, she obeys him.

(This is a reply to a prompt given by WritersWrite.co.za Thanks very much for reading! Help me improve this! Your feedback is valuable.)