02. They don't know | Unconditional

August 16, 2020 Sujay Sarma

I had an idea. I sent Juhi to a nearby supermarket for some supplies I convinced her that I needed urgently. When she got back, the house was dark. The door was open. Hesitantly, she opened it ajar and called. “Hello?” “Come in.” I said softly. She stepped inside and found me at the far…


I had an idea.

I sent Juhi to a nearby supermarket for some supplies I convinced her that I needed urgently.

When she got back, the house was dark. The door was open. Hesitantly, she opened it ajar and called.

“Hello?”

“Come in.” I said softly.

She stepped inside and found me at the far end of the hall. I had set a small intimate table, lighted with a single candle. Soft music played in the background. As she moved toward her, I stood up.

She came up to me and hugged me tight. “Can’t you stay back in India?” she asked.

I lifted her tear-streaked face with a finger and looked into her jet-black eyes.

“I would, if I could.” I whispered. “I will ask them when I go to Chennai tomorrow.” I promised.

I sat down and pulled her onto my lap and caressed her hair. We ate dinner in silence and then moved to the balcony to sit there watching the light rain, sipping her flavoursome filter coffee. It was time to go to bed, or I would miss my flight in the morning. Her fingers were intertwined with mine as we walked in. As we reached the little alcove that separated the two bedrooms in the apartment, I purposefully led her into her’s.

She turned her head and looked at me.

“What are you doing?” She asked. Her voice, trembling.

“Something, we should have done a long time ago.” I whispered, holding her tightly to me.

After about an hour, we lay under the covers panting.

“But…” she began.

I laughed. “You know,” I said, interrupting her train of thought. “Maybe, instead of me staying back in India, you should fly back with me to Australia.”

Her eyebrows knitted up contemplatively.

“You have nothing much left here anyway.” I shrugged.

She nodded silently. “Can you make that happen?” She asked. “The visas and all?” She turned to face me and laid her soft head on my shoulders.

Embracing her tightly, I whispered, “I should be.”

The next morning as I flew to Chennai, after the refreshment services were done, I lay back in my seat and thought back to the time almost twenty… no, almost twenty-five… years ago. Juhi and me had been teenagers then. One day, when we had been playing together, I had been watching her for some time. She noticed my gaze and asked me what the matter was, with a flick of her head.

Suddenly, in a moment of passion, I had given her a hug and kissed her on her cheeks. Her cheeks glowed red with surprise and a tinge of teenage shyness. But she had said nothing. She had not protested or complained to our parents. She had just continued playing. My heart had sunk then. After a while, I had forgotten about the incident. For a few years, I completely forgot about her, as life and other things became more important and took us away on divergent paths.

Then after almost a decade, browsing through Facebook, I had come across her profile. So, I had sent her a friend request and was mightily surprised when she added me and sent me a message asking where I had been all these years. That led us to talking again.

In Chennai, I talked to the management team and arranged for Juhi to join me in Australia. She would come with me on a temporary tourist visa until the proper documentation came through. She was happy. We locked up her apartment and flew out together.

“Do you think anyone would guess?” she asked as we stepped off the plane together at Canberra and joined the long immigration queue.

I shook my head. “How is it even possible?” I laughed.


About the author:

Sujay Sarma is an IT industry veteran, about 43 years of age. He has spent 25 years in the IT industry and has done it all, and seen it all. Now, his passion is writing [blogs, stories, novels] and music. He has his own YouTube channel called "Sujay Sarma's Musical Adventures" where he posts his covers and originals, and a Podcast named "Interesting People Interesting Stories".
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