“She might be staying here with me for a day or two.” he said, impelled by a hollow curiosity.
A second’s pause or a normal interval and she replied, “Good… better when I’m not there”.
That was all they talked about Ann’s plan to stay with him while she was away, a few thousand kilometers separating them. He found her response cryptic.
What was “better”? Was she assuming that we would be making out?
Maybe she wasn’t even thinking anything. Or she was just trying to be the quintessential being teeming with mystery.
They drifted from one monotonous topic to the other. The boredom was distinct but they struggled on like the long journey through a sombre one-way passage to some exit. It was the strange exchange of a statement for a monosyllable.
“I guess the grill is still hanging on one hinge.” “Yes”.
“And the clothes all piled up” “Yes”.
“Even the dishes still lying there”. …
He noticed for the first time that he always replied the third question with silence if the answer was no different from the first two. And she would understand it. Theirs was a curious match with infinite understanding that bred infinite contempt.
She finally hung up. The hanging up part was like a breath of fresh air. Not that he hated her. They had no place for such strong feelings in the relationship. It was only the exchange of voice without actually seeing the person that suffocated him. It choked him to imagine what the expressions were on the person’s face on the other side. Telemarketers and that sort of people were fine. But not the familiar ones.
Did I really have to lie? She wasn’t really of the possessive kind. In fact as far as Ann was concerned, she didn’t really care. Then why did I tell her Ann would be staying for a while?
Contorting wildly to stretch, he walked to the grill. It was like a screen door but she had called it ‘Grill’ since she could not remember the word ‘screen door’ and it had stuck. One of the hinges came off shortly after they shifted to this small flat. And it had since been a brewing cause of annoyance between them.
Will it ever be fixed? Or will it always be a nagging disturbance deep down somewhere in my mind, ruining my happiness in the least expecting times? Or will it be one of those problems that persistently nagged me till I sorted them out and later joked with her how much of an easy task it was?
Phone beeped and it was a message from Ann. “Keep all this between you and me. I just don’t trust your types.”
He found it depressingly funny. Married or not, he was sure to let out things that bothered him, especially if it was something demanding secrecy. A sexist friend had commented that it was a feminine trait.
But I am a lesbian inside, so why should I care! A lesbian trapped in the body of a straight male.
He typed a quick reply “I’ll try hard.”
That is the most honest I can ever be. That is the absolute ultimate limit of honesty that any living being can expect ever from me. Yes, it sure is.
Ann replied with a strange smiley like thing. He looked at it from different angles and could get no clue as to what it meant or even whether it was a smiley or something else.
The Grill made a grinding noise in the wind. It was not a struggling noise. It was the sound of comfort. As if it had all along wished to be on that one hinge.