Sixteen Hours

Sixteen Hours

At what point do you draw the line at the mundanity of life? And why is happiness so elusive.

This week, the contingent will be in Buenos Aires. A vibrant city with so much optimism, even vaguely spilling out from the slum houses. As she looked over the schedule once again, scanning through any possible last-minute changes, she glanced at the phone.

At this moment, the door burst opened and a throng of mod twenty somethings (who appeared overly-enthusiastic) spilled into her room. “Guys……what did I told you about knocking first, hmm?”

“Well, Miss Aisha, would you come out with us tonight? Please do! They’re having salsa, cha-cha, and the bachata. And you’ve looked after us so well. Come out with us tonight! It’ll be fun!”

A smile formed across Aisha’s face. It’s been so long since she’s danced. And oh, how she remembered she loved dancing. Especially with the right person. Such great chemistry. Well, no harm right. She nodded and the group thronged out of her room.

Aisha realized she had been working at the Embassy for the past 10 years now. A decade, no less. She rose through her ranks and now she’s a high-ranking embassy official attached to South America. She was supposed to study medicine, but life had other plans for her. Living a semi nomadic life, she traipsed through hotels and airport lounges. Stepping off one country and landing in a different time zone. She lived out of suitcases whilst working. She dealt with interpersonal issues of VVIPs no other officials would have wanted to take over. Some issues were so private and hushed up. She was very discreet, and handled mini crises extremely well. She- Aisha, was the darling of the embassy. And so, every now and then, she could choose whichever country she prefers to be next.

She had been mulling about her next posting- Should she return to Jaipur?

So much memories over there. Such a lovely start. And she let her mind drifted to a certain spring day there about 3 years ago. He was a commercial pilot. Average looking, bookish, in fact, with his dark rimmed glasses. He exuded a charm that was difficult to comprehend. He was quiet, and unassuming. He was patient, much so more than her. She could be flighty at times. And he was always there. They met in Jaipur, on the streets, inside some blush pink hipster tea place. He gave her an Elizabeth Arden green tea eau de parfum. They clicked. They felt they could confide in each other completely at ease. She felt his familiarity comforting. She felt she belonged.

And she remembered the last email they exchanged. She wrote “I’m a little lost….I feel agonized.”

He wrote back “How so, pray tell, why?”

She replied “I feel agonized because I missed you so. I’ve missed you so much. So much so, that I am a little scared. Scared, because of the realization that how this affects me much. And so, I play in my mind that you do not miss me at all. Not a single bit…...But me, sitting over here, missing you with overflowing volumes. Me, over here, feeling at odds with myself. Me, with so many thoughts playing over like a broken record in my mind. And just looking at you- You, with your silence. You, with all your wordless reassurances. You, with all your shrouded layers. And you, who have infiltrated the deepest recesses of my mind.”

He read, and re-read, and took a long time to reply. He said “Oh Aisha, I can’t find any words. I don’t know what to say, or how to react. You know I’m not good with words.”

She said “I know…… Of course I know. I just felt you should know I’m thinking about you. Have a safe flight”

A woman’s vulnerability is laid bare with words. A man’s-with actions.

Tonight, the crowd was a good one on the dancefloor. Nice people, with warm smiles. Just as she was about to order a lychee martini, someone caught her eye.

There he was, looking strapping in a dapper suit. Brown irises met hazel ones. Dilated pupils appeared surprised.

What a surprise! At the last minute, he requested to alter his flight schedule so he could transit at Buenos Aires for 16 hours. And they could dance the night away. He had been flying the London route just a while ago. His stubble was just growing out, his eyes a little weary. But here he was, with her now.

They exchanged zero words, as he held out his hand. “May I?”

Jamaline C.
True believer of the art of loving yourself. Jamaline sees people in all walks of life coping with difficulties as her profession.