The Ocean made its way through gushing waves. A breezy air was all over the place. The sun was almost on the verge to descend. Spraying it’s red, orange limelight all over the space.
A small red box hung over the right fence dangling there. The white door opened wide to a pathway made with black and blue pebbles. The left of the pathway was full of rose plants, dancing roses red and small. The right made way for trees big and tiny.
A wooden plank hung on its, huge bark spelled, ” 7, Gulmohar”.
The house was made with stones but the love within made it home. The pathway ended at the Tulsi Vrindavan brightly colored with red and yellow. Surrounding the Vrindavan laid a beautiful white rangoli.
Three steps above stood a dark brown wooden door with delicate carvings and a golden bell with a white string. The huge brown door opened to a beautiful living room that seemed like heaven.
The room smelled of sand and sea and also of fish that was cooked at the kitchen maybe. The room was painted beige and brown with comfy cane furniture to relax around. The right corner was packed with a white bookshelf and a cozy chair next to it to drown yourself. Into the world of fiction tales.
It stood white and clean where tummies would turn yummy. The left way was the room with a big bed with sheets grey and white. Near its open windows were a line of shimmering yellow lights. A rocking chair that looked lean and fine lay at the corner swaying in pride. At the end of the hallway was a cozy corner that looked upon the evergreen backyard full of veggie shrubs.
The passage was encircled with the brown fence that leads to the same white door among the sands.
In the hallway lay a brass bowl with round handled and it was full of glistening water with white and red rose petals. Right of the hallway was the kitchen where the fish was cooked.
A House of brownstones but their true and eternal love made it Home.
It was a usual strenuous day at work. I was smoldering in sweat from the crammed up local train’s travel back home. I reached my apartment and rushed to the elevator. When I was about to shut the rusted iron gates, loosening my tie, lost in my thoughts, an Old lady called out, “Son, please wait I need to come in too.”
I was already pissed off with the thought of my old parents at home and my wife continuously pestering me to leave them at an old age home. Arguments between us had amplified to such a point that now it was getting into my head too.
Amidst the chaos of my mind, the old lady interrupted, “Please can you press the floor button 22”, both her hands were carrying bags filled with foodstuffs and vegetables. I just pressed 22 and 25. My flat was on the 25th.
She looked at me, gave a smile, and started talking. I was least interested to hear but had no option to shut my ears. She said with a shaky voice, “It’s my son’s birthday tomorrow, I am very excited about his birthday every year, I will cook his favorite delicacies, He loves noodles and coriander soup. I will also bake his much-loved chocolate cake without the nuts though. She giggled, this boy doesn’t eat any nuts. She continued in her happiness, “Nuts are so good for the body, but this boy is adamant you see”. She was looking for some response from me, I just smiled. She whispered, “I have called all my fellow friends, if possible you too come over with your family”. She was going on and on in her excitement. I wiped the sweat over the forehead.
Just for the sake of responding I uttered, “Where is your son? why didn’t he come shopping with you?”
The elevator alarmed 22. And it stopped on the 22nd floor. I opened the gates for her to leave. She stepped outside the elevator turned her face towards me and said merrily, “Rohan stays in the US with his wife, he left me 8 years ago, he didn’t want to ruin his privacy with me being around to disturb him. I requested him not to send me to any old age home or hospital. I am fit and fine, it’s just that I miss him a lot. So I celebrate his birthday every year with the same excitement”. Turning herself to go towards her flat she said, “Thank you, son. Do come tomorrow”.
She left! She left me with a parched throat and glistering eye.
MIA! An absolute gregarious person, she was a dreamer, an achiever, a free-spirited soul that wandered to places and came with hands full. She just knew how to live life in full circles. Would soar from one high to another.
Sometimes with a scratch on the knee. And often a bruise over the head. But rare was a tear in her eye. She knew the true meaning of living life queen size. She was a Queen herself not to a sham kingdom. But a queen of her own soul, queen of her heart.
Recently had she grabbed a promotion in her office and her charm was no minor for her boss to throw a party for all to celebrate her success.
It was a cozy chilling evening of mid-December. The winds were strong and so were the spirits. The company’s farmhouse was lit up with shimmering yellow and orange.
The garden was bursting with glee, crackle, and chatter. The soft flowing music was matching the mood of the evening to the fullest.
Mia was encircled with one after the other gang of colleagues high on every note. Glasses in their hands and bottles holding a few, the party went on till wee hours.
Mia was so much in high spirits that the liquor had no place in her life. She was on cloud nine. Ecstatic with her success and achievement.
Her boss and all her colleagues were fueled with fluids and were gorging on the delectable palate of foods served at the venue.
She just took a bite of the tender juicy barbecued chicken and a name struck her. VICTOR!
VICTOR! A tall, not so tanned, athletic chap and oh so gentleman. A runner at Marathons and a hustler with life. An exceptional hand at turning food into something that would be lip-smacking flavorsome. He wasn’t a Chef, but his second love was cooking. And the first was Traveling. He was a wanderlust. There wasn’t a single valley, mountain peak, or a gushing river that he hadn’t captured in his memories. He was a Travel Photographer.
Victor wasn’t Mia’s boyfriend nor her fiancé and hell, not even her husband. They were more than all of this. Buddies for life. And as they call it partners in crime. But their busy schedules kept them away from grabbing each other into an adventurous trip into togetherness.
That’s exactly how they met for the first time. Victor was out for his shoot in the beautiful ranges of the Himalayas. And Mia was there with her family for a cousin’s wedding. They met at the famous beauty, ‘Dal Lake’ and it just clicked like a photograph. They met for the whole week of their stay and became the best of friends. Kept hanging on to each other’s lives through calls, messages, and emails. Victor would send her the first shot of any place he traveled, and Mia would love to see those amazingly beautiful moments his fingers would capture.
But this time, something strange happened, Mia forgot to share the promotion’s news with her buddy. Amidst the party, she popped her phone out of her bag and typed.
“Promoted. To another Mountain” and sent it to Victor.
She waited for the phone to beep. But it didn’t. She had her food and kept thinking of Victor.
Now she wasn’t mentally at the party.
Was he angry, was he sleeping, or maybe his phone isn’t in-network? She kept thinking and the time struck 2’o clock. The night was freezing down and it made her even more lost.
Slowly, people started emptying the farmhouse driving their cars out of the pathway back to their homes.
Mia, her close colleague Carol and their boss were the last to leave. Their boss was supposed to drop Carol at her home on his way back.
Mia stood there in the parking fetching for her car keys in her bag. She wasn’t finding them. They were obviously there in her bag, but her mind was wandering.
Finally, she got hold of them and opened her car. She sneaked in to keep herself warm from the chilling breeze. She was still staring at the phone and thinking of Victor. There wasn’t any reply from him.
She pushed the start knob. The car made a shuddering noise and went off. She didn’t understand. She tried to re-start it again, it wouldn’t budge. She made another effort. But it too went in vain.
Now, she was tensed. Victor’s thought trailed off for a while from her mind. She was alone at the farmhouse as all her colleagues had gone away.
The farmhouse was 150 kilometers away from her home. And she had no clue, how would she reach her home at his hour with her car in a fix. She was completely clueless. She took out her phone and dialed Carol’s number. Alas! It was switched off. Calling the boss at this hour wouldn’t be a good idea.
She checked her messages. There wasn’t any from Victor. She dialed his number with trembling fingers. She had gone cold with the thought of being stranded at this place which no more pleased her sight.
The call was not getting through, his phone wasn’t in network. She thought he must be traveling. She was now scared to death.
She dialed again crossing her heart. This time it connected!
“Hey girl!” He said in his usual tone. “What’s up? How come you?” before he could complete the sentence she whispered with a shaky voice, “Victor”. He sensed that something was wrong. “Hey what’s wrong”, “I hope you are okay!”, he said in a voice half confused and half worried.
“I’m stranded at our company’s farmhouse, and my car is in a mess.”, she said rubbing her hand over her bare arm. “All my colleagues left and I am the last one standing here with no help in sight”, “Victor, I am 150 kilometers away from home.”
He listened to her patiently and replied, “Mia, calm down, just sit inside your car for now and send me your location, I’ll call you back in some time.”
She said “Ok”, and disconnected the call. She didn’t know where he was nor what was he about to do. She sent him the location of the farmhouse. Thankfully her phone’s battery was still alive. She was just waiting for him to call her back soon. She was very much worried to reach back home safely now.
The clock on her phone’s home screen showed 2:40 a.m.
“I have told a cab driver, a friend of mine to come there and pick you up, he cannot drop you home, as he has another pick up scheduled away from your location. So he will drop you at my friend’s place nearby. Don’t worry I know the driver very well, he will drop you safely. Once you reach there, the keys to the house would be in the second rose plant’s pot inside the mud. Go and stay there for the night, we will think about returning home later.” He said all of this hurriedly in one breathe. He too was vexed about the whole situation now.
After about 10 minutes, the phone rang, she hurriedly picked it up. It was Victor.
Mia was listening to all of it calmly. She just replied, ” Thank you, Vic”. And disconnected the call.
She waited patiently in her car, now the breezy wind had mellowed down, but it was still wintry. She could hear insects screech from far away.
She thought Victor was such a gem, and me a dumb, didn’t even tell him the news of my promotion. What would he think of me, she was lost in her thoughts and just swept into sleep resting her head on the headrest of the seat.
Baffled, she was awakened with a thumping sound over the car’s windowpane. She lowered the glass. A middle-aged man was waiting in her car. He said, “Madam, my name is James, Victor sir called me to pick you up and drop you at the given address.”
Mia nodded her head and came out of her car. She took her bag and locked the car.
She had no clue where she was heading, but she trusted Victor by all means. They reached a dead end after a small drive. She peeped out from the window, there were 3 houses in a row. She stepped out of the car, the road was completely dark with one tiny lamp-post at the turning. James, the driver pointed at the house in the center. She took out her wallet from the bag and checked for money in it. Seeing that James said, ” No! Madam, sir has already paid me the money. You take care, I will leave now.” Saying this he left leaving a smile on Mia’s face.
Now, in the middle of this gloomy night, Mia stood there in front of a white wooden house that had a vintage 70’s look. The house was well built, had a beautiful garden with small rose plants and big coconut trees. She opened the brown fenced gate. Crossing over 100 steps, there was a brown wooden door nicely carved with beautiful designs. The nameplate read, “Mr. & Mrs. Denice Johnson”. She didn’t know who they were but had to spend this night at their home. She turned around to search for the rose pot. There were 5 rose plants near the door. All had beautiful, fresh flowers topped with winter mist. She dug her finger into the second pot, fiddling inside the mud she found a silver key.
She took it out and wiped it to her dress. She inserted it into the door and unlocked it.
Entering the house, it was pitch dark inside, and she was skeptical about its surroundings. She lifted her bag to switch on the torchlight of her phone.
She switched it on and started searching for the power board. It was beside the main door. She clicked all the buttons. The house was lit up. The tiny little house was attractively bedecked. The living area was huge, to its center was a U-shaped black colored couch. Left to it was a bookshelf with loads of books stuffed into the shelves. Next to it lay a rocking chair. Right on the couch was a glass dining table with delicate silver cutlery that stood over the top. The walls were painted beige and had abstract paintings of a renowned artist all over them.
Mia was now feeling restless and her jittery feelings weren’t settled yet. She saw a passage connecting the living area to the other rooms. She didn’t feel like entering inside. She gulped down water hurriedly and decided to lay over the couch. Picking out her phone, she typed a message to Victor. “Reached safely”.
She didn’t want to sleep as the place was scary and new to her. But her eyelids were in no mood to listen, they had turned heavy. Unknowingly, she dozed off to sleep over the couch.
She was awakened all of a sudden with the doorbell ringing loud. Getting back to senses took her three bells in a row. Now, she was frightened. Who could it be? Nobody knows I am here. Was it the house owner? Or someone unknown. She was zapped with the thoughts.
She couldn’t hold back more. She opened the door to the slightest. Her happiness knew no boundaries. She was amazed, shocked, surprised, and overwhelmed with his presence. Yes! It was Victor at the doorstep.
She swung the door ajar and rushed into his arms. He gave her a cozy bear’s hug.
Mia was at a loss for words. Victor blurted out, “Should we get in, it’s too chilling outside.” She gave a big comforting smile and nodded.
He left her to sit on the couch and went inside the kitchen to make some coffee.
Meanwhile, a million thoughts struck Mia.
Gathering herself she spoke her heart out, “I couldn’t have asked for more, may God bless every person on this planet with an amazing soul like Victor. But for this life, he is “MY AMIGO“.
P.S.- How did Victor reach her? Where was he? How long did he travel? How did he manage to it all in a jiffy? Did they head back home? All of these questions don’t need an answer. The thought that provokes us all here is, the strength of a friend. A true friend by all means. Victor proved today what is friendship all about. He did not get angry over Mia for not sharing the good news, he wasn’t reluctant either when she called him so late at night.
A broken heart too can be mended with a best friend in life. When Love leaves you devastated, a true pal, your childhood buddy comes as a savior.
I Love you to the moon and back may fade away in a few moons, but a friend who says, “Idiot! Don’t cry, let’s run over the beach at 2 in the middle of the night is your true Soul Mate. Don’t ever let him/her go!