“So listen, I’ll be home tomorrow.”
“Good. How’s the trip been so far?”
“Not bad. Not entirely good. Have you ever tried counting the douche-bags you meet on the way?”
“No. Why? Too many this time?”
“Yes. And I started counting only on the second half of the tour.”
“How far did you go?”
“That’s not too bad. It’s less than what we encounter every day back there, right?”
“Yes. It’s just that seeing them all over again makes me want to explode.”
“How do you define douche-bag?”
“Like, how I classify a person as douche-bag?”
“I don’t know. I think I’m too brash some of the time. If I don’t like you, DOUCHE-BAG!”
He came home the next day. She was out buying butter, and a facial scrub, which she had forgotten to add to her list. She came back to find the door opened and his shoes on the rack. The bathroom door was closed and the water was running inside. She put his misaligned suitcase back in place and walked to the kitchen, keeping the butter in the fridge and walked back again to keep the scrub in the cupboard opposite the bathroom.
The house smiled.
He was taking a little longer than usual, she realised, as her bladder tugged at her.
She knocked at the bathroom door.
She knocked again.
“Do minute, bas.”
She walked into the room, their room. The scent of the cologne was back. The month away wasn’t easy, but it was getting simpler to live by. She took off the clothes from near the window, sun-dried in the winter heat, and started folding them. The lady in the house opposite their window was moving about in the kitchen. As the lady walked out of the kitchen, she realised he was out already.
“Khaana is ready.”
“Baahar what’s so interesting?”
“I keep wondering what she cooks.”
The skin on her back turned to goose-flesh as he walked closer- but she was used to this too.
“Done cooking or need help?”
He took his pile of clothes from the dried lot to his cupboard. His wet feet making their way around the bedroom. She looked at the floor and made a note of where not to step, turned back and drew the curtains as he started dressing.
Without glancing at him, she walked out of the room and entered the bathroom. Then, later, to the kitchen to set the table. When she did, she sat and waited for him to join her.
He had used her soap. Then she remembered. She had used and depleted his over the month. Even though hers was right next to it. Unopened.
He dragged back the chair opposite her and sat down. She looked up at him for the first time in a month. He was busy serving himself food. The dark hair, ruffled and with streaks of grey, needed a haircut- but it wasn’t that terrible. She saw the side-burns catch a bit of grey and thought of George Clooney. Her mind smiled. The chest was bloating a little, but nothing that a few days of a gym routine couldn’t take care of. The uneven tan was more evident today. She looked at his eyes, and for a moment, was taken aback by them looking back at her. The eyebrow rose.