The rain came without any warning. At first, innocently seeping through the sharp sunshine and slowly taking over, making the day look sombre at noon. She wasn’t the kind who would usually see rain as a nuisance. She romanticized rain. For her, it was the rain that symbolized joy and rebirth. It was the sunshine which brought lethargy and gloominess with it. That day, she had a reason to believe that nature was celebrating her happiness. The headmistress had unofficially informed her about the salary hike and her being promoted to the head of the department of English.
“You are capable of handling this responsibility and I trust you.” were the headmistress’ words.
She couldn’t wait to go home and tell her
boyfriend husband about it. It was funny that even after seven years, she somehow found it strange. The fact that they were married. That she need not worry about him leaving her…again. That if at all he wanted to leave her it would be followed by a long tiring legal process and a lot of melodrama. Something he and his parents would never want. But she clung to her paranoia. It was the adhesive that stopped her from falling apart. Ans he had given her enough reasons to be paranoid. It was nearly a decade ago, but then, time doesn’t always heal, does it?
“Ma’am.” a student’s voice shook her out of her thoughts.
“Yes” she responded, putting on a smile.
“Can I go out and play in the rain?” he pleaded. “Just for a minute. Please, ma’am.”
She was horrified. If she allowed him and he ended up falling sick, her promotion would end up being a forgotten dream. And forget the raise, she might be fired. But then, the longing in the child’s voice made her want to take the risk.
“I’m not watching.” she said and winked.
The child understood. He smiled and ran out. She looked at him and could actually feel his bliss. If the headmistress had a problem with it, it just meant she was a miserable woman who didn’t understand that life is made up of little pleasures. It was the last period. The buses would start in another fifteen minutes. She wondered whether she should just get into the school bus, as she did everyday, and walk the one kilometre distance to home after being dropped by the bus. It was pouring mercilessly now. She was sure she’d fall sick if she tried challenging the rain. And she couldn’t afford to fall sick. Not after she got to know about the impression the management had on her. She couldn’t afford to lose that by falling sick and taking the dreaded ‘leave’. She picked up her cellphone and dialed the familiar number. She must inform him that she would be late. That she would wait for the rain to slow down. He would probably ask why and she would tell him that she had a good news to share. The thought made her smile. The phone kept ringing at the other end and stopped when there was no response. He must be in the bathroom…or kitchen. He might not have heard his phone ringing. She tried to reassure herself. She kept her phone away and started correcting the pile of notebooks stacked in front of her.
She tried calling him again, after ten minutes. There was no response. Paranoia took over. Throwing memories at her. Memories from a decade ago that she wished to forget. It was a another rainy day when it happened. When she got to know about his ‘other’ relationship. The irony was that it was the ‘other’ relationship only according to her. To the rest of the world, she was the ‘other’ woman. She had let him go then. To others it looked like a wounded pride. But it was a desperate hope to make him understand how much she loved him. he did understand and finally returned. Though it took two years, she always thought it was worth the wait. She never asked him how his ‘relationship’ ended and what made him consider coming back to her. He never asked her why she forgave him and why she didn’t move on. They decided to forget the whole thing and rebuild their lives together.
But, even after a decade and seven years of matrimony, she hadn’t gotten over the pain of being rejected. The painful truth that somebody else had been chosen over her.
She kept calling him and each time the ringing stooped, thoughts began to surface in her mind, frightening her. Where could he be? May be he was drinking wine with another woman. Somebody much younger, prettier and wittier. May be he had left her. She would reach home and find a note on the fridge…
“Ma’am, are you going to get into the bus?” it was a colleague.
“Of course, I am.” she said and got up. She left her glasses on the table. She got into the bus and began to wonder whether the poets were right. May be the rain did symbolize gloom and disaster. May be some symbols were universal. The rain poured on, unaware of the conflicting thoughts in her head. When the bus reached her stop, she jumped out of it before it could stop. She didn’t care about falling sick anymore. What good was a promotion when the love of her life had deserted her?
She was so lost in thoughts that she didn’t notice that the rain wasn’t falling on her.
“Slow down.” she heard a familiar voice.
She looked up and saw him, holding an umbrella over them.
“What are you doing here?” she asked him, a little relieved…guilt slowly filling her eyes. “I tried calling you. I was worried when I didn’t get any response.”
“I have been waiting here for half an hour.” he replied. “I’m sure you didn’t take the umbrella. And was so sure that you’d walk in the rain and fall sick…the phone is at home. Forgot to take it.”
She smiled and put her arm through his. Rain had once again become a symbol of joy, rebirth and romance.