She looked at him wondering when she would get to see him again. He looked handsome even in his sleep, the calmness accompanied with a faint smile playing on his lips made her heart ache. She longed to touch him, trace his face with her fingers. But she did not want to wake him, did not want to disturb his sleep. The childlike smile he gave when she gently held his hand, melted her heart and brought tears to her eyes. She realized she loved him, more than she could ever imagine.
Tomorrow he’d be gone. Gone for six months or maybe seven. After just four months of marriage he’ll be gone for six months leaving her all alone. She did not want him to go but she was not given any other option. He was the captain of the ship. A merchant navy officer. This was his job. He had asked her after proposing her for marriage if she would be able to cope with the irregularities of his job and she had replied,”you bet”. After all he had gone before, but that was different, they were not living together. The marriage had brought a change. Now she was even more in love, cared even more and was going to miss him a billion times more. She now realized how badly she was going to miss him, miss how she was greeted at the front door when she reached home, spontaneous, unexpected sweet gestures which made her incredibly happy, how they would talk for hours before finally drifting off to sleep.
How was she going to manage coming home to no one? No smiling face for the next six to seven months. She sighed and cried. He turned and opened his eyes to see her sitting there with tear-stained cheeks. It took him one full minute to register what he was seeing. Then he sat up surprised. The surprise in his eyes made her laugh. He continued looking at her. “Stop it.”
“Why are you crying?” he asked. She did not say anything, just looked at him and blinked. And then he realized, realized that it was him she was crying for. “Shhhhh…. It’s okay, it’s okay”, he said as he hugged her. Listening to his voice, feeling the warmth of his body, calmed her senses to a certain extent. And then she slept soundly in his arms.
The first rays of the morning sun beamed into the room and Aryan opened his eyes to his beautiful wife. The sun highlighted her sharp features and it took him a great amount of will power to look away from her. He didn’t want to think that she would be all alone for the next six months. He hated waking her up but he had planned things for her. His flight took off at seven in the evening and he had exactly twelve hours. “Riya?” he said softly. She gently opened her eyes, looked at him and smiled. The smile that dimpled her cheeks, the dimples which he so madly loved. God! How he wanted to stay. For the first time in his career he hated this job. For the first time he wanted a NORMAL 9-5 job. At least he could be back every evening. He would have had weekends to them. Now he was going to leave her for next six months under the care of no one.
“Good Morning darling” he greeted her. “Good Morning, love,” she smiled and suddenly the smile faded and the face became pale as the realization dawned. He could see that she was putting a lot of effort to look normal. Gently pulling her to him he whispered, “It’s okay. I love you and don’t you worry I’ll be back soon. We’ll get through this, sweets.” She buried her head in his shirt and wished it was actually as easy as he made it sound. Reluctantly she left him to prepare tea.
He stood there, transfixed. He wanted to move and take her in his arms and never let her go. Eight months. The scene of the same airport, eight months ago, flashed before his eyes. The same woman, with tears in her eyes and a pained expression on her face had waved him good-bye. His newly-wedded wife! It was eight months ago.
The same woman stood there, waiting for him with the same smile that gave her dimples, dimples that he so madly loved. The spark in her eyes was back. Her big, beautiful eyes lined with a thick line of kohl. It was the eyes that had attracted him to her, five years ago. The eyes that were the prettiest in the world. The eyes which could look through your soul. The eyes which were so child-like, they could take your heart away. The smile on her face accelerated his heart-beat like it always did.
She was yet to see him. Still, she was smiling. Smiling because, she was happy beyond measures. Her husband, her love was returning. Only she knew what torture it was, living without him for eight long months. He was supposed to be gone for six months but the period extended. Every minute, every second had seemed to be an eternity.
She turned and her heart stopped beating for a second. There he stood, as handsome as ever. She pinched herself, just to make sure that this wasn’t a dream, like all other times. No, it wasn’t. He was there. Her Aryan was there. She stopped the tears with great effort and mentally chided herself. As she took a step forward, he did the same. It was difficult to believe that it was really him.
She felt safe, secure and content as he hugged her. All the fears and insecurities vanished. All the doubts that his love for her may have lessened, diminished. Every thought vanished from her mind and all she could think of was Aryan. This time, she did not stop the tears. She let them flow. She smiled. A happy, content smiled.
He hugged her a little tighter. He didn’t want to let her go. Not yet, not ever. His wife— the love of his life. Every day, every minute he had craved to see her, to touch her. To have her in his arms, like now and now she was here. With him. He couldn’t have asked for more.
Reluctantly, he released her.
They looked into each others’ eyes. They didn’t need words. The eyes, the smile, the expression and the touch did the talking. As they held hands and walked out of the airport, towards their car, he softly whispered, “I Love You, Riya. You’re all I have ever wanted.”
She smiled as fresh tears came out. And she said, “I love you too and you’re all I could ever want.”