Nikki held his hand and let him out of the car.
There is nothing to feel sad about dusk. Nothing is going to end today. We are going for the evening walk I promised you and that’s final.
She loved it when she could have her way him him. Towering over him outside the way he did at work.
Slowly they walked to the gardens. She knew that place. She had been there before. It was beautiful during dusk and she wanted him to see that beauty. As they walked the leafy path her eyes crossed the unkept lawns and the broken pathway. The only thing the municipal actually repaired was the path near the lake, she told him. That path was laid with perfectly rounded cobbled stones and black, light bollards lined it on the inside facing the lake. It reminded you of Central London or something.
On the opposite side of the cobbled path were blue iron benches. Lovers had already taken their spot to enjoy the evening. The sky had turned orange and the water reflected the same. The walked on for a while looking at the health freaks strut up and down as if that one walk will help them achieve their goal of losing x kilos. They laughed at the odd balls, the women in sarees and the men in pyjamas. They eavesdropped on mother-in-laws bitching about their daughter-in-laws. They heard married lovers speak about their spouses. They heard about the big plunge one stock took that trading day and lots of inane things which didn’t matter. What mattered was that sun was setting and he was happy.
The birds were cackling all around, returning to their homes as the sun went down. He loved bird watching. He was fascinated with the way they built their nests on trees and that they remained unharmed even in the harshest of weathers. There were enough and more species to look out for. But they were no ornithologists, they didn’t even know the name of the species. All that mattered was the setting was perfect, the birds, the breeze, the trees and the setting sun. Just like she wanted, just so tranquillising as if casting a happiness spell.
She was just happy to spend that alone time and hoping it would lead to something later… They found a spot after wandering along for a while and plonked themselves on the benches. They just stared out at the lake and the sun setting the big tree in the centre of the lake. Looks like a mangrove with its tentacle-like roots swamping all around. You can occasionally see a kingfisher stick his head out from under one of those roots. But today she was just waiting for a the first sign of darkness to fall over them. She just wanted to hold his trembling hand and show him that all is ok. She just wanted to kiss him in the cacophony of birds to forget all the apprehensions he has about sunsets. Evenings are never bad she thought, they were the most romantic time of the day. How could anyone possibly get upset during that phase.
And then he said something she could not understand. Nikki was to be busy watching the sun set that she forgot he was sitting by his side. She blanked out and he wanted to leave. He couldn’t take it anymore. The sounds, the warmth were to much for him and she couldn’t do anything to pacify him. She held him close and he kissed her slightly and all he said was let’s take the action elsewhere. She could do nothing but comply and nothing she ever said later could make him take another evening walk with her.
She still thinks what happened that evening. But guess there are some things best left unexplored, undisturbed.