Sunday, February 9, 2014

Happy Anniversary

She was never big on anniversaries. She called them expiry dates. Dates that marked how much closer and older they were to becoming stale. But she kept track of them nevertheless. On their first, she was in denial about it, even as she put on a brightening face mask. She wouldn't admit to herself that all this fuss was in honour of 365 days of togetherness as she painted her nails coral pink - a shade that was chosen after careful deliberation. She smiled secretly at the roses he'd brought her in the morning. "He remembered" She thought proudly before censoring herself for being a sentimental fool. She tried to look bored at dinner. No small feat, given her freshly washed hair that shone with the strength and vigor of a beer and vinegar rinse, her perfume that punctuated the soft cups of her collarbones with the delicate notes of a floral bouquet, her coral-pink nails that jittered self-consciously like shy five-year-old ballerinas. They gave her away. They told on her. They rendered her efforts futile. She radiated joy. A little star that pulsated, albeit involuntarily, with a sentimental variety of happiness laced with a shade of self-satisfaction. Exactly the kind that the gods fed off. Exactly the kind she was afraid of showing. She tried so hard. But failed. Miserably.
On their second, she was a little more successful in her attempts to stash her happiness into a impregnable lightproof box. The box wasn't exactly lightproof. But it was a box. A cardboard one. No fancy trimmings. A little thing so nondescript that no one would guess at its precious cargo.  She beamed weakly enough to escape detection by the ever-sniffing, ever-hungry gods. Her heart would have betrayed nothing even at a lie detection test. She was proud.
She got better at it with every passing year. Till she could convince herself that she wasn't too big on anniversaries. They would stumble clumsily on the date, finding themselves at the fag end of their anniversary.
"Shall we order Chinese?"
"No, there are some leftovers in the fridge."
Berating themselves for a precious minute before shrugging all vestiges of anything remotely romantic. Sometimes they'd realise, with the distress of an alarm that went off belatedly, that they'd completely forgotten the anniversary. And then conveniently forget that they forgot. That's the way they liked it. Not acknowledging it. There would always be one next year.

Until he left. And the day ceased to have any meaning. Then, the day seared into her heart with the red fierceness of an iron brand. Then, the day dropped into a significant giant black-hole. Then she remembered their anniversary. The bitterness, a sort of perverse celebration of a day that now made obvious the absence of all the things she once called hers. 


Vikas Chandra said...


I could not help re-reading it.
This piece grows on you.

MissDanThrope said...

thank you, vikas. So nice to know it didn't get old.