Manish had been doing summer jobs and saving up for this , he wanted to make it special for her, as she had made his life special .
A rush in his veins , nervousness which he hid with immense confidence and a knot in his stomach, as he bought this gift for his young love, a set of gold earrings. He wanted to give his first love, Ayesha, a little surprise on her birthday.
He spent hours finding the perfect spot for the candlelit dinner where he will present her his token of love and finally decided to set it up on his terrace. He decided he will spend the day with her pretending it was another Monday , bring her home in the evening on some pretext and then walk her into the terrace.
A special night lit with candles on the terrace, under the starry clear sky, she would be overjoyed. The thought made him smile, she will melt at this sight and he knew she will shower him with warm loving deep kisses.
He hurried through the arrangements checking every detail twice before he stepped out of his pad to go pick up Ayesha in his Enfield. She loved the rides on it and he knew his secret, his highlight was the cozy wrap she made of him on the bike that thrilled him, her softness and surrender to his control and drive gave him a boost of happiness !
"We have to go get the grocery, honey" , the voice of Rita rang across his ears like a bolt of light bringing him back to reality, back from his time travel into the present moment.
Manish quickly placed the little frame, of his terrace garden picture, taken from the days when he was still in college, he put it back on to the balcony wall.
He continued to clean the edges and polish it to make it shine both from the sparkles of memory and light. He placed it right next to his wedding picture framed and placed at the center of the wall. His attention went back to the day of his wedding.
Rita and Manish, were married now for 15 years and he loved her immensely. She had done him good; he had met her at his first workplace before she left her job to pursue her career as a dance choreographer. Rita had a zest for life and they both were committed to dance through life together, changing styles, moves, adapting to the music, laughing through twists and turns. One thing they promised each other and had always stuck to it was that they will work to convert all tears to smiles together, always .
On this 15th year, a flashback series had started at home , as they decided to make some small changes to their home décor and set up and took some time off, to clean, shop and redecorate their home together .
In their balcony, they had created a wall of framed pictures, amongst all other pictures on the wall of frames , stood the biggest one , the frame with their wedding picture , right at the center . Next to this picture, also stood another small frame, that had her first solo dance performance captured. It brought back the memories of the evening which had led to a series of adventures for Rita. She stood there for a while, at the balcony looking at this pic next to their wedding picture, while Manish continued to clean the other hanging frames of their precious & cherished moments.
The breeze played with her hair and she looked pretty, eyes filled with maturity and a smile filled with warmth, as she looked at the picture and recollected the night of her first dance performance. After her performance she was invited by Kevin to his lavish home facing the sea at Worli, Mumbai.
Kevin was her instructor - a simple looking man with an athletic body but with a persona and charms that could get him any woman he desired.
He had cooked up a simple meal for them but made sure to serve it with exquisite wine to help him sweep her off her feet.
He wanted Rita, a stubborn wish and desire and perhaps, filled with lust in appropriate dosage. He opened the door, let her in, placed his hand gently on her waist and placed a tiny peck on her cheek, freezing her completely and meeting with little resistance from Rita. As she walked in to the room, she could smell his fragrance, a strong musk mixed with sea salt from the air, she knew, this meant temptation. She knew this feeling, she felt weak in her knees at the thought of being alone with him and now she was here, soaked in this desire which she also wished and prayed that it may not be granted. However, little did she know that this night will be framed in her memory forever.
“Let’s toast to the successful event today”, said Kevin, walking her in, breathing down warmly at Rita while handing her a glass of white wine, knowing very well, this move will lead to a rhythm, that he seeked so bad.
Rita smiled and they both settled in the sofa, with Kevin so close now, there was little chance of the night not turning eventful. From where he saw, he was burning to hold her close, real tight and as soon as the first round of drinks and small talks ended, he grabbed her by her waist and kissed her lips with a passion so deep that Rita just melted, like pure wax melts to heat.
“Alright Rita, Lets get going before the shops shut down ”, reminded Manish, calling her out as he picked the car keys and moved towards the door.
She snapped out of her thoughts , the eclectic emotions were still running through her mind and body but she came to terms with reality quickly.
“Yes, Yes , I am coming ! I really like that you took time today to clean the balcony frames , thank you so much darling ” , she added , moving to grab her purse and close the door.
As they loaded the groceries, Rita suggested they stop by the beach for a stroll, a thought which had crossed Manish also, while he picked up the toiletries from the store. They both were mature and had led a very rich life filled with experiences that they both cherished, together and as individuals. They had found friendship in each other laced with love, respect that grew and a trust that was nurtured and created deeper with each passing day.
They walked on the beach feeling the grains of sand move in and out their feet like the memories of their experiences moved through their thoughts sometimes. As they watched the sun set locked in each other’s arms around their waist, they felt fulfilled and complete. They knew, their time together, is just as sacred as their memories. The memories that had made them, who they are today. They were deeply grateful that they had been blessed to find such love and tranquility in each other, this they knew well, was very rare.
As they enjoyed the moment, Manish took his phone out and surprised Julie with a quick unexpected selfie click of them. He captured the orange and pink sunlight on her face and a smile that complimented his, perfectly, making this picture "fameworthy" - a ready new addition for their balcony wall as they continue to make more memories and build experiences.
Julie looked at him delighted, like a child, paused, smiled, slowly switched to her mature mode, kissed him lightly and then said, “Remember our wedding picture on the wall, I love the way our hands fit together in it .
She put her arms around him and continued, "In this picture, I love the way we still fit together, now come here, fit your lips to mine, lets frame this moment forever.’”