Like Water

A boy and a girl travel cross-country to one another, trying to decide whether to run away from their family and religion to marry.

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12. AEROPLANE

Bubbles gasped as Vidhi emerged from the bathroom toilets of the plane, with a neat white dress standing out against her smooth skin. She was smiling nervously, trying to stop her knees buckling under the weight of such a light dress. In the spur of the moment, she’d put the ring on too. It glinted on the lights of the aircraft, and Bubbles clapped her hands together, before sitting her down and started messing with her hair, letting it free of the elastic until it lay in soft waves.

“And here we are.” Vidhi had meant to sound excited; but her nerves were biting her vocal chords.

“Here we are.”

That was it; everything important was out in the open. She hadn’t told Bubbles everything; not about when she’d just about killed Ezra for buying her a Buddha for her birthday. He told her it was a joke, but she knew he’d really been trying. Had he googled Hinduism for about, half a minute, he would have been able to laugh at any Jewish boyfriend who gave their Hindu girlfriend a Buddha. Yet, there he was. But she loved him anyways. She also didn’t tell Bubbles about the time he’d held her for three hours straight after she read a fictional book that had torn her heart into pieces, and didn’t mock her. Or when he’d eaten her entire five course meal, of which maybe the bread was the only edible food. Or when he’d actually done his homework, and lit her apartment with a light for Diwali, letting the warm glow of a lantern flood through the open windows and straight into her heart.

Yeah, she’d forgotten about those things. She’d forgotten for all he’d done wrong, he’d atoned four times over. She’d forgotten how much she missed his voice, or the way his fingers gently held the back of her head, with the careful touch exclusively given to new-born children. She’d forgotten that time they’d stayed up laughing until the slow climb of dawn, creating names and attributes for their hybrid children. She could feel her stomach well up like the exhaustion from a joke that lasted too long. And then it spread to her throat, all dry and cracked. And finally her eyes, pearly from tears.

The air hostess flashed the red signal for seatbelts. Bubbles giggled in excitement. Her magazine had long since been discarded into the pockets provided, and she clasped her hands tensely, waiting for the next word.

“What do I do?”

“I can’t choose for you, darling, I only wish I could.”

The plane began to fall. When it landed, Vidhi collected her bags and headed to a taxi. She stood, still and speechless, when it asked her where she was going. She thought about him, and him alone. Without the politics and religion, just her Ezra.

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