Here are four micro-fictions – Air, The Peacock Strut, Helmets, and Repartee – presenting four slices of life, Trifle, by Sumita, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
Being able to fart loud and long was so satisfying. She blessed the darkness, the loud music, and grateful that her loud farts did not stink, she sank into his arms as they shuffled together on the dance floor. Young bodies gyrated ferociously close by. For once she appreciated the self-involved, bindaas enjoyment of the moment.
He gathered her suddenly stiff body, now jelly lax, close to his heart, smiling. He loved his wife of forty years more every day.
Both were oblivious to the laughing looks and whispers cast their way in the strobe-lit darkness. Then the tempo changed, slowed. Smiling couples melted into each other. Love was in the air.
The Peacock Strut
He was doing the peacock strut in the middle of a luncheon gathering! His short figure “cat-walked” down the aisle between the feasting guests, middle-aged paunch leading. His confident smile glimmered upon her. Sara wasn’t amused.
She recalled the day that Italian kid had charmed her. Dining alone at a candlelit table in a quaint Californian town, she’d watched his approach. Mid-twenties, he was an immigrant with little English. He’d chatted, posturing by the lit fireplace, slowly roasting. She had coined the term then, thoroughly entertained.
Back in sweltering India, amidst the celebration, Sara’s gaze slid to a slightly younger guest. Pretty, talented… apparently concentrating on food. Mashing rice and curry, her fingers shoveled the bolus into her mouth. She didn’t look up at her strutting husband.
The ambulance’s wail was loud.
She stood on her balcony smiling at his excitement, the clamour an ignored irritant. He’d got his new motorbike at last!
“Come on, let’s put her through her paces,” he called.
She hurried down and he lovingly fixed his helmet on her head.
“Hold on tight,” he winked.
He acceded, laughing.
The siren stopped. Strange, she realised, traffic sounds never reached her residential street.
She wasn’t home. She was inside the ambulance. It had reached its destination. The door opened. She watched the white coats hover over her love and rush him to the hospital. Then the stretcher carrying her body was rolled out.
A child had run onto the road. They’d stopped in time. The sports car behind hadn’t. They’d hurtled far apart. She remembered the public transport bus bearing down on her.
He patted the hot bonnet of his SUV with pride. Jangling keys, he stepped past his wife, smoothly dropping tie and briefcase in her arms. He paused at the mirror in the entry. Placing his aviator and car keys on the side table, he admired his reflection. Even at the end of the day, he looked pretty dashing, even if he said so himself.
After a wash and a change, he settled down with his laptop. Work awaited, but first, he needed a dose of relaxation. He opened his fake profile on FB.
His wife served him tea and snacks. She was asking him something. He looked up with a bland smile and paused. A shaft of light from the window had flamed her hair. Motherhood had ballooned her, but her complexion was still flawless… What did she say?
“Hmm,” was a safe bet.
Ah yes, that girl with the pretty profile pic had replied back. He’d been dropping lures for almost a week. Had he hooked her?
“Hmm…mm,” he replied to his wife again.
She sighed. Unlocked her phone and tapped the talking head that had popped up on her screen.
He felt an adrenaline rush. Yes! His girl was online and apparently willing to repartee…
Photos from the Internet
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A lifelong bookworm and a graduate of Fine Arts from Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore, Sumita Dutta enjoys most art-forms avidly. She has worn a number of hats – parent coordinator handling admissions, teaching O and AS level English, editor, publisher, photographer, manipulating digital images, designer, team leader for an IT start-up, PRO, sales rep and more. Her poetry, prose, photography, and art can be found on a number of sites on the web.