“This is beautiful Anurag..” I ran my fingers gently over the gift he had bought for me.
He smiled and drew back. “Glad you liked it.” He started to walk towards the door.
“Where are you going?” I asked before I could stop myself.
“I’m going to take off now. I think you have plans.” He gestured to my party clothes.
I thought for a moment and then asked, “Why don’t you come along?”
“Nah, I don’t want to cramp your style.” He hesitated near the door.
“Please? I have to go alone..” I smiled awkwardly.
“Where is..?” he asked with an eyebrow raised.
“I don’t know.” I glanced down at my shoes not wanting to the sympathy in Anurag’s eyes.
“In that case,” I looked up to meet his eyes, “We better get going.” He held out his hand for me.
As I got into the car, I wondered what I was getting into. But as I turned to look at Anurag, all my fears vanished. I felt safe with him. Safe and cared for.
Anurag squeezed my hand gently and gave me a little smile. I guess he could tell I was feeling guilty about being with him. But it wasn’t like I planned it.
“Where could he be Anurag? It’s my birthday, he should have been here.” The words were barely a whisper.
“I don’t know Anagha. Now forget about it, we’re out tonight to celebrate. Celebrate you. And we’re not going to let anyone ruin that. Okay?” He pulled out a tissue and handed it to me.
“I’m not crying.” I smiled and handed it back. Surprisingly, I wasn’t too upset. I didn’t know whether it was because it was yet to sink in or whether I had become indifferent.
We didn’t talk much after that. But it didn’t matter, we were comfortable with our silence too. He offered me his arm as we walked inside the club. I laughed and slipped my hand through his. As we entered, suddenly, the lights went off. And I heard the familiar birthday song being sung.
I smiled, my girls were too much. sometimes, they surprised me.
In the darkness, someone kissed me on the cheek and I heard my husband’s voice. “Happy Birthday Anagha. Like the surprise?”