Once in the room, Prachi crashed on the bed and was fast asleep before I could bat an eyelid. For me, sleep was elusive. I tossed and turned, trying to find a comfortable spot on the bed. After ten minutes, I realized how futile my attempts were. I groped around in the darkness, trying to find Prachi’s phone.
I tiptoed around, trying not to make any sound, but the unfamiliar surroundings befuddled my sense of direction and I kept bumping against the arbitrary pieces of furniture which seemed to be scattered all over the room.
“What!” I heard an exasperated Prachi say, “In the world, are you trying to do?”
“Sorry, looking for your phone.” I apologized.
“Uff!” She tossed her phone at me, “Here you go! Now hush!” With a glare, that made me smile, she turned her back to me and went into a deep slumber before her head hit the pillow.
I settled in the chair next to the window. This was turning out to be my favorite place in the room. I scanned Prachi’s phone for Mili’s picture. I couldn’t get myself to call her anything other than that. The word “Mother” did not associate with the picture of the lady I was looking at. I thought of my mom, who had raised me. ever since I had come to this place, I hadn’t called her. I knew she would have been sick with worry, but to her credit, she hadn’t called either. She realized I needed my space to adjust. Suddenly, I longed for her and before I knew it, I was calling her. It was late, I knew she would be sleeping, but I had to hear her voice.
“Hello..” A sleepy voice drawled over the phone.
“Dad, it’s me. Is mom around?”
“Ira? Are you alright? What time is it?” Concern was apparent in his voice.
“I’m okay dad, can I talk to mom please?” I shut my eyes tightly to stop the tears from flowing down my cheeks. Why was I crying? I had no idea.
“She’s sleeping Ira, tell me. What happened?” My dad whispered into the phone.
“Is that Ira?” I heard my mum’s voice and then she came on line. “Ira.?”
“Hi Ma..” I smiled through the tears.
“Are you alright?” I sensed the underlying restraint in her question. I knew she wanted to ask me a million questions.
“Ya.. Sort of, I think..” Was I alright? What was I doing in this strange town. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to know about this Mili woman. It was obvious she had left me, not because she had to, but because she wanted to.
“What’s wrong Ira?” My vagueness didn’t fool her for a minute. She knew right away that something was bothering me.
I sighed deeply. “I want to come back home mom. I don’t want to know more about her.” There was a stunned silence.
“What?!” Prachi exclaimed. She had been eavesdropping.
“I think I want to go home.” It sounded better than it had the first time. I let the thought swirl around in my head. Yeah, it felt all right. There was nothing for me here. Why should I go looking for a woman who never wanted me?