Riya was asleep when he came into the room. He smiled, walked to her side, and pulled the blanket up to cover her. He gave her a kiss, but she didn’t wake, and he didn’t disturb her. He could have sworn she had smiled. Taking it out from his pocket, he kept it near her diary, which he noticed was on the bedside table.
He knew it wasn’t going to be difficult. Not that Riya was easy to please, but they had been going through a difficult phase in their marriage then. She had been eager to have a baby, but he had kept denying her. He wasn’t ready, not with the threat of losing his job looming over him. But she had kept persisting.
He had taken to sleeping in the guest room, but when she still didn’t give in, it had happened. He hadn’t meant to do it, but in that wretched moment, he had slapped her… a tight, crisp slap that had echoed in the silence of the night. He had left her in her room, crying. And he had gone to the terrace, to mull things over looking at the full moon as it swam through the clouds.
When he came down, the digital clock on the showcase in the hall had showed 19:00 28-03-2014. And he remembered. He remembered it was their anniversary. And he felt even more terrible. Closing the door silently behind him, he had gone to the florist near their home, and asked for a white rose.
He smiled, holding the rose as he paid the florist. He could still remember their first date. It was on Valentine’s Day. He had been pushed into a blind date by his friend, and he had chosen a white rose to give to Riya. He didn’t feel red was right.
To his delight, Riya had loved it. White roses were her favorite, she had said. The blind date had worked out so well, that they started seeing each other. “It was destiny,” she once said to him. When he proposed, it was also with a white rose. He had asked her, “Would you be my fair flower forever?” and she had said yes.
As he recollected those moments, he realized he missed Riya. He missed her warmth nearby, and he missed her smile, something that he had taken away, even when he had no right to. He walked to their room, and saw that she was still sound asleep.
He thought he’d surprise her. He took Riya’s diary and opened it to the last entry. Something fell out, but it was the entry that caught his attention more.
He wanted to tell her then how much he loved her, why he was unhappy, and that he wouldn’t hurt her anymore. But she turned in her sleep, and away from him. Looking down, he saw the pressed white rose, which had fallen down from the diary. He gently took it and placed it back near the last entry.
He opened his pen, and wrote below that.
He felt Riya’s breath behind him, and turned around. She looked at him sadly, but her eyes had been on his words. He saw her lips form the words, “Are you sure?” and he nodded. She didn’t smile, but he felt her hands hold him closer than ever before.
It was after he fell asleep that she saw the fresh white rose on the bedside table. She smiled, took her diary again; and closed her entry.
(7th April 2014)