“Where’s my food?”
“I thought you weren’t eating.”
“Then why did you bring me here?”
He immediately regrets bringing her to the family meet.
“I specifically told you, at home, that I’m coming for fries, coke, and coleslaw. Not to starve.”
“Sorry I forgot. I’ll go get.”
“You remembered exactly what these nine people ordered, and brought it all, and you forget mine. Your wife’s.”
“This is a public place. Please do not make a scene. I said I’ll go get some.”
“You’re going to get the cheapest items on the menu. Not a piece of land. Stop patronizing me.”
She gets up to leave. The nine other members, all dear to him and her, regret their decision of eating out. Their decision to let the man and woman participate in fun and good food, and probably patch things up.
A tall man, with the famous dark patch on the left cheek, gets up, and walks towards her.
She remains like a corpse at the door. He puts out his hand to greet her. She looks at it — the single thing she was fond of a long time ago. The painkillers that it gave rise to once.
“This isn’t how I thought we’d meet. But uh…”
The stare continues. Although her eyes glisten.
“This isn’t one of my best days. Please. Let me go.”
“Hey. Don’t. Let me just. I’ll be around for a couple of more days … wait, let me just…uh”
He walks to where the 9-plus-1 people sit with their cold food.
“Hello. You’ve never met me before. I’m a friend of Arundhati’s. I was just wondering if I could come over, um, some day this week.”
The One got up. “Sure. I’m sorry. Yes, I guess. But…”
Arundhati marches towards them, and starts to bark.
“How dare you? How dare DARE you! You of all.”
The man and the One remain clueless. She stares at the man, his ugly patch, his mauve tee-shirt (all she remembers are the gray, the black, the white ones from his narcissistic self portraits), and then shifts back her eyes to One’s glasses, and ears, and then return to Mr Patch.
“How dare you. I am his wife. Not his dog. How dare you think you require his permission to talk to me. I’m ashamed of myself for having befriended you. God dogs!”