She woke up early morning as usual. The sun had still not come up on the horizon. She made two cups of coffee, one for herself and one for her husband. She had been doing it for the last forty years, and she did not want to stop today. She sat on the bench on the porch. She knew her husband will not be drinking his cup of coffee. He loved to sip coffee while they sat together watching the sunrise. But a lot had changed over the last twelve years. For the last decade, the coffee used to lie on the table, gradually turning stone cold. But she did not care about it. She was fulfilling her duty to her husband.
She waited for the sun to rise, then slowly stood up and walked into her house. They had named their house “The Spoon and Fork” for one was incomplete without the other. They were a very happy couple. They met everybody in their locality, and everybody knew them. They celebrated Christmas with Mr. Fernandes and Deepawali with Mr. Saxena. They did not have any children, but there were many children that were always there for help. When kids broke the windows, they would just smile and say “Nice shot lad, just make sure you help me get this fixed. The couple never asked for money, for they were self sufficient. They were happy in their life and they were living it to the fullest. But for the last decade, it had been different. The house of Cutlery, as they were jokingly called, did not participate in any function. No one came to celebrate Deepawali or Id. “The Spoon and fork” was the only house that was not lighted up during Christmas, and even after constant pestering from the neighbours, the house stayed dark.
She walked in to find the coffee on the table. As usual, the drink had turned stone cold. She threw the drink in the sink with a heavy heart and went out again to get the newspaper. Sam, the newspaper boy was kind enough to leave the paper on the bench instead of leaving it in the mailbox. She opened the newspaper and began to read. The newspaper was pink today, and it took her a couple of minutes to understand why. It was Valentine’s day. She closed the newspaper and went inside. Today was not her day. She was already feeling ill. She sat down in front of the piano her husband used to play. She kept thinking for a while and then took off the cover.
She knew what she was going to play. She used to play this tune to her husband every Valentine’s day. She would play it for hours and he would sing. But now things had changed. She played the tune to herself, and even though she hoped to hear his voice once again, singing the song with delight and passion that used to be there, she knew he was not going to sing, for he could not sing anymore.
She did not know if it was a minute that had passed or an hour, she kept on playing till her fingers started hurting. She got up, cooked food for herself and then went outside to sit on the bench.
“Good Afternoon Ma’am. It’s a lovely day, ain’t it?“ asked a boy on a bike.
“Yes it is Johnny. And how are you today?”
“I am fine ma’am, and you?”
“I am fine too, enjoying whats left in me” she said with a warm smile.
“Nice to hear that ma’am, will surely come to meet you tomorrow, I am in a hurry right now”
“Carry on dear. It was nice talking to you”
Johnny worked at a nearby grocery store run by the Indian couple at House no 14. They were a nice couple too, and they took care of the lady. They would bring her some nice tasting dishes whenever they cooked. And even though she did not mind a change of taste from time to time, she was reluctant in taking their support. It made her feel weak.
She sat on the porch till the time sun began to set. It was time for her to go to bed. She had been sleeping with the sunset each day for the last twelve years and it had become a habit now.
She climbed into the bed, took out the diary which had her biggest secret and her most beautiful moments.
She opened the page she had been opening for a long time now.
He woke me up with a bunch of red roses today. Made tea for me and kissed me a Happy Valentine’s Day. We went out shopping, both for us and our baby. We had dinner at Paul’s. He sang my favorite song to me in the restaurant. We came home and he kissed me good night. Today, I had the best Valentine of my life.
With the entry, between the pages, was a photo of her and her husband. She looked at the photo, they were still young. Holding each other in arms, they looked almost inseparable. She looked at the photo with teary eyes for a long time.
“Happy Valentine’s Day sweetheart” she murmured.
She missed her husband even more. She wished he was with her. She wanted to hug him tight, hold him close to her, look into his eyes and tell him what he meant to her. but she was all alone, for he was no longer with her. Not in human form at least. She remember how he had stayed with her all the time when they had lost their child. How he made sure she sleeps well in bed.
She remembered how he used to tuck her in and wrap the blanket around her in winters, and how he used to get the sweets she loved from time to time, just to make her smile. She rested her head on the pillow and wiped her tears with the back of her hand. “I love you dear. I really do. Miss you sweetheart, Happy Valentine’s Day”, she said to herself. She knew she had to sleep, for tomorrow was a new day, and she had to wake up and make coffee for both of them. There was a lot of work to do. Food to cook, dishes to wash, clothes to dry and what not.
“Good night George” she said once again, keeping the photograph on the pillow beside her. She wiped another tear with her cuff and closed her eyes. She had to sleep, for her dreams were the place where they would meet every night. The place where they were happy and together. “I Love you George”, she said a couple of times, before finally going into deep sleep.