Monica woke up exactly 2 minutes before the scheduled time for the alarm. And to her surprise, this happened every morning. How her sleep was synchronised with the alarm for the next morning. She felt lazy for a while, and stared at the darkness of the room, which was infiltrated by a thin white morning light. That made her realise that it was time to leave the bed, and get into action.
She was almost back to her normal self from yesterday’s eventful day. Her sleep definitely helped her overcome the tremor that Max had caused by coming back in her life. She knew it very well, it wasn’t easy to let go. But she had made up her mind to be firm and unyielding, and to not let her thoughts sway in the direction that was owned and ruled by Max. As she turned with affirmation, she noticed her tired husband stepping out of the study. It seemed he didn’t sleep last night.
“Were you working the whole night”, she asked Robert.
“Yeah, I had few things to wind up”, Robert answered promptly. “I am taking the day off, and we could go out together”, he added.
A wife in this case would be normally delighted, but Monica could sense suspicion. Robert would never take a day off, even though he hadn’t slept since a week. Apart from being a great father and an amazing partner, he was a workaholic. She knew it very well.
“What’s wrong?” Monica enquired in surprise.
Robert tried to answer casually, “Just like that. Can’t I spend some quality time with my beautiful wife?” He tried to appease Monica’s eagerness and on the other hand tried to sound normal. But inside, he knew how disoriented he was. Not even a single second went by, where he had not thought about Max last night. He didn’t know how bad it was going to be, but it was back again. So, he needed sometime with Monica, to see her and observe her, before he called the psychiatrist. Well till then, he had to behave relaxed, as if nothing had changed. And this was going to be a challenge, as inside his heart ached and his eyes longed to shed the pain, which was not permissible.
Robert suggested to drop Neel to the kindergarten, and asked Monica to be ready by then. “Let’s begin our day with breakfast at your favourite baker”, he exclaimed with feigned joy. He left with a heavy heart, and drove his son Neel to the kindergarten, who was too excited, as his dad was dropping him to kindergarten unlike every day. Neel kept talking the whole way, and Robert managed to smile and mutter “hmm”, while his mind was completely lost in the thoughts of the upcoming days. The only thing he could think of was calling Monica’s sister Julia.
That gave him the strength, and he made the call immediately. The tears rolled down his cheeks, as Julia picked up the call. He uttered, “Max is back in our lives. I thought it all ended last time, but he is back.”
On the other hand Julia was paralyzed, as she heard that name. She gathered herself and her strength as well, and said, “You don’t worry. Everything will be fine. I will be there by evening, and we will figure this out together”.
He right away said, “No! Just let it be. Let it all appear normal. Your sudden arrival will make it worse, just like the last time. I saw the doubt in Monica’s eyes, when I took the day off. I will stay with her the whole day, and keep filling you in.”
“Okay”, said Julia realising that Robert was right.
“Well, now I need to rush back home. She is waiting for me. Will talk to you later.” Said Robert and hung up. This small talk had given him immense strength to fight with the current situation. He drove back home thinking about that dreadful incident that took away his best friend, Max forever from their lives.
– Anushree Dutta
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