She carefully placed all the dishes on the dining table. She set two plates. Two scented candles in the centre. Perfect. She walked back to the kitchen to get the glasses. On the way she looked into the glass of the cabinet. She was looking stunning. She smiled and continued to set the table. He would come any moment now. She had been planning this surprise dinner for weeks.
It was eight o’clock. He was a little late. She didn’t worry so much. Better give him a call. “The number you are trying to call is currently not reachable. Please try again later.” said the polite recorded voice. For the twelfth time she kept the phone down. It was nine o’clock. He was really late now. Where could he be?
“I know!” she thought. “He’s probably lost his job. The boss was giving him a lot of trouble of lately. He must at the bar now. He must be sulking away. I wish he would come home. As of now, my salary should be enough for the house but I hope he finds a job soon. Our investments should last us till then. I wish I could talk to him. Why can’t he just come home……”
Just then the phone rang, breaking her chain of thought. “Would you be interested in a car loan madam? Our bank can give you a great deal.” said the telemarketer.
“No, thank you.” She said with a sigh and slammed the phone. She sunk into the couch again. It was nine thirty.
“He’s gone to get a car. Yes! That’s why he’s late. He hasn’t lost his job! He was insisting on getting a new car for the longest time. He must have bought it without asking me. I told him we don’t need it, the old car is fine! But who listens to me? He went straight to the showroom after work and he must be driving it around town right now. He’ll come home with that sheepish look on his face. How dare he buy the car after I told him not to! Hasn’t the decency to consult me!”
Suddenly she got startled when the windows shook in the wind. Within a few minutes, thunder and lightening burst over the city and it began pouring buckets. She stood by the window and saw several people running about to shelter themselves from the rain. She looked at the clock. It was ten. She was getting even more worried. Just then a car on the road came to a screeching halt and narrowly missed a fruit cart on the road. She watched absent-mindedly from the window as the fruit seller and driver bickered.
“He’s had an accident! Oh my god! I hope he isn’t very hurt. Maybe he skidded on the road in the rain. What if someone got killed? He must be in a hospital right now…or maybe a police station! Why can’t he call me? I should do something to help him. Maybe I should call the police.”
She went to call the police only to discover that the line was dead. Just then another thought came to her mind. “He couldn’t have had an accident. It started raining just an hour ago. He should have been here by eight! Where could he be? Oh I know! He’s having an affair. He hasn’t been himself of lately! I bet it’s that new client that he keeps talking about. He must be having dinner with her right now while I’m waiting for him like a fool. Let him come home! There will be a showdown today. How can he cheat on me!
She waited impatiently for the next half an hour. It was eleven now. She was very angry. She couldn’t wait to lash out at him. Then the bell rang. She rose slowly and opened the door. He stood in front. He was soaked to the bone. His clothes were covered with mud and grease. In his hand was a bouquet of wilted and almost smashed roses. She was completely startled by his appearance.
“Where have you been?” she asked, still in a state of shock.
“You won’t believe it! I got promoted today.” He said, handing her a soggy letter from his pocket. “I decided to surprise you. So I got these flowers, but there was this horrible traffic jam on the way. I was stuck or over an hour. As if that wasn’t enough, that stupid old car broke down. I had to walk two kilometres to find a mechanic. It started raining on the way. My phone got wet and stopped working. I tried calling you but because of the rain, all the public phones were also dead. This is such a bad day! So what have you been doing at home all this while?”
3 weeks ago