Quickies.#2

This one’s a little too long for being included in the series,but I will anyway.So,here is Quickies.#2!
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
The Neighbour

‘This came for you by this afternoon’s post, said the elderly neighbour handing her a parcel. She thanked him and was about to leave when the old man said ‘it seems rather bulky’.
‘…’
‘It was quite heavy when the postman gave it to me’, he continued.
‘…’
‘He was about to leave when he found your apartment locked. I offered to take it in for you’
‘Thank you for doing that’
‘Is there anything breakable inside?’
‘No, no’
‘It’s a little late for a Christmas present’
‘…’
‘Unless it’s your birthday or something’
‘No, no’
‘It’s from the USA…it says so on the package’
‘…’
‘Must be expensive. The postage cost’
‘…’
‘I used to send blood pressure medicines to my brother in England. The stamps used to cost more than the medicines itself’
‘…’
‘You look tired. Would you like me to carry the package for you till your door?’
‘No, no, I’m fine’
‘Look, they’ve misspelt your name on the package. Two As instead of one’
‘…’
‘I don’t know how they managed to wrap it so well’
‘…’
‘The package has travelled half way across the world and still not a single tear’
‘…’
‘It must be something very important for it to be shipped from America’
‘…’
‘Are you sure you don’t want me to carry it for you?’
‘No, I’m fine, really’
‘You see, the package must be…’
She didn’t wait for the old man to finish. She sprinted down the hallway to her apartment holding the parcel close to her chest.

**

‘Looks like you were up well past midnight’, greeted the old man as she was leaving for work the next morning. ‘I saw the light burning in your apartment’.
‘…’
‘Must be that thing in the parcel…’
‘…’
‘Listen, why don’t you come home for dinner tonight? Sheela has made some excellent halwa and you can have a taste of that. Yes? Good. See you at 7 tonight’

**

‘Have some more rice. Look, you are so thin…’, said the old man piling her plate with delicately spiced rice.
‘But…’, she protested weakly.
‘None of that. Sheela, serve her some more rotis. Yes, two more’
‘…’
‘At your age, I used to eat 20 chapathis in one go. These days you young people hardly eat anything. So little food, so little sleep. And all that staying up late night…’
‘…’
‘So were you working last night?’
‘Mmm’, she said, thankful for the food in her mouth that stopped her from saying more.
‘And that parcel?’
‘…’
‘It must’ve been work papers then’, he reasoned, more to himself
‘…’
‘But from USA?’
‘…’
‘And the parcel rattled when I shook it. Cannot have been papers inside…’
‘…’
‘Nothing fragile either. It did not say ‘Handle with care’ on top. No papers, no glass…’
‘Will you stop going on about the parcel? Can’t you see? The girl is getting tired. She has to be up early tomorrow for work’, chided the wife bringing the old man’s grilling to an abrupt halt.

**

‘They took Dasgupta-saab away in an ambulance this morning. Must be around 6 o’clock…’ The watchman gave her details of the hospital where the old man had been rushed to after he complained of chest pain.

**

She was one of the last people to see the old man alive. Around 3 pm that afternoon, his wife Sheela wanted to go to the toilet and for a brief period the old man was left alone in the company of his young neighbour. She bent down low and whispered something in his ears. He passed away a few hours later. They said he looked peaceful, as if he was sleeping. Some mourners even noticed a faint trace of a smile on his face. But they dismissed it as a figment of their imagination. They shouldn’t have.

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12 thoughts on “Quickies.#2

  1. interesting! I’m sorry for being away so long. Stupid exams and stuff. I’ll try to be more regular now. I see you are nearing the 10k mark. 😀

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