THE WEDDING VOWS

 It has become my routine to come and sit on this bench in the park for the last 20 years every evening, except on the days with really bad weather. This bench is away from the entrance and I seldom have any company. So, I was pleasantly surprised when he came and sat on the other end of my bench on this particularly snowy evening. I looked at him while he sat there with head low and drooping shoulders. The silence was eerie, and the droning of cicadas added a near hypnotic effect to it. He was in his early 40’s, grizzled, with thick natural eyebrows and roguish brown eyes. As I looked at him from the side angle, I could see his triangular jaw with sharp edges. Also, his Adam’s apple was alluring. He was wearing a pair of dark blue jeans and a plain white shirt with a black biker jacket. He had rolled up the left sleeve of his jacket a bit as if to make his watch visible. The leather strap of that watch looked old and torn from sides but somehow it looked good on his wrist. It seemed as if he had pumped up his muscles just before coming here as the jacket sleeves were tight fitting for him. Seeing the jacket, I got reminded of my early 20’s when I used to date James. James was the one who introduced me to this place. 

**************************** Flashback to 1999************************************        I was working as a waitress in a bakery back then and James was struggling to find a job. He used to provide home tuitions and in his free time we used to meet at this place. We had chosen this place as it was far from the entrance of the park. Also, there was a big Gulmohar tree outside the park whose branches extended inside the park providing shade over the bench during daytime. I still remember how I used to slide in one pastry in my tiffin box from the bakery and we used to share it here. One fine sunny day while we were sitting idly on this bench, James told me that he wanted to buy a bike as it was being difficult for him to go by walk for home tuitions. We decided to buy the bike on his birthday. I wasn’t earning enough back then, but I wanted to gift him something special on his birthday. After James bought his bike, I had gifted him a similar black biker jacket on his birthday that this man was wearing. This is the same spot where I gifted him the jacket. ************************************ Back to Present Day ***************************    He snapped his fingers in front of my face as if to make me come out of my flashback zone. I looked at him, smirked, and thought how like every teenager I used to fancy about love and romance. After meeting James, I always wished for the time to stop in that very moment. But then life happened, and I got married in 2005. Internal Information Suddenly he came and kneeled in front of me and took my hand and placed it in between his palms and started saying: “I promise to grow old together as a FIT couple, but never grow up.” You know I was exercising when you called me. “In sickness and in health, I promise to always prepare morning coffee for you.” I know it was my turn today to prepare coffee. But you know how I love to have the coffee made by you. It just makes my day. “I vow to always defend you in public and correct you in private.” I know I was wrong today to yell at you in front of the kids. I AM SORRY. “I vow to make effort to not answer your questions with cross questions.” I know how much of workload you have. I am sorry to have questioned your efforts. “To love and to not keep the wet towel on bed and uphold the basic toilet seat etiquette till Death do us part.” I was in a hurry today morning. We had a fight and I had some important work at the bank. So, I had kept the wet towel purposefully as I was mad at you. “Together we will tackle whatever life throws at us.” Let’s go home and show our kids that their parents might not be the always lovey-dovey couple. But they sure know how to keep the spark alive. “From this day on, I promise to always support you and push you to achieve all your dreams and goals” Well at least I have kept this vow of mine. I always wanted you to be successful, confident and an independent woman. See now you own a bakery which is popular among the local crowd. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I stood up with teary eyes and said, James you can’t again get away this time by cajoling me with our wedding vows and smiled shyly. James [Hugging me]: Emma, you remember I told you, I know how to keep the spark alive between us. Now, shall we go home? I am hungry. I sat down and said, Can we just sit here for some more time? It’s been 12 years since we came here together. I know after my first pregnancy you have been working hard. But I have been coming here daily in the evening and spending some “ME” time. James: I know “HON”. That’s the reason why I decided to come to this place and relive our youthful days with you. Me: Oh, that’s why I was wondering why you are wearing these old stuffs today. James caressed me and removed the snow that had fell on my nose tip as I shivered in the cold evening breeze. Me: Lets go, our kids might be dead worried about us. We both stood up holding our hands together and started walking slowly towards the exit gate.

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