The novelist – chapter 7

 

“Jalal I do not like her at all this whole place its weird, you are acting weird and she is well”

He smiled looking at her his grin like a six year olds who had just discovered something he had never thought existed

“Really zari sometimes you are really paranoid”

She literally snarled her nostrils flaring as she looked at him like she would tear his hair out

“Jalal what is the problem with you, why don’t you ever take me bloody seriously you don’t seem to think anything is weird here at all?”

It took just a second but the change was apparent, his eyes turned hard and he literally sprang from where he was sitting and grasped her by her hair in a fist tilting her head back as he slammed her against the wall behind her.

“JALAL”

He kissed the length of her neck his breath hot on the column of flesh and pressed his nose at the base of it biting her there, his hands taking hers in their own, fingers interlaced he pushed them to the wall and kissed her neck again then her shoulder and finally moving up to  he took her mouth his tongue flicking with hers with a power she had never knew him to wield. It didn’t take long for her to melt as he reached for her skirt and pulled it up leaving her open to the cool draft circulating from under the door from the storm outside.

“ Oh god” she moaned as she felt him attack her like a predator and then she was facing the wall as he turned her around her eyes taking in the wood grains as he felt him push the obstructions of intimate wear aside and she heard the sound of his zipper and then the hot heat slamming itself in her. Her eyes rolled up from the suddenness of it all and yet her body responded as he took her from behind, again and again his thrusts as savage as the sea churning outside and she felt herself claw the wall scratching it as she felt herself slam back against him after just a few strokes giving herself up like there was no tomorrow.

She opened her eyes as she gathered herself gingerly from the floor the heat of their joining still burning bright behind her eyelids as she pulled herself up and straightened her clothes turning to find him sitting on the bed. His transformation back into the man she knew was even more startling then the earlier change and she walked gingerly on legs that felt like jelly to sit down besides him, her body shuddering still in pleasure as he felt his hand on her back caressing her.

“I am sorry, I don’t know what happened to me but I just, zari I was out there and I felt that I wanted you to be there and then you looked so fragile and I just wanted to be in you”

She groaned as she slumped back on the bed her hands in her hair holding her head as if physically trying to wrap her mental state around this situation as she mumbled to him in post coitel bliss

“I really don’t know how to explain this to you but this whole phase is effecting you”

“No its not zari look maybe I have held things inside me for too long, maybe this is who I am and this place has brought it out of me but whatever it is we can both deal with it together”

She reached out to the scruff of his shirt and pulled him down on the bed nestling against him just wanting to be held by the man she loved. She exhaled as she felt his arms around her and luxuriated in his warmth as he pulled her to him, the night closing around them as they wrapped into their cocoon of sleep to the sound of cliffs of water crashing on the shore outside.

She woke up to find his side of the bed still warm from him her eyes adjusting to the light as she slowly tried to open them the sound of the sea a muffled one now, almost like the sound of a retreating army she thought. She rose and opened the drapes to be startled by the expanse of beautiful blue water  before her and peered out to see the porch as empty as the bed she had slept in last night. Rubbing her hair she half walked half stumbled into the bathroom and flung off her clothes to stand underneath the simple shower. The water perhaps heated by the sun beating down on the overhead tank was warm and slightly metallic in taste as it tumbled down over her head and body, she ran her fingers through her damp hair throwing her face up to the stream as it washed her feeling a bit more in control of the moment she showered and almost felt normal as she wrapped her self in one of the thick white towels hanging on the door noting the other damp one on the hook meaning her husband had bathed before he left. Wrapping his used one around her hair she gathered up the clothes she had shed and dropped them into the small basket by the bathroom door as she went to the simple dresser and opened a drawer looking into it with curiosity exploring this space which was at least for now home. The drawers were empty and threadbare like they had never been filled and she  turned to her cupboard drawing out a simple white cotton shirt and a summery skirt, her mood feeling a little buoyant at the newfound intensity of her husband and the prospect even though worrying at the back  of her head but still exciting of a new life before the sea.

She eased herself down the steps to the kitchen area and found Darika turning around with a brilliant smile on her wizened face and a kettle of steaming coffee in her hand.

“aah you are up finally”

“Do you know where” Zarmina stammered as she spoke to her catching herself in midsentence to not betray her slight nervousness

“Jalal? Oh he has gone into town, he said he had some things to do before you woke up and so off he went, didn’t even have breakfast but you will eh? Sit sit!!”

Zarmina ushered herself to one of the three small wooden round backed chairs on a table that looked like something from the goldilocks fable red and white checkered coverlet and all. She let the old lady settle a cup in front of her and pour her coffee cradling the cup with both hands as she drank the hot caffeine down feeling it slides down her throat and warm her insides up enough to awaken the dulled senses.

“ Look im sorry if last night I came across a bit, we had been arguing a little before getting here and”

The old lady cackled in mirth as she sat down opposite her with a cup in hand and put a plate of pancakes in front of her hot and with a small cup of honey next to them a fork and knife on the plate.

“ Don’t be sorry at all don’t ever be sorry in life woman, plus the storm was loud enough for this old soul not to hear arguments being settled”

Zarmina blushed the color rising from her neck to her cheeks till they burnt hot knowing what this hag was referring to.

“ Oh child come now I too have been married and in love eh?” Darika pushed the pancakes closer to her noting her nostrils as they flared at the scent of goodness and honey even as her cheeks burnt red

“Eat please, the breakfast is the most important meal in these parts”

Zarmina set the cup down and side and seized the plate in front of her the knife and fork moving effortlessly as she cut off a wide slice dipped it in honey and forked it into her mouth her eyes closing instantly at the taste of warm fluffy goodness and honey, the mind accepting this bounty and thinking even for a second that this was turning out better than she had expected already. She continued to eat not bothering with the coos and cackles of Darika as she drank her tea and fussed over her like a mother hen.

 

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The novelist – chapter 6

Darika shuffled from the main door of her house to the porch end, her hands wrinkled with time resting upon the wood of the railing as she looked at the sky darkening and the sea tides rising like coiled serpents biting at the shoreline. She spoke in a whisper to the waves as if she was addressing a naughty child.

“you remember what your father said to you now keshini its going to be cold out there tonight, best you take a shawl hmmm”

She laughed a knowing chuckle as if she could hear her daughter give her a smart assed reply and reached behind the wooden post holding the porch awning up to switch on a light. It pleased her that she would soon have some company, it’s a bit difficult to be alone she thought with the waves pounding on your nerves all the time.  She had not switched this light on since her family disappeared at sea but somehow she felt like doing it now. She had never believed in Keshinis death anyways as they never found her body but Bimal had been attested to and still somehow she felt he was close now. She could almost hear him laugh at his own jokes as they sat together in their room at one of the cities fine hotels, raindrops pelting on the windows. He had always loved storms.

She suddenly felt movement to the left of her peripheral vision and drew the small stout stick she kept leaning against the porch railing to her. Realizing whom it was she let her hand relax around the stick and push it back into place as she moved to greet her new house guests.

“ Didn’t take you long at all eh, cant say I blame you the cities are awful”

Zarmina looked at the small figure standing at the porch as she walked by her husbands side to the front porch of the house from behind it, noticing the porch light being turned on as her husband had said, wondering when the hag had mentioned this to them.

“Heeloooooo look whose here” Jalal half yelled as they dragged their suitcases up to the house porch.

“Well inside with you two” Darika jerked her head at them as she looked up at the sky with something resembling a silent conversation

“Its about to get very stormy”

Once inside Zarmina started unpacking as they had pulled their suitcases up to the large airy room upstairs with windows overlooking the waves. She hung up their clothes and kept the toiletries on the simple dresser mirror in the room. The first thing she had done was draw the drapes across the windows when they walked in though, as the sea tossing and turning in the wind made her stomach churn. Jalal was testing the bed.

“man this mattress aint bad at all” chuckled Jalal as he punched it to test its firmness.

“Easy he man this is a wood house, remember? She can probably hear everything”

“ Aww cmon zari shes been living alone so long she probably needs to hear something other than the sea ya know” jalal stood up and walked to the door

“Where you going?” She looked at him curiously

“Just down to check out the beach man,, you finish here and join me, I love storms”

“ Ok cool it wont take longer than five minutes”

As he moved out of the room and down the stairs zarminas ears strained to hear anything else, the old lady made her feel uncomfortable and she still couldn’t put her finger on quite what is was about her. Upon hearing nothing she pulled at the drapes just a bit and took a glance down ignoring the huge black yawning mass before her as she saw the porch and blinked, watching Jalal walk out and sit down next to darika on the bench there.

She watched them silently as they spoke, saw her husband nodding his head in agreement to something and then he got up and walked to the beach his hands held to the sides palms up, as if calling to the storm. He always did foolish things like that, things that would make her scared of maybe lightning striking him or perhaps him just catching a cold. She knew inside it had more to do with the fear of losing him then anything else. He meant everything to her and she knew most of her pragmatic existence before him came from growing up in an orphanage just knowing that she had been left at its doorstep and since then had to be as practical as possible to settle into her life, settle with the circumstances, that’s what she did she settled. Jalal never settled he lived, and he lived life to the fullest in every drop of the storm now cascading down and hitting him in his impulsive ways, in his roaring laughter he just lived.

She ran down the steps two at a time and burst through the front door with a towel she had hastily grabbed screaming

“Jalal its cold please come in you are gonna get sick”

“oh hush child let him be he is at one with the elements cant you see”

She turned around to the direction of this sound of admonishment

“excuse me?”

Darika chuckled and patted her on the cheek, Zarmina thought she had made it to her side a little too quickly for her age

“You are a mannered one aren’t you, but he is like the wind. Have you ever seen anything check the wind”

“ Look Darika I know Jalal likes this place and I’m dealing with you and this for him but that doesn’t mean”

“Doesn’t mean what”? Muttered Darika her eyes looking into those of the younger woman growing hard by the second

“It doesn’t mean that I am going to tolerate any interference in my life” burst out zarmina staring into the old hags expression. She stomped off to the edge of the porch and called out once again to her husband.

“Ok ok I’m coming zari jeez”

He ran back to her soaked to the skin as he grabbed the towel from her hand and shook his hair like a dog throwing droplets of water everywhere.

“Lets go back in, we need to talk please” Zariminas voice was colder than the rain

coming down on the beach in front of them

“Sure man” Jalal smiled at the old ladyy now sitting weaving something as he followed his wife into their new residence and up the stairs.

 

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The novelist – chapter 5

 

They entered their hotel like a hurricane and zarmina sat on the edge of the rumpled bed in their room her hand caressing the sheet as she watched her husband gather everything up in a flurry and throw it in the suitcases they had brought with them for their short vacation. He suddenly paused and looked at her with a very different look in his eyes from his usual glazed stare of solitude.

“ Zari I cant find that umbrella”

She looked at him incredulously and thought has he finally bit the bullet, wondering what was going on in that higgidly piggidly mind of his!

“ umm jalal I hate to break it to you but we don’t own an umbrella…ive tried several times to buy one but you always stop me saying who needs one when it rains we get wet”

“Really zari I don’t know why you let me do things like this, it’s not proper to not have one in a city where it rains so much”

She got up from the bed and strode to him gripping him by his shoulders and shaking him as she thought he was acting quite unlike him.

“Jalal are you ok”?

He straightened himself and smiled that same boy never grown up tousled hair look on returning to his eyes in an instant

“Off course I am I was just thinking we should own an umbrella”

“Well I never knew my mate would decide to get all nesty this trip of I would’ve bought one baby, what else do you want a white picket fence?”

He threw back his head and laughed, as he flung the last of the clothes he had in his right hand into the suitcase and snapped it shut

“Why not zari why not, someone has to be romantic in this relationship eh”

She caught him by his left hand and kissed him full on his lips..nuzzling his nose as she murmured

“hey I can be plenty romantic ok”

He just shook his head and picked up the other suitcase in his left hand breaking away from her he smiled and jerked his head towards the door, lets go ms romantic we should get to our house before it gets too dark

As they trooped down the stairs zarmina behind her seemingly obsessed husband she looked at the way his  arm muscles strained with the weight of the suitcases liking this new way about him. Previously he would laze around till the help brought their luggage down never lifting a finger and now he was all action.

She stood behind and watched as he strode up to the counter and rang the bell loud enough to make it jangle. The service staff burst out of the back room wiping what was left of supper of her lower right lip as she looked at this guest quizzadly

“Yes sir what can I help you with”

“ We would like to check out” he said as he smiled that same disarming smile to the one behind the counter

“Room no please”

“436”

The girl hmmed as she punched it into the computer hidden below eye line on the reception desk and looked up at the both of them smiling at her from before him

“Sir the rooms paid for till tomorrow and check out time is at midday, you sure you want to check out now”

Zarmina felt the hairs on the back of her neck go up as she saw an unlikely transformation in front of her, mild mannered and lost, her writer suddenly snarled the veins on his neck bulging

“You didn’t hear me the first time missy? I want out of here and no I do not care if I have paid till next week so can you check us out or do we just walk”

The girl stammered as she shrank before the verbal onslaught

“ no no sir its perfectly alright, let me just punch you out”

Zarmina could hear the girls hands move on the keyboard the fingers trembling resulting in several unneeded clicks and then the whirring of the printer as it spat out their goodbye. Jalal snatched up the paper before the girl could put it in an envelope smashed it into his front pocket and turned around for the door

“Lets go zari its getting dark”

She followed him out as he hailed down a cab and before speaking to the driver banged on the trunk for him to open it, sliding the suitcases inside he banged the rear end shut and opened the door for her, she slid in slightly unsure to the far right of the back seat as he plonked down next to her

“ Lets go to the beach just beyond this godforsaken fort my man”

The driver turned around the corners of his eyes red perhaps from the sleepless nights hunting fares in this place as he looked them up and down

“That will be 200 rs extra sir”

“what….why are you mad, that’s like double the fair we just paid getting back from there” Spat out zarmina as she shook her head at jalal

“Well madam I am afraid it is a little late in the day and this is what I will have to charge as I will have to come back empty you see”

“Ok ok lets go, mumbled jalal

“No jalal what are you doing cmon”

“Zarmina I have made a decision ok, can you stand that once more today?”

Jalal hurled his words at her like a missile his eyes flashing his defiance and she felt something pass between them almost like a vibe to shut up or get out and so she shut up.

The taxi went towards the beach strip they had left behind not too long ago as the driver laughingly asked jalal

“Which estate would you like to be dropped at? The tourists love the sunset by the pool at amanvella sir”

“no no man head ahead beyond the estates”

The driver stopped the cab to the side with a screech and turned around to face them both his blood shot eyes searching their faces as he chewed something to the left of his mouth and tucked it into his cheek before he spoke

“There is nothing beyond those estates just empty land and trees and old run down houses from the war man are you sure you two aren’t confused”

“ look dude We know where we are going ok”

“okaaay man just lemme know where to stop then”

Zarmina suddenly clutched her husbands hand in the waning light, feeling something cold about the way the driver spoke and needing his warmth suddenly, relieved when he turned to her and smiled reassuringly

“Its ok zari darika always leaves the light on at the porch remember”

 

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The novelist – chapter 4

 

“I think I should introduce myself, I am Darika and used to live in a small fishing village an hours drive from here, well at that time I did not even know what a car was until Bimal came into my life and brought me here”

 

She sipped from her cup as her gaze drifted up towards the mantelpiece which held pictures of a younger, much younger version of her standing alongside a dark skinned local, both wearing proper gentle folk clothes and posing in front of a decked out old white mahruti sedan.

 

“Bimal was from Colombo and was a civil servant, he was always fond of exploring and thus he came to our village, we met at the temple. I was doing pooja and he was taking photographs of me, my hair was so long then, but the first time with him was longer

“Ahem” zarmina cleared her throat suddenly feeling awkward at the old ladies sudden foray into her personal life. “We were kind of wondering”

 

“Hush zari, please darika jee go on”

 

Darika looked at the woman with this man and then smiled at Jalal nodding

 

“Well pretty soon we realized we would not be sustained with his rapid fire visits to the village so we decided to do the pheras after which he wanted me to move to colombo and I would have none of it so he bought this place and we built our house here, after a bit our labors bore fruit and I had a baby girl”

 

Zarmina was now sipping her tea and wondering how on earth the old woman kept her herbs this fresh as the tea tasted like it had just been pulled from the earth and poured into water.

 

“We named her keshini as she had wonderful black hair like mine but damned be the horrible night that took them both from me, I shall curse it forever”

 

Jalal almost recoiled like someone had broken a hypnotists spell on him with a snap of their fingers and he saw Zarmina clutch her cup a bit tighter

 

“Oh my god we are so sorry”

 

“Don’t be, for the sea shall one day pay for what it did to me, they loved fishing and Bimal took her out many times, well that night there was a storm and he came back alone at 3 am crying and dripping wet because their boat had overturned and my darling was swept away.

After that it may as well have been both of them that had died because while Keshini was no longer on this world, neither was Bimal and he left me six months later to return to Colombo”

 

Jalal nodding letting the weight of what Darika had just told them seep through him. As a writer he often wondered whether he was born to witness cruel fate or just write about it in his fiction, as life had brought him to this place.

 

“So that is why Darika prefers to be alone, and watch the sea to curse it everyday both for its beauty and its cruelty”
“ Well that is very sad and thus a person like you should never be alone you know” Zarmina spoke a tad nervously.

“My husband and I are looking for a place to stay in as I had mentioned”

 

“Yes yes the upstairs portion is yours no fear, you can pay me for your share of food and take me to town once in a while, that’s all the rent I need” finally Darika relented with a softer smile to her

 

“Are you serious” spluttered Jalal, we couldn’t really, I mean you must accept some token rent.

 

“Do you like the place? Both of you”

 

“Well we haven’t seen it yet” muttered Zarmina

 

“Off course Of course we love it!!!” cried Jalal like a little boy as his wife gave him a look that could sink a ship on its own.

 

“Well that’s settled then, the upstairs has two bedrooms, and no there isn’t a room ive kept in my daughters memory as a shrine rest assured” Darika chuckled as she patted Zarminas hand.

 

“ One is empty and used for storage and its open, while the other one can function as your room, its got a bed and all, was a guest room once”

 

“Jalal got up and hugged the old dame “Great, this is so awesome We will accept your offer and only on the promise that you will let us pay for all of the groceries at least, after all how much can you eat”

 

Darika looked at both of them and smiled again “Oh you would be surprised at how much this granny can put away”

 

So there it was the three of them tenants and host, and then Jalal and Zarmina left to gather their stuff from back at the hotel they were staying in. Strangely enough they had to walk a bit before they found the odd tuk tuk and as they boarded Jalal gave his wife a tight squeeze

 

“See what you can find when you keep looking” he cooed in her ear

 

“Well the way you are acting I hope darika’s is not very sound of hearing” zarmina finally smiled

 

“Ahem we will have to be a bit you know discreet and all”

 

“Really..discreet before the sea eh? Zarmina nipped his nose and then slid back in her seat as she saw the tuk tuk driver flash a beetlenut stained smile at them through the rearview. She looked out at the dense forests to her left and the roaring sea to her right and wondered could it be…

To be continued…

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The novelist – chapter 3

“Old coot, bastard” exclaimed Jalal having inhaled some of the dust kicked up

“Well what do you except man, after the way you spoke to him we could have at least gone back with him” muttered zarmina, knowing they would probably have to in the next hour or so as the afternoon sun was burning fierce in the sky without any clouds in sight.

“Cmon zari don’t be so naive, all of these places are extremely expensive and we both know he wanted to just up his commission”

“Fine lets find us a shack by the water then, you can catch fish and then skewer me every night and we will be happy ever after”

“That’s not what I want!!!”

“Then what the hell do you want Jalal, ok lets walk a little further ok”

“Fine” He took her hand and trudged along the beach, walking past the estates sammy had shown them onto an emptier area of the beach, they saw some cows grazing peacefully, small straw huts along where they stood and walked on further till they came to another estate, a little run down but standing firm against the wind, some of the windows looked broken but were firmly shut as they strode up to the wooden fence surrounding it.

“Jalal this place is empty”

“Well we wont know till we ask will we” he said as he walked past the fence and into the yard to rap sharply at the door with a glass pane set in the middle with a white cloth covering it from inside.

“See no one there love”

He rapped again and suddenly the cloth was turned to the side and the wrinkled old face of an local Sinhalese woman about 60ish looking appeared beaming before them.  Her small and petite frame pressed up against the door and her eyes sharp through the glasses perched at the corner of her nose.

“Who are you, I don’t have any money to buy anything” She said as she eyed the couple standing at the door, their clothes shouting foreigner in a tongue she knew well.

“No we, could you please open the door” Said Zarmina as she strode forward smiling.

She nodded and turned the latch, sliding the door open and stepping out, her hair whitened with time and her gaze still fixed upon them.

“Yes now, don’t tell me you are lost”

Jalal peeked over his wife’s shoulder and smiled his most charming smile

“Not at all. We are just looking for a place and saw yours” he said

“Not for sale” the old one shook her head defiantly her eyes now piercing them

“Ok but maybe, we can take a look and rent”? Zarmina leaned in trying to show confidence and warmth with her body language as she had read about in one of those all explaining books.

“Hmmmm rent, you have money?”

“Yes yes some money” Jalal couldn’t help himself as he slid out from behind his wife not noticing as she gripped his hand we aren’t looking for much just a clean place to stay a bit.

“ I don’t want your money” the old one suddenly smiled revealing her white teeth, startlingly unaffected by her age. As if her whole body was in another time zone and her teeth in another.

“Then what” Jalals face almost about to collapse as his mind whirled in twenty different directions trying to grasp at some solution to make the old hag agree.
“Well for starters you both can come in and have some tea with me, its not often an old soul like me gets new visitors” the woman nodded as she turned around and walked inside her home leaving the door ajar for them to follow.

“Jalal I really don’t think” Zarmina had barely completed her sentence when her husband walked in dragging her behind him with his hand on hers, one she had precariously held to contain his excitement only moments ago.

He led her into the interior of the home and it smelt old, clean but old as if one was entering into another far more saner world. He saw the old woman lighting a small candle  lamp in the lounge area and followed the light as they sat down on the soft plush sofas, wide and cradling as the sea before this home.

“Now make yourself at home and I will get you some mint tea, its really special up from tea estate In nuwar eliya have you two been there yet?”

“No actually we were planning to see it but my husband here has this crazy idea of spending all our money on living here” blurted out Zarmina not being able to get any vibe from the place she sat in.

The old lady smiled again that same brilliant white smile and winked at Jalal’s wife

“Well you can  scarcely blame that thought, I have never ever wanted to move away from the sea”

She shuffled off to the pantry or some other place where she kept her tea as Zarmina looked at Jalal who seemed to be already stark raving mad about this place, well he had been a bit mental to start with on this idea but now he was just looking around with puppy dog eyes full of wonder.

“Jalal, earth to Jalal”

“What zari cant you feel it”

“Yes actually I can feel it, it feels like we are going to live here and im not too sure”

“The place speaks to me love, one can almost feel the time here…and the vibe is just old”

“Yes old and weird man, this place and this lady living alone here”

“So an old lady cannot live alone eh?” cooed the host as Zarmina almost jumped out of her skin, she didn’t even see her come back in the room, how could something this old be so …silent.

“No no I didn’t mean…well you know umm” she stammered as the old one poured them two cups set in perfect bone china, undoubtedly from an expensive shop, it had that look of old regality. Little mermaids painted in blue around the gilt edges of the cups.

“Its ok love, you see in this day and age and before it as well tis always better for a frail one such as me to live alone after..well after such a tragedy” she leaned her head to the side and sniffled in an old linen handkerchief she pulled out.

“What tragedy?” Jalal almost begged her

 

to be continued…….

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The novelist – chapter 2

“You really cannot be serious” she looked at her husband in a mixture of shock and more than a little bit of nervousness as they sat at the real estate agents office. A dingy mixture of island green artificial carpet and too bright yellowish walls.

“Well if you have an idea that wont let go, you might as well follow through no?” Jalal said as he thumbed through some house guides lying next to them on a singular table like nobody had touched them in months.

“Jalal when you said one day I thought it meant one day in the future after we had visited this place half a dozen times and gotten ourselves immersed in it enough to make a rational decision you know? Like rational people do!”

“Hmphh if I had been so rational I would have never asked you for your hand woman” he quipped

Zarmina scrunched her nose in mock distaste as she thought of her life before and after the asking part, she had always been a pragmatic person careful and thoughtful but when the scruffy writer with his flair for the dramatic had come calling she had not been able to say no. He had been a storm that had wooed her dated her and then married her, even now she got emails from some of her friends who could not believe that she had married a writer.

“Ahem” the agent cleared his throat as he walked in and looked at them with a glance that was used to looking over couples that came here and fell in love with the place. A fickle love that lasted nay a few months after which the endless trail of paperwork began again to get them back to safer shores of stability.

“New are we”?

“Yes new but we already love this place, have you been in this field long?” Jalal looked at the old tanned man with enough creases in his face to resemble the bark of an old tree and his clothing as colorful as his office, a white shirt and light blue sarong.

“ Long enough, my names sammy” he nodded at the man and then at the woman besides him wondering why in the world a vision like her was with a disheveled mess that her hubby represented.

“You see my husband, well he likes this place and so we thought we would you know check out some options” Zarmina said, before her hubby could open his mouth again, she could smell impulse usually a mile before he got it now.

“Some options. Yes well this place has plenty of options from here to tangalle” here being galle fort where they now had as their starting point “why don’t you guys tell me what’s in your mind”

“A beach house! Something with air and sunlight and welcoming spirits” blurted the mess his mouth open in a wide grin

“Yes well my friend there are many sorts of beach houses here, as you know we are sitting right at the edge of a long coast line” Always the beach sammy thought for these fools, the towns were cheaper and ten minutes away but no we all must have some mutated version of a fairytale at our doors to complain about after a month tops.

“Maybe we can just look for now” Zarmina ventured with a smile to sammy.

“No no zari you know I’m serious, I want to do this”

“Might I suggest something?” said sammy “why don’t you do this, there are some rentals available on the strip, lets take a look at something a bit more temporary before we rush”

Zarmina liked this man more and more by the passing second, obviously he was not out to make a quick buck on her husbands insanity but was presenting a more sagacious plan.

“All right but that’s just for starters” growled Jalal. He hated it when this happened, people saw things zaris ways instantly and he never got his way anymore. It was almost like they could not see him there at times.

“Right settled then, now have a nice day and here is my card, come by in the morning and off we shall go hunting for your little beach house”

“Great” smiled zari nodding with appreciation

“Ok” mumbled Jalal as they got up and he swiped the card from the man walking out before his wife into waning sun.

With zarminas usually efficiency they arrived the next morning right on time, in fact 14 minutes before it and waited outside for the agent to arrive. As Jalal silently brooded and his wife waited, the agent drove up in a rickety old station wagon. He pulled down his window after turning the handle a couple of times till there was air between the top and his chin and shouted

“So you guys ready?”

“We have been ready for the past 20 minutes, where have you been” said Jalal

“Ahh well at my age my friend time is an abstract thing come sit lets take you for a ride”

Jalal held the door open for his wife and they both slid into the back seat, then after a moment of realization he got out and slid into the front seat next to the old coot as he guffawed over some mental joke.

“ So? Ive lined up quite a spread for you”

With twin nods from husband and wife the agent put his car in gear and they rolled out of the parking lot. It didn’t take them long to hit the beach strip from where they started in galle fort, maybe about 20 or so minutes and they were there, long startling coastline and a strip of estates sitting in front of it with smallish gardens in front and many a palm tree waving in the wind before the stretch of water. As they went to house after house though both Jalal and Zarmina discovered that they were too high fi, totally out of their budget rang and more like little resorts then houses one could live in for any length of time. After the third house the discontent was completely visible on Jalal’s face

“ Look Sammy, this is really not working out for us, is this all you got”

“Well what do you expect, people here invest in these places because they know those who want to rent them will want all these amenities”

“But we are looking for something less grand, you know like a cottage or something” said zarmina realizing she needed to step in before Jalal went postal on the agent.

“A cottage, my lady this is prime beach estate outside the galle fort about 14 minutes from shopping and stores, I don’t think anyone would build a cottage here. Its not worth the investment”

“Then maybe we should look further up the coast” suggested Zarmina with one eye on her husband.

“Ah well then you will have to speak to the natives, I only go as far as the mobile phone signal goes, beyond that its either too cheap or too troublesome the business”

“I think you have done what you could sammy, you can head back now” said Jalal knowing there was plenty of transportation on the road behind the estates in the form of tuk tuks for them to explore further.

“Listen my friend, we may have liberated ourselves from the tamils but that does not mean the wilderness is completely secure” sammy jerked his head towards the clumps of trees one could see in the distance along the beach.

“ I think we will do fine – thank you” Jalal’s tone was icy now; he had taken enough of the glitzy crap he had been made to suffer through all damn day.

Enough will be when I hear screams to please pick us back up, thought sammy as he handed his card to zarmina

“Alright then I shall leave the love birds alone and with a number just in case”

He turned around and walked stiffly to his car, another bloody morning wasted after foreigners who don’t know what the hell they are doing. In and out they went of this strip like the waves before him. He slammed the door and coaxed the engine back to life and left them standing there in a hail of sand and dust!!

 

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The novelist – chapter 1

The novelist is a series of writings by me which i will be publishing chapter by chapter, it is the tale of a couple looking for destiny but meeting something they did not even deem possible in their lives.

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The rain hit the windows with a sound like thousands of little hands beating upon them, threatening to fling them open, to break into the comfort they were protecting. The rain had been the same ever since they had arrived in this tropical paradise, two days had passed and without relent it had continued. It’s not like this was the first journey abroad for zarmina and her husband, as they often took off in the summers from the sticky heat and load shedding woes of Karachi. However even they had not expected this kind of weather when they made plans for Srilanka.

“Did I not tell you to check the weather channel man, this sucks Jalal what are we going to do now”

“I don’t mind spending more time with you in the bedroom”

“Oh shut it, its been a bit too long for even that”

“Awww c’mon its never too long for thaaat”

Jalal rolled over and grabbed his wife of 5 years smothering her in the bed with kisses and ardor brought on by the sound of falling water, his hands caressing away her hair to gaze into her eyes, he loved doing that as she had eyes the color of a raging sea one could drown into. In fact the first time he had met her he had been mesmerized by her eyes and had not slept for days afterwards wanting to talk to her to make some contact with her.

“oyee where the hell have you gone to” Zarmina smacked her husband on the back of his head, hating the fact that he was so lost at times, yet loving the dreamy look he had in his eyes at the moment.

“you thinking of her again?” hmmmm?

“no no, for gods sake zari will you ever let it go” he knew she would not, the trials of marrying a woman who was both possessive and beautiful and even jealous of a past he had told her all about. From time to time she would still jab at it, sometimes teasing sometimes playful but always with that “fuck with me not” tone.

“Oh I let her go a long time ago baby, it’s your mind that I worry about you know”

“my mind is here with you zari where It belongs” said Jalal

“yeh yeh so you always says but who knows about you chalu mards hmm, you get extra excited in the rain anyways”

On that note he pulled the duvet over both of them and proceeded to set about fulfilling his desires to the sound of giggles and coos from her. Afterwards she looked at him as he lit up his cigarette and started  “You do know you have hardly written anything for two days”

“ Oh come on you are doing the same thing my damn publisher does man, pressure me”

“well a best selling novel is not going to just write itself you know” she mumbled

“Yes well I certainly can’t force myself to write woman”

Jalal sat and thought as he looked at her and then realized she did not understand what he was talking about. He knew in his heart that the book previous to this which had become sort of a sleeper hit was not something he wrote by discipline, but perhaps that was something better left unsaid as many people never understand that the author is usually just a channel not the creator. Its not as if writing another one was not part of his plan, but he really wondered sometimes why he needed to come away from the hustle and bustle of their city of residence to write.

“you know what zari”

“No jalal I don’t think we should again”

“No no not that, I was actually thinking we should stay here longer you know more than a week, look the rains spoilt our plan anyways might as well extend it”

“ But what will we do here jalal, its always raining and you know I hate staying out of the country for too long, I miss my parents”

“Well consider this my lady, what if we had to actually move out of Pakistan one day”

“oh no way man”

“It could happen zari, with the condition things are in back there we might have to consider other options”

“Yes other options but not some place which we just happen to visit”

“Ok well I am going to go to the real state agent just to check on stuff”

“Alright hubby alright let the rain stop we will go together”

She knew this was the only way her husband would sleep at night, this was always how he was when an idea took his minds flight, he had to see it through as soon as possible or he became all forlorn and melancholy.

To be continued….

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