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”
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”