Really Short Stories: Haunting Memories

Entering the house, she looked at the blank wall and exclaimed in frustration, ‘Its still not here!’

Her roommate ambled out in a deliberate show of patience and replied, ‘The courier promised it by tonight.’

‘I have been waiting so long!  I should have bought that painting three years back.  It has haunted me since then.  I wish I had listened to my heart at that time!  The colours!  And those captivating whirls! Who could have imagined a modern abstract could capture the essence of Krishna so beautifully.’

Amisha nodded and said evenly, ‘Yes… I know. If you had bought it then, we wouldn’t have visited scores of galleries.  Or have had a blank wall for all these years.  You keep raving about that painting like it is the modern Mona Lisa.  But when you had the chance, you didn’t risk ten thousand for it!’

Sunayna flopped dejectedly into the beanbag. ‘You are right.  I didn’t listen to my heart.  It seemed too high a price.’

‘I guess all the hours of regret and the hunting for the ‘perfect’ painting since then have come free.’

‘Oh Amisha!  I know you are fed up.  But thank God, I finally found the current owner!  I have ended up paying far more – but I am happy now!’

Amisha warily said, ‘I certainly hope so.’  Changing subjects, she went on, ‘Abhay had called.  I told him you would be back soon.’

Sunayna’s forehead creased into a frown. ‘Why? You know I am trying to avoid him.  He is getting too serious and I am not sure if I should commit.’ She sighed, ‘He is a great guy and we get along fine… but he is no Amit.’

Amisha remained silent.

‘Amit was just perfect.’ Sunayna explained about her ex-boyfriend.  ‘He was just right for me… he would listen to everything I said.  He pampered me no end.  Oh I had such a great time then!’  Her eyes lit up with happy memories. ‘Abhay is so… mature.  He is stable and level headed.  I have to admit he has been a great influence on me.  But it’s just not the same!  Nothing like it was with Amit.’

‘If Amit was so perfect, why did you break up?’

‘He was not ready to settle down.’

‘Hmmm… so even though it didn’t work out, you are still comparing what you have now, with what you think you had then.’

Sunayna began gushing again, ‘But it was so wonderful!’  Seeing Amisha’s scepticism, she sobered down, ‘At least that’s how I remember it.’

The doorbell rang and Sunayna jumped in excitement –‘The painting!’

***

They both stared at the painting on the wall in silence.  A myriad of blues and greens – it was a pretty splash of paints.  Discordant with their decor, it looked a thorough misfit in the room.

Sunayna sheepishly shook her head, ‘Nothing like I remembered.’

Amisha dryly remarked, ‘That’s often the way it is.’

Sunayna’s phone rang and she looked at Abhay’s flashing face for a long while.

Finally, she answered.  ‘Yes Abhay.  I am glad you called…. Yes, I think its time we met and had a serious talk…’

 

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