Sentenced For Life is one the longest short stories I’ve written! 😉 I would love your feedback.
Sentenced For Life
Taking a sip of her first cup of coffee that morning, Sameera allowed her mind to wander down memory lane. And wander it did, taking her right back to a cold winter’s morning twenty five years ago.
Twenty five years ago, Sameera was twenty-three – a lovely young woman, full of energy and joie de vivre. Her job her to travel out of town for ten days of the month. During that time, she stayed in a hotel. She missed her Mum’s cooking and her parents, but she enjoyed these days in her own company too. She would get up late, have a leisurely breakfast and saunter down the road to the office. After work, she would wander around the shopping area close to the office. She was not a big shopper but enjoyed buying little things to take back home. She would then buy a snack – something sinful usually and eat it as she walked back to the hotel. Once back in her room, she would call her parents, read and watch television. Most evenings she would order room service for dinner. Although she was working, these ten days seemed like something of a holiday to her.
On that particular morning, Sameera was woken up by the telephone ringing in her hotel room. Half asleep, she picked up the phone. “Hello, sleepyhead,” said an unfamiliar male voice. “I’m waiting for you in the lobby.” “You’ve got the wrong number, sir,” Sameera responded, trying not to show her irritation. “You are Sameera, aren’t you?” the man asked. Now Sameera was well and truly awake. She wondered who this was and said so. “Come on. You don’t remember my voice? I’m so hurt,” the man said. Not ready to play games so early in the morning, Sameera banged the receiver down. He called again. “I’m waiting for you in the lobby. It’s completely safe to come down and find out who I am,” he said. She could almost hear a smile in his voice, and what a nice voice it was! Sameera’s natural curiosity won. “Okay, I’ll be down in twenty minutes, “she said looking at her watch and realizing it was only seven. “Twenty minutes?” he laughed. “You don’t need to dress up too much for me. The last time I saw you, you were wearing shorts!” Sameera didn’t find that funny at all. She wondered, “I haven’t worn shorts since I was seven years old. Who could this be?”
Having a quick wash, Sameera pulled on a pair of jeans and a tee-shirt, ran a brush through her hair and set off for the lobby. She looked for a familiar face in the lobby. The only people she saw at this time of the morning were the night receptionist and cashier. Irritated, and making a mental note to complain to the hotel manager, she started back for the elevator. Suddenly someone popped out from behind a pillar. “Sameera! You’re all grown up and you didn’t inform me!” said a tall and vaguely familiar looking man. “Who are you?” she said asked. “Isn’t it sad when one’s wife doesn’t recognize a man?” he laughed. Sameera blushed, then smiled. “Sanjay?” she asked. “After all these years. How did you know where to contact me?” “I visited your parents two days ago. They told me that you were in Bangalore. Since I was coming here, I asked them where you were staying. I decided to surprise you and asked them not to tell you.” “So you are going to continue that silly joke,” she asked. “It was never a joke,” he answered.
Sanjay’s parents and her parents had been friends for years. Sanjay and her brother Karthik were classmates. Whenever Sanjay, seven years older than Sameera, met her he would tease her saying that she was his wife and he was just waiting for her to grow up. Both sets of parents thought the whole thing was hilarious. Sanjay’s parents even referred to her as their daughter-in-law. Sanjay had gone off to study and his parents moved away to another city and it was about twelve years since they had met. She blushed thinking of how he had been her fantasy husband through her teen years.
“Sameera,” a loud voice brought her back to the present. “Coming. Do you want your coffee now?” she said as she walked in to the bedroom where her husband was still lazing around. “Get up, lazy bones. We have a long day ahead of us,” she said. “Remind me again why we’re celebrating our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary” he grumbled. “I’ve been married to you all your life, remember?” “Yes,” she nodded. “I’ve been sentenced for life.”