Tenderness is a fleeting spot of time, sandwiched somewhere between waking and drifting back to sleep. I open my eyes just so, and I see VC bug-eyed-glasses on his face, windcheater zipped up, and helmet strapped on. The sun is not even out and he’s off for his morning cycle ride. But not without stopping to kiss me good-morning and goodbye. I’m not awake to register it all, but I take it in, in spurts. Like tenderness. Sandwiched between waking and drifting back to sleep.
I turn over and slip away. Comfort is that blanket of repose that spreads over me, as the seconds tick down one at a time, and I get drowsier, giving in to deep slumber that hits me like a flat-line. The pillow just right, cupping my head full of unruly hair, a light sheet jammed between my knees so they don’t touch, my palms sandwiched between my chin and chest. And its easy to let go and drift away into the white noise.
I wake up some time later. I’m not sure how long. The din of falling rain as it slams the parapet above my bedroom window. Strong, persistent and showing no signs of ceasing. I peek out, and the sun is struggling to shine, creeping up from behind the grey clouds looming large. The balcony doors have swung open on their own. I walk out and feel the rain come in. Peace is that bristly, feathery sprinkling of rain on my face. I’m awake now. Arms outstretched over the balcony, I reach out to touch the rain, which is now coming down in big bullets. The street is quiet, nothing moving except the coconut trees swaying, and holding fort in the face of the anything-but-gentle breeze.
Suddenly I hear a pair of wheels turn the corner. Making contact as they crunch the wet gravel and head back home. Pedals circle wildly, and on it a grinning VC. Joy is all-encompassing, like the downpour that drenches an obsessive newbie cyclist to the bone, bug-eyed glasses, helmet, windcheater and all. I see him. I smile. And then I’m really awake.