Constant (Tamil Short Story)

Constant

 

Parani liked to wake up at exactly 7:00 AM everyday.  He liked his coffee bitter, with just a single lump of sugar and exactly two teaspoons of creamer, the vanilla-flavored one.  He liked his morning paper folded in such a way that he’d always see the front page before anything else.  He liked his clothes arranged neatly in rows, organized according to color.  He liked shoes placed side by side, always at the same spot beneath his sock drawer.  He liked his documents filed alphabetically.  He liked his desk clean and free of clutter, with the pen-holder always placed on the upper right corner.  He liked everything to be arranged in the exact same way he wanted them to be. 

 

You see, Parani was the kind of person who liked his life to be filled with constancy.

 

He operated on the belief that if everything in life was in its place, constant and reliable, then life would be easier to handle.  After all, people overcome their problems by sorting them out, surely if the little things sorted out, then there’s more time for those bigger problems, and thus, life would be easier.

 

And indeed, the principle worked quite well with him.

 

He had a high-paying job, an apartment of his own, and a nice shiny car.  Few things in the world could faze him.  Yes, indeed, he had it made.  Everything in his life was under his own control…

 

…until she walked into his life in her shabby sneakers and her dowdy skirts.

 

“Hi Parani, remember me?”

 

Of course he did, he could recognize that high-pitched squeal anywhere.  Besides, no other woman he knew would want to wear those inch-thick glasses.

 

Aisha…

 

“What do you want?” he barked, crossing his arms in mock annoyance.

 

When she broke into a toothy grin, however, he couldn’t prevent his lips from turning upwards at the corners.  The half-frown/half-smile didn’t last long, however, as she tripped – in typical Aisha-fashion – and paper went flying everywhere, making a total mess of his office and making him break out into full-fledged laughter.

 

Aisha’s toothy grin, however, had disappeared and given way to an exasperated pout which he only caught a glimpse of since she immediately dropped to her knees and started picking up the papers.

 

“Aren’t you gonna help me, Parani?”

 

He was still laughing when he stood up and approached her, but he didn’t help her pick up the papers, however.  Instead, he pulled her up and enveloped her in a big hug.

 

“Welcome home, Aisha.”

 

Yes, indeed, she was the chaos in his order.  And yet, she was the one he wanted to stay constant the most.

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