Thundering applause broke her from her reverie. So lost was she in her thoughts, that she did not even realize that the presentation had ended. People trickled to congratulate him on his new position. She decided that she had shown enough professionalism. She could not go and wish him luck for his new post. She swiveled to exit but before she could even touch the doorknob his gravelly voice reverberated in her, “A word, Ms. Suchitra, if you don’t mind?” Her heart thundered and her inner self danced in jubilation, “He recognized her! He had noticed her in the meeting!” But her mind cautioned her to be very very wary, “Do not fall in the trap again. He is just a manager. First time, he broke your heart. Do not let him break your career this time. You have a daughter. He might be the father but he doesn’t know about her. You cannot afford a mistake this time.”
She stood there transfixed, torn between her mind and her heart. Slowly, rest of the world faded away and there were only two intimate strangers in the room.
He offered her a seat, “Suchitra, how have you been? It has been a long time. How are you? And what are you doing here? Five years ago, you were an artist and today you are attending a high powered marketing meeting!! Wow. When I saw your name on the list, I did not dare to believe. And now you are here- a pure business executive.” But his voice faded as he noticed her silence.
With a frigidness threaded in his voice he continued, “Oh I am sorry I thought you to be someone else. She just looked like you though she was warm and receptive. But now I realize she only had existed in my dreams. I think I have wasted your precious time. Sorry once again.” With that, he just left the office.
Suchitra wanted to cry and break down. She wanted hurl things at him, remind him that betrayal has been his. She wanted to tell him the she was not his puppet to be at his beck and call but the knowledge of her daughter in creche burned in her mind,reinforcing her silence and barricading her tears. She stoically followed to her workstation that unsaid words branded in her shattering heart.