Eyes shut out of tiredness and longing. I waited for him at the gate of our dream house. Another long day had come to an end too quickly. I just wanted to keep my eyes closed a little longer, to take it all in. All the happiness I was feeling in my tired limbs and stiff back. The smell of freshly watered grass and sounds of birds chirping flying back to their nests, it all felt calm. Exactly how it was supposed to be. I felt a tiny raindrop on my head and realized tonight was going to be a short one.

The sound of his footsteps walking towards me got me excited. I could recognize the sound of his footsteps anywhere. Kids made fun of me for that all the time. They found it weird that their mom could literally hear their dad walking into any room without fail.

“Ok, we won’t be long, Naina. Please go back inside. And get on with your chores. It is late for you, sweetheart.”

“I am going to time you both tonight. You cannot leave us alone for so long. It is literally child abuse.”

Eyes still closed, I proudly smiled at our strong littlest one. The one who brought us closer and yet made sure we never made another baby after her. Older one was least interested in us, busy with her music and books.

“Ok, Naina, I hear you. And you are not alone. There are two more adults in the house.” He replied in his usual calm and caring yet I-am-in-a-rush tone.

My most favorite thing about this man I loved and who was of course my most favorite person on this planet was his enthusiasm to talk to me. We still listened to every stale story with the same enthusiasm. I don’t know how it happened but it just did. It was actually quite simple. He talked and I listened and vice versa. He was my best friend. The friend who understands the difference between chai and coffee moments. The one who loves your randomness the most.

We had known each other since as long as I could remember. Yet each night when we got ready for our nightly walk after dinner, I still felt the same excitement just like the first time, he had walked by my side. He had accompanied me to the local photo studio. That was 25 years ago. Thinking about it now I would call his behaviour ‘borderline stalker’. But then, it was his persistence that had made me fall for him. And of course along with many other reasons, why I agreed to have his children.

Naina had finally agreed to not time us as long as her dad dropped her to school tomorrow. That kid is a genius, I thought to myself.

He walked up to me feeling proud of himself, putting his arm on my shoulder and smiled.

“You ready, kiddo?”

I was only a few months younger to him, yet I was the kid in our relationship. I have no idea why?

I gave my usual in-love-with-you-forever smile and replied, “Always.”

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