I stand silently behind you as you fumble with your keys. I know you get clumsy when nervous. “Put it in properly”, I say, followed by, “That’s what she said.” And collapse into giggles. I can feel you roll your eyes at me. Well, you know I make horrible jokes when nervous.

I follow you into the apartment, not really knowing what to expect. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I knew I’d end up here the moment we bumped into each other at the reunion. “Sorry about the mess”, you grin, hands gesturing vaguely around the apartment. “I’ve seen worse”, I keep a deliberately casual voice, but we both are thinking of your hostel room with its tousled sheets and broken bathroom door.  

“The guest bathroom is down the hall, second door to your left”. I quickly go in, and wash the muck off my sari, cursing the speeding cab driver who splashed puddle water on me. Smelling freshly brewed coffee, I walk outside to see 2 steaming mugs on the table. I grab my hot cuppa gratefully and sink into your couch. There are photos of you on the wall opposite – graduation day, Rishikesh trip, first day at work, your sister and nephew, your wedding day … your honeymoon trip. A time capsule of the last 15 years. A catalogue of our time apart. 

“So… good turnout at the alumni meet today, no?” you turn to me. “Yes, 110 out of 150 attended – 73 % approximately” I reel off like a moron junior associate presenting campaign performance numbers. I can almost see “topic bubbles” floating above our heads, while we grab at them randomly to fill in the silence of our conversation. Unable to take any more inane chatter, I drain my coffee in a gulp and walk over to the kitchen to place the empty mug.

I hear you come up behind me. You whisper into my ear, “I missed you”.  I turn around and melt into your arms, breathing in your scent, tickled by your stubble, resting my head on that chest like you loved. You move on to planting soft kisses on the inside of my wrist and elbow. Immediate jolts of pleasure. It’s like the past 15 years never happened. What was it you said on our first date – insane chemistry, instant sparks.

“Leave before you end up doing something you’ll regret, you dumb fool”, a voice in my head growls. “Like full-blown-make-out-followed-by-nostalgic-sex?” my overactive imagination is in control now.  “Leave now”, the voice-of-reason insists coldly. The doorbell rings, interrupting my internal battle between halo-and-horns.

“I’d ordered pizza”, you grin sheepishly, “Give me 5 minutes. I’ll be right back”. I nod sagely, but inside I am all crabby and confused. Wait, what? You didn’t like pizza! You were the only weirdo on campus who hated Dominos night during study leave.

“It was the laundry guy”, you say, dumping a bundle of ironed clothes on the sofa. All your formal shirts, in every conceivable pastel shade. (you famously threatened to go naked to your campus interview rather than wear a salmon coloured shirt your roommate kindly offered).  I see neon green HIS and HERs yoga mats in the room. Oh, you apparently wake up at the crack of dawn for “yog”? Errr ok… people change. (but chemistry’s constant, I guess).

Your phone rings. It’s an office call, you inform me. I shrug and wait some more for that blessed pizza (my inner voices are strangely silent – voice-of-reason is confused and overactive imagination is suppressing giggles).

Good God, you’re using words like “hyperscalar synergies” and “core information triggers” and “growth hacking” and “derivative actionables”! With an actual human being!!

F### chemistry. I collect my things, pick up my bag and rush out of there, throwing a rushed goodbye over my shoulder, ignoring your questions and plea to stay back. “Ha!” says my overactive-imagination to voice-of-reason. “who knew her safe word was “corporate gobbledygook”?”

4 thoughts on “Gobbledygook

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