"Ten years to the day...It's strange, isn't it Gaurav?" she asked looking at him "Ahh...you've something on your face again but I thought I wiped it off this morning!" and she took out her handkerchief to wipe the smudge off his face.
"Not too chatty today, is it?" she sighed and sat next to him reading. This was her daily routine, talking to him, reading him stories from his favorite books and filling him in about her relatives and friends in between.
"So Anita has been calling me for over a month now to see her new cat Muggles" said Bani in between reading from Wuthering Heights out loud.
"But how can I leave you here it's not that she would like me bringing you along!" she continued "Maybe I can go and come back in a day eh?" and just as she said that in came her brother Bikram.
"Staying in again sis?" he said smiling but that vanished as soon as his eyes fell on Gaurav.
*** 10 years back ***
"Bani?" said Gaurav holding the phone close to him "Are you still there?"
"Uh hun" came the feeble response from the other end.
"Don't be upset Bani" said Gaurav in a calming tone "We'll be fine. Don't you want to be with me?"
"Of-course I do" said Bani sitting by her bedroom window looking at the train tracks and for a moment losing track of the fact that she was on the phone.
"Bani?" called Gaurav again.
"Yes.." she said "I do want to be with you..but a registered marriage?"
"Bani...we don't belong to the same caste" he said "You know they're never going to agree."
"Hmm..." she said touching the ring that Gaurav had gifted her "Okay...let's do it."
"Good" he said "We'll meet at the station and then go to the court tomorrow. Okay?"
"Okay..." she said "Oh and Gaurav don't be late!"
*** Present Day ***
"What?" Bani said standing up"I'm just reading Bikram..what's there to get so upset about?"
"Because you are reading to the picture of Gaurav...When will you realize that he has left, it has been ten years already...the day he took the train out was the end of what you had...Move on sis..don't do this to yourself! Not anymore I beg of you"
At this Bani looked out of the window and saw the train pass by, again thinking 'The trees, the houses and the track, all oddly quiet today Gaurav. Not a thing has changed since you left. Seasons perhaps but everything else seems to be frozen in time. I even have a few grays now you know. Oh and don't mind Bikram he just loves me too much. You know they say you always wanted to leave me, this was always your intent. But I don't believe them. I have to wait for you. I can't stop now after coming so far. Maybe a decade back I could have but not now! But I often wonder what was really your intent when you left like that?'
*** 10 years back***
"Where are you Gaurav? It's been four hours already!" thought Bani waiting at the station. She was beginning to get restless now. Looking at the entrance of the station at one moment and at her watch the next, she wondered what could have been keeping Gaurav from getting there.
It was already dark now and she had to go home so she decided to leave and call Gaurav from home. Maybe it was an emergency that had held him back. There was nothing to worry she thought. But just when she was about to walk out of the station her eyes fell on him seated on a moving train.
But before she could fathom anything or even bat an eyelid the train passed. Their eyes only met momentarily when he seemed to say something to her, a sorry maybe.
Bani didn't know what struck her then but she kept standing there until her brother brought her back home that night.
*** Present Day***
Bani picked up Gaurav's picture from the table and turning to Bikram said "All I want is to keep leading my life the way I've been, hoping for Gaurav to return without being judged. Of-course, this wasn't the life I had planned for but then this is all I now know.Don't make it any harder please"as in their minds through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.
Word count: 750
Linking this to yeahwrite's the speakeasy #154 with the prompt which entails including the following sentence as the LAST line of the submission: “Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.” and also a reference to the media prompt- Intent by Tanmay Shah.