The sky appeared ominous in brown without a tinge of blue. The howls and growls of the wind reverberated in the ears. The parched summer earth looked ill-prepared to welcome the sudden onslaught of the monsoon.
From one of the coffee corners of the office, Jayshree stood alone, looking out of the window.
Five minutes earlier, she was laughing and gossiping with her colleagues in the office cafeteria. Lunch hour was meant for letting her hair down with the gang of girls she had befriended at the office. The vagaries of changing made for an animated discussion while the girls savoured the delicacies from each other’s lunch boxes.
Prerna and Jayshree had both picked that orange colour bowl at the same time, and their hands brushed. Jayshree had felt a sudden electric wave run through her from top to toe and had almost spilt the bean soup on the table.
“Whoa! Take it easy, Jayshree,” Preeti had remarked.
Jayshree had heard the words without listening to them. The world around her became incidental as Prerna and she exchanged glances. Jayshree was afraid that the thumping of her heart would ricochet across the office cafeteria.
“I am done.” She had abruptly excused herself from the table before sprinting to the coffee corner on the opposite wing, aware that it would be desolate during lunch hour.
So, this is it, she reflected as it became apparent why she didn’t enjoy the sporadic dates with men and dreaded the parade of suitors lined up by her parents.
She had brushed off the thought in earlier instances, but there’s no escaping the truth now.
Jayshree was a woman who liked women.
She closed her eyes and clutched the curtain as glum and glee engulfed her in equal measure. What would her parents say? How would society react? Will she still have her job after coming out?
Her eyes were still closed when a hand touched her shoulder. The same sensation Jayshree had felt in the cafeteria overpowered her worries, and she opened her eyes.
Prerna was standing next to her. “I knew I would find you here,” she said.
“I am shit scared, Prerna,” Jayshree cried and hugged the woman who, till a few minutes back, was just a friend. Prerna patted Jayshree’s back without saying a word. Gradually, the tears dissolved into a sense of peace that had eluded Jayashree for a long time.
The two extricated themselves from the prolonged embrace, holding on to each other’s hands.
“I love you, Jayshree. We will face everyone and everything together,” Prerna remarked.
Jayshree’s lips widened into a smile. The storm inside her had given way to a measured calm. She glanced outside the window and was struck by the beauty of the rainbow embellishing the afternoon sky.
The two walked out of the room together, hand in hand.
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