The Nap

The Nap

The glass panel creaks as you drag the window open to walk out into the balcony. You check the laundry fluttering on the clothes stand. The clothes are still damp. You walk back into the room and close the window. The curtains, the ones with the big orange flowers that remind you of the gardens of the small hill town you grew up in, sway in the breeze that tries to push in. 

You turn away from the window and your eyes fall on the bed. You made it in the morning with military precision. The green counterpane is smooth, with nary a wrinkle on it. The afternoon sun streaming through the french window collects on the bed, forming a yellow patch.  The yellow puddle sends out a siren call, beckoning. Your back, aching after completing the household chores, wants to answer the call. 

Your eyes glance at the Alexa on the bedside table. Its blue dial blinks two pm. 

You chew your lower lip. Your mind and body war with each other. The body wins.

Slowly, you walk closer and lie down on the bed. The bed creaks softly as it takes your weight.  You can almost hear your back sighing in relief as the thick IKEA mattress cradles your spine.  After a few minutes, you turn to one side, offering your back to the sun. The sun obliges, its rays warming your back. As the warmth seeps into your bones, your mind starts to wander.

Need to call ma. It’s been a week since I called her.

 Your thoughts jump.

 Do we have curd for dinner, you wonder? 

This leads you to run through the contents of the fridge. You mentally start making a list of the groceries that need to be ordered.  

The house is quiet, except for the noise from the road drifting into the room from the balcony. But that noise too is muted. Afternoon drowsiness seems to have afflicted humans, birds and vehicles. Another glance at Alexa shows 2:20 pm. 

A few more minutes, you promise yourself as you sink deeper into the mattress. You want to stretch out these precious minutes of rest. The sun’s warmth and your body’s tiredness conspire with each other.  You do not realise when your eyes flutter close. 

The strident tone of the doorbell jolts you awake. You sit up, disoriented. Hastily you climb out of bed. 

How could I doze off like this, the panicked thought runs through your mind. What if memsahib catches me?

Tucking your saree pallu into your waist, you straighten the counterpane. You give a quick glance around the room to make sure that everything is in place. The green counterpane is smooth, with nary a wrinkle on it. Its slight warmth can be blamed on the sun streaming in from the balcony windows.

The bell rings again, insistent. You rush to open it.

 “Sorry, I was in the washroom,” you lie, your tone subservient. 

The way a maid’s tone should be.

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