Happenstance Valentine

Sometimes I walk into a room and I know you have been thinking there. Early in the morning, stray sentences linger on the whiteboard. Open notebooks with lists and doodles lie on the table. A banana peel, an empty cup with a ring of tea with milk and sugar at the bottom, a crumpled tissue or two say you have been absorbed. As I pick up a tissue, tuck in a chair, and rinse out a tea cup, I am grateful for the bug you fixed, the idea that struck you, the tail of the dream you caught in the early hours of the morning. Quietly, happily, indulgently, I clear the table before I settle down to write.

When you come home, I tear my eyes away from my blinking cursor, my half full screen, my unfinished thought, to see you smiling. You are looking with indulgence at my mess now. A cup of chamomile tea gone cold, an open book or two, the yellow notebook you gave me, open with a sentence half written. A little different but the same. You are grateful for the snippet of conversation I overheard in the corridor, the photograph that slid out of the book my friend borrowed and returned, for that last sentence on my screen. You tip out my cold tea, rinse the cup clean, and we start to think of dinner together.

Indus Chadha believes we cannot exist or be understood without stories and spends much of her time reading and writing them. She earned a BA in Women’s Studies and English Literature from Smith College and an MFA in Creative Writing from the School of the Arts at Columbia University.

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