Aisha was at the airport. She hated crowds. She hated noisy annoying kids. She hated flying. She looked around the airport, wondering for the 137th time as to why she had decided to take a flight in the first place. Why couldn’t she have just trained it! Of course it wasn’t so bad at the airport, if you could just shut everything out. Forget everything. And that was the reason why, she remembered she was flying out. She was ready to forget. She was ready to move on. As she tried to find a seat in the crowded hall, she started thinking about Ashley. Her Ashley. Ash. She smiled.
It had been a day like any other, normal enough. She had woken up to find Ashley still asleep next to her, the duvet completely wrapped around him. Typical. Atleast it was predicted to be a hot sunny day. She had gotten out of bed after about half an hour of tossing and trying to get some of the duvet from under Ashley. Walking into the kitchen, she had switched on the kettle and looked out of the window; it was grey. So much for weather forecasts.
Ashley stirred. She took out the cups and started making his coffee. Ashley loved his coffee. “Posh coffee”, she had called it when Ashley had tried to initiate her to his favourite Italians. She almost added the instant coffee when she heard him yell, “Don’t add that crap in my cup. Make me a proper cup, couldn’t you?”
She didn’t respond. It was too early for a fight.
“I am already late. Why couldn’t you just bloody wake me up sooner?”
She couldn’t find the coffee spoons. Ashley had not done the dishes last night. He had again been late getting back from work. She heard the bathroom door slam as she started cleaning a couple of spoons. Ashley. She had known the moment she had met him that she was hooked. Ms. Aisha. Clean freak. Organised to the point of OCD. She had not even given it a second thought when on their first date, she had woken up to find his clothes on the floor and cigarette butts all over her gleaming bathroom and Persian rugs. Her Ashley. Ash.
“I will be late again tonight”.
She had lost time. She had no idea when she had finished making breakfast; when she had got to the table. Ashley was saying something.
“Hello… Earth calling Aisha. Are you even listening to me?”
She stopped stirring the coffee, put the spoon down, looked at him and nodded. He rarely smiled these days. “Stress at work.”, he always seems to insist.
“I will be late again today.” He repeated. “Don’t wait up. Might even need to stay the night. Big project. And for heaven’s sake, don’t sulk like last time. In case you haven’t noticed, I am not exactly sitting around with children singing nursery rhymes the entire day.”
“I teach high school Chemistry Ash.”
“Yeah well, your shopping trips cost a pretty penny sweetheart. So don’t complain.”
She looked at him, sighed and handed him his coffee. They finished breakfast in silence. He was complaining about the coffee tasting stale, but she was couldn’t concentrate. She would throw the coffee jar after he left. When had it started going so very wrong?
She locked the door after him and sat at the computer. After staring at the screen for about 15 minutes, she started cleaning the kitchen. Good thing about school holidays was that everything got done exactly how she liked it. She cleaned out all her papers, sorted her bills, cleared out the kitchen cabinet making sure to throw out the coffee. The house looked spotless. She went back to sit in front of the computer. At 10:30, she got the call. Ashley had had an accident. He had died on the spot. She had been called to identify the body.
She had not cried at the police station. She had not cried at the morgue. She had not cried throughout the investigation. They said it had been a heart attack. “Heart attack at 30? That’s just plain unfortunate.” The officers had treated her very kindly. “Stress kills!” they had whispered, shaking their heads at each other while looking on at the stoic girlfriend.
The gate had just been announced. Gate number 10. She was finally beginning to feel a bit relaxed. She showed her ticket to the lady at the gate and was ushered to her aisle seat. She buckled on her seat belt, opened her bag, took out a tattered, folded card and read:
My darling Ash,
Can’t believe it’s been 8 whole hours since I have felt your touch on my skin. I simply can’t wait to have you back in my arms tonight. Just make sure you do not run away like last night. I hate not waking up with you. Tell you what, just to sweeten the deal, how about you get to have your coffee in bed? Just say you will stay.
Missing making love to you.
The flight was about to land.
Aisha put the folded card in the waste bag the air-hostess was holding open for her. Darling Ashley. Her Ashley. He really did love his coffee. Smiling, Aisha walked out of the flight.