I Wish I Could Be Your Beau
by Geetashree Chatterjee
"I wish I could be your beau", said he.
"Whatttt????" I almost got choked over my steaming cup of coffee.
"Nnno..th..this is what is written here." Sabu stuttered.
We were childhood mates quite used to each other. Of course, the days of infancy were far left behind. Sabu was a software engineer in a multinational company. His rotund belly and unassuming persona belied a patient and diligent worker who had risen up the organizational ladder by sheer dint of merit and hard work.
I was an exact antithesis to his utter lack of charisma. With a commanding and aggressive presence I knew I could be quite overbearing at times. Sabu loved to read. I loved my horses and nurtured an obsession for dogs. How we endured each other was another of God?s crude jokes.
Coming back to the present, we were sitting in our garden one fine desultory afternoon when Sabu uttered those ostensible words.
"What are you reading?" I demanded
"A b..book of poems." Said he
"You and your poems." Sniggered I
"Nnno..they can be exulting." Countered Sabu for once.
"Sabu.." I tried to suppress the thunder in my voice
Sabu, in response, hid behind his book of poems.
"And why do you suppose you have come to see me, Sabu? If you choose to hide behind that book of yours", said I irritated after a while.
"I heard you were suffering from viral infection," replied Sabu. The worry in his tone was unmistakable.
"It is not viral, Sabu, just a mild fever." I was tired.
Sabu's concern sometimes bore down on me.
"And what have you been up to? Eating those junks and upsetting your stomach?" I had the immense pleasure of rebuking him, in return.
"Just a mild indigestion!" Was the quiet answer.
The surprising streak of fondness between two people poles apart could have contributed majorly to a discourse on psychological analysis.
"Sabu, what makes me think that my ill health is not the only reason which has brought you here" A perceptive note crept into my question.
Sabu positively squirmed in his seat. Cleared his throat. Almost kept the book aside and then as an afterthought covered his face once again with the hard bound volume.
My impatience had the better of me (which always did).
"Sabu, I am waiting!" I knocked on the book.
"Welll, I I I thought it would be a better idea to have..have you stay with me...no..no..have me around you."
"Oh ! Why so?" I exclaimed. Astonishment overtaking anger.
"What with your parents settled abroad and you taking care of the farm
all by yourself, I thought it would be a good idea if you had company." Sabu let out these strings of word without a pause and then took a deep breath as though he had finished a marathon in record time.
"How would that be possible? You stay quite far away...in the city...and I am here in the outskirts?How will I look after the studs and my dogs?" I had still not got over the suddenness of the proposal.
"We can think of something. You already have a few good and loyal hands helping you around." Sabu sounded confident.
"And how can I just settle into your urban world. Pray on what pretext?" I frowned still a little taken aback by Sabu's suggestions.
"No...I mean yes.. I have thought of that as well.." Sabu looked clumsier than ever.
"How?" I asked briefly
"Well..I can mmm marry you..no...no.. you can mmm ma marry me..ucchh..we can b b both mm marry each other.."
Sabu's stammerings hung mid air as I leapt forward, snatched the book from his hands and looked at him directly, " Are you proposing for my hand Sabu?" I did not know how a tingle of joy had imperceptibly sloshed my tone.
In my fit of ecstasy I ignored the beads of perspiration on Sabu's forehead. As he mopped his brows with a mini towel his palms reminded me of freshly baked breads straight from the oven.
But never mind all that. Sabu had at last consented to be my beau. That was all that was important. I had been waiting to hear these words from him for such a long time...almost since my teens. This was one of the reasons why I had stayed back in India supposedly to look after the farm. I had almost given up hopes. But now in my late twenties I had eventually won my moment.
We got married a month later. It was butter-smooth arrangement. Sabu did not leave any stone unturned to make the day less than perfect for me. We were on the wings of exuberance.
However, it was just a quaint remark from one of the guests that I overheard which made me wonder and still does.
As I was getting down from the dias at the end of the evening that I stopped still for a moment hearing a giggly voice call out to another, 'Hey! Doesn't the groom look like a happy, contented Labrador?'
Well! I was in no mood to pay heed to the caustic tongues of inquisitive busy bodies. The significant event was that we were together...forever. End