These days, I see him taking longer to dress. There was a time when I would have to nag him and nag him to get him to do anything for me or around the house. Nag him till he wakes up, nag him till he gets out of bed, nag him to switch off the TV or fold up the newspaper to go take a shower, nag him to dress, to eat, to drink his coffee, to leave home in time to get to work. Then I would have a 10 hour break. Once he is back in the evening, I’d have to start nagging him again; and to do the simplest of things, even if just for himself. I’d have no choice. He’d give me no choice. It was as though he had taken a dip is the waters of Lethe. And then he would get irritable, and angry because I was nagging him. It was a vicious cycle. Every night, I would fall exhausted into bed, after finishing all the chores by myself. He would’ve fallen promptly asleep immediately after dinner.
I see him every day now. Well. He works with me, so in a way, it is inevitable that I see him everyday. But I see him everyday now. He walks up to me, every morning, with a cup of coffee in his hand for me, coffee just the way I like it. And he is always sharply dressed. And as I sip on the coffee, I try and take in whatever I can of him. While he talks. He talks as though he has been waiting to talk all his life. Waiting for me. Waiting for now. He tells me about everything he has done since the last time we touched, we spoke, we saw each other. Every minute is accounted for. And I laugh. I tell him he need not be so detailed, while secretly I want to hear more. He looks in my eyes and smiles. Then he continues from where I had interrupted him, perfectly…every expression exactly in place. And I listen while I sip on my coffee and try and take in whatever I can of him.
But these days, something is different. He has started coming out with me when I go out for random shopping or other errands. He seems to be taking longer and more care to dress for work. When we go out, he takes a lot of pictures, even if we are out for groceries, even if it is just for a casual dinner because we happened to be out at dinner time. Pictures of the place we are in, and of himself smiling broadly into the camera, and one odd of me without warning, as though I was just part of the landscape, as though he felt obliged to take one of me after taking so many of himself. “Look Natural,” he would say then. It is as though he has suddenly come alive, suddenly found a reason to do things, even menial things. But the reason is not me. For he still doesn’t talk to me, still doesn’t look at me. Barely tastes the food I make, or acknowledges the things I do for him. It’s like I’m a third person, there only in spirit if at all; a tiny gear, that ensures that his life goes on smoothly but tiny enough to not be visible.