Amidst Sandcastles - Chapter Four

Sana Rose By Sana Rose, 10th Sep 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

“Now, tell me why still, after ten years, you are the only one gobbling my pancakes,” she said with a voice that said she wouldn’t let him go until he told her the truth. “And Leno and the kids not with you.” Downing a glass of milk, Noah got up to his feet....

Chapter Four - Part One

Noah told Jean and Zinnia about his new home over dinner. And they were happy for him. Zack was fiddling with his fork and spoon over some cauliflower fries mumbling a rhyme to himself. Noah felt a tug of longing in his chest as he watched the little boy.
“So, you are in for real settling at last,” Jean observed.
“You have no idea how much!” Noah laughed.
“What are you trying to say?” Zinnia asked smiling at Noah. “Don’t tell me you have met a new lady.”
“I have,” Noah gave a sly smile. “She happens to be next door.”
Jean frowned at Noah. “You went to a real estate agency only?”
“Yeah, the best!” Noah laughed at the expression on Jean and Zinnia’s faces. “Selena happens to be next door,” he said boyishly.
Jean and Zinnia’s jaws dropped together. “Wow!” was all they could say.
“Yeah… wow…” Noah looked down at supper. “Last supper for a long time. I will miss you guys, you know…”

*

Selena watched her daughters across the table as they sleepily helped themselves to the lasagna.
“Isn’t it tasty enough?” she asked.
“Of course, it is, Mama,” Pris said tiredly. “Playing makes us really sleepy.”
“That’s good, honey,” Selena finished her food. “Who wants milk?”
The girls shrugged. “Not me,” Rene said. “You, Pris?”
“No,” she replied. “I’m cool.”
“You are sleepy,” Selena said. “I’ll clean up. You go to bed, both of you.”
“Thanks, Doctor,” Rene smiled sleepily. “You sure you don’t want help?”
“Sure, go on,” Selena nodded. She wanted some time alone.
She finished the works as fast as she could. Locking every door, she made her way up to her bedroom. Lying in the bed, she thought things over. She didn’t know what she wanted anymore. She had a few things to find out. Some things to confirm. And she was startled when the phone on the bedside table rang. For a moment, she was utterly confused whether or not to take the call at this time. It was nearly ten and she wondered who it could
be. Not an emergency from the hospital, there were residents assigned to that on duty. She never had to worry about it.
She reached out and took the phone from its cradle.
“Dr. Rosche here,” she said the usual way.
“Hi, Leno,” the voice on the other end said softly.
Selena was panicked suddenly. Not now.
“Who’s this?” she asked, not knowing what else to say. It hurt to say that, she realized because it would have hurt him, too.
“Dr. Sehnor, if that’s how you like it,” Noah’s boyish voice said from the other end, not hiding the hurt her question had caused.
“Listen, I –” Selena began but Noah interrupted her.
“Leno, I just called to hear you,” he said. “Not to disturb you. But I want to tell you something.”
What do you have to tell me after ten years, Noah?” Selena asked sharply. Her temples throbbed and she felt blood run to her ears.
Noah felt a lump in his throat and he wondered how ever he was going to make things okay. Make peace with her, let alone make love with her.
“What?” Selena asked again sharply. As if she wanted to hear it from him. She heard Noah’s sigh. A tired sigh. A sigh
that made her feel exhausted, too. “Tell me, and get finished with it,” she added.
“I love you, Leno,” Noah whispered into the phone. “I just wanted to tell you I still love you after all these years. Can you tell me you don’t love me, too? Then I’ll get over with it.” He said it fast as if he didn’t want her to hear it or be interrupted.
Selena’s heart hammered madly and her hand quivered. Her lips trembled when she talked.
“I don’t want to talk to you, Noah Sehnor, about anything,” she said trying to calm her voice, but she knew it wouldn’t help her, Noah would sense it. He had that psychic quality about him when it came to her. “Don’t contact me again.”
Noah gritted his teeth trying to bite down the temper that rose suddenly.
“What are you running from, Selena?” he snapped. “What the hell are you running from?”
“You know from what, only you know that!” she said angrily. “I won’t entertain someone steaming at me at this hour.”
“Do you know what a second chance is?” Noah asked ignoring what she told.
Did you?” Selena’s question was quick and Noah noted the past tense in it.
“I’m sorry, Leno,” he whispered in defeat.
“A sorry is not meant to change things after ten years, Noah,” Selena said. “Right now, I’m saying sorry, for now and forever.” And she slammed down the phone and lay back on her bed, her face buried in the soft fluffy pillow. Her heart hurt like hell. The phone rang two more times and then stopped. But her tears didn’t. And the rain was heavy outside.
She knew it was easy to take a second chance and just live life as she liked it. Patch up with Noah and make up for all those lost years. But what she was afraid of was where it would leave her and the girls.
She cried into her pillow for a long time and then rolled on to her back and lay there staring at the ceiling. She pulled the warm quilt up to her chin. She wanted protection. She wanted to be cared for. But she didn’t want to be hurt. Not again. She hugged herself to calm her heart. She was feeling like an adolescent. Insecure and afraid. Unable to analyze her own feelings. Just like that she lay there and she didn’t know at what time she fell asleep.
She knew it when she woke up the next morning because her head hurt and she couldn’t open her eyes when Rene and Pris came up to see why their mother wasn’t up yet. She had slept very late.
*

It was Friday. Tomorrow would be Saturday. The weekend. And a second Saturday, too. Selena couldn’t wait to be with her girls for two days. They would go out for a picnic to St. Jacinto’s Island, have a good time lazing in the beach and have ice creams and do some shopping in the afternoon. Then they would go to Bianca’s Café and have coffee and snacks. And then they would drive to Jean and Zinnia’s and visit them and they would take chocolates for little Zack. And then they would – but Noah was staying there. She didn’t want to see him. Damn. It had been two weeks since she had visited them the last time. She would just call and –
The phone rang, startling her. She hated it when the phone startled her. And it did a lot, these days. Her hands still trembling, she reached for the telephone on her desk. It was Ms. Liston on the line, the receptionist in her Department.
“Ma’m, aren’t you back in your consulting room yet?” Liston’s crisp voice said. “The patients are waiting.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Selena stammered. “Send the next one in.”
Selena buttoned her white coat and hurried out to her consulting room, closing the door of her office room behind her.
A young woman and her husband were already in the consulting room. Selena took her seat behind the desk and gestured to them.
“Sit down, please,” she said with a smile – her compassionate smile for the patients. “Make yourself comfortable.”
The couple sat down across from her and the husband glanced at his wife who nodded slightly. Then she spoke.
“We have been married for two years,” the woman hesitated. “But-”
“Wait,” Selena held out her hand for the consultation card. She took it from the woman and checked it. “Mr. and Mrs. Trance, is it?”
“Yeah, Lara Trance,” the woman replied. “And my husband Paul Trance.”
“Okay, so tell me what you started.” Selena flipped open the card and took her pen from a pen-holder nearby.
“Well, we’ve been married for two years,” the woman began nervously. Selena saw Paul Trance reach out and take his wife’s hand in his reassuringly. Selena gazed at their hands for a long moment.
“Go on,” she said to Lara Trance. “Feel free.”
“We haven’t been able to have a child even after two years,” the woman said in a worried voice. “I’m so worried.”
“You don’t have to be, Lara,” Selena said comfortingly. She addressed her patients with their first names so that they felt less formal and relaxed with her. She could pull out the full details most of them hesitated to say. “It’s been only two years. You have plenty of time, right? Let’s do some examination now.” Selena got up and led Lara to the examination table behind a blue-green curtain. “We’ll be right back, Paul,” she said to the man.
As she was doing the pelvic examination, Lara gazed at Selena for a long moment. When Selena finished and looked at her, Lara’s eyes were tearful. Selena raised her brows. This was not the first time she was seeing this. But she felt something different now. Not as a doctor, but as a woman.
“You okay?” she asked softly.
The tears flowed down and Lara nodded in between them. “Yeah, yeah, I’m being silly, I know,” Lara stammered.
“It’s okay, please sit up now,” Selena consoled and helped Lara sit up. “It’s all right to be silly in front of me. I can understand.”
“Doctor, will I ever have babies?” Lara asked desperately.
“Sure!” Selena wiped Lara’s tears. She was a beautiful girl. “You are only twenty-three. You could have babies till forty, if you want, you know?” As she said it, Selena felt a
haunting feeling in her heart. In her womb. When ever was she going to have these worries?! She knew it would be never. She had the girls and they were happy and that’s all that ever mattered.
“Is there any prescription?” Lara’s voice interrupted her.
“No, not yet,” Selena said, leading her out to the room. “Get a USG - Pelvis done and report to me next Friday.” Selena jotted down some things in the consultation card after a few more questions and gave it back to them. “And keep doing the pregnancy tests every time – well, you know. It’s quite reliable. And Lara, give the thought some rest. I suggest you find something to do instead of being a full-time house wife. If your husband doesn’t mind, of course.” Selena shrugged. “It’s nice to have a pleasant surprise when you are not thinking about it.” She smiled at them genuinely. “Get rid off the negative energy.”
Paul Trance shrugged. “It’s okay with me,” he said. “I didn’t think it was really necessary when she dropped her reporter job at the Static Change to start a family.”
“You worked at the Static Change?!” Selena was impressed. “I remember you did quite sensational pieces even almost a year back. The Lara Trance!”
“I’m flattered,” Lara smiled sheepishly. “You read it?”
Static Change is good,” Selena said, smiling at the fact that it was the only magazine she bought at home. “It was quite a nice surprise anyway. I think you should go back. They’ll take you back for sure.”
“It’s the first thing on the to-do list from now,” Lara said cheerfully.
“Good girl,” Paul gave a peck on her blushed cheek. Then he turned to Selena. “I’m so grateful; she has been so frantic lately. Depressed and cross.” He glanced at his wife mischievously. “It’s a little difficult to put up with that.” He winked.
Selena couldn’t stop smiling. “You both are lucky to have each other, just thought you should know that.” She glanced from Paul to Lara and back at Paul. “Take good care of her. Nothing to worry.”
When the young couple left, reassured and happy, Selena couldn’t help herself from feeling a little jealous. This had been the life she had dreamt of always. Young, vibrant, dreamy and full. Worried about her husband and kids. Running around to make things easier for them. Cook for them, feed them. And tuck the blankets under their chins.
Rene and Pris’ arrival had brought along a total change in her supposed life. She had given up her life - marriage, a husband, a home for them. Everything. She felt guilty for thinking like this now, when the girls needed her most. Sighing, she reached for the desk bell and hit it for the next patient. Life is not always what you think it is, her father used to say. When ever had it been what she thought it was? She didn’t know. Never since her father’s departure.

Chapter Four - Part Two

Noah woke up late and it took him a few moments to realize he had been dreaming it all. He didn’t want hope. Not now. Not when she had made it clear that he stood no chance. And here he was having fantastic dreams. It haunted him how much they had loved to kiss sitting in his car, parking it in some shadow at nights they went out together for dinner and he was going to take her back to her apartment she shared with her friends. And the dream had been just that. They had been kissing in his car, reaching out for each other across the gear. It felt so real. Noah pursed his lips and let go a sigh. A desperate sigh. The sigh of a loser, was what Dad called it. Never sigh like that, and Dad used to add.
Half an hour later, he was all set. He had packed his things up and had a shower and dressed in his white linen shirt and khakis. He had a place to go. He dragged his trunk down the stairs.
There was a note from Jean on the dining table which said they hadn’t wanted to wake him up and they were leaving for work and they would see him in the evening. Not today, he thought as he stooped down and scribbled a note behind Jean’s note. Going to Dad’s, was all he wrote. Jean would understand. He would call him later. If he called now, Jean would want to talk about it. But Noah hadn’t decided about the whole day ahead, so there wouldn’t be anything to tell Jean and he would definitely think something was wrong.
Noah hauled the trunk to the back of the car and got in behind the wheel. He was going home until home was ready here. He had a lot to tell Dad. And about the tragic demise of his dear Pink-and-blue Mickey Mouse timepiece. He wanted to tell him about Selena and ask if he had any idea other than trying to meet her. He wanted to ask Dad if he could ever marry and get settled with a normal life than being a DD – Drifting Doctor – like some local friends called him when he was in San Francisco for a while.
He had lived half a year there and made some good friends during that time. And shared his story with them. And they had called him DD when he told them it was the seventh place he was in after he had left home in Goa.
So he had quite a bunch of questions to ask his only advisor – Dad. Noah drove faster and got into the main traffic. It was ten in the morning. He would call Jean when he reached his destination and ask him to send over someone to get his new house cleaned and dusted. The key was at the agency itself. He had said he would get it later. He was not good at keeping some things safe. He felt he realized it more now, now that he had nothing to lose. Only to gain. Regain, in fact.
What does real life taste like? Real settled life? A life with a wife you love, who cares for you and your children? What was life as a husband, as a father? He felt self-reproach for the first time. Self-reproach for ruining his own life. And hers, too. This was not the man he knew ten years ago. And not the Noah Selena knew, he now realized.
All his life till now, he had lived studying anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, surgery, microbiology, community medicine and practice and all those stuffs that added a Dr. in front of his name. But he had forgotten to learn that side of life that concerned others. He had left Selena because he had been stupid. And now he had paid for it with his life – by not having one. And now he wanted his dream-life back. Yes, he would win it back and-

Brakes screeched and horns honked loudly all around him and instinctively, Noah’s foot stamped on the brake and the car skidded to an abrupt halt throwing him bent over the steering wheel. His forehead hit the wheel and for some moments he was unconscious. Hey, I’m a good driver! What happened just now?
Noah’s eyes fluttered open in astonishment when someone knocked hardly on his window glass. He sat back in his seat and inhaled deeply to regain his composure. The man outside his car gestured to him. He was telling him to lower his window glass. The man looked frantic.
Noah lowered the window glass and looked out at him in confusion. Luckily, he had turned to the side and stopped just a few feet away from the foot path. The pedestrians had been spared.
“Are you okay, young man?” the man outside asked. “You were not driving properly. You ought to be charged! It could have been a big accident if the other cars hadn’t stamped their brakes, too. Be careful, will you?”
Noah nodded and raised the window glass and caught his own reflection in the rear-view mirror. He looked pale and shocked. And there was a light red bruise on his forehead, in the left corner. He started his car and steered it off to the road again. He rubbed his forehead with his thumb. It throbbed under his
fingers. If this was his condition, he would soon end up in the hospital in plasters and bandages, if he didn’t die before that.
He took speed and headed to his hometown. Where he had been born and where he had lived with his dad. Where he had grown up and gone to school. Where he had made his first friends and played and fought in the grounds. Where he had learned the first lessons of friendship and love. Where he had chosen his career. Where he had gone to the medical college. Where he had made the best friends ever. Where he had gotten so much experience in the world. Where he had met Selena Rosche, the beautiful hazel-eyed girl with the most enchanting smile he had ever seen. Where some unexpected problems had risen and ruined the pleasant equilibrium of their lives… Where they had said goodbyes ten years ago… Those panic-stricken times of confusion and chaos… It all seemed so close… Close to the heart… He wanted to forget it all… But he knew the truth.
Forgetting was impossible.

*

As he steered the car over the gravel path to the freshly raked driveway, he caught sight of Tara peeking through an open window, through a gap in the thick old curtains. He parked his rental car in the garage beside his shining old blue BMW and got out of the old shack. No more rentals, he thought as he hauled out the traveler bag and his trunk from the back of the car. His old princess have been abandoned for a decade. He had to take her out this time. He knew Tara kept it dusted all these years, though Noah had never come home to Irish Rose.
Bittersweet memories seeped into his thoughts as he walked towards the front of his father’s big stone house. The Irish Rose’ was one of the biggest houses in the area. It had a monumental quality about it. And still it was home. He felt at home there even after so many years as ten. And the rose gardens in the compound had no comparison, no competition. The roses were full-bloomed through out the year.
The slightly cool air had a whiff of rosy scent. Dad had made sure that the roses were always there. Noah knew it had everything to do with his mother. From the fact that the mother he didn’t remember loved roses to the fact that his long-lost mother’s name was Rose. Rose Dalynne Sehnor.
Rose Sehnor was the most beautiful and the only woman in his life, Dad had said. Always. She was strong and sensitive at the same time. Elegant and humble at the same time. A perfect lady in all ways and a gentle mother, too. Until Noah was three. She had died giving birth to their second child. And Noah knew from Tara that he had been three then and his baby sister was stillborn. As a lifeless baby who took his mother away from him. He hated to remember that because he didn’t want to hate his sister he had never known – he would never know.
That was thirty-two years ago but the longing was always fresh. He missed his mother always. The mother he had never known. He had forgotten it for a time while he was with Selena, but after five years, the painful longing had been refreshed. But he had learned to stand strong for his father when his father remembered her. He would cry till late at night while Noah sat beside him by the fire in the centuries-old hearth. It continued even as Noah grew up and he knew he loved his mother because of the tears his Dad didn’t feel ashamed to shed for the only woman he had ever loved.
Having lived and learned with such a father, how had his only son learned to throw away the love he had had for five years and walked out on the woman he loved for all these years? And never shed a tear of regret or pain? And lived with too much pride to go back and apologize? Would he have given her a chance back then if she had cried and begged him not to leave? As everything nowadays did, this, too, led his thoughts back to Selena.
Damn you, you came here to find answers, not for more questions! Just as Noah raised his hand to hit the doorbell, the door flew open revealing Tara in her baking apron and her mouth curved upwards in her usual genuine infectious smile.
“Ten years away, Noah, and you just tromp in without a warning?!” Tara shrieked in joy. “Am I supposed to be shocked or call the police?!”
“Don’t,” Noah grinned as he looked at her with affection and he felt at home when his sparkling ocean blue eyes met Tara’s warm brown motherly gaze. “Here, let me hug you.” Noah stepped in and took Tara in his arms. “I missed you, Tara Mama, did you miss me?”
She pulled away from his arms and looked up at him with tearful eyes.
“How did you remember that there was an old bat back home baking everyday, expecting you might come one morning without a call?” she asked, half accusingly, half in relief. “And where’s our little Leno?”
He hadn’t expected that. Actually he hadn’t even remembered how many times Selena had come there for lunches, teas and dinners. And how many times she had stayed there for a change when her friends with whom she shared the apartment near college went home on weekends or holidays. And how many times they had pretended to sleep in separate rooms till Dad retired to his room after dinner. And how Tara had found that and sworn that she won’t tell Dad. After all these, he had forgotten Tara might ask for Selena. And their-
“And for God’s sake, where are your kids?” Tara’s motherly voice intervened in his thoughts.
“I – er…” he stammered and looked away from her. He could never lie to her. “We’ll talk later, Tara. Let me make myself at home first.” He walked in dragging his trunk behind him. He could feel Tara’s eyes on the back of his head. He headed upstairs without looking back when Tara said slowly, “Of course, honey, and come down to the kitchen. I have pancakes for you.”
She knows something is wrong. Only that, everything is wrong. Noah pushed open the door of his room since childhood. It was still polished and pristine. The curtains were all drawn and sunlight streamed in through the windows, flooding the room with light. His large four-poster bed stood there imposingly, in the centre of the room, neatly made with ivory colored sheets that matched the wall paper. There was not a hint of dust in the red carpet spread in the room. Tara had been keeping this house for ten years, clean and groomed, expecting him every day she woke up. He felt a tug at his heart on realizing how much he had missed her these years. And how much he had hurt her meanwhile. And how much he was going to hurt her now...

He had Tara’s delicious pancakes after a long time ravenously. He was hungry and he had the tastiest food in front of him. Tara brought a plate of roasted eggs. Then she stood there in front of Noah, her arms akimbo, fixing him with a glare.
“Now, tell me why still, after ten years, you are the only one gobbling my pancakes,” she said with a voice that said she wouldn’t let him go until he told her the truth. “And Leno and the kids not with you.” Downing a glass of milk, Noah got up to his feet.
“Thanks, Tara Mama,” he mumbled. “We’ll talk tonight after dinner. I have to go see Dad first. That’s the first thing I came here for the weekend.”
“Just for the weekend?” Tara asked in horror. “Why did you even bother to come?!”
“Told you, to see you and Dad,” Noah said and left the kitchen.

(To Be Continued...)

Chapter Three
Chapter Two (Part two)
Chapter Two (Part One)
Chapter One
Introduction to Amidst Sandcastles
Visit Me @ www.sanarose.com

Coming Up Next:

“All the roses on Earth
Bloom for your soul’s mirth…”

-Theo Sehnor

Those were his father’s own verses he had written to be inscribed on his beloved wife’s headstone. He pondered over the beauty of the epitaph for the first time.
Noah felt a warm tear roll down the bridge of his nose. He rubbed the tip of his nose with the back of his palm and sniffed. Today he had come here to cry. To cry as much as his heart pleased. His mother had died at twenty-six. She hadn’t lived long enough to make him drink any energy drink. He recalled the irony of the fact and the boasting he had told Karen, the baby-sitter.

Tags

Amidst Sandcastles, Chapter, Chapter Four, Contemporary, Noah, Novel, Romance, Sana Rose, Sandcastles, Selena

Meet the author

author avatar Sana Rose
A medical student with a love story with the pen since I was thirteen. Published poet at 22 and has completed a second collection and my first novel. Visit me at: www.sanarose.com

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Comments

author avatar Retired
11th Sep 2011 (#)

looks like it is coming up well

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
11th Sep 2011 (#)

Wow, great work, Sana Rose!

You're so prolific and creative spinning nice stories.

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author avatar Sana Rose
11th Sep 2011 (#)

Thank you Shishir and Ratna.. :) that makes me want to keep at this project.

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author avatar Songbird B
14th Oct 2011 (#)

Great flow, Sana, and well built characters that you can relate too..I am enjoying this very much..

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