MY FAVOURITE SHORT STORIES
Part 78 - MALVALOCA
Fiction Short Story – Romance
I recognized her at once.
She stood at the bus-stop near Worli, dishevelled in the windy rain, struggling with her umbrella, trying not to get wet.
I stopped the car, opened the door and waved to her.
She smiled, shut her folding umbrella, ran towards the car, got in and closed the door.
The moment she entered the car and sat down beside me, I sensed the distinctive aroma of her signature perfume – soft, relaxing aroma of scented geraniums, a delightful leafy rose fragrance, not too heady, a hint of spice, subtle yet alluring – a clean, exhilarating and utterly unique fragrance, an everlasting fragrance etched deep within me forever.
She kept the wet umbrella near her feet, smoothed her hair with her hands, turned towards me and said, “Thanks.”
I changed gears, set the car into motion, and asked her, “Where shall I drop you...?”
“Where are you going...?” she countered.
“Churchgate,” I said.
“Great. You can drop me on the way,” she said, “I live on Marine Drive.”
“You live in Mumbai...? You’ve come back...?”
“Oh...that's great... A flat on Marine Drive... Successful NRI returning to one’s roots, is it... He must be a successful head honcho in some MNC…”
“I have come back alone...!”
“Yes. We broke up. My marriage didn’t work out.”
“It’s okay,” she paused for a moment and then she asked me, “You're married...?”
“No,” I answered.
“Because of me...?”
“I don’t know...”
“They told me you were very upset.”
“Oh...so your parents told you...?”
“Tell me, what could I do...? I couldn’t marry both of you, could I...? I had to make a choice.”
“And you made your choice – you chose him...!”
“The wrong choice...?”
For a little while we drove in silence, and then suddenly out of the blue she said, “I wish I had married you…maybe things would have worked out much better.”
“Maybe,” I said.
“Yes, maybe I really made the wrong choice,” she said wistfully.
I didn’t say anything, just remained silent.
“How about you...?” she asked, “Any plans to get married...?”
“I don’t know,” I said.
We drove in silence.
“Hey, I’ll get off here,” she suddenly said.
“Here...?” I said slowing down the car and steering left towards the footpath.
“That’s where I stay,” she said pointing to a building, “Working Women's Hostel.”
“Working Women’s Hostel...?”
“Yes. Room number seven. Easy to remember – lucky seven,” she said, opening the door of the car, “Why don’t you come in for a cup of coffee...?”
“Thanks. Not now. I have an appointment.”
“Okay. Maybe sometime later...?”
“Bye. And thanks for the ride.”
“You’re most welcome.”
She got out of the car, closed the door, gave me a smile and wave of thanks, turned around and walked away from my life once more.
But the lingering fragrance of her enchanting perfume remained with me as I drove on to my rendezvous.
My fiancée was waiting for me at Churchgate.
“Hey,” my fiancée said, sniffing the air in the car, “What a lovely fragrance. A feminine perfume...?”
“Malvaloca,” I said.
“It’s a perfume made from scented geraniums.”
“Wow...! What an enticing fragrance...! So you’re two timing me, is it...? Giving rides to ravishing beauties wearing mysterious perfumes...?”
“Maybe,” I laughed.
I stopped the car by the seaside, opened the windows to let in the fresh sea breeze, and let it blow away all traces of the perfumed fragrance.
Then, I took my fiancée’s soft hands in mine, looked into her eyes and told her everything....yes, I told her everything...absolutely everything!
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
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About Vikram Karve
A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and he is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.