Friday, February 15th
Valentine’s Day had been threatening to hit me like an asteroid from out of space. There was no way I could escape.
For a week or two I’d scoured the net, gone even to a couple of travel agents: Miami was out, too expensive; Rome, Paris, Berlin, cutesy, but not me. New York was tempting but, to make it special, required smackeroonies I didn’t have. I worked myself into a tizzy over all this; I really didn’t know what to do.
Thankfully, Sonjs was busy; she had some dental course she was attending, had to study. We spoke on the phone, but something was missing. She had expectations, and either slightly thrilled by the prospect or nervous about it all going wrong, was a little distant, clammy even. It made my mental situation worse. I had to man up. Beat my chest. Be more like my Tony Adams romancing Caprice. But how did that end?!
The night before I felt terrible; the onset of flu, again. She phoned. I’m ill! She sighed and didn’t know what to say. ‘Shall I come over?’ I told her that would not be necessary, my mother was Florence Nightingale reborn in a sari. I went to work, couldn’t face lying about. Felt better and decided on executing a plan. I had done some groundwork.
Clocked off early. Went back home quickly, picked up the car and drove down to Sonia’s in Surrey, a huge bunch of tulips and some other gifts keeping me company. She would be at home all moody, no doubt. First shock: she wasn’t there. Dr Singhal was delighted to see me and the flowers. No, they weren’t for him. ‘She is with Tina.’ But in my highly agitated state, it sounded like, she is with tuna. I was going delirious. I checked the address, and drove up to Brixton, like Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. Phoned the restaurant. Ignored Sonia’s texts and calls – risky but necessary.
On the doorstep Tuna, I mean, Tina, stepped forward like some security person.
‘What is the meaning of this?’
As though she had no idea: flowers clutched to my bosom.
Sonia was just behind her. There was no hesitation, she pushed Tina out of the way and jumped on me. Glory and bells and dhols. Thatta my gal! 🙂
Tuna – I rather liked calling her this – stood there in a huff. Just jealous, I reckoned.
I whisked Sonia away to the restaurant…where we first met. Yeah, Man. Me not so stoopid. But this shack was no ordinary eating hole. You had to dine in the dark. Sonia couldn’t quite believe we were back; had to wait a little, because we were slightly off time. She had a loaded cocktail, looked happy. She was quite overcome.
‘You were ill…’ she reflected.
‘Ill with love…my dear.’
A little over a year ago, I’d been twisted into coming by Ben and his then gf. Actually there were a few of us, Suki and a couple of others, male and female. I’d sat at the end, wondering what I was doing with my life and these ragtag people (no offence, colleagues). I was at a loose end. And then, as happens there, you have to share tables. All I could make out was a female voice: tender and sweet. A dentist. Too clever by half for me. But we kinda hit it off. I had visions of her being built like a 10 tonne truck and that would have killed it. Poonam, her best mate, and Poonam’s fiancé and another friend were there too, but they faded.
They were a few laughs and later when we emerged into the light, initially, I’d confused Sonia for Tuna. Oh Tottenhamcockspur! She wasn’t as pretty and well, she looked old. When I realised it was Sonia, it was like the sun had cleared the skies, I remembered all that. Pure magic.
At the end of the dinner, I raised myself, Tony Adams Champions League style. I went down on one knee (thinking this could be Shah Rukh Khan) and nobody could see me being a fool.
‘Miss Sonia Singhal, will you marry me?’ I placed the ring box into her hand.
We kissed, I guess that must be a yes :).
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