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Chapter Three | The Third Wheel
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Our journeys are stories of our own. This is mine and I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, in spite of being corrected. It is not a guidebook, trip diary or marketing piece for the Sunday paper.
This is semi-fiction: A fictional description of a true story.
The Wild Card Entry No. 4
Image credit: getmyboat.com
Stockholm Archipelago, here I come!
Oh My God. This is So blue. Neither the Monday kinda blue, nor dress-shade kinda blue. It’s a different blue. A blue I have never seen before. Nature’s blue.
“Weather is sunning and stunning, isn’t it?” Candida exclaimed.
The dapper wind and the dazzling water made a splendid pair. It was accompanied by the bracing sky and a calming horizon. I was embarrassed about taking pride in Mumbai being a coastal city. This was beyond comparison. The cleanliness, the purity, the picturesque scenes… I wished this was The Truman Show. It would have been more fascinating and prettier than it already is. I had just begun daydreaming about that idea when Candida yelled. It was like my morning alarm going off. I sighed.
“Hey, we need gas.”
Oh my! Forget our shitty petrol pumps with beggars sprinkled across, this gas dock was an entire petrol freakin’ pump floating on water. Oh, who is that dude Candida is talking to? The man looks as old as her, in his fifties. Athletic, yeah. Must be working out. The super-cute model-like slender chick next to him seems at least 25 years younger. Wait-what? Did he just-? They are definitely not father-daughter or brother-sister.
“Yeah… whatever,” Candida rolled her eyes as she walked back.
Huh? What did that mean? They appeared so friendly. Maybe she likes him. Well, I won’t be surprised there. Hello, muscles! Anyway, I dare not ask.
“That was my ex-husband and his current girlfriend,” she announced in a fact-of-the-matter manner.
WTF! Good, I did not ask. I can’t even begin to explain how strange that was.
“Wh-what? And you okay with this?” I looked bewildered.
I mean, how on earth can we imagine anybody of that age (or any age actually) see something like that without getting disturbed? Except in movies, which are not real. HOW!?
“It’s all right. Our hearts break and we do take some time. We don’t quit though, do we? We don’t have that option, you see? Eventually, we move on. We have to,” she shrugged and looked away.
There were no tears, not any sign of weakness. Wow, I feel proud.
“So have you-?” I’m a copywriter and yet, I was at a loss for words.
Moved on? After having a child? I know many people do but that was an alien universe to me.
“Oh yeah, I am dating Phil. Hot doctor, also divorced. Adam adores him,” she smiled.
She does not feel like 50 odd years old. I don’t know any of my friends who can talk to any grown-ups like that. Can you? What’s inside simply remains there. This is just so… liberating.
I gently squeezed her arm and smiled back.
We parked our boat at their island’s dock.
Grandpa towered us, easily a foot taller than I was. Instantly, I knew where Candida got the height from. Musclular built and tanned skin had travel stories written all over them. There were hard lines on his face and the friendliness of his blue tshirt failed to hide the tough muscles beneath it. Suddenly, I had immense respect for the ‘retired army man’.
“No no,” Grandpa shook his head, crestfallen. “Did you forget tying the boat to the dock, Candy?” He marched towards Candida and secured all the dock lines by simple cleat knots.
Meanwhile, grandma walked towards us in a yellow floral sundress. It highlighted her curves. “Hi Richa! I’m Lily. So glad to have met you. I’m sure Candy did not tell you about her camp like this one to California.”
Candida had certainly not told me. I’ll ask her about it later. Right now, the waves overlapped Lily’s singing voice. I could see smile lines forming under her eyes.
“No wonder she has been such an awesome host-mother. ,” I replied as Lily walked us in the house. Lily halted midway, following the gaze of my eyes. I spotted the most spectacular swing in the middle of greens, just by the sea.
“Hop on. It will feel rewarding to see it being used,” murmured Lily.
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Chapter Five: The Flying Fifth
Is that- is that really- flying?