Renuka dismissed the dream and her mood. She wanted the rest of the day to be perfect. It was finally Saturday. She didn’t want a silly dream to spoil it. She took extra care in getting dressed and even experimented with a bit of makeup. She scrutinized her appearance in the mirror and felt pleased that she had invested in a new blouse. The pink cotton material complemented her short denim skirt and dangling earrings. She thought of Denesh and her lips curled upwards. She fantasized about the special plans he must have made for them. This would be a very memorable day for her. She knew he must also be looking forward to this evening as much as she was. Maybe he would buy her some roses or even take her to a fancy restaurant. She smiled at the thought. She sprayed on her favourite perfume and was careful to avoid looking directly at her mother as she flew past her and out the door.
“I see you barely make it on time today.” Her co-worker greeted her.
“Oh gosh, Nalini.” Renuka rolled her eyes. “You know how hard it does be to get a taxi in Princes Town, especially on mornings.”
“Judging from that outfit you have on, I feel is some boy you must be checking.” Nalini shot her a quick glance from head to toe. “I never see you dress up so to come to work.”
Renuka blushed. “You know you is the first person I go tell if I have a boyfriend.”
Nalini gave her a dubious look. “You better hurry up because just now the store go open and Mrs. Maharaj not in a good mood this morning.”
“She does ever be?!” Renuka threw the words over her shoulder and walked away. She opened the door to the storage room, which also served as the staff lunch room. She searched through her handbag for her compact mirror and held it out in front of her. She pulled back the loose strands of hair into place and applied a brighter shade of lipstick. She dropped the mirror into her handbag and placed it on the shelf next to Nalini’s. Then she exchanged her shoes for the comfortable pair of slippers she kept at the store.
A few minutes later Renuka emerged, her heart racing when she caught a glimpse of the familiar figure just walking in. She almost knocked over a desk lamp from one of the display stands trying to catch up with him between the lanes.
“H…hi Denesh.” She stood in front of him, a head shorter. “I didn’t expect to see you here so early.”
“My dad has some business to take care of, so mom asked me to help her out until he gets here.”
“We still on for later?” she looked coyly into his eyes and fiddled with her fingers.
“Shhh.” Denesh looked over one shoulder and then the other. “Not so loud. What wrong with you?”
“I can’t understand why you don’t want me to tell anybody about we, even after two months.” Renuka pouted. “Like you ashame of me or what?”
“It’s nothing like that. You know how my parents are, so I’m just being cautious.” He spoke in a whisper. “I want to talk to them first before they find out, so promise me you won’t tell anyone until I say it’s okay.”
Renuka hesitated and he lifted her chin with two fingers, forcing her to look at him. “Besides, I want you all to myself for as long as possible.”
She turned away for a brief moment before nodding with a hint of a smile. “As long as you don’t take too long.”
“I won’t.” His brown eyes glistened when he smiled. “I’ll meet you later then, at the usual spot.”
Renuka floated towards the baby section to prepare for her first customer. She wanted to shout at the top of her lungs that she was Denesh’s girlfriend. She would be the envy of every girl she knew. There were several times when she wanted to confide in Mala, but did not want to risk losing Denesh, or her job. He loved her. He had said so many times. She would do as he asked because he was much more experienced in these matters than she was.
Renuka felt like a thousand fluttering butterflies were released in her stomach. Her workday was drawing to a close, but her evening was just beginning. The clock struck one and she was the first to rush out the door. She walked to the bottom of High Street, and waited. At one-thirty Denesh pulled up in front of her and she got into the passenger seat of his car.
She fiddled with her fingers while he observed her. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing.” She took a deep breath. “I just a little nervous.”
“There’s nothing to be nervous about. I will take good care of you, I promise.” He flashed a smile that captivated her and everything else was forgotten. “I was even thinking that I will have that talk with my parents this weekend.”
“So we wouldn’t have to sneak around anymore?” She turned to face him and her entire face lit up. “And I could see you more often?”
“We’ll be like a real couple and I could finally show you off to everybody.” He turned to her and she reacted with a contented smile.
“You don’t know how happy that will make me.” She touched his arm. “Because sometimes I does wonder if you really serious about me.”
Vashti Bowlah is a writer from Trinidad and Tobago, and a participant of The Cropper Foundation/UWI Creative Writers' Residential Workshop. Her short stories, articles and poems have appeared in newspapers, journals and anthologies, and she continues to pursue her passion for writing, with special focus on the short story. She has won prizes and awards for her writing, including The David Hough Literary Prize awarded by The Caribbean Writer. She also freelances as an editor/proofreader. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org