Trisha looked fondly at the empty playground on a sunny evening . It used to be her favorite place four decades ago. It had changed but still remained the same. The plastic swing looked brighter now. Earlier it was a wooden seat and two of them could sit together if they held each other close. The trees were bigger and some had even been replaced. Fallen leaves filled the ground with various shades of yellow, orange and brown.
Just like it was in the summer long ago when she had met Shekhar. He was her friend, Suchita’s cousin, visiting during the vacation. He was in college then and to them, that was really grown up. It was love at first sight for her. As for him, he could pick his choice from the bevy of beautiful friends of his cousin. Even back then, he had grand plans like going abroad. Did he really make it, she wondered?
She sat on the bench reminiscing the good old days when she was surprised to see her old friend Suchita coming to the swing with her 2 grandchildren. One of the children even looked like her at that age. The children ran to the swing.
Trisha waved to Suchita. At first, she just stared back and then realizing who it was, she walked faster towards her and hugged her.
‘Trisha, what a surprise? It’s been ages. How are you? How have you been?’ both of them started at once and then laughed at their excitement.
They caught up on their past lives for the next hour. Trisha wanted to ask about Shekhar but held back as she was feeling shy.
‘Strange,’ she thought, ‘I am thinking like a teenager.’
‘What is it? ‘ Suchita asked sensing Trisha wanted to say something.
‘Umm. Nothing,’ Trisha smiled back. She felt the blush creeping up to her neck ready to reach her cheeks anytime soon.
‘I am a grandmother. I shouldn’t be blushing thinking about a guy,’ she thought feeling exasperated.
‘Will you be here for long?’ asked Sucheta.
‘I will be living here now. I lost my husband two years back and my daughter lives abroad,’ said Trisha.
‘Hey Trisha. Do you remember my cousin Shekhar? The one all of you had a crush on,’ asked Suchita.
‘He has also come down from the US. He lost his wife six months ago. His kids are grown up. He felt lonely there and so came down to visit us. He said he will join me for a walk,’ Suchita continued without noticing the play of colors on Trisha’s face.
An old guy with a paunch, dressed in a bright T-shirt was laboriously striding towards them.
Trisha looked at the figure. He looked much older than she anticipated.
‘Is this Shekhar?’ she asked.
‘This oldie.. Nah. Look at the guy behind him to the left,’ said Suchita.
And there he was. The hair was grey and scarce, but it was the same boyish face with a few, deeper smile lines.
Now, her heartbeat quickened. ‘Like a teenager’, she thought again.
Shekhar waved at them and Trisha felt a happiness she had not felt in a long time. She felt alive like she was back in her playground decades ago.