Sonam woke up on Tuesday morning with a throbbing headache. She sat up in the bed to text her boss as she decided to take leave and rest. She then went to the kitchen to fetch some water. There she saw her husband, all dressed for the office. He also had a briefcase packed. He informed her that he was going on Eastern Bhutan tour and he would be gone for a month this time. She simply nodded her head in agreement. She didn’t have the energy or the inclination to say more. She left him in the kitchen and went to the bedroom. There she washed down her throat a paracetamol tablet with water and got back in the bed.
It was midday when she woke up again. She felt much better. She checked her phone, except for a few promotional text messages from Bhutan Telecom and MOH, there were no missed calls. However, Rigyel has left many WeChat messages asking about her health and if she was okay. He has said if she needed any help, he would be more than happy to oblige. She could sense that he was genuinely concerned for her so she replied to his messages, “I feel better now. Thank you.”
“Can we talk?” Came within seconds of her response.
“I guess..” said she.
An instant later, his call came. He asked her if he should come over. She refused him upfront. He then asked if he could drop by her place on his way home. He was so persistent that she had to relent to that request. Promising to stop by later, he hung up.
It was after 6PM when he arrived at her place. He brought her creamy mushroom soup, women’s horlicks, beef flavored Druk Pizza and a bunch of fresh yellow roses. Nobody has given her flowers; she was specially touched by this romantic gesture. She put the roses in a vase, made two cups of coffee and they sat down to talk. In the confines of her house, alone with Rigyel, Sonam was feeling a bit uncomfortable. It was easier to talk to a colleague but the dynamics of their relationship has changed now. They talked about everything under the sky except about themselves. That was one subject neither of them dared to pursue then. Despite the initial uneasiness, conversation flowed. At 8 PM, Rigyel got up to leave. He gave Sonam a quick, awkward hug and was out of the door before she could blink.
From that day onwards, Sonam became so cheerful. She suddenly started loving her otherwise gloomy life. She had someone to dress up for and look forward to. She dressed with care every morning. She also started watching her diet. It was like she was a whole new person. Her self confidence has shot up by several notches. At work, Rigyel and Sonam took up every opportunity they got to talk, spend time or just to stare at each other. The change in her was so obvious that Kinley once suspiciously asked if she was dating anyone.
Gradually, Sonam started seeing the romantic side to Rigyel. Besides, Wechat, Whatsapp and texting, he also started emailing her these days. Funnily, his email never had contents because whatever he wanted to say, the entire message was in the subject.
Email 1: “Hey pink tego suits you. You should wear it more often” Sonam was startled by the email subject; she looked up from her PC and found Rigyel actually staring at her. She quickly whatsapped him, “please don’t email me like that…you know mail admins can read this.”
Instead of whatsapp response, she got another email
Email 2: subject – “so what? I like emailing, makes it more real and romantic”
Likewise, his emails kept coming thorough out the day. She wasn’t concerned about her mailbox becoming full but she couldn’t keep the emails least someone should get hold of those.
A week later, Rigyel and Sonam decided to meet up in Babesa to have lunch. They sneaked out separately but met in town. From there, took his car to Bebesa. They had a sumptuous, authentic Bhutanese lunch at Babesa village restaurant. When they were done, Sonam was spotted by one of her friends, Tshering. She tried to avoid her but it was too late. Tshering pulled Sonam aside and wanted to know everything about the handsome young man. Sonam told he was just a colleague and they were in Babesa for work and decided to have lunch together as it was lunch time but Tshering wasn’t buying it.
“For God’s sake, that guy is younger than me by at least a decade” commented Sonam.
To which Tshering jokingly replied, “so what? In Outlander, Clarie is 207 years older than Jamie. You should watch it”.
They both laughed. Promising to update Tshering later at night, Rigyel and Sonam headed back to work. Once in the car, Rigyel wanted to know everything about her conversation with Tshering. She omitted out most details but mentioned about Tshering’s comment about the Outlander characters and watched his face carefully for his reaction.
“You know age is just a number. I hope you will not make a big deal out of our age differences. Neither of us can do anything about it” he said and laughed mockingly. She didn’t comment but changed the subject. They then reached the office, Sonam got out of the car so quickly that no one has noticed they came in together.
— to be continued —