It is nearing the start of the new season. Lisette is back from France. She is setting up a little business together with Ishan. We decide to meet up in Weligama for a coffee.
It’s a beautiful clear day. The sky is deep blue, and the colours are amazingly bright. The different greens of the trees are so sharp against the blue of the sky and the blue-green of the sea. I look at the scene unfolding from the bus window, and I notice that I have never seen the colours here so defined, so beautiful. The bus ride is also very pleasant, quite unusual.
Lisette looks stunning in her white cotton dress. Her blond hair tied in a loose plait. We sit on old rickety wooden chairs on the beach near a makeshift food stall and order tea. We have not seen each other for three months. After the initial shock and feeling of rejection when she became distant, I went through a grieving process, but I have come out knowing that she was right. That she was not being horrible to me, she was just trying to help and felt powerless.
Unfortunately, there is no help that can be given in a situation like mine, unless help is sought from within. And I was not looking for it at the time. I don’t think I’m looking for it now, either.
I’m in a slightly better place now. I have analysed my situation, and I understand it a lot better. That doesn’t mean I’m totally ready, but I know I must leave.
I explain all this to her. She understands.
‘It’s hard to watch someone get hurt. I couldn’t keep doing it.’ She explains. ‘How are things now?’
‘They’re much better.’ I lie. ‘Violence is rare, and nothing like it used to be. He is still a moody sod and hard to deal with at times, but we are getting better.’
I will remember these words for months to come. How could I have been so wrong?!
‘Where is he now?’
She doesn’t want to dwell on things. I can see the question in her mind is still why are you bloody staying? so I’m glad to talk about more neutral arguments.
‘He’s gone to meet a friend. He will be back in a bit.’
We talk about Ishan and their plans. I’m happy for them. Their relationship is strong. I envy them a bit.
I tell Lisette about our new home, but I’m vague about the location. I don’t want people to start dropping by unexpectedly.
We arrange to meet again next week. I walk her to her bus stop, dive into the wine shop to buy two beers to have with our dinner tonight and jump on the bus back.
Kiri is not home yet, so I make a start on the dinner. Not long after, he calls saying he has just gotten off the bus and is walking home.
I have had a good day with Lisette, but I have missed him. I have become used to spending whole days with him.
He gets back, slips into the kitchen and puts his arms around me, kissing my neck.
‘Mmmh, you’re cooking! It smells nice.’
His phone rings, and he looks at me. ‘It’s Sanka. He’s going to Colombo with some friends, and they want to stop over on the way,’ he explains.
‘Why does everyone always need to disturb us? I wanted to spend the evening just with you,’ he says, smiling sadly and holding me tight.
‘It’s okay, we’ll have other evenings. It’s nice when you have friends stopping over. I’m glad for you.’
But he doesn’t look too convinced, and neither am I.