Roses, sir?” the florist asked Rufus with a kind smile.”Yes, of course,” he replied; his gaze fixed on his Blackberry.” Red or yellow?”
He stared at the florist for a minute, and replied, “Today, it’s red.”
With a bouquet of red roses, Rufus rushed toward the revolving door, badly hitting his shoulders. Just alongside the elevator, a waif-thin girl with big, brown eyes was waiting for him.”Honey, I’m so sorry,! Rufus apologized with a peck on her cheek, handing her the roses.
”You remembered!” Lily cried with joy. “You remembered bringing the red ones!” Rufus smiled. How could I not? He said to himself. ”I love you,” Lily said, stroking his hair. “You have too much of gray hair now. People are going to assume you are my daddy.” She gave an impish grin. Rufus smiled. He would never want to have Lily as his daughter. She was too attractive, too sultry, and too foxy.” I got to go, baby. College, you know. Class starts at 5.” Lily shrugged, kissed Rufus and departed reluctantly.
It was 10:55 PM, when Rufus reached the airport. “Due to unfavorable weather conditions, the flight is delayed by four hours.”– came the announcement. Four hours? Rufus hadn’t slept for at least two days. And he didn’t even want to close his eyes sitting on that uncomfortable bench. Whatever with Serena, he thought. I’ll go home, get drunk and fall asleep.
The sound of the loud alarm woke him up. He rubbed his eyes and there was a hazy figure standing in front of him that looked like his wife. Serena! He was shocked, not surprised.” You weren’t there at the airport so I took a cab. Anyways, you don’t look so good. Snorted too many lines of white powder with that teenage mistress of yours, huh?” Serena smirked.” Think before you speak, Serena. We don’t “snort lines of white powder” together. We are two people who are unsatisfied with their primary partners. We are just looking for love. That’s it.” Rufus was trying to stay calm.” You know what, Rufus? Sometimes I imagine a world without you, and it’s so much better, just so much. At least there won’t be dull-witted, heartbroken teenagers.”
”Don’t get me started, Serena. I am not playing with Lily. I would never do that. It’s different with her.”
”Like it was different with me, right?” Rufus didn’t say a word. “Come on, Rufus. Its like, she is your current favorite flavor. Like I once was.. You’ll have too much of her, and one fine day, you’ll get bored with the same flavor and will try something new.” ”I need to go to work. I don’t have time for your petty talk.”
”Sure you don’t. And Rufus?”
”Get me roses when you get back. It feels good. Reminds me that we’re still married.”
”That’s all I can do for you, Serena.”
”Thanks. But yellow. Don’t get red like the last time.”
”You know that was a mistake.”
”I know. At least make sure Lily doesn’t get the yellow ones. She is raw and wide-eyed. Wouldn’t care to understand. She’d be a bitch.”
Rufus was walking with slouched shoulders. His briefcase seemed heavy this morning, even though nothing extra was in there.
Serena, Serena, Serena… he gave a heavy sigh. Serena meant feeling undermined and crippled. Even after Rufus cheated on her three times (once with her sister), she was still standing strong. Sure, she hated him, loathed him, despised him, but she’d never divorce him. She was smarter than that. She wouldn’t hammer him or stab him to death, but haunt him, torment him and kill him softly. Rufus couldn’t stand the fact that Serena knew him too well. Rufus couldn’t win her. At the same time, he wasn’t losing. She was so good at everything with him, financing, organizing, cooking, caretaking, lovemaking…
He couldn’t live with her. And he couldn’t live without her.
Lily was calling.
”Hey, Rufus! Umm… My friend’s having this gig for his project this evening. Want to join? My gals are dying to meet you!”
”Ah… No baby, no. I can’t. My wife is back. I really can’t.”
”It’s not like she would mind.”
”I know. But I can’t afford to piss her off at this point.”
”Lily, I’ll see you in the evening on my way back home. As always-- I don’t need to come to that gig of yours.”
”Okay, okay. Its just that… It’s like you don’t care.”
”I do. I do. Sometimes you just have to understand. I don’t go to college. I can’t introduce my girlfriend to everyone when I have a bitch-wife at home. It’s not possible. But I love you and I promise to make it up to you.”
Rufus was heading home. But Lily first. He made a mental note.
”Roses, sir?” The florist asked with his usual smile.
”Yes, please.” Rufus smiled back.
”Red or yellow?”
Rufus stared at the florist for a while. He tried to choose one.
Today, it’s both. A bouquet of each color.