“Honey!!! You don’t have to do this.”

“Why not? You always keep doing these sweet little romantic things for me. I can be romantic for once.”

“But you already are.” I look convincingly in her eyes. She already has something planned for the day. Disappoint, is the last thing I want to do to her. “Fine, what’s on your mind then?”

“Just be honest,” she says. “Close your eyes and do not open until I ask you to.” The enthusiasm in her voice is hard to resist. And so I follow the orders with utmost gratitude.

She calls for a cab and walks me towards the door while holding my hand.

“So what’s with the idea of blinding me?” I ask her, hoping to extract something out of the conversation. She refuses to reply, but squeezes my hand gently in return.

The cab comes to a halt a few minutes’ drive later and she helps me out carefully. While my eyes are honestly closed, I work on the noises in the background. The place is less crowded, the only blare I can here is that of a hammer against a nail. The smell of freshly baked cookies fills my nostrils. Somewhere nearby, I can hear little girls playing hop and skip game.

“Careful,” she warns, “boardwalk ahead.”  She pulls me up towards her, I try not to stumble. One, two, three…I start counting the number of steps from the pavement towards wherever I was heading.

“You can stop counting now.” It freaks me out the way she can read my mind.

“How did you know I was counting?” I ask only for a silence in reply again.

We walk through a door and into a quiet room filled with a familiar fragrance. My curiosity is at its peak, I wish to open my eyes, but I have a promise to keep.

I hear her murmur in the background and eventually the voice fades and is replaced by a scribbling. Her hand slips back into mine and we start walking through a series of doors.

 “Sit,” she says finally. I follow, throwing my weight backwards and landing on a couch. When in love, you just have to trust what your partner says and you will always land on a soft surface. I brush my fingers gently on the cushion.

 “Now,” she says interrupting again, “to answer your questions. I don’t want you to ever know where this place is. I want you to remember this day for the rest of your life. Can you do that for me?” Her hand moves softly over my face. “You can now open your eyes.”

Suddenly, I feel like an 8 year old, who has been asked to open his birthday present.

“Ok then! Here we go.” I open my eyes and see her sit in front of me. Cold wind is blowing from a window nearby. I turn around and find myself at the centre of a children’s section library. The shelf on the right is covered with all the books that have ever been written for kids. There is the Harry Potter series, the Pinocchio, the Arabian Nights, the Aesop’s Fables, the Gulliver’s Travels, the Three Musketeers, and a lot more than I could have never imagined in one place. On the adjacent side are tables lined up with games like, Scrabble, Scotland Yard, Monopoly, Battleship, Rubix Cube, Snakes and Ladders, and another long list. The ceiling is painted to form a Milky Way, with all the planets in their orbital position. At the centre of the Milky Way, hangs a huge chandelier that shines yellow and plays the Sun, thus deservedly completing a universe. The walls are covered with many posters of cartoon characters and Super Heroes. I cannot help but grin at the scene.

“You remembered,” I say finally turning back to her. She is smiling; I can see her eyes filled with satisfaction.

“When we met the first time,” she reminds, “you told me how you were fond of books. But you had never visited a children’s library because your father would always buy you encyclopedias and science books. I thought this did be perfect for a lazy day, huh Mr. Geek?”

“This is perfect.” My excitement is pouring and I can see some kids ogling at me for having crossed their territory. “How did you get us in a children’s section?”

“Oh I have contacts,” she mocks walking towards a bookshelf. “We have all day long. So where do you want to start from?”

I point at the Pinocchio and she pulls it out from the lowest shelf. She sits on the couch wearing her spectacles. She pats on the seat besides her and I follow her instructions.

Today, I am like a child who is about to hear his first bedtime story. Today I revisit my childhood.

Advertisements