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Flash fiction is an umbrella term used to describe any fictional work of extreme brevity, including the Six-Word Story, 140-character stories, also known as twitterature, the dribble (50 words), the drabble (100 words), and sudden fiction (750 words)

The door bell rings. I glance at the clock and frown. Punctuality had never been one of Shekhar’s strong points in the days I knew him. People change. I know I have. Anyway it had all been such a long time ago. Water under the bridge.

I walk to the door and open it. Shekhar fills the doorway blocking the sunlight. He had always been fighting that extra flab even back in those days, but now he seems to have let go. I notice the puffiness beneath his eyes, the jowls, and the beer belly. But it is still him. My heart flutters for one brief moment though I don’t let my face betray me. I cannot fathom what goes on in his.

Before I can invite him in, it hits my senses. A scent. Flowery. My ears pick up the rustle of silk. For a moment I am confused. When he rang out of the blue yesterday and asked if he could drop in, he hadn’t really mentioned he’d be by himself. It had just been my assumption. Now I learn otherwise.

When he moves aside, I see the pink and green silk covered vision. So this is Sini, I think to myself. I have only heard of her. And seen pictures. She is beautiful and elegant. I don’t grudge Shekhar his choice. I don’t compare at all, I tell myself.

When introductions are done and they are seated, I go inside to get water for the guests and also to instruct the cook to keep the snacks and coffee ready. But they decline the offer of coffee and snacks. They are in a hurry, they say.

I am mystified. A call after all these years, and barely have they stepped in, they are in a hurry to leave. Only those out to distribute wedding invites udually do that. As if on cue, Sini takes out an invitation from the bag she is carrying and the mystery is solved. It is our daughter’s wedding next month, she says, you and your husband should kindly grace the occasion. We have been looking up all of Shekhar’s friends, she adds.

Some more small talk about their daughter and future son-in-law later, and they stand up to leave. I follow them out to their car to see them off. Back inside, I realize I am still clutching the wedding invite. I open it and stop short, staring at one of the names printed in gold lettering.

Their daughter is called Yamini. So is mine. Yamini means ‘night’ and is the name of the famous bharatanatyam dancer I admire so much. It also happens to be the name Shekhar and I picked for our future daughter in our giddy youth.

©Shail Mohan 2017

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