There he was, more obese than before. There she was, looking her best. They were meeting after a year. He was leaving the city for good so they decided to meet, perhaps for the last time. She was kind of relieved when she caught the first glimpse of him today, at the thought that her decision to part ways was correct after all. He felt a slight hint of remorse, but the distance was large enough to forbid a wish to take the trip. They had broken their relationship amicably, so they liked to think. They were mature individuals after all, proud enough to claim a post modern attitude towards life.
As nature would have it, it was raining heavily. That gave a topic for discussion with a scapegoat to blame: Global warming, our favorite now that the George Bush has left. It was time for the great middle class escape: dinner at a restaurant. But for that they had to cross the road, not all the world is covered under shopping mall canopy yet. He had the umbrella, she didn’t have the will. She thought she deserved nothing less than the whole of the umbrella for herself. His ego hurt, he refused to have been inspired by chivalrous yet mythical knights. Who is it who deserves to get wet? These are the times when audience polls are handy and democracy works at its best. Alas.
As the argument began, it took its usual course. He called her a bitch. She called him a pig. He gave examples to substantiate his claim. She retorted by attacking places where it hurt most. He raised his hand as he got agitated and for a moment the folded umbrella pointed at the direction they were supposed to go. As she got her opportunity, the umbrella came back to its original position and kept pointing to hell. The mutual vilifications were now abstracted at a higher level, targeted at each other’s communities. The umbrella had started to shake. Unlike the favorite movie plot of the desolate child of separated parents asking if she can’t have both parents, this umbrella had no emotion of its own. It just had LV written all over it. The passers by gave them glances. Their bags had LV written all over them. For a moment he thought of hitting her with the umbrella. Its rods at its base suffocated under his tight grip. For a moment she thought of smacking him with her bag, and its strap suffocated under her tight grip. Her bag also had LV written all over it. The global strategy, formulated in France, to avoid cannibalization ensured one LV didn’t challenge another.
As they parted ways, post-modernism returned. They said they wished each other the best. The umbrella opened and then there were more LVs.
P.S. The series, The ABC of Human condition, will continue despite harsh criticism, and so will Cityscape.