She tells me that her friend is picking her up at the airport.

‘I wish he didn’t.’ I say.

‘I wish he didn’t either.’ She sounds sincere.

We exchange addresses and telephone numbers. However remote the possibility that we would ever see each other again.

‘Maybe I can come over and see you in Spain?’ I wonder out loud.

‘Please do,’ she answers, ‘but bring along a friend or a model with you, my husband loves pretty girls.’ As if I didn’t already know.

We are already on the other side of the Alps. We only have fifteen to twenty minutes remaining before the plane touches down in Düsseldorf. I get a sinking feeling in my stomach at the thought. As the plane descends, we just look deep into each other’s eyes, mesmerized. And hold hands in a tight squeeze, our fingers tensing over each others. I bend down sideways and impulsively kiss her lightly on the mouth. Her lips flutter. A dismay crosses her face like a floating cloud. She raises her hand and gently wipes off the lipstick smears from my lips with her dainty fingers.

‘Maybe we should make a baby together. Would look beautiful. Wow! my own baby with dark skin and brown eyes!’

I am touched by the wistful look in her eyes focused on mine. Up until then I haven’t thought of having a child of my own. It feels surreal to imagine having one with this stunning beauty sitting next to me.  Overwhelmed, we hold the gaze, unblinking, lest the spell be broken – like two teenagers in love for the first time.

Time elapses faster than it should. We are already in Düsseldorf. The landing strip is only a few hundred meters away.  I move my eyes from the approaching runway to her face again. I squeeze her hand hard.

‘Hey, look at me one more time before  we touch down.’ She does and kisses me lightly with  the side of her lips to avoid her freshly applied lipstick from smearing.

‘Let’s just say auf wiedersehen right here’ she says, ‘because I want to be the first one to get off the plane.’ It makes me sad, but I understand.

Auf wiedersehen.’ I whisper.

‘War schön – verführung im erste klasse’ – it’s  been nice, seduction in the first class – and  she laughs a nervous laugh. Soon as the  plane pulls up at the jetway, we look at each other one more time with an unbearable longing. And then she is gone!

© Haresh Shah 2013

Illustration: Celia Rose Marks

MORE MATTERS OF THE HEART STORIES

MEXICAN CONSUL AND MATTERS OF THE HEART

 MY LATIN VALENTINE

IN THE NAME OF LOVE

BY THE TIME I GET TO AMSTERDAM

MY SPRING VALENTINE

Next Friday, August 9, 2013

WRITE OFF OR NOT

For most people, expense account is a perk to be envied. I have often heard people say: Oh, you’ve gotten expense account! As if it were a bonus of sorts. What they don’t realize is that an expense account is the reimbursement of the money spent on the company’s behalf. And it’s a hassle keeping track of and account for monies spent. But then, people wink at you, you know, they are thinking of some of the creative ones who can actually turn an expense account into a handsome perk.

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