Coffee! My coat! Riya was no novice at multitasking. She knew how to sip coffee from one hand and put on a jacket from the other and in time switch hands for the other sleeve of the coat. Taking stress for all things at once is the lesser known definition of multitasking. She had put on her yoga pants and a formal shirt, one of the very few advantages of working as a news reporter; only the visible matters. She had taken out her husband’s clothes for the day because he couldn’t be trusted with such things. “Finish your sandwich”, he said in a futile attempt out of daily practice. “Late. Bye.”, she rushed. She sat in her car, went through some of the briefs sent to her on her phone. She wondered if she should have kissed him before leaving or looked back while saying bye. But she had no time to think about all this.
She hoped to reach early, catch up on the updates and get her hair fixed. The last thing she wanted was traffic and she got it because universe has a way of punishing us for no reason at all especially with traffic when we are running late. Over the years she had acquired a knack for calculating the time it was going to take for the traffic to disappear depending upon the situation. She figured it was some accident, the kind where a car rear ends another and the owner of the latter gets out to first check their vehicle to decide how much they have to yell.
As a rule everyone either stops or grossly slows down as they pass by the scene to gather maximum information in minimalistic time. Her driver tried to cut through the cluster of cars. She looked through the glass of the window but there was nothing. No accident, just a little traffic. There weren’t many times when she was wrong about these. As she stared outside tears filled up her eyes. Her throat felt like it would never be able to swallow anything. She could not understand what elicited these responses.
She wiped away her tears with the back of her palm. The driver turned to ask her if he should take a different route as they crossed the New Park road. She said no. He must have seen the traces of translucence of tears on her face, the softness in her eyes and a little redness of her face. But he was trained in not asking questions. She soon recovered from something that hadn’t happened.
She sat in her chair, hair fixed, jacket on, and focus on the prompter. She read the headlines for the day. “Local government library gets a facelift”. “Five percent increase in women’s participation in armed forced”. “Just in. Another hit and run case. An SUV hit a man and fled from the scene on New Park road. The man was rushed to the hospital but was declared dead upon arrival. He has been identified as Raman Rajesh working in the IT sector”. “Stay tuned for our next segment where we discuss hit and run cases covered in this month”.
She got up. It was commercial break. Her team felt glued to the floor. Immovable. Her assistant came to her. Hugged her and told her that all arrangements have been made for her to be taken to the hospital. They assured her that she need not worry about the work. And all she could think of was before leaving this morning she should have looked at him when she said “Bye!”
About the Author
Tanya is a nature enthusiast and an ardent sky gazer. She writes poetry and prose. Her works have appeared in journals such as Indian Literature and Lapis Lazuli.