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Published: July 22nd 2013
For a while Frank's relationship with Sunita matures quietly. A new serenity has enveloped them, and the old conflicts seem to have worn themselves out. They have left the past behind them and for a few blissful weeks the time of his departure, lying faintly on the horizon, does not seem to be getting any closer.
Before she left for France, he could not be sure whether he loved her or not. Sometimes he did, and sometimes he didn't. He loved her beauty. He didn't love her self-centredness. He loved her matter-of-fact approach to love-making. He didn't love her utilitarian approach to their relationship. He delighted in her wayward logic, but not in the unpredictability of her moods. But now, since her return from France, she is more considerate, and less self-centred. She seems to understand him better, and avoids provoking him. And in his turn, he feels more at peace in her company; more certain of his love for her, and more confident that she could adapt to life in Europe. The opposition of her mother, and work colleagues, still distresses them when they think of it, and spoils their perfect contentment, but for the moment they are able to set their worries aside and simply enjoy each other's company.
But as the time for Frank’s departure comes into view, Sunita can no longer hide her face from a future that is rushing up on them.
She is sitting beside him on the edge of the bed. She begs him to stay on, promising that she will be able to go with him to England after a few months. She can't leave her mother so soon.
“I’ve told you: you can join me as soon as I can afford the air fare,” he says.
“You will find another girlfriend in England. Just the same when I was in Paris. You don’t care who you go ‘aah’ with. Beautiful English lady; my sister; Mrs Lopchan. Maybe Jenny!” She counted them off on her fingers.
“Jenny! You must be joking.” It hadn’t occurred to him that Sunita might be jealous of Jenny. “But don’t dig all that up again, please. You know it’s different now. My feelings have changed since you came back.”
“Is it really true?” she asks.
“Yes, really. Truly”
This seems to quieten her anxieties. She tidies herself in front of the bathroom mirror. Then she comes over to him and sits beside him.
“But you don’t have go on the trek. The bajay said it is dangerous. Just stay here with me until you leave Nepal.”
“Please Sunita. I really want to do this. It’s a chance of a lifetime.”
“If you love me you will stay.”
“I’ll be thinking of you all the time. And when I come back, we’ll have a week together, and we can make plans.”
To divert her from her worries, he asks her to help him make coffee in the kitchen. This she does, and in the kitchen they clasp each other tightly, and kiss until they arouse themselves. Her blouse is almost undone, and he is sure she has unbuttoned it herself before coming to the kitchen, though she expresses surprise at how easily Frank has found her breasts. She blows the kerosene stove out and says “let's make love!” and they do in a desperate way. He climaxes too soon, but she doesn't reprimand him as severely as she used to do on such occasions.
“I’m sorry,” he says.
“I’m happy if you are happy,” she replies. Then Frank realises the condom has split. He gets dressed moodily.
“Why are you angry?” she asks.
“I'm not. But the last thing we need right now is a baby.”
“Oh the bajay said we won’t have a baby now,” she says. “Only when we are 31”
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