Tim and Helen fell in love with each other the moment they saw each other. Of course they did not know it at that time. At that time they thought they hated each other’s guts.
As the two lawyers sat on the opposite sides of tables with their clients; all they could think of how they hated the very presence of other. It did not help that the couple that they were representing, Mr. and Mrs. Markham, were hell bent on fighting each other to the last penny; with the result that the lawyers were automatically at each other’s throat 24X7.
Sometimes Mrs. Markham would have a renewed interest in something that Mr. Markham was favoring such as the Mongolian vase that they bought five years ago. So she would call Helen who in turn would call Tim at one in the morning to discuss the issue. They would keep on fighting till one of them has their way. Similarly, Mr. Markham would have similar urges to lay claim over something that Mrs. Markham simply could not live without such as their black Labrador. So Tim would call Helen in the middle of her yoga sessions and have one of their spontaneous shouting matches, known for their ferociousness and tenacity.
Their next meeting was not in even such amicable circumstances, if there could be something even worse than that. They were in a car accident. I don’t mean a car accident case. But a live car accident of their own! Well, to call it an accident would be an exaggeration as Helen’s car had just bumped into Tim’s. No dent or anything but a minor scratch that wasn’t, under other circumstances, even worth mentioning but they just couldn’t let go of the opportunity to be at each other’s throat. Thankfully, an elderly gentleman passing by interfered to bring peace to the two or else I am sure there would have been a homicide case to boot.
The next time they met, the circumstances were a bit more docile. They were involved in the divorce of the sweetest couple they knew in their entire career. There were some minor differences amongst Mr. and Mrs. Raina on which they were not adjusting with each other. A bit of adjustment was all that was needed to get this marriage working. Otherwise, they were a perfect match for each other. Not only in terms of qualifications; but their temper and affability to all resembled. At times they were opposite to each other but as they say “Opposites attract”. That was certainly true in their case. As it happened, the way they ran things was exactly opposite to the Malkani couple. One day, Mrs. Raina was going through her collection of CDs when she started to sob suddenly. When Helen enquired as to the cause, she saw a Bob Dylan track which was Mr. Raina’s favorite. Similarly Mr. Raina could not contain his emotions while looking at the dummy bison trophy that they had gotten from their trip to South Africa.
It was then that Tim and Helen decided to join forces, as difficult as it was for them to acknowledge each other without sneers or snorts, to get the couple together.
The day that the Rainas decided to forego the idea of divorce was a momentous occasion for the two lawyers and they made an exception to have a gala celebration with just the two of them at the grand central hotel. Each made a vow that this was to be a one off exception and that they would be loathe working on the same side again in the future. Except that it wasn’t and they weren’t.
Another year or so passed before the two met each other. And it wasn’t in one of their usual spots vis the corridors or courtroom or bar rooms or in library conducting research or in a Constabulary supporting their “victim”. It was at an art gallery, of all places. Incidentally the two of them were invited by a common friend, which they didn’t think would exist but did. Not knowing any soul other than each other, and being the least bit interested in art, they decided to pass the evening by chatting with each other. It was at the chat that they realized that the two of them shared more than a common art friend and a profession. They both loved hard rock and despised Justin Bieber. Both were a diehard fan of continental cuisine, loved travelling and going on adventure sports. There were traits in which they were as opposite as they could be. But more often than not, they were like a purrfect match for each other. The two of them could feel a growing sense of elation at having found someone so similar to their own selves. But even now was not the time that decided to get together. Although, after the “Art Gallery Incident”, as they fondly used to call that evening, they began to going out more often. They decided to keep it casual. They would go out for a lunch, for couple dinner dates and so on. Though, after some time Helen started to became restless as she was genuinely beginning to like Tim a lot and wanted to take the relation to the next level but was getting exasperated that Tim wasn’t picking the hints she was throwing for becoming more than just “Friends”. He, she felt, was more than happy with the casual relation that they were maintaining.
Then one night changed it all.
It was a wonderfully clear night. Perfect for an outing. That night they set a dinner date at a fancy new Italian diner in their vicinity. They ordered foie-de-gras and sparkling white wine. They started to talk on a wide variety of topics, pending cases, new amendments, friends, family etc… until they came to the section on future. It was then that Tim dropped the bomb on Helen.
You know what? It was a good thing that we decided to keep things casual. It gave me enough time to explore various opportunities. I think I might have now found my true one.
Uhmm… said a shocked Helen.
In fact, I think I will propose to her soon. And I think I will do it in a slightly different way. People give rings in proposals. I would like to give her a pendant or something. That would be amazing, wouldn’t it?
Yes. That would be swell!
Rest of the evening passed without any further mention of the proposal and that night, for the first time in years, Helen cried her heart out. Then she resolved, she would be absolutely supporting of whosoever Tim chooses and never reveal her emotions to him.
Another week passed before she heard from Tim again. He called her up on Saturday evening to fix up a dinner date. He had some exciting news to share with her, he said. Bracing herself she went to the dinner.
I kind of told her that I am planning to propose!
That is wonderful news. How did she react?
I…I… I haven’t told her in exact words as yet. Just dropped some hints. I am planning to propose to her with this locket. Do look at it and tell me how is it?
He gave her the heart shaped locket. It has T and H etched on the surface in beautiful calligraphy. Sighing, she turned it around to see another carved on the back with the inscription “Love you Always”.
Open it. Said an excited Tim.
She opened the locket to see a small cutout of Tim’s face wedged on one of the sides.
She almost dropped the locket when she looked at the other side to see a small, heart shaped mirror showing her reflection.
Confused, she looked up to Tim… Only to find him on his knees!
“Wow granny! That is such a wonderful story” exclaimed the ten year Naira. “Did you know the couple very well”?“Well you can say that they were very very close friends” replied grandma, fingering the golden locket with the initials T & H on the front and a small heart on the back.
PS: Apologies for such a long gap between the posts but had so much to do that I couldnt find any time for the posts...
PPS: This post marks the completion of my 101 posts... yipppeee!!!
PPS: The rest of the Johannesburg/South Afria diaries will follow soon!