“Why did you do all this for me?" he asked. "I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.'
You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
“Are you scared of his foibles? ‘He asked. “No, I’m not, I’m afraid.” I replied. “What about you?”
“Well sometimes it is awful. You know his temperament, his mood swings. It is fickle and unpredictable as the weather up in the mountains.”
“That indeed is quite like his fascinations for the higher reaches.” I suggested.
We were not alone by the waterfront. The wharf was about fifty odd meters to our right and the ferries that connected the main land - the city to the island were faithfully berthing, dropping off the passengers and picking the new lot for the return journey to the mainland. The sun had set behind us and the last remnant rays was splashing reddish orange array in the sky and on the expanse of water in front. A huge steamer cargo ship was leaving the sanctuary of the inland harbor and gently sailing out into the vast ocean. The gulls were having a feast of a time as few fishing vessels were returning with the days catch on board and it was abundant viands for them. There were a few people around on the granite benches silently basking the dusk.
For a moment I reminisced the golden days of yore when faithfully some of us used to ride down on our motor cycles and sat there till late night; often fooling the beat policeman and drinking rum and beer aided by the shadows of the late evening. We used to display absolute innocence when the police man came about us with a skeptical look and curious about our intentions of being there. For it was not quite natural to see youngsters sitting quiet, enjoying the dusk and the cool breeze from the lake. Later in the night we used to descend on the kiosk run by the old Anglo Indian gentleman and devoured baatooras and spicy meat curry. That gastronomic exercise was immensely delightful to me as he always served pork in spicy gravy.
“What I find unfortunate is his belligerence in face of nothing, in face of matters that are trivial and has to be seen so. He has to cope with situations, be it son, daughter or wife; even the insipid ones in his work place.” He continued after a pause. “I told him, warned him that unless he takes things as we all does he will end up making much ado and fret about nothing.”
“Well, the origin of all his obduracy stems from the fact that he cannot sit quiet and accept something that is against his wish, what he says. It is often the cantankerous obstinacy of a child. And that seldom discriminates between spouse, friend or stranger. It takes away the sheen in his person. The side of his that is mellowed, emotional and a mind that attaches much for romanticism and sentimental matters in relationships, things and events; a person who genuinely cares but fails to ably say so. You know.” I paused and leaned forward to watch a tenacious gull fish out a catch and fly away. “I often exclaim to myself it may only be possible to see him as he is and be content to treasure the better side of his person than the vitiated. In fact it is undeniable that we all have idiosyncrasies that are unique to us. ”
“True but he makes it a habit to remind us about what we would like to not see.” He moaned.
It was quite dark by now and the stars had begun to glitter. The sky was clear and the air had a nip. The smell of the waters of the lake had a distinct freshness, of the fishes, and of the life in it. The distant sound of the motor of a ferry ebbed away. There was a lone fisher man in his tiny skiff sitting patiently after casting the net.
“He is a confused fella, I’m sure. And the bottom line is he lacks or do not show the guts and gumption. He hopes to cover that limitation by flexing his chest.” He continued. “As a matter of fact, I ignore such tantrums. That is the only way. He has sworn after me a few occasions. He announced that he struck me off his list of pals. He feels that he had made a mistake by seeing me as a friend.” He smiled when he finished and clapped his hands in a casual gesture.
“Oh, holy mother of God, that is fantastic realization- and that to come after thirty years and more of bonhomie!” I exclaimed. “And it is these aberrations that make him lovable and makes him he.”