She dressed so carefully hoping he would notice and rehearsed her coy smile a million times in front of the mirror. It was the only time; she chose jasmine over roses, and yellow over pink. She did her eyes, and then her hair and carefully pulled out a strand from the side. It dangled and danced as she glanced sideways at the mirror checking all along to see if the pallu was in place.
She had favorites that changed every two minutes. He was probably the only exception.
I sat at a distance watching both of them. Of course, I was the one who had listened to her stories until then. But this time we walked a path of silence. Only she kept interrupting with giggles and hurried steps that upset the rhythm our anklets maintained.
Actually, I knew both of them equally well. Both, who had told me everything but this. Love, I thought to myself.
They spoke through the night. But the night remained young. He held her hand and clutched it tight. Her head locked position on his shoulder. And I sat plucking my lower lip waiting for them to say goodbye.
He did and we left. That was the last train out of the village.
Her first time without him.