Rafik was not having a ball tonight, he was having the exact opposite, he was getting yorkers and did not know how to bat them.
“So, you want to come along?” She was looking up at him with those big azure eyes.
This was the tricky part, too eager and he would be stuck with a pseudo intellectual-PETA-type chick, too lackluster and this gorgeous pseudo intellectual-PETA-type would decide he was just feigning intreast to get laid.
Rafiq found himself saying, “Sure, why not’
‘Shit, here goes nothing’ thought Rafiq.
Blue cross is closer from my place so come over at 6 in the morning and we’ll take my car.
6, morning, Sunday? This is blasphemy! Rafiq was already regretting this.
“Sure” he said
“I better leave now, if I want to salvage any hope of driving without having to use up the car insurance” Revati started to leave.
‘Bad joke, great smile, all’s forgiven’ Rafiq thought.
After partying till four in the morning Rafik decided that he might as well give sleep a skip altogether.
By 6 he was seriously hung over.
As he was doing his last minute gel, mouth freshner and deodorant routine outside Revati’s house, the rearview mirror told him he looked 5 years older,
“Hah! Jokes on you, I feel like I have aged 10”
Sarcasm will get you through everything, if Rafik Tehran had a tag line, that would be it.
“Not bad” she looking at him apraisingly, “You’re panctual.”
‘Sure, why not’ thought Rafik and smiled his acknowledgement of the ill earned complement.
“Let’s go, I want to get there by 8”
‘If you look like this 6 o’ clock on a Sunday morning honey, I’ll go any where with you’ Rafik was having a hard time keeping his cheeky retorts internal, but he managed to contain them with his lopsided smile.
For a vain, handsome, middle aged, single man, Rafik was quite oblivious to the fact that his boyish grin and not his sharp cloths, clought or money got him out of most of the jams that he had made a habit of getting into.
The drive was uneventful, mostly due to the fact that Rafik was snoring within the first ten minutes. So when Revati gently nudged him awake Rafik was disoriented. By the time the where, what and how of his surroundings sinked in they were standing in front of a line of cages and his head was rattling like clanging utensils with the ruccus.
25 caged dogs barking in unision will do that to you.
Slowly getting his equilibrim back, Rafiq’s gaze fixed on this strange looking dog, it was’nt quite terrier and it was’nt an Indian bread mongrel, not that Rafik would know the difference.
To his untrained eye this dog was just unique, nothing like he had ever seen before, White with buiscuit brown patches all over，it was tilting it’s head sideways, it’s ears stuck out, looking at him curiously and this one was’nt barking.
Rafik forgot all about Revati and got down on all fours, extended his hand tentatively and stopped short of touching the dogs dark brown nose.
And then it happened, the dog ducked it’s head and placed it’s forehead under Rafiq’s outstreched hand.
“Can I?” Rafiq asked the caretaker and the door was opened. After much sniffing, petting and jumping the dog curled up in Rafik’s lap.
“It’s a girl, Cookie, that’s what I am calling her.” Rafik told Revati with a goofy lopsided smile.
‘What did I do?’ 2 hours, and much paper work later, most of which was done by Revati the ramifications of this emotional accident had sunk in. All through the drive back to Revati’s home Rafik was looking out of the window deep in thought one hand petting Cookie like he had had her forever.
“Can you hold on to her for a day?” Rafik asked as they stood outside Revati’s door.
Revati looked at him with her big brooding eyes sad and disappointed, Rafiq wished he could vanish, finally she said,
“I will but if you dont show up tomorrow, I will take her back to blue cross, and just so you know the dogs that are returned are considered badly behaved, so that will be on you.”
She took Cookie from Rafiq turned around and closed the door befind her.
Rafik stood there for a long time. Then he drove back to blue cross, he spent the rest of the day there petting, playing and just looking at other dogs. The caretakers seemed surprised but took it to be a hopeful sign that he might adopt another one.
Rafiq had always had a lot of people around him, he was a fun guy, he hated the pensive, quite, loner kinds. He had no concept of me time, for the first time in his adult life he bearly spoke for an entire day, he switched of his cell and just spend time with the dogs, he was there, he was present in the true sence.
He spend the night in his car a block away from Revati’s house, and just kept thinking.
In the morning he had made up his mind, this had to be done, he straighted up, streched and rang the bell.
Revati opened the door surprised it was a little after dawn, “Can I have my dog back?” haggered but happy he looked 5 years younger with his lopsided smile.
Revati hugged him while Cookie barked for their attension.