(Continuing from Part One.)
My father is a retired Army Officer. We are staying in rooms provided by the Army. The restaurant is where we go for our meals. Walking back from the restaurant after spending way too much time thinking about my baseball hat situation, I found my parents mid-conversation. They were talking about this officer posted at the station who had been a polite enabler for all their old-people requests. Rare these days in the Army they said.
What were the odds that this was the same crooked-nose officer who had caught my attention? He might be more attractive than I’d initially estimated. Strong AND nice? Get out! I asked them who they were talking about and they told me his name and rank. Lt. Col. And what kind of a name was that?! I asked if he had a broken nose and they said that he did. OKAY THEN. I knew that if I asked more, my Dad would, at the very least, raise an eyebrow. Literally. I didn’t want to get into that.
The next day, we landed up at the restaurant for dinner. The place filled up slowly. Lots of guests in the vacation rooms had joined the dinner party. It had been a warm day. I was not wearing my baseball hat. Even though we were at the corner-most table, I got stared at quite a bit. My glass of wine needed a refill eventually. I walked to the bar. He was seated at the bar.
White shirt. Tucked in. Dark grey trousers. Close-cropped peppered hair. That broken nose. Whiskey. He said “Good evening.” I muttered, “Hey!” I didn’t want to stare. I smiled. Looked away. Looked at the bartender. He refilled my glass. I picked it up, raised it a bit toward the broken-nose dude, made brief eye-contact and walked away. His eyes were on me only briefly before he proceeded to explain to a fellow-officer ( who was also seated at the bar with him ), why he wasn’t eating dinner at home tonight. His wife wasn’t in town. For a change, he’d decided to break protocol and eat at the Kumaon Buffet Hall. ( Serving officers never eat here. ) Right. I was almost back at my table, hidden from view.
I was expecting a sexist / misogynist sentence out of his mouth soon. After all, Army Officers have taken longer to get out of the patriarchal mindset – if they have gotten out at all. The entire institution is based on “Men don’t cry”. I desperately wanted to be deaf to whatever he was saying but I didn’t mind if he looked at me. Or me him.
Dinner was laid out and all of us got our plates and heaped them up. Sat down at our tables. He sat down alone, at a table for four. Damn. Maybe our table of three could welcome him to the spare seat? But I wasn’t going to initiate that. Dad had to be the one to do it. Senior officer and all. Before I could even begin to think about broaching the subject with Dad, another officer had asked him over. Family of three. Sigh.
Dinner done. We got up to leave. While walking past their table, Dad turned around and said “Goodnight!” Mom followed suit. It was my turn. I said “Goodnight!” I smiled. Only at him of course. He looked right back, directly at me and responded. Uterus twinge. Direct acknowledgement. Solid, locked, eye-contact. And I wasn’t even wearing my stupid baseball hat! Exciting! So very exciting!
The smile on my face wasn’t wiped for a few minutes. I’d hoped it would have stayed for at least a few hours if not more. Why aren’t these things as exciting as they used to be when I was in my twenties? How bored was I? I mean, I had no plans of fucking the officer but the fantasy was fun!
I tried to imagine and visualize what the sex would look like. All I could conjure was his face, contorted, as he focused on, well, fucking. That ruined the fantasy a bit. How typical of me to expect a “strong looking” chap to give a strong looking fuck. I think I needed to see more of him before I could allow myself to build the fantasy further. A more accurate fantasy. I needed to get a better read on him and fast. We would be leaving Ranikhet soon. Once we’d driven away, I doubt I’d ever see him again. Or want to see him again.
B would be home in about another month and I would have my hands and head full.
Even my fantasies were having practical considerations. This is probably what getting old feels like. I had made a conscious choice to fantasize and find mystery where there was none. But the fantasy also had to make sense. At least a little. More broken-nose officer please.
…to be continued.
(All the characters and incidents in this story are imaginary, resemblance to any person dead or alive is purely coincidental. Or maybe not. Who knows! The story is set in Ranikhet, Uttarakhand, which I visited for a vacation recently. Photos from the actual trip can be seen under the #NAINAxRanikhet hashtag. )