We were leaving the office together. Louise hurriedly took a cab. I walked towards the parking lot.

A girl came rushing to me,

‘Sir, take this bunch? — fifty rupees only’

‘Well, but…’

‘Gift her tomorrow. She’ll like it’

The witty sales girl had observed us perhaps. They had a florist-stall nearby.

‘Yah. It’s Valentine’s day!’

I forgot. She was right. Her wonderful marketing style, undeniable persuading compelled me to buy the bunch of rose.
Louise was my junior, close friend. But, for valentine gift… ?
The next day when I entered office, Louise was not in her desk. I called her over mobile. Five times at a stretch, no-replies. After half an hour I tried again. She received in a suppressed voice,

‘Hey, Jim, a surprise…’
‘Well, what?’

‘Guess? I’m with someone special. Manage my desk please. I’ll join tomorrow. Okay— Bye’

My grip loosened. The bunch of rose fell. I picked it up again. Caressed. Cleansed.
At lunch-break I came out, marching unwittingly.
‘Hi sir, where’s she?’— Hello! Sir!’

—I came back to senses, recognized that smiling face. Those inquisitive eyes were utterly personal.

‘What’s your name miss?’


‘Khusbu, can I gift it you, unconditionally?’ I raised the rose, handed it over to her and strode away back to my office cabin.

I got absorbed in work. Time slipped to evening. Office assistant forwarded me a memo:
In all ups and downs
I’ll be with you.

Truely yours forever,

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