He had planned on making shrimp malai for Shoba, but when he arrived at the store he didn’t feel like cooking anymore. It wasn’t the same, he thought, knowing that the lights wouldn’t go out. In the store the shrimp looked gray and thin. The coconut milk tin was dusty and overpriced. Still, he bought them, along with a beeswax candle and two bottles of wine.
She came home at seven-thirty. “I suppose this is the end of our game,” he said when he saw her reading the notice. She looked at him. “You can still light candles if you want.” She hadn’t been to the gym tonight. She wore a suit beneath the raincoat. Her makeup had been retouched recently.
When she went upstairs to change, Shukumar poured himself some wine and put on a record, a Thelonius Monk album he knew she liked.
It was more than just a good symphony. Along with the music, their heart beats felt different. It was a combination of happy and sad, confused and sure.
When she came downstairs they ate together. She didn’t thank him or compliment him. They simply ate in a darkened room, in the glow of a beeswax candle. They had survived a difficult time. They finished off the shrimp.
They finished off the first bottle of wine and moved on to the second. They sat together until the candle had nearly burned away. She shifted in her chair, and Shukumar thought that she was about to say something. But instead she blew out the candle.