“ Tonight, I am really going to give a huge piece of my mind to them,” muttered Reynold to himself as he drove up the path leading to his house.
“It is today or never,” he said to himself with a tone of finality. Reynold lived with his friend Roche in an apartment in New York. He had it rented from Mrs. and Mr. Baltimore, who were living in New Jersey. As Reynold walked from the garage to his apartment, he reviewed the events of the past few days.
Everything was working fine and things seemed to just click the right way for Reynold. A perfect job, a perfect life, a perfect passion with photography, and a comfortable house on rent. Even though, Reynold’s earlier roommates Neville and Bill had moved out, Reynold was quite happy that he had his old-time friend Roche to live with him, so that they could share the rent of 675$ a month. Everything was smooth sailing with Sarah and Kate adding to the excitement and fun in their weekend outings.
In fact Reynold’s parents were with him just a fortnight back, and had spent a long weekend with him , and in spite of all the bickering and grumbling that his mom did, for having messed up the whole place, Reynold was happy they could come over. Just last month , they had all met up, all friends from the University and it was so much fun. Over bottles of beer, and loads of fun, they had rewound and played repeatedly all the videos they had taken during their Masters in the University. What fun it was.!
And then doomsday arrived in the form of the owners of the house coming from New Jersey to stay for a couple of days. Reynolds’ mind was in a tizzy. He did not know if he had to accept or decline. Roche, was as usual more bothered about what to cook for the next day, so Reynold asked his mentor and friend Rihanna . Rihanna was of the opinion that since the apartment belonged to them, the elderly had the right to come and stay over and it was only a matter of two days, so it would not bother him much.
The elderly couple came, as Reynold had no choice but to accept as , even before he could tell them anything, they had landed a day before they said they would. Reynolds was a drop dead cultured gentleman, and much as he had his own biases within him, he never expressed it on the outside.
“Welcome Sir, “ he said with a warm smile and Roche , a sleepy Roche got up , crinkled his eyes and looked up and saw the couple and went back to sleep. Reynold brought in their luggage, made them comfortable, and gave them a cup of tea brought from India.
“Oh we do not have tea, you see, we have only coffee and that too decaf. Do you have it?” Reynolds did not have decaf and all he could say was a humble sorry and mumbled something about getting it the next day. He went towards his room when he was stopped by Mr. Baltimore. “ How is this stool here in the middle of the room , when I had kept it in side the bedroom?” he enquired peering through his steel-rimmed glasses.
Reynolds used to paint in a canvas, a habit he had picked from Bill, his earlier roommate. He used the stool to keep the colors. Reynolds apologized and kept the stool inside the bedroom. It was quite dark, and with the couple assuring that they would fix their dinner, Reynold went to sleep.
The sound of a whistle woke him up in the wee hours of next morning. Reynold checked his watch. “Five in the morning? What is this sound?” . He went across to the living room, and stopped on his tracks. There in the center of the room , the couple were sitting and taking in a deep breath with a lot of noise and then breathing out. Reynold watched them for some time and after five minutes when they opened their eyes,
“Yoga” Mr. Baltimore said, slowly, “We learnt it in India.” Reynolds had never seen a noisier yoga. He said a “Hmm” and continued with his work. As he set the electric kettle on, for some coffee, “oh no no no “ came Mr. Baltimore from behind. “ OH no no” . Do not start it now. For we like to boil water in the saucepan and make our coffee fresh. Reynolds just wanted to tell him, that he was making for himself and that he could, but declined looking at the determined look on the old man’s face.
A day passed like a comedy of errors, with both the elderly breathing down Reynold’s neck, and Roche adding to the confusion by being over dependent on him for everything. All in all, Reynold decided it was only for two days, so it was fine.
“ So , shall I come home and we work on it together?” enquired Susan, Reynold’s colleague in office. They were coming back from a presentation and had to submit it the next day. Susan, married to Smith, was Reynolds’ confidante in office , and understood Reynolds’s latest problem of not being able to call anyone home because of the elderly. It was almost a week since they had come now. The couple of days had got extended to a week.
Reynolds accepted Susan’s proposal and decided to work at home on the presentation. As they entered the house, there was lot of din and noise. “Whatever is that?” asked Susan. Reynolds opened the door only to see , many elderly sitting in the living room and all of them singing in chorus. “
“We are practicing for our weekly elderly choir at the church this weekend. Do come with us this weekend.”
“Oh no!” Reynolds thought and got exasperated that now they would not be able to work in peace. The door to his room did not have a proper latch and would not close properly. He gave it up and decided against it. Susan and Reynolds had dinner outside and Reynolds on his way back, poured out all his frustration and exasperating moments to Rihanna. He told her how they used his soap, as they could not find theirs, how they broke his jug in which he kept water, and bought one for themselves but never replaced one for him. He went on to say, how they harped on how dirty the apartment was, and how they kept it squeaky clean. He could not fathom how their son could this to him, and make him go through all the mess. It was really an outpour and he could only go on and on ,and he went on to say about Roche who bothered him to no end. Rihanna gave a patient hearing, did not say anything, and suddenly heard the phone clicking to shut on the other end.
Coming to the present, Reynolds was seething with fury, and had decided that enough was enough, it was a fortnight now, he was paying the rent ,and they were using the apartment, he had to pay their bills, and they had not consideration for his inconvenience, and so Reynolds’ just decided he had to give it to them this time, today, this moment. He was all set, he had rehearsed the dialogues , what he was going to tell them and how. He had decided he was going to tell them to get out of the house.
He turned the key to the door, and got in and said” Mrs. and Mr. Baltimore, enough is enough. I have suffered enough, I would like you to leave the house. “ He was met with silence. He continued. “You do not have to be mum on this alright. I know your ways by now. Smart Alecs. What do you think you are doing? I pay the bills and you stay on? Don’t I need my privacy? Don’t I need a life? Just get out of the apartment and give me a life, I say.”.
Still silence. Reynolds went hollering into the bedroom and there he saw, the two elderly on the floor, still and not moving, with the man’s hands towards the side table, as if reaching out to the bottle of pills Richard took the bottle, it read “ Bronchiodilator.”