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Moonlight and Chocolates: Chapter 6

"Arjun, when is Reena's birthday? It would be her first birthday with us. Should we plan something special?" asked Kiara -- Reena's mother-in-law.

"It is not until next month, 25th Jan, Maa.", said Arjun.

"Oh, that's good. We have plenty of time.", relieved Kiara.

"By the way, Dadu called to ask if I can visit them with Reena. Given Reena's busy schedule, I was unsure if she would join my trip, so I thought I would see them. Plus, I have been craving the chocolates made by Dadi. Maybe I'll make a quick trip tomorrow while you two ladies can bond over a glass of wine.", informed Arjun.

Kiara nodded in response and told Arjun to convey her regards to her in-laws.

Arjun boarded the bus the next day to meet his grandparents in their village. It was not far from where he lived —just a 6-hour bus ride.

After Reena came home from the office, it was just Kiara and Reena for dinner. They asked each other what they would like to eat and if they should order anything from outside. They both were not very hungry, so they decided to skip cooking. As Arjun had hinted, Kiara knew Reena wouldn't mind a glass of wine. It was perfect to go with the white glow of moonlight.

"What a cool mother-in-law! May God be kind to give such a mother-in-law to everyone", said Reena.

"You are very kind, Reena," acknowledged Kiara.

"Shall we sit in the balcony, looking over the full moon?" smiled Reena.

"Sure.", agreed Kiara while grabbing the chair -- the captivating orange with a yellow-painted seat. This was the only piece of furniture that looked very out of place in their living room. Reena never understood her mother-in-law's fascination with this chair, even though it was so old and worn out.

"Maa, what's so special about this chair?" asked Reena while pouring their glasses with red wine. Kiara looked at Reena, resting her glass on the table before her, "It's a long story, beta!"

"I have got the whole night, Maa. I would love to hear the story.", said Reena, unable to let go of her curiosity.

Kiara shared the story of the chair with Reena. This chair was the first furniture her late husband Aman had ever bought. In addition to this, she had also seen the same chair before meeting him. Destiny brought them together through chance encounters, including one involving a parrot named Enu, the same bird Reena freed on her 20th birthday. Aman and Kiara fell in love and got married, but Aman tragically died in an accident. Kiara has been seeking the answers ever since, thinking there was something more significant to her life than her suffering as a widow. Kiara tried to hide her sorrow but failed to do so. Who wouldn't -- remembering their late spouse while enjoying quality family time, only wishing they were with them today? Kiara was no exception to feel the same!

Reena sipped her wine, comprehending the story that her mother-in-law had unwinded before her, also noticing that Kiara had teared up.

"Maa, I know it hurts to live a tragic life and lose your husband early in the life journey, especially when everything seemed so meant to be as you describe. Whatever happened was very unfortunate." Reena continued, "But, Maa, you are the reason why Arjun has such a loving family. He had told me about his adoption a day before I met you. I never wanted to discuss it with you because it's a sensitive topic. You are the most important person in his life. Maybe if Papa were around, Arjun wouldn't have got a fantastic mother like you. Maybe he would not have survived his days in the orphanage. And perhaps I wouldn't have met him after all. For that matter, I would have missed having the coolest mother-in-law on the earth."

"You are right on Arjun's part. I only looked at Arjun as someone who helped fill the void my husband had left me with. But hearing from you that Arjun gave purpose to this widow's life makes me think there is a bigger purpose to life when things don't go as planned. And to add, I would have missed having you as my family and friend," agreed Kiara.

"Now that I am thinking, I met Arjun the next day I freed Enu. Maybe Enu was a secret messenger among all of us. I have heard parrots have magical powers. Or maybe it's just my wine speaking. Who knows!" said Reena, hoping to make the situation lighter.

"Oh! That's a fascinating angle to this whole intertwining. But before I add anything paranormal to this conversation, I should head to bed. This middle-aged body can't handle more than a glass of wine now."

"Maa, let me take you to your room," Reena offered, holding her mother-in-law's hand.

To her satisfaction, Reena convinced her mother-in-law that Arjun was the bigger purpose of her life, and the duo was her permanent support system. To some extent, Reena helped Kiara understand this intertwining of fate which was to be a guiding light in Arjun and Reena's lives. However, Reena couldn't stop thinking about their conversation and pondered over her own life's more significant purpose. Ultimately, she dozed off, thinking she'll cross the bridge when she gets there.

The next day doorbell rang, and Reena and Kiara both woke up rubbing their eyes. Reena opened the door.

"Ladies, somebody dropped these delicious homemade chocolates at your door!" said Arjun, who had boarded an early morning bus back home to surprise his mother and wife.

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