“The first time you saw me, you handed me a glass of bubbly and punched me in the face,” Alice says. She turns to study her husband – if he is still her husband.
Jacob pauses in the act of doing nothing at all. “Nostalgia? You? Shocking,” he says. “And anyway, I did not punch you in the face. You took one sip and only bloody choked on it. I was trying to give you a neighbourly thump.”
“More like a neighbourly hump, if I’d only known,” Alice says virtuously.
Jacob reaches out a hand to her, then stops, takes out his phone and starts doing heaven knows what on it. She clenches the steering wheel, and stares out at Kalka, the last town in the plains before the road climbs up to the Himalayas. Life presses in hungrily on both sides of the car. The rain has formed gullies, and there is garbage swimming its way down – onion peel, soggy cabbage, Band-aid, a plastic bag of Amul Milk, a half-dead lizard, hair scrunchies, a child’s pacifier, known locally and succinctly as a “nipple,” a dirty sock, assorted life debris. continued...
The Road to Shimla was published by Inkspill magazine in 2011. Read it here http://issuu.com/sophieplayle/docs/inkspill_magazine_issue_5
The Guest Editor Eleanor Perry says, "The Road to Shimla is a delicately-crafted snapshot of cultural displacement, capturing by turns both the caustic and the tender moments in the disintegration of a marriage."