Joined: 20 November 2010
Joined: 12 June 2012
Joined: 23 December 2012
Joined: 22 February 2012
Joined: 26 February 2013
Joined: 26 February 2013
Joined: 26 February 2013
Joined: 26 February 2013
When I woke up, I was disoriented by the light. It came from the wrong direction. I looked around and realized it wasn't my room I was sleeping in. I saw Jay sitting at the edge of the bed, his head in his hands. As the events of the last night flooded into my head, I flopped upright on the bed.
"I am so sorry," he murmured, looking at me. He looked stressed, his face that of a man in pain.
"Jay, I..." I started to say but he didn't let me finish.
"I...I don't know what came into me last night... I know you are never going to forgive me. I know it's over, everything we had... But, but believe me, I had no intention of doing that. I was...I don't know why..." he trailed off helplessly.
I did not say anything for a while. It was because I didn't feel even one twinge of the guilt he seemed to feel. Rather I felt numb, just like last night. Then something dawned over me.
"I have to go home," I blurted out.
His expression changed looking at my face. "You're not angry?" he cried incredulously.
"I don't know," I said calmly. I still did not feel anything, just numb. He shook his head in disbelief and went out of the room.
I changed quickly into my working dress. He was sitting in the drawing room when I came out. I expected him to say something but he didn't. I didn't wait. I called a goodbye and ran out of the room. It was weird there. He didn't respond.
When I reached home, I stood outside the door for a long time before ringing the bell. When I rang the bell, I didn't know why, but a shiver ran down my spine as I heard him approach the door on the other side. He greeted me with the same smile as he did every time he welcomed me home. But for some unknown reason, I was afraid to look into his eyes.
"You look tired," he commented.
I started opening my shoes to avoid his gaze. "Hmm, it was a--" I gulped, "--busy night," I murmured.
"Go and get some rest," he said, and then turned towards the hall where he was apparently watching the TV.
I took a bath and changed into my clothes. I glanced at the bed but I was afraid to sleep. I didn't want to think about last night and I wasn't tired enough after the shower to fall into a sleep right after getting into the bed. The shower had washed away my numbness as well. I was starting to analyze what had happened actually. I wanted to be busy so as to drive the thoughts away from my head. I decided I would cook.
I came down to the hall. He was watching the highlights of some cricket match. I paused for sometime behind him. Here everything seemed normal, just like any other Sunday morning. Nothing had changed, yet so much had changed.
As I entered the kitchen, I thought of one evening before our marriage when he and his family had come to see me and we were left alone in my room. I had had the occasion to ask him what his favorite dish was. Yes, I would cook mutton and fried rice. I didn't know why, but it felt good to do something for him.
I was engulfed in my cooking when I suddenly realized that the TV was not on anymore and the house had turned unusually silent. I looked back. My breath got stuck in my throat as I realized that he was standing near the door, watching me. I had to remind myself to relax. He smiled. I raised an eyebrow at him.
"What?" I asked. He shook his head and then stopped smiling.
"Hmmm..." He said, sniffing. "Nice...! Want some help?"
I shrugged. Inside, I was shocked. We had spent so many Sundays together, he watching TV and I busy with household chores. Never before had we intruded on each other's world. He asking to help me in cooking was beyond normal. How much could things change in one night?
We chatted together as I cooked and he cut the vegetables for the fried rice. It was kind of nice. It was easy to forget the last night as we laughed together. Then we tidied the rooms together. It was fun, partly because we had never done it together before and every new thing has its own charm and partly because we became children there! We pulled up a pillow fight while tidying the bedroom and soon we were charging at each other armed with pillows. The house was no longer silent and I could tell he was having as much fun as I was and though I normally shouldn't have, I felt good as I thought about the fact that he was having fun with me.
Lunch and dinner were fun in their own way. We had been having them together for the last month but I could feel that even he hadn't thought that they could be so fun. We were bickering over the dishes like children. He complimented me on my cooking and for the first time, I turned red. I ran away with a shy "Thanks."
That night we were sleeping together, not inclined away from each other as before, but facing each other. We chatted till we fell asleep. As much as I was happy, I couldn't rid myself of the guilt. It had worsened bit by bit as I had discovered what type of a person he was. It felt maddening to cheat him this way. What had I done?
In life, we are so often mistaken about our feelings. I had never thought much of him, always taken him for granted. And when my guilt made me do something for him today, I found the true essence of our relationship. Suddenly, I was more aware to the fact that I was his wife. I vowed that soon I'd tell him about last night, whatever may be the consequences.
Next morning, I felt for him beside me, without opening my eyes. He wasn't there. I sat up, confused. He was never up before me. His words broke into the silence. "Good morning." He greeted with a grin on his face. He was standing near the door with the tea-tray in his hand. He came and sat beside me. "I think I'll take an off today," he said smiling. "I'll take an off too", I blurted out unthinkingly, though I had no such intention even a minute before. The morning seemed wonderful, somehow and I couldn't think of leaving him now.
The day passed as beautifully as it had started. I had not imagined anything could be more beautiful than that. So when I entered our bedroom, I gasped.
The room was dimly lit. The bed was draped in white and rose petals were sprinkled here and there. The floor was also red with petals. The fragrance in the room was enchanting. As I stood there at the door, taking all these in, I felt his arms around me. "When did you--" I couldn't complete the sentence as I realized what was going to happen and a lump in my throat overwhelmed me as some uncomfortable memories crept into my mind. I was stiff inside his arms. I wanted to tell him everything but as usual I was a coward, too afraid of the consequences. I tried to gain confidence from my last night's resolve. But I did not have a chance to think about it as his hands stroked my cheeks. He kissed my forehead, continuing down the whole length of my cheekbone, my jaws. I couldn't concentrate on anything else but him now. More appropriately, I didn't want to, knowing what it'd lead to. The moment seemed too precious to ruin. I would deal with everything later.
"Umm... I was thinking, you know..." he paused to look at me. The stiffness had disappeared as soon as I had made my decision and I looked at him questioningly, now enjoying the moment. He continued, "You know, we did not have our honeymoon and'" he trailed off.
I pretended to think. "Well, for that matter, we can go next month or..." he hushed me.
A naughty smile played around his lips. "But I'm not sure if I can wait that much long", he said as he scooped me up in his arms and headed for the bed.
It was nothing like that night when I was with Jay. To tell the truth, it was totally different. It eased my guilt as I found out how much I had been holding back that night. It was entirely a new experience.
The following morning was different too. I woke up before him. The morning seemed beautiful, so very beautiful. I felt immensely happy to have him by my side. He was still sleeping and I propped myself up onto his chest. I sighed happily as I thought about last night and kissed his forehead. He smiled, opening his eyes.
"It wasn't bad, eh?" He winked at me.
I smiled shyly in reply and buried my head into his chest. His hands tightened around me. "I love you", he whispered. "I love you too", I said and we both laughed.
Two weeks later, I was packing our bags. We were leaving for Shimla the next day. The trip was job-related, he was going there for a photo-shoot and I had decided to accompany him. When his job was over, we would stay there for some more days. We hadn't gone anywhere since our marriage and I was a little excited about it. I was thinking about how our lives had changed in the last two weeks. Jay had apologized to me a hundred times and I had tried to make him understand that it was a mistake and we both had committed it. I requested Jay to resort to being my best friend again. He had tried his best but I think it's not possible to make everything as normal as before. I didn't mind. Pushing things was never my way.
I haven't told him about it yet. Things had turned up so beautifully during the last few weeks that I had been afraid, knowing it would ruin everything. But I was planning to tell him tonight. Then we could have some time alone if things went wrong, as he had to go to Shimla and I could always stay back. It might do him some good not to see my face for some time, and also it ought to give him some to think things through, before taking any big decision. I was counting on my trust that he'd take the right decision, for me. Nevertheless, there were butterflies in my stomach as I thought about what would happen if things did go wrong. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to stay away from him.
The shrill sound of the phone ringing broke into my reverie. I picked it up at the same time he did downstairs. I heard Anisha's voice on the other end. She was one of the models working for the company where my husband worked as a photographer and one of his best friends. I had met her before, and I have always felt that she had a soft corner for him. I was going to replace the receiver on the cradle when I heard something unusual.
"Why aren't you answering my calls after that night?" she was saying. "I tried calling you so many times on your cell phone. But since you wouldn't answer it, at last I decided I'd call you on your home number," she said impatiently.
"I don't know, Nish. I am very sorry about that night. I was feeling so guilty that I had played with your as well as her life, I was afraid to answer your calls," he replied. They were obviously unaware that I was eavesdropping on them. It was bad and I wanted to hang up but I was too intrigued by their tones to do that.
Anisha protested. "Why are you feeling guilty? You touched me with my consent and you are welcome to my home anytime. I know she doesn't pay any attention to you and that hurts'"
He stopped her mid-sentence. "No Nish. That night was a mistake. That day, she called me saying that she wouldn't be home for the night' I was already so depressed at our marriage, thinking she had cheated on me by pulling me into this relationship when she didn't want to' I went to your home hoping to get rid of that. But everything went horribly wrong. The rain' And you were so close'I am so sorry, so so sorry," he moaned in despair. "But now she has changed. I love her and she loves me too. We are leaving for our honeymoon tomorrow," he said, his voice steady now. "You know I was so guilty after that night that I wanted to do something for her. I started spending time with her and' We have discovered ourselves. And I think we didn't find it earlier because we didn't try. We were running away from each other. I don't know what has been her initiative but mine has been the guilt that I had been cheating on her," he finished.
There was a long silence before Anisha spoke again. "So, have you told her about it?" she asked, her voice soft now.
"No, not yet but I'll tell her tonight. You know, Nish, everything has been so perfect between us these days that I just couldn't tell her before even if I had wanted to", he sighed happily.
She cleared her throat at the other end.
"Well I'm happy for you," she said. After a small pause she spoke hurriedly, "But we're still friends, right?"
"The best of friends, actually. I don't know if everything can go back to normal, but I promise I'll try," he said. "I am sorry for everything that has happened between us," he added apologetically.
"Don't be," she said, "And..." she paused.
"Hmmm?" he asked.
"...Happy Journey," she said cheerfully.
"Thank you..." he replied, "...and take care." They hung up.
I replaced the receiver mechanically on the cradle and looked up. I faced the mirror on the opposite wall. The face in the mirror overflowed with tears, but I could see the lips curving up in a smile.