Posted: 19 August 2013 at 8:50am | IP Logged
Autopsy Of A Marriage..
The sight of him walking down the aisle looking as incredibly attractive as ever in a dinner jacket and tie..brought her back to present and she sighed listening to the racing beats of her foolish heart.
"Don't lose your cool", was the last instruction Arnav silently directed towards himself before taking his seat opposite Lavanya a with brief, unsmiling greeting. The awareness that Lavanya still hoped for a reconciliation surrounded him like an armor and prevented undue solicitude from escaping through it. Even as he settled back in his chair and attempted to relax, the glittering diamond still adorning her finger caught his attention. He stiffened. Utter frustration at her and life in general rose up from the core of his being and almost negated his forcedly maintained equanimity.
"How are you? Lavanya's husky voice penetrated through the deepening mental fog.
"Good", he replied perfunctorily, focussing on her facial features for the first time. Noting the signs of ravages of time and fate, he was unable to curb a twinge of empathy in his heart. After all who understood the soul shattering travails of coping with the loss of a child better than him?
"And how about you?, he asked but didn't wait for her reply. Breaking their eye contact, he bowed his head and cursorily skimmed through the wine list.
"I'm still alive", she replied, "And that surprises me sometimes...
Arnav glanced up at her, his demeanor shifting as his eyes watched her struggling with tears. It was only natural that her stilted expression of grief resonated deep within him. Dark clouds of bleakness hovered over his consciousness and out of it's volition, his hand extended itself and covered hers on the table.
"It was just meant to be", he said gruffly, his vision blurry, "There's nothing you and I could've done to save him and nothing we can do to bring him back. What can we do?, the helplessness on his voice was evident, "Except hope and pray that he is happy...in a better place".
Arnav withdrew his hand as she rummaged through her handbag for a tissue and carefully wiped her tears. Her heart was leaden with not only grief but also remorse at the cruel, heartless words she'd blasted him with. Twisted, angry, lethal words deliberately spoken to inflict pain. To stab, cut and rip his heart apart. To hurt as must as she'd been hurting.
And she'd been wrong..so wrong.
The pure unadulterated grief in his eyes smote at her heart with sorrowful regrets. After a short pause, she said, "I'm sorry...Arnav. I truly am".
Wariness crept into his eyes again and he was glad when the restaurant's sommelier walked up to help choose a wine to go with their dinner. It gave him a chance to assemble his thoughts, to search for the kindest way to bridge the gulf between their individual expectations from each other. His thoughts were sad as he distractedly ordered for some Sauvignon Blanc and waited for the sommelier to leave their table. To him, the prospect of causing possible hurt to a fellow human had never seemed particularly pleasant.
With him out of hearing distance, he turned towards Lavanya again.
Her velvety eyes were still shiny with tears, regrets and remorse.
"I shouldn't have said those cruel...cruel words to you", she spoke in a whisper, "That was unforgivable of me".
Arnav's eyes were piercing as they bore in hers, intense in their determination to put a point across. "That's alright", he said, "They'd hurt...hurt terribly at that time but now..", he paused and shrugged, "They don't affect me any more".
"I should've called you before..apologized to you months ago but I wasn't in the right frame of mind. These past months flew by in a blur. I'd had to take Prozac, undergo therapy..".
"I had always felt that you'd end up needing antidepressants one day. Right from our residency days",
Arnav mused even as his eyes flickered into softness. His voice was gentle as he said, "I understand. Hope you're doing better now".
His attitude vacillated between indifference and pity and with every passing moment, Lavanya became more painfully aware of it.
An uncomfortable silence stretched interminable while Lavanya's heart fluttered like a desperate caged bird attempting to find a way. A way towards that elusive something, she'd spent a lifetime in trying to grasp.
"Arnav, there is something else I want to say today", she said after a while, her voice stilted with tension.
"I know you didn't believe when I said this before, and there is no reason for you to believe me now, but I still want to state that when I'd called you about my pregnancy I really believed you were the father".
With his eyes freezing with skepticism, Arnav placed his wine glass on the table and squarely met her gaze. His jaw tautened and his temper, usually kept tightly reined, started to fray at the edges.
"Lavanya", he said in a deceptively quiet voice, "Please don't insult my intelligence. This is not a f***** Jerry Springer show".
"I'm not trying to absolve myself of dishonesty. I realized you weren't Aarav's father the day he was born and I did hide that fact from you", she said with her features spasming with pain, "But when we married I didn't think I could be carrying Jason's child".
A cold shiver of sadness flitted down Lavanya's spine as just for a moment her mind dwelled on a pair of laughing brown eyes. Eyes full of hope and optimism despite the rare neurological disease, Neuromyelitis Optica, their young owner had struggled with all his life.
"Yeah? You really believed that?, Arnav replied with an eyebrow cocked, his voice dry with cynicism.
"Seems like you need a refresher course in basic Obstetrics and Gynecology", he added with his eyes glittering like hard frozen ice.
Lavanya bit her lip and averted her gaze. The realization that she was fighting a losing battle was just beginning to dawn upon her. She had done nothing to earn his trust and perhaps it was foolish to expect him to believe...
"I had my period just a week before the graduation night", Lavanya tried again, "I had no way of knowing that it was a false period and that I was...was already pregnant. I hadn't lied when I said I was on the pill that night".
Arnav surveyed her face and there was an indescribable quality about her expression, her eyes, her voice that conveyed her truthfulness to him.
"That night", Lavanya's words forced him to look back once again...albeit reluctantly.
Graduation Night, Ann Arbor.
Temptation was a nightclub in downtown Ann Arbor, usually filled to the hilt with university students on Friday and Saturday nights. Arnav had never considered himself a nightclub person but tonight, flying high on post graduation euphoria, the pulsating techno music, the crowded bar and the packed dance floor seemed tolerable, even enjoyable, to him. And after several shots of tequila sent racing through his veins, Temptation became one of his favorite places on earth.
Much to the envy of his friends, he could always hold his alcohol well and while all his companions were reduced to puking in the bathroom, making fools of themselves on the dance floor or tipsily laughing at the inanest things, he remained just a little more than buzzed.
Opposite from the bar and at the edge of the blue and red laser lit dance floor was the lounge area which offered convenient seating for people who preferred sitting, relaxing and people watching to dancing. Settling in a red leather couch with a cocktail in hand, Arnav glanced up as Lavanya walked up and sat down beside him.
An awkward distance had crept between them since she'd confessed her love three months ago. They were drifting apart with Lavanya trying her hardest to move on from him and Arnav attempting to facilitate that process by maintaining his distance.
As he took a sip of his drink, Lavanya cast him a sideways glance. Still dressed in blue dress shirt and pants that he'd worn with a tuxedo jacket for the graduation banquet, he had a silk tie loosely knotted around his neck while his profile, lit by colored mood lighting, appeared dark, distant and mysterious. Arnav was among those who turned intense and contemplative when buzzed and tonight, Lavanya found it irresistibly sexy.
Hugging his arm, she rested her head on his shoulder. Inhaling his quintessential scent, she had a sudden epiphany. Not only had she miserably failed in trying to move on from him, she had no intention of even trying again.
She wanted him, she had to make him hers, her miserable heart whined like a stubborn child, if not for a lifetime then at least for tonight.
The knowledge that she looked her best in a one sleeve, midnight blue, Balenciaga short dress supplied her with the confidence to take the next step...
"I missed you, Arnav", she murmured slipping a hand under his open shirt collar and caressing the column of his neck, slowly.
Surprised, Arnav glanced down at her and stalled her hand with his firm grip. As their gazes collided, the suggestion in her eyes was bold, clear and impossible to miss.
"Lavanya, you know how I feel about you", he began..
"I haven't forgotten", she smiled bitterly before rising from the couch and offering him her hand.
"Wanna dance?, she flashed a disarming smile at him, "For old friendship's sake? Please? Pretty please?
Minutes later, she'd dragged a decidedly unenthusiastic Arnav onto the dance floor packed with sweaty bodies rocking to the catching beat of Jennifer Lopez's 'Waiting For Tonight'
Few cocktails later, they'd just returned to the dance floor, when the DJ decided to wrap up the night with an old slow number.
With her arms wrapped around his neck, she had molded her soft curves against his toned body.
Slowly she felt the evidence of his awakening desire...that stoked her own to a raging fire. Even though her mind flashed with triumph, she failed to rid her heart of the bleakness that continued to swirl around it...
"Kiss me, Arnav", she whispered huskily against his ear.
An hour later Arnav found himself in Lavanya's bedroom, surrounded by a haze of alcohol fueled lust...which his better nature penetrated every now and then.
Later on in his life, there had been several occasions when he'd looked back at this momentous night with a heart full of regret. At these times, he was always tempted to dump all blame on alcohol and Lavanya's deliberate seduction, but he could never succeed in doing that. Although his judgement might've been a little impaired, he knew he hadn't been drunk that night. He felt he could've stopped her if he wanted to.
"Sure you want to do this?, he'd asked one last time, tightly grasping Lavanya's hair as her fingers and lips caressed his granite hard abs and traced the path of hair that ran from his navel downwards.
In response, her fingers had unfastened his pant's waistband and then moved further down to pinch the pull tab of the zipper and slowly slide it down.
A night of carnal pleasures and temporary acquisition of her heart's desire had soon faded into a dark, desolate morning swarming with regrets, hangovers, guilt, headache and heartbreak.
Coming back to the present, he sighed and interrupted Lavanya in mid sentence. "Even if you're telling the truth", he said running a harried hand through his hair, "There is no point in raking up the past now. It doesn't matter anymore. It's time to look forward not back".
Meeting her gaze and firmly holding it for maximum effect, he said, "It's over, Lavanya".
His eyes narrowed with incredulity as she averted her gaze and went off on a tangent. Her fist tightening, her nails digging into the flesh of her palm gave the only visible indication that his words had indeed registered.
"I wish I hadn't decided to keep Aarav's paternity hidden from you when he was born.. I wish I'd tried to convince you that it was a honest mistake. But I was afraid. Afraid that I'd lose you if I told you the truth. It wasn't easy for me either. Even single day I woke up with this burden and every single night I had to take it to bed with me. It was suffocating me, slowly sucking out my soul from me".
"It-does-not-matter-anymore", Arnav said with gritted teeth, suppressing a desire to vent his utter frustration by smashing the first object he could lay his hands on.
His words fell on apparently deaf ears.
"I know you'd honestly tried to make our marriage work... I wish I'd tried to reciprocate those efforts more often instead of allowing my miserable baggage of insecurity and fear to take over my whole existence. But there were good moments too..Arnav...weren't there? Like the time we went to Tennessee...when Aarav was one. Don't you remember that?, Lavanya inhaled a deep shuddering breath and met his gaze, "It's not over yet, it can't be over yet".
The magnitude of her almost pathological obsession with him was gradually dawning upon him leaving him a tad baffled. He didn't quite know how to react to it. Anger vied with pity for a second. Just a second.
"As far as I'm concerned it's over", he said in a voice thrumming with frustrated anger, "As far as I'm concerned it was over the day I walked out on you. The day I decided that I'd had enough".
Lavanya fell into silence after that leading Arnav to hope for her finally seeing reason, for accepting what was admittedly a bitter truth for her.
Noticing their server hovering in the background, Arnav pushed the menu card towards her.
"What do you want to eat?, he asked with cold civility.
While waiting for their food, Lavanya tried again
Edited by IPK007 - 15 October 2014 at 12:07pm