Story 113


In continuation of Story 112.
Story begins here.

She had been avoiding it for a long time; but now she wanted to make sure her doubts were right. She knew if she confronted her husband he would take her on a guilt trip. 

She finished taking shower and walked out of the bathroom. She had to admit, it helped. Her husband was making vegetable pulao when she walked to the kitchen. 

He kissed her on the forehead and asked how she felt. She told him she felt better already and would not mind taking over making lunch. He insisted that she took rest, therefore she went back to the bedroom and rested. She fell asleep.


She was awakened by the soft touch of her husband who was stroking her hair. Lunch is ready he told her and they both walked out. They finished their lunch in silence and he did the post-lunch cleaning while she watched him. A part of her wanted to enjoy the attention while the other part was desperately waiting for him to walk out of the house. She knew he would.



As expected, he asked her to go to the bedroom and rest. He switched on the television and she slid into the bed pretending to sleep; waiting for her husband to walk out of the house. Instead, he walked to the bedroom and sat on the bed close to her. He ran his hand through her hair and she opened her eyes. He brought his face closer to hers and kissed her on the mouth. It was a pleasant surprise. She kissed him back. She felt the warmth of his palm on her neck as he slowly eased out of the kiss. Rest, he said. I need to run some errands, will be back soon, he added.
She had hoped he would not leave. She would have loved spending the time in bed with him. Kissing him and snuggling close to him. 


He kissed her again and got up to go. On his way out, he closed the bedroom door. She sat up straight in bed the moment she heard the main door closing. She climbed out of bed and watched him through the bedroom window. Then, she stepped out of the bedroom, walked out of the main door and followed her husband.


---

The last he had seen her was in the backyard of the house. He had hoped to see her before going to bed but he had been disappointed. He was sure he would see her in the morning as she did Tulsi Puja, but she did not step out of the house. Her daughter went to school on time in school bus. There was no sign of her. He grew worried and was tired of waiting to have a glimpse of her. He decided to check on her the way he had done the earlier evening. He watched as her husband stepped out of the house; no doubt to visit the other woman in his life. He stepped out of the house and was about to cross the road when he saw her stepping out of the house. There was a determined look on her face, and she started walking in the same direction her husband had gone in. He knew, she knew.
He watched as she followed her husband. He knew she would do the exact same thing he had done, would find a way around the house. He knew she would be shattered when she saw what he had seen; he knew she would need someone to be there for her. He decided to be that someone.


He started his bike and followed her, maintaining distance. He switched off the ignition of the bike and watched as she surveyed the house. He saw her walk to the back of the house. He dragged the bike closer to the house and towards the back. She froze the moment she saw him. Their eyes met and then there was no need for words. She knew why he was there. She did not admit to a stranger, but she was glad he was there.
He hesitated for a moment, not sure what was the right thing to do. Should he convince her to not look in through the window? After a moments consideration he parked the bike closer to the window and offered his hand. She understood.
She took his hand in hers and climbed on the bike. She heard the noises before she looked in through the window. 


She knew what she would see but she was not completely prepared for it. Seeing her husband naked and atop another woman, thrusting like an animal was too much for her to take in. She lost her balance and fell back into the arms of the stranger who had helped her spy on her husband.


He steadied her – his hands on her waist, her body against his. He felt his body react to the warmth of her body, his heart beat faster, and he felt the tingling feeling in his stomach.
She moved away from him. There were tears in her eyes, which she tried to hide from the stranger. He did not look directly at her, but he knew she was crying. He started to drag the bike away from the house and waited for her to follow. When they were on the main road, he started the bike and waited. She followed and sat on the bike as if it was routine.


They rode in silence. He stopped the bike at some distance from her house so that no one would spot them together. Anyways, all the doors and windows were closed for the afternoon. The neighbours were all asleep; unaware that someone’s world had just been turned upside down.


She got down from the bike and walked to her house and collapsed on the steps. He put the bike on stand and rushed towards her. He put his arm on her shoulder and she started shaking. The silent sobs turned to loud crying. He looked around, there was no one on the road. Still, he was uncomfortable with the public display of emotions. He had never been in this position of consoling someone.
“Let’s go inside your house.” He said, and she looked at him
“I have locked myself out of the house.” She said and continued crying.
“Shit.” He whispered.
“Is there anywhere else you can go?” he asked. She shook her head. It should have been obvious. There was no place she could go to, in this condition. She would never want her neighbours to know what had happened.
There was only one thing to do, only one place to go.


“Let’s go to my house” he said after a moment’s hesitation. He held her by her arms and helped her to stand up. She stood up awkwardly. He realized the reason for the awkwardness when he saw the blood stain on her saree.


She was embarrassed, she wanted to get away from the stranger but there was nowhere to go. She had always insisted on keeping a spare key with the neighbour, but her husband had refused. Not that it mattered, she was not in the state to knock on the door of her neighbour. She was not friendly enough with any neighbour to say “hey, I was following my husband because I suspected he was having an affair and accidentally locked myself out of my house, also there’s a blood stain on my saree because I fell from a stranger’s bike as I tried to watch my husband having sex with another woman. Can I please change in your house?”
It was an awkward situation but there was only one thing she could do. She continued clinging onto the stranger who was supporting her in her distraught state.


He did not say a word as he helped her walk towards his house. He opened the house with his keys and helped her inside the house. He had never thought, not even in his wildest dreams that he would bring a woman to this house. This woman, out of all.
He watched her as she looked around the house, which was devoid of the essentials according to normal standards.


He did not know how he was supposed to help here. There was no woman’s clothing in his house. He did not know anyone who would spare the same. After a moment’s thought he said, “I will be right back, stay here and lock the door” and he stepped out of the house, leaving a woman alone in his house.


She watched as the stranger stepped out of the house asking her to wait in his house and lock the door. She locked the door and looked around the house. She walked room to room, taking in the dull interior.
She found the restroom and went in. It felt weird walking into a stranger’s bathroom. She needed change of sanitary pad and looked around for any make-do alternatives. It was tough to find a sanitary napkin in a bachelor’s house that was sure; toilet paper would have sufficed but there was none.


She heard the doorbell and froze. Was he expecting someone or was it he who was at the door. She peeked through the peep-hole. He was back. She opened the door for him. He held out a carry-bag for her.
I bought some stuff, he said.
She took the bag from him and looked inside. He had bought a packet of sanitary napkin for her. She looked at him, but she thought about her husband. Her husband had never bought sanitary napkins for her in the whole duration of their married life. Not even when she needed them after delivery. She had packed all the essentials well before in time.
“I bought a change of clothes as well.” His words brought her back to the moment.
She took the other bag from him. There was a saree and a petticoat inside.
“Thanks” she said.


He looked awkwardly at her and told her where the bathroom was and then walked to the kitchen, aware that she did not want to expose her blood-stained saree to him again.
He made tea as she changed into fresh set of clothes. 

A day before he had not known about the existence of this woman and now, she was in his house changing her clothes. He ran his hand through his hair. She was here because she was helpless and not because she wanted to be here, but it did not matter. She was with him; that mattered. He hoped he had something to talk about, something to take her mind away from the awkward position she was in, or most importantly to take her mind off the fact that she had just witnessed her husband cheating on her.


He was deep in thoughts when she stepped out of the bathroom. She had changed into fresh clothes and stuffed the old ones in the carry bag.
The immediate issue had been taken care of but there were others to deal with.
How was she going to get into the house? If she could not get into the house, how would she explain to her husband about getting locked out?
There might be a way, he said as if reading her thoughts. He should have thought about it earlier, he told himself. Or maybe, he wanted to bring her home.
“I might be able to get into your house from the backyard” He offered and then added, “If it is okay with you.”
The relief on her face was evident. He nodded.


They walked out of the house together. She waited at the front door whilst he walked around the house towards the backyard. He climbed up the wall and jumped into the backyard of the woman he had started having feelings for, the woman who was married to someone else, the woman whose husband was cheating on her, the woman who had just spent time in his house.
He tried to open the door, but it was locked from inside. He tried to open it forcibly but could not. He tried the window, it was open. He climbed through it, landing on the bed. He walked out of the bedroom and opened the main door for her.

She stepped in and thanked him. She was relieved to be home. He nodded and stepped out of the house. He crossed the road and walked past the gate of his house and turned around to look at her. That’s when he saw him. Her husband was back after satiating his sexual hunger.
She was still standing at the door, watching the stranger walk to his house when she saw him – her husband, walking back to his dull married life after his sexual adventure.
She looked towards the stranger’s house and saw that he had seen her husband too. He then looked at her. Their eyes met and they both smiled.
They shared a secret together and that felt oddly intimate.

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