Story 36

She knew the mess that she had made of her life could not sort itself out. Standing at the balcony staring at people passing by her apartment was pointless, yet she could not move. She knew that today was the day she had to take a decision. It had been a long time since she had stepped out on to the balcony. The sun was about to set then, now the sun was long gone and the street lights were on. The shadow cast by natural light was replaced with the weird shadows thrown by the street lights. 

She could not help but stare at the man standing at the crossroad; almost in the middle of the plus. He stood there, oblivious to the people walking past him; some looked at him some totally ignored him – he ignored all.

A few two wheelers drove past him. One guy rode the bike too close to where he was standing, maybe on purpose. But, the man did not budge an inch. There were not too many four wheelers, the ones that passed him drove around him. The world was going on about, doing its business as he stood there, frozen to the ground, sort of frozen in time.

The man stared aimlessly towards nothing in particular. Maybe he was blind, she thought but she was proved wrong when the man took out a piece of paper from his pocket and read something. Maybe he was lost or maybe that is how he wanted to be. Lost.

She thought about herself; she was at a crossroad, frozen in time. Unable to move on. She was not blind to what was happening in her life, sometimes she felt she was lost and sometimes she wanted to be lost. This moment, she wanted to be lost, be oblivious to anything and everything happening. 
She blocked everyone else out of her vision and mind except the man standing at the crossroad. What was his story? Would she ever know? Would she want to know? Would he want to know her story? Would she want to share her story with him? She shook her head and turned around to walk back in. There was no point standing at the balcony, no point watching the man standing at the crossroad. He was a stranger, he had his story and she had her own. The mess of her life was more than enough for her to deal with. 

She came back in and looked at the man sprawled in her bed, her husband of 5 years. It was a long time – a smooth journey, without any hiccups. He earned, provided, and fulfilled her wishes; yet she felt empty. They did not have any kids. Her friends said that was the problem. That was far from the truth, the emptiness was deep-seated and it had nothing to do with kids. The first few years of marriage had been exciting, more for him than for her. But, she had at least felt momentary happiness, even if not in abundance. She was an artist and loved to paint. Photographs clicked on their honeymoon were the inspirations for her to paint during the lonely afternoons spent at home. 
Painting was now a long forgotten past. She had stopped feeling a long time back. For no obvious reason. People who knew nothing about her life told her that maybe it was depression. They suggested therapy, so she did therapy; but ended up being a patient listener to the problems of other members of the group. She helped them sort out their problems, helped them come out of their depression. She did better than the therapist who was paid to do the job. She stopped the therapy. 

She went through all this alone, her husband was too involved in his own world. He worked a lot, he tried his best to keep her happy. She smiled when he was around, not because she wanted to, only because he liked seeing her like that. She cooked for him, massaged his body when he was too tired, listened when he talked about problems at work; participated in sex whenever he wanted it from her. She faked orgasm to massage his ego and when he lay in bed; tired and satiated, ran her fingers through his hair until he slept and then slid out of the bed, put on her clothes and walked out on to the balcony to breathe fresh air. Five years and her husband could never understand that she was faking an orgasm; or maybe he did not care as long as he had his. Five years and he had never cared to discuss starting a family. Five years and she still did not know what she was doing in this marriage.

He had come home early today and was very happy, because he had finalised a deal that would add a lot of money to their joint bank account. He had bought flowers for her, which he’d dropped near the door when he had seen her and never got the chance to give them to her later because of what happened next. He had shared the good news with her and celebrated, in bed. She celebrated with him, for him. Today was different, she could not hold him in her arms as he lay in bed tired; she turned to her side and cried. She slid out of bed when he started snoring. She had decided to watch the sunset but had ended up standing at the balcony past the sunset. 
Now, as she stared at her husband, sleeping peacefully after love-making; she wondered what she was going to do about him, about her life.

Crying after sex had never happened before. She was surprised herself when the tears had started to flow. But, once she had given in to the feeling, she knew where it had originated from. She knew the root cause of what she was feeling at this precise moment.

It had started when she had attended a school reunion. The day she had met him; her crush of school days. They spotted each other from two corners of the hall. He smiled and for the first time in many years she really smiled the kind of smile that started at the lips and continued in the eyes. They had walked towards each other, having eyes only for each other, oblivious to the people who tried talking to them. The conversation that started with a simple ‘hi’ continued with stories of their lives. Their ambitions, their dreams, their failures, their life, their life partners and their emptiness. 
The conversation had continued through glasses of wine and ended with a promise to meet again. She had returned home feeling different.

They had met again, not once but several times. They talked, they laughed together, they held hands and they smiled – a lot. She cherished the warmth of his hand in hers. She remembered her school days when she had longed for his touch, she remembered how she had always wanted to be close to him but he was always surrounded by girls, beautiful girls. 

This time however, it was just the two of them. He talked a lot, and she listened. He told her about the mess of his life but she could not tell him about hers. He was a successful businessman, just like her husband. He was unhappily married, just like her. He earned, his wife spent and the story continued. He did not tell her about his sex-life, he did not have to. She could see it in his eyes, his desire to unleash his pent-up emotions and empty them into her. Many a times she wanted him to, she wanted to be filled. 

The last time they had met for a movie, the sexual tension between them had been unbearable.  They’d just watched fifty shades of grey and neither of them could ignore the effect the movie was having on their body. It had been a mistake to hold hands. The touch had ran its course through their entire body. He had stopped walking abruptly and turned to face her; cupping her face he had kissed her on the lips. After a moment’s hesitation she had kissed him back and had opened her mouth to welcome his tongue. They kissed passionately, standing in the middle of the parking lot, oblivious to the people walking past them. When they stopped kissing he had guided her to his car. He had not dropped her home that night, had driven the car to his hotel, instead.

She had climbed out of the car, her body ready in anticipation of what was about to happen. They’d kissed in the elevator and stumbled out when the elevator had stopped on his floor. They had entered his room, kissing each other, their hands busy undressing each other. He’d picked her up in his arms and taken her to bed. She unbuttoned his jeans and he slipped off her panties. His erection sprung free as he shrugged out of his jeans. Those few moments had been enough for her to realise what she was doing. He had almost entered her when she stopped him. He had ignored her attempts to hold him back, assuming it to be a part of foreplay; he had kissed her neck and breasts and penetrated but she yelled ‘stop’ and he had to pull out. 
‘Please, don’t’ she had told him and climbed out of bed. She’d rushed out of his hotel room leaving her panties behind, the warmth and the wetness between her legs reminding her of the mistake she had almost made. 

She had come home, the unfulfilled desire coursing through her body. She had stepped out of her dress hurriedly to take a cold shower when her husband opened the door with his key and stepped inside the house. He had bought flowers for her, which he dropped near the door and stood speechless as he saw her naked, walking from the bedroom to the bathroom. He had shared the good news as he undressed and took her to bed. He had been surprised to find out that she had been ready for him so fast; and as he thrusted inside her, she had closed her eyes. She did not participate in the sex but had been surprised to find her body reacting to his movements inside her and for the first time she climaxed along with her husband.

He rolled on to his side of the bed and waited for her to hold him but she had turned to her side and he had decided to sleep.

She cried for the first time after sex because she felt guilty. She felt betrayed by her body. The orgasm she had while having sex with her husband did not truly belong to him, he’d simply joined her in the middle of the sexual tension that had been building inside of her. The release had felt good momentarily until the guilt crept in and consumed her. 

She tiptoed towards the wardrobe and randomly pulled out a pair of jeans and a top. She changed her clothes and picking up her mobile she walked out of the bedroom and out of the house. She called him at his hotel room and apologised for running out on him. She told him that she wanted to meet. He said he wanted to meet her as well. They decided to meet in the restaurant of the hotel where he stayed.  

He was waiting for her in the restaurant when she reached. She watched him as she walked slowly towards him. The sexual tension building up again. She sat across him at the table and pressed her legs together. He could see the effect he was having on her.
‘About earlier’ she said.
‘It’s okay, I understand’ he said reaching out to hold her hand. She let him hold it, as she stared in his eyes. 
She had made a decision, she was no more the person standing at a crossroad, staring aimlessly as the world moved on. 

She knew that her husband deserved better; he loved her and had always been loyal to her. She, on the other hand had almost cheated on him, had betrayed him when she had an orgasm that had been because of some other man. Her husband deserved to know the truth. However, she had to talk to him before she talked to her husband. And, here she was, sitting across him at the table unable to control her body’s reaction to his presence. She told him what was on her mind. He simply nodded. They did not order anything. He stood up and held out his hand. She got up holding his hand and followed him to the elevator. They stood at a distance, staring at the changing numbers as the elevator climbed to reach his floor. 
They entered the room and she waited in anticipation as he opened a bottle of whisky and offered her a glass.
He watched her as she drank. Then, he walked closer to her and started to undress her. He stopped her when she reached to unbutton his shirt. 
He stripped her down to her panties, while being fully clothed himself. 

He took her to bed and slipped off the panties. He slipped his hand in between her legs and felt the warmth. He inserted his fingers and saw that she was ready. He continued moving his fingers, in and out. It took a while for her to realise what he was doing. He was teasing her for what she had done to him earlier. Tears trickled out the corner of her eyes and he laughed. He pulled out his fingers and walked out of the room; leaving her naked on the bed.

She deserved it, she thought as she got dressed. She reached back home to find her husband awake and waiting for her.
‘Where were you, I was so worried.” He told her. 
She went into his arms and started crying. 

Her husband deserved better, he deserved to know the truth, so she told him. She told him about meeting her school crush, about the time she spent with him; the almost sex she had with him earlier in the day and she told him about where she had been just now and what had happened. 

She told him she understood if he wanted to leave her because he deserved better. She watched as her husband stood up and walked away from her, gasped as he threw the bedside lamp on the floor, cried as he punched the wall. She knew he wanted to hit her, but he would never – even though she deserved it. 
She wiped her tears as her husband walked back to her and past her saying that he needed time to think.

She watched him leave the house and waited for him to return. She stayed awake the whole night waiting for him on the couch, but he never came back home.
He returned early morning, with swollen black eye and bleeding lip. He did not have to tell her where he had been, she understood.
She watched as he walked closer to her and sat next to her on the couch and cried. She cried with him. 

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