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. At the back of her mind 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 had been gone long ago 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 go. Perhaps she was imagining it but the moment she turned around; from the corner of her eye she could see the man glancing up towards her balcony. She turned back to look at him, he was standing motionless, still staring aimlessly at some point in front of his eyes. She had imagined him looking up at her balcony.

She came back in and looked at the man sprawled in her bed. She had been married to this man for 5 years. It was a long time – a smooth journey, without any hiccups. He earned, he provided, he fulfilled her wishes and yet she felt empty. They did not have any kids. Her friends said that was what made her feel the way she felt. She knew it was not true. 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 something. She had felt happiness, even if not in abundance. She was an artist, loved to paint. She captured sceneries of places they visited on their honeymoon and when they returned home she painted.
She had stopped painting a long back. She had stopped feeling a long time back. For no obvious reason. People who knew nothing about her life told her that maybe she is depressed. They suggested therapy, so she did therapy. She ended up being a patient listener to the problems of other members of the group. She helped them sort out their problems, she 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, she massaged his body when he was too tired. She listened when he talked about problems at work. She 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, she ran her fingers through his hair until he slept and then she slid out of the bed, put on her clothes and walked out on to the balcony to breathe fresh air.

He had come home early today. He was very happy, he had finalized a deal that would add a lot of money to their joint bank account. He brought her flowers and had kissed her the moment she had opened the door. He had shared the good news with her and celebrated with her, 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 she heard him 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 into her. Many a times she wanted him to, she wanted to be filled.

The last time they had met, the desire in them had peaked to such an extent that it had created a sort of electric field around them. Their fingers touched and the touch ran its course through their entire body. Unable to bear the tension he had pulled out his hand from hers and preferred walking with his hands in his pockets.

She had come home, the unfulfilled desire still flickering inside her body. She had readied the tub for a warm bath when the doorbell had rang and her husband had come bearing good news. As always, she had offered herself for sex when he wanted to celebrate; hoping at the back of her mind that maybe, just this once she would not have to fake orgasm but she had been disappointed. Five years and she could count on fingers when she had orgasm in their act of love-making. Five years and her husband could never understand that she was faking it; 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. Her thought process had come to a sudden halt when he had collapsed on top of her, satiated. 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 wanted this time to be satisfying for her as well. The desire that had started building up in her since her meeting earlier in the day, she wanted that desire to culminate into something beautiful and when that did not happen, she had felt disappointed.
Now, as she stood looking at her husband, she felt the disappointment returning. She did not want to cry again. She wanted to be happy. 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 and told him she wanted to meet. He said he wanted to meet her as well. They decided to meet where they had met earlier in the day. It was time to continue what they had started.

She reached the place before he did and when she saw him walking towards her, she smiled. She felt happiness, like she had never felt before. Her heart was joyous. What she felt meant a lot than an orgasm. She had finally made up her mind, she was no more the person standing at a crossroad, staring aimlessly as the world moved on. Her husband deserved better and that’s why she had decided of leaving him. She deserved better.

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