Dec 3, 2011

Fiction || "She" ~ A Short Story

My second short story :-)

She’s falling in love with him. Everything about him. His hair, his face, the sound of his voice, the way he looks at her. As they speak, she begins to realize that he looks familiar. She’s met him before, spoken to him. A sense of guilt, of betrayal lingers at the back of her mind as they converse. She’s cheating on someone. Who? Her lover. And then it hits her. She’s been in love with another man… the same man. They are two different people, but also the same. She’s leaving him for him. It doesn’t make sense. Yet, it does.

She wonders how she’s going to explain it to him, when a song starts to play in the background. Kahin door jab din dhal jaye… an evening song. Situations melt, like she’s coming out of water. She opens her eyes slowly, pushing back heavy eyelids with some effort. The song is now playing from her mobile, it’s her alarm. She checks the time. It’s the crack of dawn.

She moves her body over to the unslept parts of the bed, as she does every morning. She loves the feeling of the cool sheets under her skin. They relax her, help her sleep a little more before she needs to be up. She stretches out her hand, again out of habit, searching for human contact. Oddly, she finds none. She opens her eyes once more, he is absent. She looks around carefully. It’s a different bed, in a different room.

Pots are clanging far away. Someone has put on a tape of Suprabhatam. It’s only now that she’s fully awake, as the realization sinks in. As it all comes back to her. The dream. And reality. She wasn’t the one who cheated, the one who left…

She gets out of bed, tired, oddly blank. A shower ought to get things going, she thinks. The water is tepid. It irritates her. She needs her showers steaming hot or freezing cold. She needs the water to jolt her senses, shock her awake. Lukewarm water hardly amounts to anything. She is unable to adjust the valves the right way, the way he always did for her.

She’s all dressed now, ready to go. Except, she has nowhere to go. She follows her routine out of habit, although it’s been a month since she’s been to work. She couldn’t face them any more, the questions, the humiliation. She had to quit. She’s at the table, her mom serves her breakfast. They eat in silence. They don’t bother her at home, and she’s thankful for that.

She gets into her old car, bangs the door shut. It takes her a minute to figure out what to do. It’s been long since she’s driven this car. She thinks of it as an old friend. From a time before she knew him, before he even existed for her. She catches a glimpse of the back seat through the rear view. There’s a flash of memories, of old times, happy times.

She drives around aimlessly. It calms her, being on the go. Just going, somewhere, anywhere. It doesn’t matter where. She doesn’t want to stop. Stillness is bitter, too bitter. She must keep going.

She drives past his house. His new home, where he now lives with her. The proverbial other woman. The vamp. She burns with silent embarassment. Yet, she can’t help it. That he had the audacity to live so close by, that she had to pass by where he lived every single day, that she had been so devastatingly wrong in her judgement of him, she just couldn’t get her head around these things.

And so, she drives on. And on. It isn't until late in the afternoon that she returns. She gets out of the car and walks toward the gate. Her mother is speaking to a woman in the neighbourhood. She stops for a second in her tracks, unsure of what to do. Taking a deep breath, she braces herself and continues to move forward. “Just to the gate,” she tells herself. “Just make it to the gate. One step at a time.”

The lady looks at her and smiles kindly, widely. “Hello beta, how are you? How is your husband doing?”

Her breath is caught in her throat. A brief look of panic flashes in her mother’s eyes. She knows what she has to say, it was rehearsed several times before. And yet, each time, the question caught them off guard. A few seconds pass. The lady looks confused. Her mother starts to offer an explanation.

“I’m divorced,” she blurts out.

Her mother gasps loudly. The lady stares.

“It’s okay mom,” she tells her mother, holding hands. “I’m divorced aunty. My husband left me for another woman. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take a shower. Nice to see you. Bye.”

She turns around and goes straight up the stairs without a single backward glance. She sits on her bed, wide-eyed, un-moving. It shocks her too, what she has done. And yet, it is oddly liberating.

“I’m divorced,” she repeats. “My husband left me for another woman.”

“I’m divorced, and my husband left me for another woman. Hi, there! I’m divorced. My husband left me for another woman.”

She says it, over and over, and over again. She says it with a smile, she says it with a frown. Each time she says it, it sounds more real, she is able to believe it. And then she throws her head back and laughs. Loud and long. Like she used to.

She picks up her mobile, calls her best girlfriends. She asks them out to dinner and plans are quickly made. Yes, it feels like old times, all right. She would dress up again. For her girls, for herself.

She steps into the shower. This time the water is just right.

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  1. yeah yeah and a writer is born, nah was always there but shines thru now more than ever :) good one.

  2. Brilliantly written!! :) I love the new template, and the blog title- The Daily Moo sounds so cute, haha! :D

  3. Hi Sumithra,

    Thanks for dropping by in my blog..
    Good story and narrated well. The story tells the nature of the gal and even with its sad story line it is beautiful.

  4. Awesomely written.I was beginning to worry it would have a sad ending. The ending is just brilliant. You are so good at writing short, simple, yet mind-blowing stories :)

  5. @Sruthi: Thank you, thank you, I'm more happy that you liked the design than the story. Coz the story I wrote in a couple of hours but I've been working on this design for a couple of weeks now. It's almost done, just a few more days hopefully.

    @Ravi: Thank you! Glad you liked the story. Please come by more often.

    @Kerithana: Thank you so much. I like stories that make me worry about the ending, so I'm glad to hear that my story had that effect. Thanks again!

  6. Loved it! Superbly written :) Short and to the point... and a very good point for that matter!

  7. @TGAT: Thanks a lot! Glad you liked it. Thanks for visiting and please come again.

  8. You missed the part where some friends couldn't come because their husband or kid couldn't make it :P

    I make this mistake ALL the time, so I don't know of any solution. There's an over-dose of a word in this post :) maybe you'd want to work on that.

    Ah, I almost forgot. This story is much better than the previous one. Great improvement.

    PS: The contrast between background and text colours can be better. Maybe you can try #333 as the text colour (instead of the current #666)?

  9. @Kannan: hehe. I'm not sure I get you, is there an overdose of a particular word, or just too many words? Will try to change the text color and see if it works better. Thanks for reading!

  10. Yeah, so I fed this post into, and here's the result:

    Word Frequency
    she 60
    her 45
    the 45
    to 33

    it 23

  11. Ever since I read this story, I think of her every time my shower is too hot. (It never is too cold.) I thought of telling you that she is remembered :)

  12. Liked the narration style. Good one!