A much married Reena was having an affair with a friend’s husband.
How do affairs start, Reena wondered. She couldn’t remember how hers had started.
Certainly, she had been quite bored with her daily routine around the time it started. She had been spending a lot of time on Facebook, dishing out Likes to almost anything her Facebook friends posted. Among these Friends had been this couple, posting pictures of parties they had attended and unhappening holidays they had taken.
Once the affair started she started stalking him and his family on Facebook with comments and pokes. She hated the ‘happy family’ pictures his wife, her friend, put out. She would be jealous and hurt.
He said it was a facade his wife like to present to the world, said she was a fake with no interest in life but shopping and beautifying herself.
Reena felt bad for him even as she masked the fact that those were her primary interests too. In fact she had transformed her wardrobe from track-pants and t-shirt – her favoured outfit – to frilly and fancy dresses which he seemed to prefer.
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Then his wife posted pictures of a holiday they had just returned from. One of them made her wild. He had his arm around his wife. She looked wide eyed and happy, he looked – Reena thought – satiated and sheepish, as if he’d just stepped out of bed. Only the tousled hair was missing – he was bald.
He swore to me they had stopped having sex! If he had been around she would have slapped him.
She thought she was madly in love with him, enjoying the fights and the making-up, the late night surreptitious texting – and arguing over where they would have their next tryst.
They lived in a small town and had to be careful not to be seen together. Because of the servants – old retainers – they could not meet in their homes. They could only meet at hotels and never without the fear of recognition.
On one occasion, with his wife out of town, he gave the staff leave and called her to his house. But he had been unable to do anything about his dog. Reena loved dogs and the creature sensed it, drooling at her feet as she drank Vodka. When, after copious amounts of the stuff had been guzzled, they moved to the bedroom; he insisted on climbing onto the bed with them. He barked incessantly and yanked at the sheet. Then he climbed onto her belly and refused to budge.
Reena had laughed and, sozzled as she was, played with the dog. She thought it had been a fun afternoon even if they had been unable to consummate their love on this occasion.
Reena found it more and more difficult to balance the affair with her increasing workload. He had stopped replying to her texts and she was sure he had begun lying to her. Their quarrels were now taking an uglier turn.
The affair had run its course.
Reena felt scarred and used. It felt as if she would be nursing a broken heart forever. She would start weeping listening to an old romantic song. She dreaded going on Facebook, afraid of the deluge of ‘happy’ pictures that would inundate her.
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Time passed. Memories faded. Reena bounced back. The frilly fancy dresses soon gave way to her favoured faded track-pants and t-shirts. Now she didn’t have to take her cell phone to the bathroom. She made new Friends on Facebook and was now indifferent to the posts made by her former lover and his wife.
Once Reena and I were checking out Facebook together and happened to stumble upon a posed picture of the couple with arms flung wide a-la Shahrukh and Kajol. We both burst out laughing.
“Chal yaar, Like kar de,” I said.
Reena laughed and pressed the Like button.