He posted a status celebrating his birthday and tagged you in the post. I just can’t stop myself from looking through your photos. There you both are, smiling together at a friend’s place, pictures of him, of you and your pet rabbit. He said once there was a time when you both used to mate like bunnies. I know so much about your lives…
You’ve been married for 15 years, and I’ve been your husband’s lover for six months. You have travelled to places together, created a home and are raising a son together. I admire your attention to your personal details – your job, your body shapings and beauty enhancements. You are passionate about cleanliness, endlessly exhorting the maid and mother-in-law to keep the washed plates on the right side of the platform and not inside the drawers. How do I know these things?
Because I’m your husband’s mistress, the one your husband talks to – I nod and smile as he pours me a glass of Grey Goose while he talks about you. I’m the one who is passionately in love with your husband.
Your husband, the man who does the shopping run, who fixes the puncture in your tyre, who couriers the medicines your ailing father requires, and who loves me passionately too. What is stronger, 15 years of togetherness, or six months of white-hot passion?
Do you ever look at him with the same passion as I do? Do you have any inkling of the drowsy sensual late-night conversations he and I have from our respective beds? “I love you and I want you so badly,” he says. He adores the way I keep my hair natural, all in waves. He loves the way I stay away from all the gyms you go to, the diets you follow and the OCDs you have. He doesn’t intend to compare, but your obsession with keeping yourself fit and attractive and hence avoiding the crazy ways he wants to be intimate in – really turns him off. My carefree nature and cravings for his love bites makes him feel alive with lust and desire. Do you remember the necklace of hickeys you saw me with at the movie premiere? Yes, it was he, who adorned me with his love bites… oh no, he likes to call them his love notes to me.
But dear lady, forgive me if you ever come to know about us.
I’m not doing anything with your husband that you want to do with him. I’m doing only those things that you don’t want to do; you don’t want to sleep with your husband. I do. Your husband has a hunger for sensuality, tactility and love. You don’t want to tend to any of them. I do.
The deep understanding we share, the uninhibited laughter, the common interests – when was the last time you experienced any of that? Because if you can’t remember any of those feelings, surely you must forgive me.
But do you think I have it all? No, I want so much more. I envy you so much – not because he sleeps with you on the same bed every night. But wanting to do the mundane things with him – like smelling his body odour before tossing his clothes for washing, holding his hand at a social gathering, cooking for him on a weekend, watching him covered in sweat as he cleans his bike … things that you probably take for granted. I struggle to come to terms with the fact that he makes stringent efforts to keep me at a distance and fights the feelings that he has for me.
I must move on, you may say. I must swallow the pain, and find love elsewhere. But can I? Will I? No, I’m too hungry, I’m in love with a married man.
I’m glad that you will never see this letter. You need not know that he texts me first thing in the morning and converses with me the last thing at night before he sleeps. Those are the miniscule pieces of him that I have and I have learned to live with them.
But I promise, I’m not going to steal him away from you – because deep in my heart I know that he loves you, he respects you… maybe more than me.
And yes, let me confess, I love you – since you and I have a connection, where we are mad for the same man… just differently. I am your friend from afar, the mistress.
(As told to Tuli Banerjee)