(As told to Shobhana Deepak)
“Baby, I’m home!” I called out to D. Something seemed out of place…
After a strenuous workweek, I was looking forward to enjoying a quiet evening at home. I noticed D’s car parked, which meant he was home early. Maybe we could, after all, squeeze a little time in the tub together. I laughed at the irony of planning a ‘relaxed’ evening. D would have surely found a way to bring that to my notice – ‘always a manager’ he would have said. I smiled thinking of him, as I knocked on the door. No response, hmm – he must be in the washroom – I thought to myself as I dug out the key from the bag.
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As I inserted the key, I was sure I noticed a tiny red stain near the keyhole. Surprisingly, I was too tired to take a second look, and decided tomorrow would be a good day to begin the cleanup!
It was exceptionally dark inside, considering D was home. I urgently turned on the first light switch my fingers could find. The kitchen lit up bright and I walked right inside. I was shocked. The kitchen was a mess! Pans scattered everywhere, flour thrown about. Something did happen in here, but what?
Lost in the possibilities, I walked towards the dining area, lit dimly by the kitchen light. The table was well set with plates and glasses. Except, there was a similar red stain on the white tablecloth. I walked closer to inspect the stain, when my shoe found itself on something wet. A pool of red blood shone back brightly from the floor even in the faint light. There was a sharp knife right next to it. My heart skipped a beat and I stood frozen, hoping it was just a nightmare.
I called out for D. No response. I inspected the distant floor and noticed red shoe marks walking away from the pool of blood. Cautiously, without smudging the marks, I followed them into our room. I turned the light on, anticipating nothing close to a better sight. Our bath towel was thrown on the floor. It had blood stains, possibly an attempt was made to clean the shoe marks in the room?
I noticed some clothes thrown on the bed with the deepest and freshest blood red spots I had ever seen. I shrieked. They were D’s; he was wearing them this morning when he had headed to work! This can’t be happening! I tried calling him. The phone rang. It was on the bed! D never left his phone anywhere! What happened to D? Where was he?
My tears rolled uncontrollably when I heard the main door open. Suddenly fear overtook pain. It could be the same person who caused this wreckage. I quickly picked up the vase from the bedside and hid behind the bed. I heard footsteps closing in, closer, closer. It was time. I stood up and ran towards the stranger…
An hour previously
As I parked my car, the empty slot next to me confirmed my wife hadn’t reached home as yet. Poor girl, she had a tough week at work. But today it was the start of the weekend and she would surely love to relax. I walked up to the door and unlocked it. Our home looked its glamorous self as always. She did make such a good effort in maintaining it – definite Superwoman!
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I crawled into the sofa wondering how I could laze around. And then I thought against it. Maybe I could surprise her by making her favourite dinner!
I pulled out the flour container and tried opening it. Why does she always have to buy a complicated one? After struggling with it for a few minutes, I finally figured a way to open it, unfortunately spilling some on the floor.
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Telling myself I would get to cleaning it later, I started making her savoured date soufflé. Setting the batter on a baking tray, I let the oven take care of the rest. The kitchen looked like a battleground now; she would freak out! But I knew the thought behind my effort would overcome her annoyance. Wishful thinking?
I quickly set the table with her special china set. But something was still missing.
A knife comes out
Of course, red wine! I pulled out our new bottle, saved for special occasions. Damn, it had a cork, and I was sure locating an opener would require a map of my wife’s kitchen organisation.
Digging through the kitchen tools, I found a sharp knife. Bull’s eye! – I thought to myself as I comfortably settled down on the dining chair with my macho tool to pop open the cork. Well, it did pop out, and the red wine deliberately followed – on my clothes, on the pure white tablemat, on the floor and on my shoes! Saddened by the hopelessness of the situation, I dropped the knife on the floor. I placed the bottle in the fridge, then walked to our room and changed clothes. Too late, I noticed the marks my wine laden shoes had made – damn! I surely could have avoided this one!
Picking up a bath towel, I started cleaning the room floor first. I dumped the towel and picked up my soiled clothes. It was a beloved shirt and I didn’t want to lose it to wine. But it was surely a tough stain to battle.
I then remembered my wife mentioning her neighbour’s magic stain remover for wine – ‘Tidy-go’! I quickly locked the house and ran over to her friend’s home. Our dear neighbour took her time in finding the remover. Eventually she found it, and thanking her I ran back home.
Back to the present time
As I tried to open the door, I realised it was already unlocked! I surely remembered locking it, so this was odd.
I cautiously walked in – all the lights were on. That was definitely not me, but then who? Did I forget to lock the door? Did someone break in?
I heard some shuffling in our room. Oh no, a thief! I picked up a vase from the centre table and walked up to the room carefully. Nothing looked out of place. I kept inspecting each corner with the vase ready to knock down anyone who came charging!
And that’s when she did! Complete with vase in hand, which she proceeded to smash on my head…
Wow, I didn’t realise the mess I made would make her this mad!