(As told to Antara Majumder)
I spotted him at the breakfast buffet. Yes, it was him. In his branded attire, loading his plate with sausages. His broad shoulders, clean shaved chin and firm jaw appeared almost the same as six years ago. A slide show of memories started flashing through my mind, our courtship days, marriage, separation.
I did not want him to notice me. But the Almighty had a different plan. He saw me. It took a few awkward seconds for him to collect himself and wave at me. I was uncomfortable, yet permitted him to sit down next to me. We started chatting formally with ‘How are you’ and stuff like that. I could not stop noticing a few strands of grey in his hair. That has made him more appealing. He is here with few friends for a boy’s trip. Me, on an official trip. I wanted to ask him about his parents. They were simple, down to earth people, unlike him. However, I refrained, as it might sound too personal a question from a divorced wife after six years. I swallowed the remaining food and left for work.
The back story
In office, I met the personnel I was supposed to. Discussed the project plan. Had lunch together. However, I could barely concentrate. My restlessness increased as the day passed. Initially I decided to not go back to the hotel immediately. But a part of me was eager to see him again. I wasn’t sure how to define this. Do I still feel for him? I remembered our first meet through a common friend. Aniket was a handsome, well-educated, well-groomed guy with a great sense of humour and an ear for music. A deadly combo, to die for. He too, fell for me. After a good five years of dating, we got hitched. Our families were happy, especially his parents. They liked me instantly. Everything seemed perfect.
Differences started cropping up once he started directing me with each and every triviality. What I should wear, how I should talk, what I should eat….in each and everything he started instructing me. Ignoring those led to big fights. He had this habit earlier as well, but the traits hadn’t been so strong. After marriage, he started saying that now he had every right to control my life. My in-laws requested me to be calm and patient. I tried. I tried till I couldn’t bear it. Despite his arrogance and dominance, I loved him. But all possible adjustments and negotiation attempts failed.
And now this
Today, we were destined to meet again. After returning to the hotel, I received a call from the reception, that I have a guest visiting. It was none other than Aniket with a bouquet of orchids (my favourite flower), a bottle of wine and his usual charisma. I was not left with an option other than inviting him into my room. We chatted over wine. He apologised for his past behaviour. Kept saying he missed me. I enquired about his wife (heard from a friend that he remarried). He sighed. Some moments of gawkiness…then he held me tight. I could hear my heart racing. Blame it on the wine, we ended up having sex. Long, passionate sex.
I woke up with guilt next morning. Why did I sail with the flow? Did I not help him to cheat on his present wife? I still seek the answer.