A little leftover cake, crushed chips, empty beer bottles, silence of the hangover (or noise); God the end of a party is always so sad.
And you know what’s sadder? Your wife’s ex complimenting her about how wonderful she looks and how well she is doing with her life while looking at you from the corner of his eye with a look that said, “You don’t deserve her loser”.
Why did I allow Aisha to stay in touch with Rohan? Well, I didn’t. I don’t allow her things anymore. She asked me whether I will be okay if she invited Rohan over for the party I didn’t know why she threw and I said, “Ya, absolutely”, without showing any hint of hesitation in my voice.
Aisha loved me, more than Rohan. That was why we got married ten years back. I met Rohan in person for the first time last night. He was taller, fitter and looked a few years younger than me; and he really does have dreamy eyes.
I heard Aisha make this claim to a friend of ours once, when we were out with another couple, talking about why we fell for our first love and Aisha said, “His eyes. Rohan had dreamy eyes.”
What bothered me more than Rohan’s dreamy eyes was his stable career and his divorced status. When someone asked him about second marriage, he told everyone that he was okay marrying someone who was divorced, even with kids.
Aisha listened to him carefully when he said that; that was my assessment of Aisha’s flat expressions. She thought that I wouldn’t notice but I did.
I even went through her browsing history where she surfed for her lost past. Every night, Aisha spends about two hours on her laptop after coming home, managing her Facebook page and her LinkedIn page, responding to the messages from old friends and co-workers. I sometimes worried that what she’s really looking for is not the people she once knew, but the ‘her’ she once was, some happier version of herself living a better life than the one she has with me.
I slouched on the couch still in hangover but sharp at ten Aisha took her laptop and went to Hauz Khas Social for work. I didn’t know what she was working on. May be she was trying to write a book. May be. I am not sure. And I never bothered to ask. I didn’t bother to ask a lot of things because I wasn’t sure if I was capable to handle her honest and blunt replies.
Now she too has stopped asking. She cooks for me but never asks if I had eaten or not or why I hadn’t eaten. She used to arrange my clothes when I went for work but now she has stopped doing that. Why? Because (1) She doesn’t have time. (2) I have time to take care of that. (3) I never valued her doing it for me in the past.
Earlier she did all that out of love. She used to love me. But now the love wasn’t there. It vanished like perfume vanishes. Relationships are like perfumes. You need to spray them daily until the fragrance finally vanishes into air and suddenly everything just stinks.
I slept and got up in afternoon, only to see the stock market crashing further. The same stock market which provided us our home and financed our lavish lifestyle. I left my job to become a full time investor in stock market. I made good money and started a successful startup with it. I was a strong successful man.
“You got married too early,” many beautiful women I met at parties told me.
“Your wife is so lucky to have you”, others said and I believed them. She was lucky to have me. What women want in life? “Financial security”, I thought and gave it to her.
“We don’t spend enough time together.” Aisha complained every now and then but I ignored her. “Women have this habit of picking something to fight with you.” Many friends told me and I felt the same.
Aisha had no dreams or passions in life then. So she was mostly needy of me all the time. I didn’t have time to fill for her neediness and that was when we started to grow apart.
Many years passed but I was always too busy to notice her fading love for me. Everything was going fine in my head. Aisha started writing a blog and kept busy.
But after a while, stock market started to crash and the funding of my startup stopped. I still carried on, not sharing anything with her until the big crash of 2015 left me in the middle of nowhere.
That was when I started to notice Aisha’s online obsession and closeness with Rohan.
After Aisha left, I slept again. Then I got up in the afternoon, cleaned up the house and ate lunch.
I miss Aisha and I miss her almost all the time. I miss her smile and the shine in her eyes while she smiled, like before, like when we were in love. Her smile made me smile then.
Now she smiled less, almost never, and frowned more. Whenever I taunted her like she did earlier when I kept busy or said something nasty to her; she just frowned without saying anything. Her frown made me feel useless, confirming that I was a no one.
Sometimes I wished that she should have left me then, when I was too busy to notice anything. Now, I can’t stand her seeing me in this situation of powerlessness.
I loved the fact that she loved me so much. She, without the love for me, made me feel out of power. Like I wasn’t in charge of the situation anymore. I wanted her to stay but I didn’t want to say it. I just wanted it. I wanted her to want me, like it was before.
Aisha won’t be back before eight or even nine or ten. Her time at Social is increasing day by day. And why not? She has a rich boyfriend now, who would take care of her financial and physical needs. This is what women want, to feel financially secure and to get good fuck.
It’s eleven pm already and Aisha hasn’t come back home yet. I imagined her in Rohan’s arms, Rohan kissing her gently and caressing her hair, brainwashing her to leave me and go to him and take our daughter along.
No way Samaira is going to her, I thought. But court always takes decisions in favor of the mother, another thought crossed my mind. And the fact that I was financially incapable of giving a good life to Samaira made things worse in my head.
I felt a rock on my heart as the thought of Samaira going away from me crossed my mind. I wasn’t there when she was growing up and as a result she was more attached to Aisha than me. She goes straight to Social after coming back from school and comes back home with Aisha.
“May be it was time to get out of procrastination and make things right”, I thought. “But how?” I didn’t know.
“May be by taking bath.” Aisha always complained about me not bathing daily. So at almost midnight, I went straight into the bathroom and took a long hot water bath while I controlled my urge to cry.
It is almost midnight but Aisha and Samaira aren’t home as yet. I am starting to panic. I pick up my phone and scroll through the contacts but cannot find her number. Her name doesn’t appear in my call history either. I try to recall her number but I can’t.
“Sha, oh yes! Her number is saved as Sha and not Aisha. I always called her Sha.” With great courage I call her up but she didn’t pick my call. I call her again and she drops a message, “Will be home in ten minutes.”
After ten minutes, the doorbell doesn’t ring but I could hear sound of a key getting inside the keyhole. Aisha is holding our Samaira in her hands carefully, trying not to wake her up from sleep.
She then leaves Samaira in her room and go straight upstairs towards our bedroom without uttering at word or noticing my bath or the clean house. The house was in a mess when she left but this high headed shit pot is too mean to appreciate it .
I got up from the couch and walk towards the bedroom. She already changed into pyjamas and put her reading glasses on. When I lay on the bed, she switched off the lights keeping only the reading lamp on. She assumed that I wanted to sleep without realizing that I hadn’t slept in four months.
I was waiting for her to finish reading her book and talk to me for five minutes. “Just five minutes.” I prayed in my mind. I wanted her to complain so that I could reassure her that things would be fine, this time shall pass. But she just closes her book in silence, plugs the Louise Hay self love affirmations video in her ears, turns her back towards me and sleeps peacefully.
She did the same when I came back from office, all tired and consumed, just wanting to play games on my play station before going to sleep. That was when she started all this self love business. I felt happy that she stopped complaining about it then but now the same thing is killing me.
I want to kill someone. I want to kill Louise Hay. Then I want to kill Aisha. Then I want to kill myself.
“But what will happen to Samaira if both of us were gone”, I think and decides to stuck at killing only Louise Hay.
Next day, I got up and rubbed my eyes. I see Aisha applying eye liner around her eyes and then concealing her dark circles. She then colored her lips with a peace lipstick. She was wearing a black dress.
She looked so pretty and in shape and I was concerned that Rohan was going to see her like that.
I am ogling my own wife in this moment and at the same time pitying myself for doing it. If things were normal, I would have grabbed her from behind and kissed her all over. But things aren’t fine or normal.
“You look beautiful.” I said.
“What?” She says and turns to me with surprise.
Then she thanks me formally with a smile like I am one of the random guy she meets at social everyday, the random guys who find her attractive.
“Any special occasion?” I ask next.
“My book is getting launched today. So big day.” She replies sounding as less excited as she can.
Instead of “congratulations” or “I love you” or “I am so proud of you”, I ask her who all she had invited for the launch.
“Rohan and a few other friends.” She replies and my mouth turns dry.
“You don’t like all this stuff and you don’t like pushing yourself into doing something you don’t like.” She said as an explanation for not inviting her own husband on the launch of her first book.
Her explanation isn’t justified but I said nothing in reply. I am thinking of giving her a surprise by showing up at the book launch. I had already lost her and there was nothing more to lose.
I just want to try to win her back before she is finally gone.
I reached the venue, dressed up nicely as I could manage with my pot belly. I imagined her calling out to me while she uncovered her book. But when I reached there, I saw Rohan uncovering the book with Aisha and Samaira at his side. They looked like a happy family.
I turn red with rage, got drunk, go back home and look for a rope to kill myself with the classic method of hanging me up with a ceiling fan. I want her to get horrified at the view and feel guilty of what she did.
I stand up on the stool and put the rope around my neck. My forehead turns sweaty. Then I slowly pushed the stool beneath my foot to hang and kill myself to death. My foot is struggling for a base and I am feeling congestion around my throat. I am struggling for life but now it is too late. I am gone. I cannot feel anything now. May be this is the end.
Then I am suddenly up. I am still in my bed and I am not dead yet. I am alive and I am feeling alive. And I am alive for a reason.
I dress up quickly and and showed up at the venue. Rohan is sitting among the audience and book is already launched. Aisha is signing a few copies for her readers who are standing in a queue near the stage.
I pick up one copy and stand in the row to get it signed. My heart is pounding as I am slowly reaching near her. It is finally my turn.
“What should I write?” She asks without looking up. She is unaware of my presence.
“Please write”, “Dear Akshay, I love you too and I forgive you. Let us start afresh”.
Now she looks up, half surprised and half happy. She writes what I say and tries to hold back her tears. May be that is why letting her go is so difficult, because she holds back.
Once she was done signing the books, she introduced me to everyone proudly, like I was still someone. We went back home with Aisha by my side and Samaira in my arms.
This is my life. This is my meaning. Not everyone gets everything back after losing it all.