Tag Archives: Felt

A Morning Walk!

By Devjani Bodepudi

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He lay there, eyes closed, mouth open. She closed his mouth, lifting his chin to his top lip; he looked better that way. He did not move.

She climbed off the bed and padded her way, barefoot to the en-suite. She washed her face and looked into the mirror. Oh, she felt better!

Slowly peeling off the layers of clothing, Emily began to think about all that there was to do. She would need to book some tickets to somewhere snowy, but she would do that in a few months, there really was no rush. Before that, perhaps she would buy some new clothes and get her hair cut shorter. At the moment, Emily kept it tied up in a neat but perfunctory bun at the nape of her neck. She felt like a change! Her birthday arrived with much promise this year, she reflected as the steam rose from the shower and veiled the glass with a cloak of grey.

Stepping in, Emily delighted in the drops of hot water on her skin, on her scalp, on her breasts! Her senses felt keener, she felt newer, like she had awoken from a deep sleep and just this simple act of taking a shower was an experience she had missed for a long time. The rich shampoo filled the bathroom with a fruity scent that made Emily crave strawberries. What had gotten into her? She giggled at the thought as scrubbed and rubbed and dabbed and lathered and stroked.

Stepping out, Emily moved around the bed in her towel, careful not to disturb her husband who still lay on the bed, motionless. “My, what a deep sleep!” she remarked, wryly.

She dressed with care. She settled for a skirt today, with a sleeveless top. She hadn’t worn these clothes since the month before her wedding. She smoothed down the pleats and remembered her best friend’s words, “You’ll be fine! You’re starting a whole new life, but never forget who you are.”  Her friend, Swetha, was living in India now, she had heard. It was funny how friends grew apart. A million miles away from the here and now, she wondered what India was like. She wondered if she should visit.

Smiling with the possibilities, she dried her hair with a hairdryer and tied it up in the way she always did. Then she changed her mind. She let it fall about her shoulders in a smooth, fluid sheet of gold. She glanced at the bed again. Still. No movement.

Hmmm…she was ready but where should she go? She contemplated making the phone call first, but decided to leave it a little longer. Perhaps this afternoon, at lunchtime would be the right time, but for now, she would take a walk in the park, feel the sun on her shoulders for the first time this summer.

It was decided then, as she closed the front door behind her, the park with the ducks and the swans and the geese. It wasn’t a very scenic walk but it was during this walk when Emily finally saw what she had refused to see in the all of her six years as resident of this tiny village. Things could be beautiful. The grass could actually smell sweet and rich like mint and chocolate. And the sun could be warm on her skin without burning. She saw the neighbours smile more openly suddenly and she heard the bird song had a melodic pattern of question and answer, up, then down. There was order and calm and as the grocer arranged the fruit and vegetables outside his shop, she saw there was order in that too. And yes, she saw the strawberries and yes, everything was as it should be.

She wasn’t wearing a watch so she relied on her stomach to tell her when she was hungry. She stopped off at the local bakery for a sandwich and then headed home. It would have to be now, she thought. She would make the phone call and get it over and done with and then she could make a hair appointment.

But Emily still wasn’t quite ready to walk back into the house. She knew he was still in the bedroom and she knew he was not going to be up and about but as she neared her front door, like Harry Potter’s lightning scar, her bruises began to burn. Her thighs began to tremble and her hand, ever so slightly shook as she held the key to the door.

But enter she must. She turned the lock and held her breath. It was an irrational fear she knew, but it had become a habit, a technique for survival. It was dark inside. In her haste to walk out of the front door, Emily realized that she had not opened the curtains. She opened them now, allowing the sun to catch the dust, like tiny specks of silver floating together in a beam of glitter to the carpet.

She dialed the number that every child knew and she waited.

“Ambulance, please,” she said, her voice trembling slightly.

My husband’s not breathing, he’s not moving. I left him in the morning, to go for a walk, I thought he was sleeping! He took some sleeping pills last night!”

The words came out in a rush and as she said them, she realized what she had said. He was dead. Finally, he was dead.

“What’s the address, Madam?”

Emily completed the formalities and put the phone down.

She went back up the stairs to her bedroom but her stomach lurched as she opened the door.

The bed was empty. Her husband was not there.

A hand was clasped firmly over her mouth and she was pushed on the bed. Her legs were forced apart by his knees. He pulled her hair back and stifled her scream with his mouth. He bit down hard, drawing blood and as he moved his mouth away he snarled.

“What were you thinking, Bitch? What the fuck did you put in my tea, last night?”

She couldn’t answer. He wasn’t really looking for an answer. He just pushed his way inside, like he did last night, like he did every night. She closed her eyes, left her body where it was until she heard the sirens, the banging on the door, the calls through the letterbox. Her husband went down, opened the door, told them everything was all right. But no one answered her calls, the ones she screamed in desperate silence from inside her. Eventually the voices faded and it was quiet again. Emily came back into herself and shook violently, cold and in pain. Her husband had gone out.

She just managed to hear the door close before she closed her eyes and gave into sleep.

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The Adultress

By Malathy Madathilezham

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She stared at his worried eyes. No, she stared through them…into oblivion. What was she doing here? Why was she with him? Tears streamed down her eyes, an ocean of emotions over which she had no control. ‘I am sorry dear, really… I don’t know what to say? Why are you crying?’

His voice just washed over the surface of her skin, in the background. It wasn’t that she regretted having sex with this gentle giant of a man who had become her greatest support during the past few months. She was just surprised and overwhelmed at what could have driven her to do it. She knew he loved her intensely, but she also knew that she did not. He was part of her life right now to help her through this difficult time. Right now, she couldn’t bear the thought of sharing her life with another man! She was repulsed by the very thought.

‘Mridula!!’ Arun’s voice shook her out of her reverie. ‘Look at me dear, you know how wretched I feel when you cry. It’s worse when I don’t know why.’ Should she share her thoughts? No, she decided, it would cause so much pain to him and that she would not be able to see. ‘It happens you know when I get overwhelmed by emotions, tears just flow. Doesn’t mean that I am sad!’ She smiled at him.

It was in college that she first met him. It wasn’t first love but it was in first sight. She was drawn to him in a way she had not known till then. The magic of their first date made her want to meet him again…and again and again. The first time they made love, she had decided that this was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. She could only see the love in his eyes… Love was everything….

Mridula was in stress. Uncertainty in her career, financial burden and the constant bickering and fighting with Anand was taking a toll on her health. She did not know what to do. Her only solace now was Arun. She felt guilty. She felt as if she was using him. But she could not stop. Their conversations and coffee together after work was the only thing she looked forward to nowadays.

Arun loved her. From the first day at work he liked her. He had sensed that she was troubled and wanted to help her. He tried to maintain a distance after he came to know she was married. That did not work! He could not believe what happened today. He felt guilty. ‘She is married!!’ His friends had warned him not get emotionally involved as they did not want to see him get hurt. But he had started hoping for more…looking forward to more… may be….

Mridula was walking home. She had cheated on her husband today. But why wasn’t she feeling guilty? She was, in fact, feeling calm and relieved. The uncertainty in her mind was there no more. She knew now what she wanted. More importantly she knew what she had to do to achieve that. She felt a sense of freedom which had till then eluded her. She was free.