|Creative Writing Competition 2012 India|
|SETTING||Terrace OR Bedroom OR Living Hall|
Editor’s Choice: Family Short Story – The Infidelity Setup
I cover my ears with the pillows. It’s a futile attempt at drowning the noises from the adjoining bedroom. Some part of me also wants to be part of the heated conversation, eavesdropping, speculating how it would all end.
You expect me to believe your lame story?”
Kathy’s shriek floats through the walls into my room. It is sharp, high pitched, “drilling a hole in the head” kind of voice. I wonder what it has done to my poor father’s nerves. It will definitely be strained too.
Yes, because it is the truth”
He roars in return, the anger is evident even from a distance. I wonder if he has raised more than just his voice. Some part of me wishes that he has. Don’t get me wrong, I am no sadist. But as far as Kathy is concerned, she deserves it. A spank here and there would send her highly elevated sense of esteem crashing down to earth. Just the way she does it to me when dad is not around. Although it is a highly improbable thing to happen, just as it is impossible for Santa to give me a pup for Christmas no matter how good my behaviour is. And it is not because Santa doesn’t wish to give me the pup, it’s because Kathy doesn’t like dogs. Speaks volumes about a person who doesn’t like a harmless and cute puppy, don’t you think?
Then how do you explain this!!” the shrill voice continues to chisel away.
A deathly silence follows. The whole house seems to have been put on mute, not a word or breath escapes. I realize that even I am holding my breath in anticipation. I know what the object is that Kathy is grilling Dad about. It’s a box of heart shaped truffle chocolates. Belgian. The mere thought of them makes me salivate. I hope no one destroys the box in the fight. I sure would like to pop in a couple of them.
“I can’t. I have never seen them before” father quips.
The exasperation in his tone has reached its peak. Suddenly he drops his volume. He utters something but the words are incoherent. Kathy responds, her voice is low as well and I can no longer hear the two of them. I am intrigued.
I slide off the bed, the comforter falls lifelessly onto the floor and I skip over it, and walk out of the bedroom on my toes. Tiptoeing along the wood paneled corridor, I make my way towards my parent’s bedroom. Well, my father’s at least. Kathy is my step-mom and even after two years, I find it difficult to address her as “Mom”. She is nothing like my Mom. I still wonder what my father saw in her. She is a high-strung social climber, who believes in wearing the latest Prada (brought from my father’s money of course) and strutting down to the Plaza in her Monolo’s in my father’s Mercedes.
She is a s**ker. Of money. Of my happiness. She is quite the opposite of my actual mother, a down to earth woman, whose eyes shone with such benevolence that it felt like looking into the eyes of an Angel. She was a wonderful woman. Not was. IS. She is alive; my parents are divorced after my mother caught my father cheating on her with Kathy and extinguished the happiness of this house forever. Had you seen my parents five years back, you would have been envious of them. The love and understanding that they shared was a sweet lullaby that rocked me to sleep, an assurance that even as the world crumbles outside, our home was safe and secure.
Funny how things turn out in life. Funny how a stable family falls apart like a house of cards without a warning.
I press my ear against the closed door. The voices are muffled and I strain harder. I think I can hear someone cry. That’s a good sign.
You have been meeting someone behind my back. I know it. You have tired of me and now you look for a younger woman…” Kathy’s voice came out in spurts through her sobbing. I can feel the birth of some strange sensation near my navel. It feels good. It feels like satisfaction.
There is no one in my life. You are the only woman I know that I love” Dad’s voice comes out in a plaintive tone, pleading to be forgiven for a crime he didn’t commit.
Did you say the same thing to your ex-wife as well??” Kathy spits out venomously.
Ouch. That should have stung. I fill with glee and I feel like doing a high-five with Kathy. My emotions are now ambivalent, unsure of whom to support. I don’t care. It’s the end goal that I am more interested in.
And it is because of that end goal that I have been hatching up this elaborate fake infidelity setup. From a new mobile number, I have over the past few weeks sent messages to my father from an imaginary girlfriend. And then the chocolate box that I purchased, with the heart shaped card with a mushy “I love you” poem that I got off the internet. The box, I slyly hid in my father’s drawers underneath his files, half concealed. Convinced, that the suspicious Kathy was bound to find it. Which she did. And that’s when the grilling began. My plan has kicked into motion.
It’s all quiet now inside their bedroom, but I can detect heavy breathing. There is a shuffling of feet in the direction of the door and I run back to my room. Hurriedly I throw the comforter over myself, burying my head between the pillows.
A minute later, I hear my father’s footsteps walk into my room. He slides into my bed, throwing his arm over me and giving me a kiss on the forehead. I snuggle into him. Today Dad and Kathy are going to sleep in different rooms, a first in two years. Tomorrow will bring even better news. For the first time in two years, I am happy. The cracks have appeared.
|Creative Writing Competition 2012 India|
|The Infidelity Setup|
|Relevancy of chosen setting||20||17|
|Relevancy of chosen object||20||16|
|Significance of chosen theme||20||16|
|Selection and development of characters||10||7|
|Selection of time frame, description of place and environment||10||8|
|Plot of short story||10||8|
|Conflicts in short story||10||8|