|Creative Writing Competition 2012 India|
Short Story on Infidelity – Fallacies of a Fallible Mind
“Let’s take the night into the morning!” read Rohan loudly from Tanya’s cell phone.
“What’s this supposed to mean? What’s going on here?”
Rohan had asked. Tanya had feigned ignorance while grabbing the phone from him citing that she was surprised herself as to how that ‘person’ had got her number. She was glad that she hadn’t put a name to the number. She was well aware of the multitude of lies that she had been privy to and knew that Rohan had grown suspicious albeit all her efforts to cover her tracks.
At the beach, the waves were providing an effective rhythm as they swayed furiously with the evening tide. They seemed to gain momentum with each passing moment akin to Tanya’s mind which was swaying her emotions aimlessly while she was pondering over her husband, Rohan’s question.
When the heart is a fierce beast and the mind is a timid hunter, confusion plays all it cards effectively leading to error of judgements. The mind uses all its power uselessly to tame the heart which has risen above all challenges to outwit the mind into believing an accepted fallacy as the truth.
In her modest beach wear, Tanya was relaxing in one the ‘Strandkorbs’ or beach chairs soaking up the evening sun. Her cell phone beeped and she knew that it was six as she had set an alarm on it in the fear of dozing off. She got up and began gathering her stuff; sun block, sun glasses, hat and her cell phone. She slipped her feet into a branded beach footwear which was a gift from Rohan last year on her birthday and wore her sun glasses which she recently developed a strange liking for as it helped veil her eyes from revealing the truth.
Tanya kept walking without realising that she was walking away from the resort and towards the water. It was as inviting as the time when she had seen the pictures of the resort in Goa boasting of its clean beach coupled with pristine sparkling waves on the cover of a magazine a few days back. On an impulse, she had picked up her cell phone and booked herself in.
The water which receded from her feet left residual prickly sand, but she walked on, oblivious to the fading light with her sunglasses resting on her head. The calmness at the beach was evident as people had started leaving and she basked in the solitude with only her cell phone doubling up as a faithful companion. She was unaware that she had dropped her other stuff along the way which probably had been swept off by the rising tide.
She glanced at her cell phone which showed her five new messages. Clicking on the oldest, she sighed after reading it…
“let’s meet @ d coffee shop, wht say?”
She remembered the times spent at the coffee shop when she felt like she was on the pinnacle of success as a liberated woman while being validated as one by Joel who had the inane capability to be a charmer and take her away from the mundane existence as a home maker.
The second message was,
“whr r u?”
And she smiled looking at it as she had fled from Mumbai without letting anyone know that she was on an arduous journey of finding her bearings and putting her life back together.
She had met Joel at a party in a ‘Home for the Aged’ and the softer side of an unmarried financial analyst appealed to her. The pleasantries turned into an exchange of numbers and frequent little meetings left Tanya spell bound. Time seemed to be her biggest opponent while she was with Joel as she had to rush home to play the dutiful wife which she slowly began to detest. The evenings were the toughest when she had to juggle her emotions in front of Rohan and the nights were spent in contemplations.
She let her eyes pan the entire stretch of the beach and hadn’t realised that she had walked so far away till the conical, thatched, straw umbrellas belonging to the resort appeared as miniature black dots. Unfazed by this and used to dabbling with a little adventure in the recent weeks, she clicked on the third message. Reading it made her stomach churn.
She muttered, “Wow!”
The few weeks while Rohan was away from town were the best time of Tanya’s life. She partied until the wee hours of morning much against her coy, inhibited self. The satisfaction of living a parallel life masked the guilt of over stepping the boundaries of her mind that she had set for herself. The world out there with its seamless opportunities felt like an open offer for her to have a chance of carving a new identity for herself and that did overshadow the unnecessary confusion that had been created by her rational yet fallible mind.
Tanya bent over and pondered on whether she should see the fourth message and turned to walk back to the resort. The setting sun provided a comforting darkness as she tried to shield herself from her feelings. She knew it! She had started developing feelings for Joel without really realising it. Every time they were together, she felt her heart fluttering like a teenager on the threshold of a new crush; the roses, the long walks, the never ending talks. She felt appreciated as a woman though she perfectly understood that it might be an inappropriate way to achieve it!
She brought the cell phone closer and clicked on the fourth message. The message read,
“r u out again tonite?”
And she understood that Rohan was mocking her after he had realised that she was up to something after going through her messages the other day. She sighed and looked ahead of her. The beach seemed like a dark alley and the waves furiously flooding it with salty water only to recede in an instant leaving behind a watery shore to tread on. Her mind was a dark alley with her emotions flooding it with more temptations and leaving behind a trail of confusion to tread on.
She knew she was cheating on Rohan and had even toyed with the idea of telling him about her night outs; but she still loved him. But her feelings for Joel became fiercer as she fought with her heart and arrived at a conceivable excuse every time to explain her behaviour to her conscious self. In one of their regular tiffs, she had consolidated her position and said to Rohan,
“I’m not your arm candy or someone whom you married to look after the house. I hardly get any of your time and attention for me to be happy or make you happy! This is my life and I can do what I want with it. If you have a problem with it, so be it!”
Still the middle class values that she was raised with resurfaced wickedly to destroy her peace; but she brushed it by drowning it with a drink.
Her strides got longer as her guilt surged its way like the wave that just lashed across leaving her completely drenched. As she reached the wicket gate that led her to the steps of the resort, she read the last message on the cell phone,
“your wish is my command!”
She paced hurriedly towards the beach bar and sat on the stool and ordered,
“Two martinis, dry please!”
She smiled to herself and did what she had always been doing recently when faced with a predicament – ‘forget it and chill out’. As the drinks arrived, she picked both the glasses and keeping hers, handed the other one to the guy sitting next to her. They clinked their glasses and said in unison,
As they chuckled, Joel said to her,
“Loved your idea of us travelling here together. It has given us the much needed space and time.”
They grabbed their drinks and walked up to the beach hand in hand.
“Wait a second,” she said to Joel. They stopped by the water while she bent down and grabbed her beach footwear and flung it into the sea.