|Creative Writing Competition 2012 India|
|SETTING||Terrace OR Bedroom OR Living Hall|
Love Short Story – One Last Time
Knock… knock… knock…
Anitha heard the knock, but she didn’t budge from her position. She was determined not to. It was 10PM, and today she had decided to confront him. There were more knocks on the door. She didn’t want to make him wait any longer, she opened the door.
“You are late again”
“Please Ani… Not today” he was exhausted
He instantly got rid of his shoes, threw them towards the shoe rack, she was looking at the happenings, her hands folded. He didn’t bother to pick up the shoes and started walking towards the bathroom, loosening his tie. She moved from the place she was rooted to and picked up the shoes and placed them on the rack. She had to wait for the opportunity to unleash her anger on him.
Vinayak and Anitha got married 3 months back. After their marriage, they came over to this house. They studied in the same college; they were both very famous in their college. The BEST COUPLE. There was abundance of understanding and care between them. They came out of college with job in their kitty and within a year they got married. The tale which had to be a sweet one after the marriage, turned sour. No one would have expected it. Anitha could sense that the love they had between them has now started to fade. She was not the one to be complained as she did everything possible to hold it together but Vinayak didn’t seem to care.
He came out from the bathroom, didn’t bother to change his clothes. He went to the sitting room, picked up the TV remote and tuned it to a sports channel to watch his favourite cricket match, he was not hungry but he was not ready to miss her food today, so he went back to the dining table. He rummaged the vessels with no luck; there was no food in any of them. He was disappointed. The headache that accompanied him from 6:45PM stepped on to the next level now.
He knew that it was unusual. Never had she eaten without him or she skipped making food. Even when she was down with fever, she managed to make him something to eat. He went to the sofa and dropped himself, he was fully dressed. He was wearing the white shirt; the shirt Anitha had gifted him. It was a coincidence. He wanted it to remain on him at least today till he leaves. It was his favourite place in this house. He made himself more comfortable. Anitha was sitting on the right side of him, still staring at him.
“Why are you late today Vinay? Didn’t I ask you to come earlier today?”
“I tried to come early Ani, but couldn’t, there are things that can never be postponed, I was held up with such a thing” he replied.
“So again you had to work extra time, is it Vinay?” she loved the name, didn’t miss even a single opportunity to use it.
“Hmmm… won’t you even look at me?”
He didn’t bother to reply, his eyes were glued to the TV. She started to feel desperate now. She was not in control of the conversation as she had thought she would be.
“Vinay… please tell me this…don’t you love me anymore? Won’t you even speak with me?”
He tore away his eyes from the TV.
“Please Ani… Already I have a terrible headache…” he threw the TV remote towards the sofa; it hit the sofa, bounced forward and hit the floor, sending the batteries flying in opposite direction. He held his head between his hands.
“Do you have a headache Vinay? Shall I make some tea?” she enquired and approached him, he quickly retreated back from her. She stood there stalled without knowing how to react. He was hurting her now and he didn’t seem to understand it. She moved back and sat on the sofa.
“Can you at least make me some tea Ani?”
“Sure… just 5 minutes” she bounced up from the sofa and started towards the kitchen. She was ready to do anything for him, she cared a lot. But he didn’t seem to understand. She regretted for not preparing the dinner tonight. He must be hungry now.
What was wrong with him? To her, EVERYTHING seemed wrong. As long as they were lovers, they seemed inseparable but now even the smallest of fights were creating huge rifts. In the beginning, he was very caring. He came early to home and they were frequently going out. As days passed, things seemed to change; he started getting unusual number of phone calls in unusual times. The change in him brought doubt in Anitha’s mind but she was keeping it to herself to avoid the unnecessary argument. As long as she didn’t ask him, everything was alright.
One day Vinayak left his phone behind on the table and was in the kitchen making tea for Anitha and himself. Curiosity took over Anitha as she picked it up and was going through his contacts and the recent call history. The first number caught her eyes. This was the number from which there were numerous calls. And at the precise moment, the phone rang and the call was from the same number. Vinayak must have heard the ring, he might be there in a moment but she could not stop herself, she attended the call. Before the mobile reached her ear, Vinayak grabbed the phone from her hand.
“Don’t you have any manners Ani? How can you attend my call?” he was fuming
“Who is the call from?” she demanded.
“It is none of your business Ani… I never expected you to behave like this”
He never wanted Anitha to pickup the call from that particular number. He took the mobile with him into the bedroom and locked the door. Anitha was left fuming and confused about who it was.
As days passed, the number of calls that Vinay got, dropped drastically but it had other consequences, he started talking less with Anitha, their frequent outings were not there and he was coming late to home everyday.
Anitha came back with a tea cup to the place where Vinayak was sitting.
Vinay took the cup from her. It was half a cup. He loved the cup. They had bought the pair when they had gone to Goa. When both the cups were held together, they completed a heart shape and the word LOVE. He had half the heart now in his hand which he will be taking away with him today.
He looked at her, he had always liked her eyes, and he had experienced the calmness they bring even in the tensest situations. But this situation was very different. As he was admiring her eyes, the lights went off, pushing them into complete darkness. She heard the sigh from him and the creak of the sofa announcing her that he has now stretched himself on the sofa. Anitha got up and waded through the chairs and table to find the candle in the cupboard.
Vinayak knew he was guilty but he could do nothing about it now. He had decided on it while he was returning home. He will be telling Anitha everything and will be leaving immediately.
She lighted the candle. And brought it to the place where they were sitting, it had started raining heavily. She had enjoyed so many rainy days with Vinay, she would lean on his shoulders and watch the rain pour down, he had been so supportive, opposing her parents to take hold of his hands had never seemed a wrong decision to her. But now, things were changing so quickly. She had started to doubt her decision.
“Vinay… I hate to have this conversation with you; I never expected this to happen. The love between us is dying, can you feel it?” every word she spoke was very clear.
She didn’t get any reply from him. Vinayak looked at the wall clock, it was 10:10PM already, it was getting late but he didn’t want to rush her up into it. He decided to let her talk. He was slowly sipping his tea.
“Last Friday I saw you in the KFC at 5:30 Vinayak, I thought your work gets over only at 6… isn’t it? Whom were you waiting for” she asked the question that was nagging her for the past 3 days. She deserved a proper answer for it.
“Should I inform everything I do to you?” he was annoyed. He was cursing the lights that went off.
“Why do you talk like this Vinay?”
She always knew that he was handsome and many girls looked to hit upon him even while she was near him in the college. He had turned down so many girls before they both came together. His good looks were a concern, Anitha acted very possessive at times and he didn’t have any problem with it, he seemed to understand her perfectly. He was always making her comfortable. He was not very expressive; she didn’t want him to be. She perfectly understood whatever he felt. The one thing he always said to her and no matter how many times he has said it, the magic in those words never seem to get subdued.
“Never lose your smile, not even the best looking girl in this world can compete with your smile”
She loved those words; she had not heard those words for a long time now. He had changed a lot. After a lot of encounters, she thought that things have become clearer now. The words were all a trick; he must have been lying to her.
“Vinay… have I done anything wrong?” In the darkness that engulfed them, she couldn’t see his face; she bent a little to look at him. His face was expressionless; he was looking straight into her eyes, but didn’t seem to reply. Tears started rolling down Anitha’s cheeks.
“Please Vinay… give me a hard slap, if I have made you angry, but don’t stop speaking with me, don’t leave me”
Anitha wiped the tears off. She had postponed saying the thing that had made her jump today morning. She would have asked herself at least a 100 times from morning.
“How would he react when he hears it?”
Every time she asked this question, she smiled. She met the doctor today morning and the doctor after some tests have confirmed that she was pregnant. The Vinay she knew… the Vinay who loved her would have jumped with joy hearing this news. She was afraid to tell this to him now. She wanted him to be happy; she didn’t want herself to be a burden.
“Let’s do this Vinayak…” she couldn’t say the words, tears were obscuring her vision, “let’s get a divorce so that you can lead a happier life with a better person if that is what you want” she got through with the words; she wanted him to be happy.
Vinay didn’t expect it to be this easy
“Yeah, lets do it Ani… it is time, we move on to a new relationship without any regrets, let it be a smooth breakup”
She didn’t expect this reply, her mobile started to ring. She got up to fetch it from the dining table, where she had left it.
“Ani wait… please sit down… I need to talk with you” He stopped her, he sounded desperate.
“I will get the phone and come back, after that we shall talk” she started moving and Vinay stopped her. She stood in front of him.
“This is important Anitha, I don’t have much time left, and I will have to leave now”
“Leave? To where Vinay?”
“Please Anitha… don’t interrupt me… let me speak” he told. Ani could sense that something was wrong. She sat beside him, ignoring the call.
“Ani… I am sorry… for not telling this to you earlier…The person I was speaking to frequently was your mother”
“My mother?” Anitha sat up straight.
“Please Ani… I told you not interrupt”
Anitha nodded and sat back again.
“Hmmm… this has been nagging me from the day we got married Ani…Even though we are together now without their approval, I could sense how you feel at times. When you were down with fever, when I tried to take care of you, whenever I did something to you, you were murmuring. Subconsciously you were in a world with your mom. You were smiling. I wanted that smile to be permanent. I called your mom and dad and at first they didn’t like speaking with me. I knew that they were angry only because they loved you so much and I took you away from them. I knew that once they understand that you are happy with me, they will accept me also. It took me 2 months to convince them and as your Birthday was nearing, we thought of giving you a surprise. They call me to ask about your well being, they were missing you a lot but they didn’t want to spoil the surprise.”
Tears were brimming from her eyes.
“The person I was waiting for that day at KFC was also your mother. Tomorrow, on your birthday, they would have been here, I have made all the arrangements” he finished; even in the dark she could make out that he was wiping his eyes. He was normally not an emotional person. She was guilty now.
“Am I not the luckiest person in the whole world Vinay?” she was holding back her tears with great difficulty.
“I am sorry Vinay; I thought I understood you very well, I thought you had changed very much but… the truth is, its me, who have changed… shame on me Vinay”
The phone started ringing again. This time Vinay didn’t hold her back any more from her surprise.
The day before her first birthday after they fell in love, he had asked her.
“What do you like Ani?”
“Hmmm… I like you a lot”
He smiled; he knew that it would be her answer. He rephrased the question.
“I want to gift you something that would be special Ani… what would you like for your birthday”
She had taken a long time. Jumping from one thing to another, it was difficult for her to choose. finally she had said.
“Hmmm… the thing I ask may cost you a lot and I know whatever it may be, you are going to get it for me and I may love it Vinay but I will know what it will be, as soon as I ask you” she told
“You want it to be a surprise Ani?”
And 3 years, I had tried to give her surprises in every possible way. I captured every moment of her joy after the surprises. I had collected all the photographs in an album and named it ‘SURPRISES’. Whenever we feel a bit low and we think about our parents who abandoned us just for OUR LOVE, we sit together and we flip through the pages, the pages showed us the things we would have missed if we had not taken the decision, to marry. The pages recited our story. Till date, the album had 49 photos and I waited for the 50th, I wanted it to be THE MASTERPIECE, the thing which she would never forget in her lifetime. I worked towards it, I had to leave behind every bit of my self respect when I had to call her mother for the first time. They never liked talking with me, in numerous occasions; her mother had asked me to leave Ani forever so that they will get her married to a better person. On the day I met her in KFC, I had no other choice, told how much her daughter missed her, I touched her feet. I did it just for MY LOVE… MY ANI… at last when she agreed to come to our house on ANI’s Birthday, I knew that it would be the master piece, and till 6:45PM today, I thought that I knew what the 50th slot would hold. But things changed; now, I am sure, this would be something no living person have given to their love.
“It could be my mom” she said to herself
“Ani” I called the name. She was as sweet as the name sounds.
“Never lose your smile, not even the best looking girl in this world can compete with your smile Ani” he said.
She smiled at him.
“This will be the 50th Ani… I love you”
“Oh is this the MASTER PIECE?”
“Love you too Vinay…Wait till I come back… I have also got a surprise for you”
She started moving towards the dining table. I peaked into the tea cup; there was only a little tea left at the bottom, I knew that it would be the last sip.
She was all smiles as she attended the call.
“Hello” said the female voice from the other end.
“Is this Mrs. Vinayak?”
“Yeah… and you?”
“Hmmm… we are sorry to inform you this maam, your husband met with an accident at 6:45PM and was admitted in Acassa hospital with severe head injuries, the doctors tried their best could not save him. Sorry maam, we tried to inform you this earlier but…”
She dropped the phone, as it hit the floor; its pieces flew in every direction. She couldn’t believe what she had heard just now. It was still pitch black and the darkness had suddenly turned dense now. She was struggling to breathe. In the, hall the sofa creaked. She sped to the sofa, Vinay was not there, he had left and the tea cup remained there, EMPTY.