He sat on the rickety bench in the park, his hand fidgeting with a crumpled old photograph, as he reminisced. His mind was racing away with a thousand thoughts at that moment and he needed to calm down. He needed to take long deep breaths to cool down.
“It’s a terrible thing to be cheated upon.”
He looked beside him and was surprised to see her sitting next to him. As the evening sun’s last rays fell on her face she looked even more beautiful. Her wavy brown hair was left open and her eyes sparkled as she spoke.
“Wh…wh…what?” he asked, surprised at this unknown stranger who had suddenly appeared next to him on the bench.
She smiled knowingly at him as her outstretched hand touched his. They were soft and gentle. But warm. She looked at him in the eye and smiled. There was a familiarity about her which he could not place.
“I know you. And believe me I also know how it feels to be cheated by your closest person. The anger, the hurt, the humiliation. I feel every bit of it like you do at this moment”, she said. Her hand gripped his tighter as she said these words.
“I don’t understand what you’re saying”, he replied, perplexed at the familiarity this stranger was showing towards him.
3 hours earlier.
He checked her whatsapp just as she had gone off to the other room to change. His worst fears had come true, as he hurriedly read all the messages. What he’d been dreading these last few months was now staring him in the face as stark reality. He was shattered.
He followed her Uber from a distance. His heart broke as he saw her enter the plush apartment complex. He knew the inevitable truth. He quietly sneaked in behind her. His heart snapped as he saw her ring the bell. A well built man opened the door and hugged her. He felt his whole body shudder in rage as he saw them embrace.
He didn’t know he had the strength, but he slammed the door open with a ferocious kick. They were still in the living room as he barged in. They broke their kiss to face him, horrified. He drew his pistol from the back and fired indiscriminately at them. The first two shots hit her in the face and she collapsed immediately. As he watched her body go lifeless in seconds he turned the gun on the tall guy, who was shaking violently and pleading for mercy. He didn’t hear anything as he shot at him. His hands were shaking the bullet grazed his upper arms as he fell to the floor beside her body. He ran close to him and kicked him continuously on his bleeding arm, his abdomen and face. He was in blind fury as he kept on kicking the man till he stopped moving.
As he ran out, he saw a frightened face behind the curtain. He didn’t care to know who she was as he ran out of the broken door.
“You didn’t check if he died, you know.”
He was brought back to the present by the soft but assured voice of the stranger sitting beside him.
He turned around to see her properly this time. She was the frightened woman behind the curtain.
“It’s funny how both of us decided to confront our cheating spouses on the same day”, she smiled, as she realised he had finally recognised her. “I hid in the house telling him I was going out and you followed your wife here. It was providence.”
“I saw him move a little after you left you know”, she continued. “And that’s when I knew I had to complete what you started. I used the pillow. The same one on which I used to cry every time he’d cheat on me”.
He kept staring at the crumpled picture he held in his hands. It was from a happier time when they were newly in love. Full of hope and promises of a rosy future ahead of them. How that has led to this!!! He kept staring at the picture for a long time as tears streamed down his face.
“I loved her. I loved her you know. Maybe I still do”, he said in between his sobs. He turned around to face the stranger sitting next to him. But there was no one. She had gone. And he knew he was never going to see her again.
He got up from the bench as he flung the photograph in the nearby bin.
“Maybe there’s a better life waiting somewhere for me”, he thought to himself as he carried his weary body away from the park.
Copyright (c) Pratik Majumdar