The Other Woman – Part 3

For Part 1 – Click Here

For Part 2 – Click here


It started off with her snooping around my Instagram feed. Yeah, I wasn’t dumb – I could figure out that she’d viewed a couple of my stories.

A part of me panicked, the other part wanted to warn him. And yet – another part felt smug about it.

Yeah, I stole your man. Well at least the part of him that wasn’t yours – that could never be yours because it was mine.

I know I sound crazy. But if you’ve ever loved two people at the same time you will understand what I mean.


Then to my horror, I saw her at this coffee shop one day out of the blue. I used to go there every weekend in the morning for my daily fix of cappuccino and there she was. I’d never seen her there before. The shop was at least 8 miles away from where she lived so I had a bad feeling about this. Luckily I spotted her right when I was entering the shop. I did a quick U turn and left.

I thought a lot and then I called his office from a pay phone.

‘Yeah?’

‘It’s me.’

There was silence and then ‘Sadie. We agreed not to..’

I interrupted him. ‘She was at the coffee shop. She knows, doesn’t she?’

‘Let’s meet. 6 o’clock.’

I put the phone down and sighed. This was bad.


‘She doesn’t know much. She found your picture – asked me about it.’ He looked tired, like he hadn’t slept.

‘Picture?’ Didn’t we have a no photo policy?

‘Yeah, I know but I’d kept one of your photos…just a random one nothing shady   on my phone and she was snooping and she came across it. Asked me a ton of questions. I told her we were friends, we had met at a few social events a couple of years ago and that’s it.’

I asked him for the photo and sighed. He’d downloaded one from my Facebook where I was sitting in the same God – Damn coffee shop. Goodbye Jenna’s Coffee Shop – I’d have to find a new place.

He took my face in his hands and kissed my forehead. ‘Don’t worry. I won’t ever let anything happen to you. You are safe. Things between us are rocky and that’s why she’s getting paranoid.’

I looked at him. ‘Ted. Are there any others?’

He looked at me and then looked away, his face impassive. ‘Do you really want to know?’


That night we made love for the last time. He knew it. I knew it. We just didn’t acknowledge it.

I was a fool. In the end…to him, I was just another woman in his list of conquests. I didn’t need any answers. I knew him well enough and I’d had my doubts in the past. I was a fool to feel hurt about it.

My phone buzzed. It was my first text message from him since we’d started our affair.

‘You were special. You meant something. You weren’t just anybody for me. Maybe we will cross paths someday down the line. In a way I loved you. You were more than just the other woman, that’s what you like calling yourself. You are much more.’

I smiled a tearful smile and drove away.


 

The end.

 

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The Other Woman – Part 2

For Part 1 – Click Here.


You know, you can’t love two people with all of your heart. It isn’t possible. You can give people a bit of your heart – just a little bit – enough to let them know you love them and you care but not enough that it would hurt or shatter you.

I guess being a mother is one of the few cases of unconditional love. Where you can love someone so much that it hurts.

But I wasn’t a mom. And nor was I going to be. I was separated from my soon to be ex – husband, both of us were too afraid to take the final step and make it official but for the last year, we’d met just twice and that too because he wanted some stuff that he had left behind.

And the other man in my life, well – I knew he loved me. Let’s call him Ted. In his own way. Without saying anything. He’d apparently fallen in love with me the first time he’d seen me on the flight. We were co – passengers. And the rest is history.

At first, it wasn’t difficult.

The affair.

It started off as a one time thing only but the spark was so strong that he kept on coming back to me. My lonely little heart, which craved for intimacy couldn’t refuse. He wasn’t married when we had met. He was now, but it didn’t change anything…we met…we hung out and talked about anything and everything…in his arms I felt liberated and free. Ecstasy.

Once in a while, he would accidentally let something slip about his wife. He would continue to talk, trying to ignore the silence that her name would bring about. It took everything in me not to cringe outwardly. Sometimes I would.

I don’t know why I got jealous. Or was I guilty? Maybe a bit of both. It was easier to pretend she didn’t exist. I knew it was stupid of me to feel this way but I did. I didn’t want him to think of her when he was with me. I wanted him to breathe in my scent, feel my skin, hear my whispers and dream about me…at least for those few hours.

Ah, I was…I am a fool.

I didn’t see a life with him. He wasn’t the type of man I could spend my life with forever. Our little arrangement suited me well.

But whenever he took her name…I knew, I was the other woman.


 

To be continued…..

The Other Woman – Part 1

This is a work of fiction.


 

I woke up alone in bed. Again.

For being such a light sleeper I wondered and resentfully applauded his ability to sneak away without a sound. Two years of sneaking around in motel rooms and the back seat of his van. Two years! I did the math. We met once every three months for a couple of days. . . so yes, our affair was a solid one.

Affair.

That word should have left a sour taste in my mouth but it didn’t.

I should feel guilty but I didn’t. I never believed in what society thought relationships should be like anyway. Human beings weren’t wired to be with only one person forever. They were just good at pretending that they were okay with it.

Affair.

It wasn’t like I loved him or anything. It was more like a craving. You know the feeling, when you go on a crash diet and suddenly smell pizza? Yeah, bye bye crash diet. That’s how I felt when I thought about him. He was tastier than a piece of dessert at the most expensive restaurant in your city.  I was okay when he wasn’t around me. I never initiated any conversations or plans, I let him take the lead…because I didn’t want to let on how much I wanted him.

Affair.

I put his pillow next to me and sighed. His scent was everywhere…on the pillow, the sheets, on me and my t-shirt.

Affair.

I knew I should get up and get ready to go to work. But I couldn’t.

Today was different.

For the first time he’d slept over at my place…for the first time he had stayed till morning came. He’d left without saying goodbye but I didn’t mind. I knew it made it easier for both of us to walk away without getting emotional.

Otherwise we would feel tempted to cuddle and discuss any feelings that might be suppressed in our heads and hearts and that would be disastrous for our relationships.

I didn’t feel like getting up…so I decided to stay there for a bit.

In a long time…I decided to let myself think about him… about us and the time we’d spent together.

Because for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel like I was the other woman.


To be continued….

Lone Star – Part 3

For Part 1 – Click Here

For Part 2 – Click Here


So much for getting some action.

My flight was a two hours late and to my horror, my ex-bestie was on it.

I scratched my head, wondering how such misfortune could befall me. I’d moved to a pretty isolated part of the country, sure that such encounters could be avoided.

Damn the tourism industry!

She hadn’t spotted me. Maybe the cap and the shades helped.

But I knew her – even though it had been close to a decade that I had last seen her. She was also by herself.

Then I corrected myself. I saw two women walk up to her, the trio started chatting excitedly about something. So, she had made new friends.

Friends. If you could call them that. The person that I knew her to be was someone who couldn’t distinguish a friend from a foe. She always ended up making friends with the wrong people and then acted as if the world had ended. That was one of the reasons that I had decided to drift away. I was always the one trying to buck her up and make her see that the world wasn’t such a shitty place till I realized I was just a therapist and nothing else. She’d stopped spending time with me, citing her career took up all of her free time.

I wasn’t dumb. Let me give you a piece of advice. If someone is too busy for you – all the time and where it seems like interacting with you is just a chore for them on their to – do – list – do yourself a favor and walk away. You’ll thank me for it later.

I walked away too.

Back then, when I wasn’t in great control of my feelings I’d felt blue about it for a long time. Now, well I could look at this situation dispassionately. Did I feel nostalgic? Yes. I did. But I didn’t dwell on it. That’s will power and being mentally strong. I’m not bragging. I’m being honest.

Soon it was time to board the flight. I walked past her, she didn’t even realize I was there. I chuckled softly.

Somethings never change.


To be continued….

 

Lone Star – Part 2

For Part 1 – Click Here.


I woke up at around 11.

11 AM. Come on, I can’t sleep away the whole day!

Ever since I’d taken to the solitary life, I slept much better. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I didn’t have much to worry about. People complicate everything.

You don’t believe me?

Let’s say you got a new job. Or got promoted. You excitedly share this news with people you love. And guess what – half of them do not sound happy – even if they try really, really hard to. Because we live in a world where we compare our success, our happiness with that of others. It is a constant competition.

It happened with me all the time. I was…or rather still am an ambitious gal. Back in the day, I naively thought that people would feel happy to see me do well but I saw over time, some of my so called best friends look sad or indifferent or even envious. Every time I got a new job or I made a new boyfriend or the time when I bought my first house. Sigh!

Now – I didn’t have to worry about that.

My phone buzzed. Stella, my assistant had sent me my updated work calendar. Yes, I did have an assistant. Unfortunately I could not cut off all human contact. Stella was 30 years old and a hot mess. But she was a good assistant. Once a year, we had a nice ritual of going for a company retreat. Stella & I.

It would usually be one of those plush resorts which weren’t too crowded. I’d swim and work on my tan while Stella would get hammered and then cry about her current fiasco of a love life. It would have been quite entertaining, if it wasn’t so sad.

Also, she didn’t want my advice so I just listened and nodded. Every.Single.Year.

What did I do for a living? Well. I was a virtual life coach.

Sounds funny, right? But you won’t believe the amount of money that people are willing to pay to hear the things that they already know. Throw in some wisdom, make a plan, follow up with them…the job was a breeze. I loved to see people succeed.

Maybe because at this age, I had enough to retire. But I didn’t want to. At the age of 40, I had a house of my own. I had a back yard where I grew a lot of vegetables plus a couple of fruit trees. I had a small coop where I kept hens.

No, I did not have a cow. I wasn’t a farmer. But I liked doing whatever I could on my own. It kept me active, healthy and relaxed.

I had a gardener – Jean. Jean was 21 years old, with six pack abs and a glittering white smile. I know what you are thinking but stop right there. Jean was as gay as they come.

As for me, I’d given up on love. I’d had a couple of casual hook ups now and then because hey – I was human. That was usually when I had to fly out of town for work.

And today was one of those days. I smirked. Hey – birthday girl, birthday sex, right?


To be continued.

Lone Star – Part 1

This is a work of fiction.

—————

I was 40 years old today. And there was no one to wish me. My parents were deceased. I’d divorced my husband fifteen years ago and made the conscious and wise decision not to have children.

I had no friends.

After years of trying to maintain relationships with people who didn’t really care I just stopped trying one day. I removed myself from social media, deleted everyone’s number and put all of those fake relationships behind me.

Sure, my so called bestie tried calling me a few times. But then I changed my number and that was it. We had drifted apart and after being treated like a doormat far too often, I decided even she wasn’t worth it.

Are you shaking your head in pity? Ah – don’t.

Did I need therapy? Well. That’s a tricky question.

A therapist or a psychologist would find me and the way I think fascinating and I could one day, be a case study discussed in some well known medical school.

But no – I did not need therapy.

I just liked being alone.

You see, some people saw it as a weakness. As a character flaw. But for me – it was my strength.

I got out of bed and made myself a hot cup of coffee and took out some butter cookies I had baked the day before.

Perfect.

Everyone who loves coffee will understand the bliss of taking a sip, just a tiny one and feeling the flavor flow through your mouth.

From my bedroom window, I could see the sun rise. The sky changed color from black and blue to orange and red and then light blue.

Beautiful.

My phone buzzed.

Don’t get excited – it was just a reminder for my to do list for the day. I told you, I kept human contact to a minimum.

But today was my day off…so I crept back into bed and switched off my phone. I would wake up when my body told me it was time to, not a second sooner.

I loved my life.


To be continued…..

 

 

The Undead – Part 1

This is a work of fiction.


I was a bit annoyed. Usually, I didn’t mind if these creatures created a racket running around what used to be my home but today, I was annoyed. Why? You ask why?

It has to do with a particular star. These creatures call it MACS0647-JD, but for me, this star has only one name – Home. At a distance of approximately 13.3 billion light years away from this planet, it is a bit far. Well, not for me and my kind – but for these creatures it is – heck, they haven’t even developed the technology to explore within their own solar system. I mean, their progress is pitiful barring a few gifted souls. What set these souls apart? Heh. Us. Go figure.

But yes, coming back to the point – today I was pissed because I was told that I had to stay on this planet for another 10 human years. I have been here for almost a 1000  human years and there is only so much entertainment in this so-called pyramid.

Hahaha….don’t look so shocked. I mean, you knew it deep inside you that no human could have built something so intricate, did you? We built it. So that we had a home on this planet and we could track progress of life on this planet. Why? ‘Cos we are trying to manufacture the perfect species…combining the best traits of all intelligent life forms from all over the universe!

But no! You guys had to poke your noses and make this one of the god damn wonders of the world. So well, every day I have thousands of you walking on the roof of my house.

Roof you say?

Well DUH! My home is underground. I had to shift it way, way underground so that your pesky archaeologists would not come poking their noses into what was clearly none of their business.

Once, when I had gone outside around a 100 years ago to collect some samples from a particular human being who I could detect was special, I accidentally bumped into what you called a historian. Well, he was as stunned as I was; seeing my purple skin and red hair. Well – that’s what your limited color vision allows you to see. From where I come from, there are over a 1000 different colors visible to us.

So anyway he saw me and fainted. And hence, began what your media calls ‘conspiracy theories’ about extra terrestrial life.

The funny thing is, we aren’t the extraterrestrials in this case. You are. We found you, you humans on a planet that was dying and brought you here, to make you thrive. We altered you a little bit so that you would evolve into intelligent creatures. Imagine our disappointment when we saw what you were doing to this planet? We decided, this time we would not help you. But secretly, we are rooting for you.

Who are we? We are the undead.


To be continued…

 

3 AM – Part 4

For part 1 – Click Here

For part 2 – Click Here

For part 3 – Click Here


3 PM

I try Bart’s number for the fifth time. A week’s over and there’s been no news from him. I’ve been waking up every other night ‘cos of Baxter’s weird behavior and I’m a bit sick of it.

‘Finally!’  I almost yell into the phone.

‘Norah, I know I am late, I’ll be back in 3 days. How are you?’ Bart sounds unabashed.

‘Your damn dog’s been working the graveyard shift and I DO NOT appreciate it.’

Bart coughs into the phone and sighs, ‘Look, Baxter is heart-broken ok? It has been a few months since her pup died and she always cries at night. The vet told us it would pass and to be frank, it is getting better.’

I look across the room at Baxter, who is currently in a state of bliss, asleep on her back after a big meal.

‘I didn’t know that.’ I mumble into the phone.


5 PM

I walk back to my bed and open my laptop. Today’s the day I start working from home. There are over 20 get well soon messages and e-cards from my colleagues. I scan through them briefly, sending everyone a simple ‘thank you’.


8 PM

After a few hours, I check my phone. The messages have also stopped. Now that you know that I am on the mend, you’ve dropped all pretense of caring. You scumbag. You…. You haven’t called. You haven’t dropped by. You have vanished into thin air – like you were never there. Fuck you.

I put my laptop aside and hobble to my fridge. There’s an old tub of ice cream which doesn’t smell like it’s expired. I search my collection of CD’s for something sad – ah – The Notebook. I put on my giant flat screen tv, hoping that the movie will evoke some emotions that I badly need to release.

What a dumb girl I am.

But sure enough – after an hour into the movie I’m bawling. And you know what – so is Baxter. The moment she heard my first sob, the dumb dog crawled into my lap. I think it was partly to beg for a bit of ice cream. But also to give me a few comforting licks and whimper and snuggle with me. Damn dog. She’s kind of cute.

For the first time I give her a hug. Here we are. Man and animal. Comforting each other. So this why people are mad about dogs. For being all dumb and cuddly and gooey. Huh. Perhaps I won’t return her to Bart after all.


10 PM

I feel a bit better once the movie ends. I feel like I have a lot of sorrow left in me…but this is good for now.

I look at my phone and yep – true to form not a peep. I take a deep breath and delete your number. I mean – I know it by heart so it doesn’t really matter but I do it anyway. It’s a sign of moving on, isn’t it?

I put my phone on silent and pull Baxter close to me. Something tells me we are not going to wake up tonight, in a long time.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 AM – Part 3

For part 1 – Click here.

For part 2 – Click here.


Bart walks in, uninvited and the fake smile on my face disappears when I see what he is holding.

It’s his dog – Baxter. Baxter and I go way back. He has a habit of waking up at odd hours of the night ever so often and barking his head off. When I had moved into this neighborhood, the real estate agent had assured me that the area was peaceful during the day. Obviously, she chose her words well. Buyer beware!

Bart held out Baxter towards me.

‘Here. Take him. My mom’s fallen sick and I’m going for a week. You OWE me girl.’

I look at Bart…or rather, look down at his bald, tattooed head in disbelief.

‘Say what?’

Bart coughs and forcibly pushes Baxter into my arms.

‘Here.’

‘What the f.’ 

Baxter weights more than what he looks like. I’d never seen a weirder looking dog. A cross between a dachshund and a pug. I can feel his slobbery tongue lick my chin and I try not to shudder.

‘Bart…I can’t look after him! I’m sick myself and I’ve never kept a pet! OW!’ I scowl as Baxter decides to give a nudge to my broken rib-cage. I let him down gingerly and scowl at Bart, trying to keep my cool. Before I can say anything, he hands me a list.

‘Not to worry dear! I’ve mentioned all the things she needs to eat, how often you need to bathe or take her for a walk and the vet’s details…everything is there….plus you have my number….girl I got no one else to ask and you OWE me.’

Bart smiles up at me hopefully.

I sigh deeply. ‘Her? Baxter’s a her? Always reckoned she was a he.’

Bart grins and takes it as an acknowledgement of my acceptance of this strange animal.

‘You better be back in a week.’ I mutter as I see Baxter settle down on my favorite couch. My favorite white couch. I mentally decide not to worry about stains right now, scowl one last time at Bart as he makes his way out of my house and sit down wearily.

In the midst of all of this, I forget to check my phone. I check it again. No messages from YOU.

I throw my phone across the room. It makes a strange sound, like something’s broken. I secretly hope that it has. And then I hope that it hasn’t.

The day goes by quietly. I feed Baxter the food Bart has left with me and take her for a short walk around the block at night, to do her business. I don’t bother picking it up. Bending is painful and not recommended by my doctor.

Baxter gives me a quick lick and we both fall asleep on my bed.


3 AM.

I wake up to loud barks. Baxter’s going nuts. She’s prancing around my bedroom window.

‘Quiet!’

Baxter whimpers but settles down immediately. After 5 minutes, she’s making these weird sounds as if she’s crying. I wonder if I should go pet her, but I don’t have the strength. I make a mental note to ask Bart about it later.

Exhausted, I fall asleep.


To be continued….

 

 

 

 

3 AM – Part 2

For Part 1 – Click here.


3 AM

I wake up suddenly. It’s one of those dreams where you feel like you are falling and about to hit the ground. Bam! I am sure you know what I am talking about. Apparently almost everyone has had this dream at some point.

It has been two weeks since I got hit.

I am home now, on sick leave…it still hurts when I more around but I am on the mend…well at least as far as my broken bones are concerned.

My heart and mind…not so much. I check my cell phone. There’s a shitty message from you from last night : ‘Hope you are feeling better.’

I snort loudly to myself. Hope I am feeling better? I wonder where you are. I wonder, why when I was sick all of this time – you couldn’t find even five minutes to come and see me? How about calling me?

No, all I get is one shitty message per day, asking me if I am better. At 10 PM sharp. Well done boy, you’ve done your duty of expressing your concern. Thanks but no thanks.

Exhaustion takes over and I fall asleep, despite my determination to stay awake and feel sorry for myself.


11 AM

My body hurts. I get up slowly, trying not to stretch anything that would hurt more. As always, I’ve forgotten to take the painkillers. They weren’t supposed to be good for the liver, were they?

I check my cell phone again. Not a peep from you.

I slowly make myself a cup of coffee and call my mom, who lives a million miles away. I reassure her in my fake peppy voice that I’m okay and no, I don’t need her to fly down and take care of me.

I end the call quickly.

I feel a lump forming in my throat and I have a split second to decide whether to bawl my lungs out or to swallow it with another sip of coffee. I choose the latter. For now.

I run my hands through my hair and realize that I haven’t washed them for over ten days now. Yikes. Maybe I could go to the salon across the street…if I could hobble across in my current state. I dismiss it as a bad idea.

My door bell rings. Pidiiiiing! 

Half of me is hoping that it’s you. But it’s not. It’s my neighbor, Bart.

I see his ruddy red face through the peephole, trying to contemplate whether I want to deal with his annoying cheerfulness but he doesn’t leave me with much of a choice.

‘ Sandra! I know you are in there! Open up.’

I take a deep sign of exasperation and put on a fake smile, ‘Heeeey!’


To be continued.