There she was again. I never dreamt that I would run into her ever again. On some level I knew it was going to happen someday but of all the days not today. It was the 5th anniversary of our wedding and I hadn't seen her in well over a year. Not the day since I saw her spreading her legs for Anand, my boss. To be brutally honest, it was going to happen one day or the other. She was the most beautiful woman that I had put my eyes on. I was as ordinary as ordinary comes.
I was in a nondescript bar in the largest city of India — Mumbai. She was supposed to be in the capital leading a life of free sex and lose morals. Priya, my wife, walked into the bar with a man I had never seen before. She was still my wife from what I knew. I did not bother enough to file for divorce and I had not heard about a divorce from any of my friends. I was in touch with three or four really good friends from Delhi but never talked about Priya with them — she was off limits while talking and they respected my decision.
For some strange reason I decided to hang around. She had already run me out of Delhi and I would be damned if she was able to run me out of this bar. I just sat at the bar alone and sipped my drink. I could see her from the corner of my eye as she laughed and had a nice time with her date. She had a glass of Coke in her hand but if memory served me well, it would have a healthy dose of rum in it. Suddenly our eyes met on the reflection of the bar mirror and her expression changed. She immediately got up and walked up to me. I turned as she approached me and was greeted with a slap to my face.
"How dare you walk out on me? I have been worried sick for the last year and you did not even have the courtesy of letting me know that you were alive and well." She shouted over the din of the bar. I was taken aback for a moment but then I looked into her eyes and spoke slowly, "Do I know you?"
Now, it was her turn to be astonished. "Anupam, you must be sick in the head. I am surprised that you refuse to recognize your own wife." The man she was with walked up to us as she spoke.
"Is everything alright?" He asked as he came up and stood beside us.
"Yes, everything is alright. I just ran into someone I knew and was getting reacquainted. I am really sorry to do this to you but I will not be coming back to the table, I have something really important to discuss not that I have run into him." She was planning on talking with me. I was not looking forward to this.
As she said her goodbye to her companion I paid my tab and started to leave.
"Where do you think you are going? I am not through with you." She said sharply.
"There is nothing to talk about between us, Priya. If there was something worth talking about I would have stuck around and talked. Why don't you let me be and go back to where you came from." I was calm. In the last year I had purged myself of any emotion attached with her and our marriage.
"Why did you abandon me so?" She asked as we stepped out of the bar. It was late in the night and the streets were nearly deserted.
"Don't ask questions that you cannot answer." I said.
"What are you talking about?" she shot back.
"Why do you think I walked out on you? Do you think there was something going on that would warrant such a behavior from me?" I asked my second question.
"So you found out about me and Anand. I thought as much. That still does not explain why you made me the laughing stock of the whole world. I was the clueless woman who had no idea where her husband was. I had to get transferred to Mumbai to get away from the questions that our friends and my family were asking." She did not even show remorse over the affair, speaking so casually about the event that changed the curse of my life.
"So, I should have played the part of the clueless husband who did not know who was sleeping in my wife's bed and answer the questions that sooner of later would be asked to me by our friends and your family." I retorted
She lost her line of argument here but quickly came back. "What you should have done was talk to me. Then you would have realized that no one knew of the affair, hence there would have been no questions. You would have also realized that Anand was nothing but a distraction to me. He was no threat to you. I loved you with all my heart."