The sheets rustled as she stirred.
She turned to one sided, and with sleepy eyes looked around her. The room was dark and cold. The AC was blasting in one corner, oblivious to her presence. The drapes covered the windows and cutting out the world. The room was shrouded in darkness. The night hung heavy and pregnant. Still half asleep she drowsily scanned the room wondering where she was...
Feeling cold, she tried to snuggle back into bed, pulling the covers around her, turning around and borrowing her head against the pillow.
That’s when her hands brushed against his warm back. She smiled. A slow sleepy sheepish smile, that reached the very tips of her eyes.
Of course the room seemed new, it was new, this was new. Having him here was new. It was real, this He was hers tonight; only and only hers. Finally the night was here. She was here, he was here and the luxury of spending the whole night with him as here.
She was in a resort that they had checked into late last evening. How silly of her, how could she possibly forget the drive in, the convoluted lies to be here, the heady mix of anxiety at being alone in room with him that filled her with drunk butterflies.. she chuckled to herself as she remembered how much she had giggled, her only defense to his direct gaze.
Her laughter that got stuck in her throat, when she saw him, so not amused. Her silence, as he held her gaze. Her eyes searching his face, as he moved towards her.
His feather light touches, as he traced her eye brows, her ears, her forehead. Never had they felt so alive. His mocking look, as he held back the kiss she was anticipating. Making her whimper for him. Making her forget her shyness, tracing her nose, kissing its tip, leaving her hungry for ever so long……….
Hazy memories of bodies touching, the slow intimacy giving way to a devilish rush, the breathless anticipation, pain and pleasure all conniving to transform him into another person, transforming her into someone she has never met…
Fragments from yesterday tumbled around in her mind. Leaping over each other, each clamoring to be relived, re-savored.
Her idle fingers, traced her lips wanting to rekindle the magic. They trailed down her neck, her breasts, stroked the fine soft hair on her chest before resting on her belly button. She blushed red. A deep intense embarrassed red as she remembered how much attention that silly thing had got.
Yesterday was nothing like what she had imagined and everything she could have wished for. Wide awake now, she grinned to herself and hugged the pillow.
It was a secret, their secret. Her whole world had changed yet not one other soul in the world would know about it.
Everyone thought she was off managing a friend’s urgent crisis. Well technically speaking, this was a crisis, and definitely extremely urgent, and it did involve a friend… but just not quite what she had painted to Mom. Evil pure evil.. this night was. Yet it was hers, to own and revel in.
Stretching into the bed, she watched him sleep. Resisting the urge to touch his ears, those mocking lips that were smiling even as he slept or his tousled hair. Her eyes lingered over his back, biting her lip where welts from last night still shone an angry red. A reminder that yesterday was not a hallucination.
Shaking her head, embarrassed to the core, she plopped back onto the pillows.
Trailing her fingers through her hair, she stared at the ceiling. Wide awake now, but not wanting to disturb him she debated what to do.
Reluctantly she peeled herself of the bed. The Ac’s blast hit her full force as she groped for something to drape herself with. Covered with goose bumps she nearly tripped on his shirt discarded on the floor. Curling her toes over it, she pulled the shirt on and flapped the never ending sleeves.
There was something about wearing an oversized mans shirt that made her feel delicate. Made her feel protected and petite, strange it may be but she loved it. She gingerly made her way to the mirror, picking her way between the debris of yesterday that lined the floor.
Standing near the mirror she admired herself. Hmm you little yummy thing! Look at you. You look like a newly married penguin. Laughing at her own joke, she did her favorite penguin dance, flapping the sleeves and hopping around. Quickly stealing a look behind to make sure he had not woken up to notice her idiosyncrasies.
Carelessly piling her hair into a ponytail, she marched purposefully to the bathroom. Shut the door and stood flapping her arms, gently swaying in front of the basin.
His solid and stern black toilet kit sat next to her hideously bright yellow one.
Lord, what was she thinking, or was she thinking when she had packed that in. What would he think?? In any case she was convinced he perceived her to be a kid, and the YELLOW kit, just yelled that fact loud and clear.
Ah well. Too bad, she did secretly like it a lot. It was happy. Bright sunshine happy, exactly how a day should start.
She scowled back at the black kit, returning the reproachful look it seemed to be giving her. Pepsodent pearly white, measured on the brush, she sluggishly began brushing. And Paused. There was something on the mirror. Brush stuck in mid air, she directed her gaze at the dot she had noticed from the corner of her eye.
On the right hand top most edge of the mirror, placed at an exact angle to the frame, the dot became clearer. It was a carefully stuck medium sized black bindi.
Hypnotized; her thoughts temporarily suspended, she gingerly reached out to touch it. Her fingers grazed its surface, almost stroking it. It was soft and damp. A recent offering then, to the mirror.
It rested like a Zen Buddha, peaceful, quiet and neutral.
She was transfixed with it, staring at it, willing it to speak.
Who wore it? Was she someone’s lover or a wife? A secret rendezvous with an admirer? Did she get into trouble for forgetting the bindi on the mirror, touching her forehead as she entered her house, hoping no one would notice? Or did she place it there on purpose, as a reminder, for the next time she came? Yuck, the idea that this room was repeatedly used repulsed her very soul.
Using the toothbrush as a prodding tool, she analyzed the bindi again. Top corner edge, precision in the angle. This was no hurried cast away there was thought and precision lacing the act.
Who the hell wore a bindi anymore in any case? Images of her women friends loomed in her mind. No, not one of them ever wore a bindi. Come to think of it, the bindi was something her entire generation had discarded. Almost, no one she could recall used it every day.
Who was this woman then? Someone middle aged? Married? Removing the one bodily trace of being married before making love? She imagined making love with the bindi on.. it simultaneously seemed erotic and disgusting, like a Nazi stamp implanted on her.
Shilpa Bindis, from nowhere the word loomed in her head. Mom, mom was the only person she could remember who still wore a bindi. Visions of home, the graying bathroom mirror, its sides home to the growing swamp of shipa bindis that arrived and disappeared in an unknown pattern. Maroon and Black, the only 2 colours that Mom ever used. Always the same brand, the same round shape, the sameness of it somehow defining her. Why did she still wear it? Was it connected to being married? Was it her mother talking?
Her thoughts leaped in all direction. She could hear her mothers voice, almost predict the call that she would make in a few hours, to inform her mom that she had reached her destination. Sense the reassurance, mom would feel, the unkown tension escaping her.. if only she knew.
Her eyes welled up……… Stop it! You wanted this as much. Stop lying and pretending to be a miss goddy two shoes now. Too late. You are exactly like the bindi women, she discarded the bindi, you honesty!
She shuddered, stepping back from the sink. The lightness she was feeling moments earlier replaced by a heavy forbidding.
The other women’s presence seemed to fill the bathroom. She could visualize her standing in front of the mirror brushing her teeth, discarding her robe as she stepped in for a shower. Stood here, exactly where she was and hummed to herself.
Reality came and hit her hard. She slumped against the bathroom wall and slid down to the floor. Toothbrush still in hand she stared into space. Trying hard to make sense of the riot in her mind.
This room was not hers. It was borrowed. To be returned in a few hours.
This man was not hers. He was borrowed. To be returned in a few hours
This happiness was not hers. It too was fleeting, borrowed, hollow. To be revisited in a few hours
Her shoulders hunched as quiet tears rolled down.
For the first time she saw herself, from the eyes of the hotel receptionist. Saw the pitiful look her friends would give her. Hated the fact that this night was to remain a secret, a dirty secret, grimy and unclean.
Using the flapping sleeves she wiped away the tears. Something cold and metallic grazed her cheek. Absent mindedly, she looked at the sleeve and saw his cufflink clinging on to a loose thread.
Cufflinks, she made love to a man who wore CUFF LINKS! The towering fucking symbol of egoistic, inflated cocky as hell obnoxious men.
She hated him, at that moment she wished the welts on his back were deeper. Were life long scars that he would carry. How did this happen? How did she allow herself to dream and fantasize about a cufflinker?
He who promised her nothing? Zilch!! Even this stupid night was planned on her persistence. She wanted this. Wanted memories, wanted pictures, wanted to be Alice in fucking wonderland pretending that they were a REAL couple, not a “oh we must not ever let anyone know about this” couple
She was angry, at herself. At being here, this room the Stupid BINDI that changed EVERYTHING. She stood up, glaring at puffy face in the mirror. Yanked the bindi off the mirror and flung it. It refused to be flung and clung on to her fingers.
Seething now, she wringed her fingers, yanking it hard, violence in her every gesture. Took it and flung it into the commode. Flushing it. Keeping the fingers pressed on the flush, once, twice, thrice, wanting to remove every trace of that ghostly woman. DAMM HER!
Sleeves rolled up. No more the penguin. She stormed back into the room
Cool Darkness engulfed her. He was still asleep. Deeply so. Had rolled onto his stomach and his sleeping face looked so innocent. Angelic almost, the anger she felt seemed false. Seemed real.
She wanted him. For herself. Wanted him to make promises that she could believe, she wanted to be his, to be owned, to be declared. She wanted these tears to stop.
Walking back to the bed, took forever. With each step, she picked up her clothes. Dressing as she walked. She folded his shirt patiently aligning the remains of the iron’s lines that lurked below the crumpled creases. Fully dressed, she sat on the edge of the bed and stared at her mobile.
5.30 am it said. She had been awake less than an hour and it seemed like a lifetime. Uncertain about her next move, she sat and breathed. Breathed calmness into her weary bones.
Fetching her bag, she made up her mind. She was leaving. Going home, would cook one more lie for mom and nip this in the bud. Nip it before she became a bindi woman herself. Sighing, she wiped the tears that would not stop.. and looked for her shoes.
She was done. There was nothing more to do, but leave.
She stood. Walked to his side of the bed, gently touched his hair almost maternally. Smothering her sobs, she stood by his side, loathing this moment.
She wished he would wake up, stop her, hold her. Wished she could snuggle into him and forget the past hour. She waited, seemed to be getting a PHD in waiting. Nopes. Nothing. Mr Cufflink was out cold.
Sighing, she moved ever so slowly to the door. Waiting for him to call her, to wake up and STOP her with his every breath.
Each step taking forever. She reached the door. Turned the door knob. There was nothing to stop her but her.
Slowly closed the door.
Walked back towards the bed.
Discarding each piece of clothing, carefully.
She reached him. In the same exact manner as she had left the bed. Cold and Goose bumped.
Pulled his side of the covers.
Slid in. tugged at his arms. Snuggled beside him. Felt him. Felt his arms around her.
And made peace with the momentary contentment she felt. This felt right, this felt home.