She took a taxi from the airport to his office, a remote area near the oil-drilling site. It was a spur of a moment to come so far without informing anyone. She started before her courage deserted her. But how was she going to tell him? And how would he react? She didn’t know. A fist squeezed her heart.
He would expect her to fly into his arms and sit in his lap. To run her fingers through his thick hair. To press her craving body to his. He, in turn, would engulf her into his arms, burying his face in her neck and mutter that he missed her. He would stroke her nape and would admire the ‘diamond’ mangalsutra (sacred thread worn by married women) he had bought for her with the first pay from this job. As he always did for the past two years whenever they met after months of absence.
As he had admired the last time when he had returned after six months and she had thrown the party for him. Oblivious to everyone gathered to welcome him after such a long absence, they had snatched a few passionate moments in their bedroom. Though the guests didn’t miss them, her cheeks felt flushed for quite some time.
But today’s union wouldn’t be like the earlier ones. The mangalsutra was in her hand instead around her neck. How could she wear it? She didn’t deserve it, not worthy of it anymore.
What would he do when she would tell him that she was no longer his? That she had betrayed him in the worst possible way. Because she couldn’t endure lonely, empty nights, couldn’t control her flaming carnal desires.
She would confess everything and return the mangalsutra. She wouldn’t be nervous and would bear the brunt of his anger, his ranting, his disappointment in her. Least she owed him… his scorn would be her punishment.
The taxi stopped. She alighted with cold hands, wrapping the shawl around her—more for courage than warmth. As an afterthought she asked the taxi driver to wait.
There was no one in the outer room of the site office. His name plate on the inner door brought in another jolt of panic. With heart in her mouth, she opened his office door and took in the sight on the sofa—the voluptuous body straddling him, his hands roaming all over, the fair fingers entwined in his hair—oblivious to any sound or movement, the two were engrossed in each other, moaning.
She met his gaze over the fair head. He froze. Recognizing her guilt mirrored in his eyes, her cold heart began to thaw. The fist around her heart loosened. She glanced at him squarely for a moment then stepped back, closing the door silently.
On her way back in the taxi, she threw the mangalsutra out—finally free.
Free of the weight of the diamonds, free from the chains of society. For she was no longer the only sinner.