The room was quiet as if they were the only ones on earth. Chetanna watched the rhythmic rise and fall of the sleeping lady on the bed. Even with her tousled damp hair, she looks so adorable, fragile…peaceful.   Jasmine! Her
name alone makes his heart skip a beat.

Gently, he removed strands of hair that fell on her face.  Resisting the urge to join her in bed, he rose from the chair, leaned over and planted a light kiss on her right check. The whiff of lavender from Jasmine’s hair made him close his eyes to savor the fragrance. Smiling almost shyly, he remembered how few minutes ago he was leathering her hair with shampoo while they took a shower… a long soapy shower.

The light bulb moment was the realization that he had lost track of time and his phone was on silent. A quick mental retrace of his activities, pinpointed the bathroom as the last place he operated the phone. He picked it from the sink
and saw eleven missed call. The time was 9.20pm! His plan was to leave at 8.30pm, latest! Resisting the urge to cover her half naked body with a duvet, he quietly slipped out of the room into the sitting room where he left his car keys and shoes. He switched on her security light before locking the exit door with the spare key; a token of her commitment to the relationship after they consummated it.

It’s been exactly five weeks ago, March 12th. Cheta will never forget how the first time they made love he drove home that night with tears of joy streaming down his cheeks.  With a heavy heart, he ignited the car and maneuvered his way home; to his family.

At 10.02pm, Chetanna stepped into his living room. Judging from the channel on, his daughter, Emma may still be awake. He felt a pang of guilt for wishing that Emma was asleep. The tiny frame on the sofa confirmed his wish. Picking the sleeping lad up, he made his way to her room. After tucked her in, Cheta went into the bedroom he shared with his wife, Lisa, who was already in bed working on the laptop. ‘’Welcome babe’’.

 ‘’Crazy traffic huh?’’, she asked.
‘’Rough’’, he responded. She asked if he wants to eat dinner and he declined but added that he tucked Emma to sleep. He undressed and went himself into bathroom.

As the water cascades down his body, Chetanna massaged his chest. It feels as if a sharp needle pricked his chest. This is happening more often and the pain is lasting longer. He cannot believe that it’s only been three years of marriage and it feels as if it’s over five years. The thought of spending the rest of his life with Lisa was a bitter pill to swallow. ‘What have I gotten myself into, he sighed.

Over the years, the connection with is his wife has weakened so much that he feels trapped and lonely. He had sought advice from close friends, prayed more, increased the number of times they go on romantic dates and even tried to spice up their sex life. None produced significant result. Lisa has poor culinary skills and unromantic. Nevertheless, these seeming weaknesses were not the problem. The spark was no more there. They are now like two acquaintance cohabiting.

‘I want a divorce’,

Chetanna blurted out. Lisa looked up from laptop expressionless. This wasn’t how he planned to start this discussion, but it was already late. Her silence and lack of expression disarmed him such that he couldn’t utter another word in
explanation or defense. After what felt like an eternity, in a steady cold voice, she responded as if reading from a script, ‘I will have full custody of Emma. We will file for divorce after Emma’s birthday but you will move out next
week’. His mouth opened but no word came out so he nodded instead. She turned her attention back to the laptop as if daring him to say another word. Eager to leave the room, Cheta took a sweatpants and pillow and retreated into the visitor’s room.

He spent almost the entire night musing. Does it mean Lisa has thought of leaving him too?  Is there another man in her life? Did he throw in the towel early?

The following morning they ignored each other as they dressed for work. The ride to work was silent, except the occasional comment and questions by Emma. Throughout the day, Chetanna struggled to keep his emotions in check. Immediately after work, he headed to pub where he took four bottles of beer; one bottle in excess of his limit. He sent a text to Jasmine that he was heading to her house.

A pair of red eyes stared at Jasmine as she opened her door. Cheta hugged her tight as his heart beat fast against hers. Jasmine managed to disengage from the embrace and slowly lead him inside. Once inside, he wrapped his arms around her and with a sober look he whispered, ‘my love, I am married with a child’. She smiled weakly and replied, ‘I knew four weeks ago’. ‘Please don’t ask me how.’

His eyes dilated in surprise. Holding back tears of relief, he continued, ’I will be divorced in less than two months’. Jasmine’s eyes immediate mirrored with pain. Her lips began to tremble and her hands wrapped behind his head slowly dropped to her sides. Confused, he said, ’Sweet, I was miserable in my marriage and had to end it. You made me realize what my heart is missing’. He continued, ‘baby, we are meant to be’. Her head dropped to her shoulder in a failed attempt to hide tears freely rolling down her face. Worried he asked, ‘my love, don’t you want to be with me?’’.

Jasmine slowly raised her right hand and the sparkle on her finger caught his attention; an engagement ring!

The End…