After a few knocks on the door, he heard the tinkle of the anklets fast approaching. His heart skipped a beat. She was in the house!
She opened the door and stared at him for a few seconds.
"You? I did not call you." she said coldly.
"I came to check if you are ok"
"What would happen to me?" she said with a smirk. He was shivering slightly. His face had turned pink with exertion.
"Come in." she said and he followed her.
She brought a cup of tea. As he sipped, she let her eyes hover over him. His sharp jaw line with stubble, his neck,his strong muscles, his perfectly sculpted body.. She felt a quiver. He looked at her and smiled. He stretched his legs lazily. She got up to clear the cup. He pulled her into his lap.
The next moment, he was all over her. Once again, she was consumed by her attraction to his body. She wanted to devour him. Wild and passionate, he took her to peaks that were insatiable before. It was getting cold, the rain had started again. They lay entwined in the dark room. Sweaty and exhausted.
When he woke up, she was not beside him. She was already dressed and setting the room in order. It irked him, the way she went about cleaning everything. When they were done, she would change the sheets without delay. She would air the room. She would once again resume her cold composure and behave as if nothing happened between the two of them.
"You must leave before it becomes impossible to cross the fields."
She always became impatient to have him out after she was done with him.
"You are so selfish. You don't care how I would go out in such situation." he accused her.
"I did not call you. Lata would be waiting for you."
"When did you start caring about Lata?" he mocked her.
"I m not as cruel as you think."
He laughed at her words.
"You are nothing but a witch. You lured me and now you behave like the pious one."
He dressed and left without another word.
She curled on the bed and stifled her cries. Not because she loved him. She did not love him. She only lusted for him. It was true that she had lured him. It was true that he was once a loyal husband.
She had changed it all when she had gone to visit her cousin Lata. It was another monsoon. She was staying with Lata's family for a few days as her house was getting repaired. She stayed in a small room next to theirs. The giggles, the whispers and the moans from the adjoining room had made her curious. She could only imagine what was going on inside. It had made her jealous. She was deprived of this romance while Lata was basking in it. Without thinking of the mess that would be created, she went on to bewitch and seduce him.
When he had come to drop her home, she had chanced on the opportunity and got him into her bed. It was addictive. The more she thought of breaking the ties, the more she found it difficult to get rid of him. It only added to her woes that he foolishly fell in love with her. She did not foresee this.
She had not even planned to carry this any further than that encounter but she could not control herself when he visited her again. No matter how discreet she was, she worried about the helpers in the field. It would not take one much to add two and two together. In a small town like hers, she would be ousted from the community. A woman living alone, is never actually alone. It infuriated her that he did not understand her situation. He seemed to want her more fervently than before. She had tried to limit him and asked him to come over only when she called but he seemed unable to adhere to any rules. The fact that he scurried back to her the first moment he could after the rains was proof that he knew no bounds. It overwhelmed her when she thought of how irresponsible he had become towards his family. But then, was it actually her place to talk about responsibility?
It rained incessantly since he left. She broke her reverie and sat by the small fire she had started to boil the rice. The rain lashed on the windows violently, the whistling sound of the wind made her shiver. She sat in the darkness of her kitchen watching over the rice. Then she thought of him again. Even though she had a hundred reasons to shove him away, for once she wanted company. Just another human to share the dark fear that clouded her mind. Oh, she would just keep him with her until the weather returned to normal. She even regretted that she had sent him away in such a harsh weather.
There was a knock on the door. She walked towards the door, wondering if he had returned back. There was slight bounce to her step as she thought of him. She opened the door to see two dark faces. She recognized them to be men who worked in neighboring fields. They were soaked to the bone but their expression was grim.
"There is a man lying in the field, we think he is your relative" one of them said.
It took her a moment to take in their words. Her throat was dry.
"What happened to him?" she asked fearfully.
She did not wait for the answer. She ran through the muddy fields, braved the water logged low lands and reached the place where people had started gathering. She pushed them apart to see him lying on his back. She dropped to the ground beside him, wailing. She felt widowed again.
She placed a hand on her child's forehead. He was running a fever. The doctor from the neighboring village had not visited in four days. The child slept peacefully, unaware of the catastrophe that was to befall on the family. She placed another damp cloth on his forehead. It would all be over. Her marriage, her life as a married woman, her life as a woman cheated. He had not known her. For him, she was the woman who cared and raised his family, who knew nothing of the world and his meandering ways. But a wife always knows. She knew it for a long time and suffered in silence. But she lost her mind when he had told her he was going out today. She knew he was going to her. She was not the kind of woman who would forgive him for his adulteration. Only if he knew how much she was capable of doing! She eyed the vial that she had emptied into the milk he had before he left and a lone tear escaped her tired eyes.