After 10 years of marriage, two childhood sweethearts, Radhika and Tushar, decide to part their ways, even though their marriage seemed normal. A night before their divorce, they both decide to meet each other one last time only to realize how their separation made them inseparable.
It had been 10 years since Radhika and Tushar got married. Their marriage was like any other marriage—countless arguments on the outside yet a lot more love on the inside. They fought a lot—sometimes it was Tushar’s habit of forgetting wet towel on the bed, and sometimes it was about Radhika’s constant nitpicking. More often, it was about Tushar hanging out too much with his liquor-loving friends. And, sometimes, just Radhika’s PMS. But this time, something serious might have happened, otherwise, these childhood sweethearts would never have thought of getting a divorce!
A night before their divorce proceedings, Radhika and Tushar had to meet to discuss a few ‘divorce things’, including whether she could have her favorite Pottery barn apothecary table with her. So, Tushar had to fly all the way from Mumbai to Delhi, to Radhika’s place. Throughout his way from Delhi airport to Radhika’s place in Saket, Tushar kept dozing off in the cab. Suddenly the driver pulled over and he woke up straight. He paid the driver away and headed up to the black gated house. It was Radhika’s. He knocked on the door for quite a while but no one showed up. He knocked again, but no response. Agitated, he tried kicking off the door when suddenly Radhika opened it up. “What the hell are you doing?!” said Radhika in exasperation. Tushar couldn’t say anything at all, not because he didn’t know what he was doing, but because he was blown away by the sight in front of him. In a turquoise saree and a yellow blouse, Radhika looked stunning. It was the freshest evening ever, and the wind was brushing her long black tresses against her dusky cheeks, and she looked furiously beautiful.
Tushar was mesmerized for at least 30 seconds until he came on to realizing that he was going to divorce that pretty lady the very next morning. He also realized how the same pretty lady hadn’t opened the door for him for the last 10 minutes, and yet again, he was all red with agitation.
“Why were you kicking the door?” asked Radhika.
“I thought while we are getting divorced, let me fashion a new way to greet you!” replied Tushar sarcastically. Radhika scoffed. “By the way, I guess it was your saree that took you so long to answer?”, he added.
Radhika scoffed again and replied, “Yes it was. Now if you excuse me, we have an unfinished business to attend to. So, shall we?”
Tushar responded, “That’s what I have come for. If it wasn’t your saree…” “Enough of your saree jokes yaar, let’s get down to business!”, interrupted Radhika.
They both sat together on the couch. Radhika served Tushar with his favorite ginger tea and jim-jams cookies, a sweet gesture that couldn’t go unnoticed by him. He pulled out some documents from his bag—it was their divorce papers—and paused for a while to look at her, into her eyes. “Give it to me. Let me read it”, asked Radhika without meeting his eyes. There was an unease in her voice as if something was left unspoken. Tushar handed her the document with a bit of reluctance. She kept reading with all her eyes on the document while he kept looking at her beautiful face. At that very moment, he knew he still loved her. As he gazed at her, he went back in time; to the time when he owned her. To the time when they were inseparable. The first time they held each other’s hands and their first kiss. Flashes of memories went before his eyes. He remembered how drenched they were in love when they decided to run away from their homes just to spend the rest of their lives with each other. He realized how it was the truest form of love he had ever had, and perhaps the only kind of love that he knew of.
As he was gazing at her, he traced it all back to how Radhika was always in his life, as a lover, as a wife, and most importantly, as a friend. It was the glue of friendship that held them together throughout their lives. The constant reassurance they both gave each other that no matter what happened, they had got each other. As he looked at her beautiful face, he smiled. He smiled as he traced it all back to the moment when Radhika could pluck up the courage to tell him how she was never his, even after 10 years of togetherness. He felt so proud of their relationship. A relationship so strong that she could become so vulnerable before him, and reveal her darkest secret to him; that she loved “her” and not “him”.
His eyes welled up a little, and just in time, he saw a river flowing out of her eyes too. Tushar reached her hand, and that’s when Radhika looked into his eyes. They leaned forward to hug each other. Their silences had filled the room, nor did a word was needed. It was their last night together.
The next morning, Radhika woke up in her bed. Yet again, she found Tushar’s wet towel in the bed! But this time, she smiled instead. Half an hour later, as she walked into the hall, she found Tushar all dressed up.
“Waking up at 8 am? Do you really want the divorce or not??”, asked Tushar with a tone of sarcasm.
And Radhika kept smiling. They both went ahead towards the cab on their way to the courtroom. The driver turned on the radio and stopped at one of Tushar’s favorite songs—
“When I feel cold, I’ll keep you close
And if I could hold you and take you home
When at night
Your toes touch mine
I'll sing you to sleep If you were mine to keep
I wish I could leave you, my love
But my heart is a mess
My days they begin with your name
And nights end with your breath
With your breath.”
The above story was originally written as an official entry for the 7-Day Short Story Writing Challenge organized by the India Film Project Season 11, a content festival held in Mumbai, India. Don't forget to give it a heart if you liked the story. It would really mean a lot to me! Cheers! XOXO