Author: Nihit Kaul
"I love how Julia lets me put my frozen, cold feet on her calves when I get into bed late at night. I love how they fit hand in glove. Love how she makes an O with her mouth and lets out a loud breath of air when the cold hits her - making imaginary smoke rings. I can make out from the sound that she is smiling when she does this. I love her and feel so grateful to have her in my life. Maybe I should tell her this more often! :)"
Julia couldn't help but smile when she read this. She didn't want to smile but couldn't stop it. She was mad with Ravi. They had been drifting apart like two boats that once were tied together. Maybe their feet touching, wound together like the threads in a rope, had kept their boats together. When that stopped, their boats went their own ways.
She also felt a pang of guilt as she read his forbidden diaries. She knew he would be mad if he learned about this. So what if she had stumbled upon the box while cleaning out the garage? There would be no excuse in his book. But then, it was too late now. The ties felt severed, and she didn't think she would need to give an apology or even an acknowledgment of this act. She planned to have the "talk" with him tonight - finally having mustered up enough courage to tell him that she wanted a divorce.
He used to write incessantly. Irritatingly. Invariably. Every night, like a ritual. She remembered how there were times when she had felt jealous of the diary, how she yearned to learn what he wrote in his "precious" journal. What was it that he could not tell her and instead preferred sharing with a lifeless, dead piece of paper?
Guilt-ridden, she continued to read, couldn't stop. She was like an alcoholic with a bottle after abstaining for many years. Her tears tried to come out and stop her, but she fought them back. Read everything - what he loved about her, their children, and their life. Read about his struggles with his mind, his madness, his mania.
She was dumbfounded when she read that he had even been aware of her recent fling. It had all happened so quickly, and she had shut it all down equally fast - fooling herself into thinking that no one saw or was aware of it. Read how he accepted it as an inevitable outcome of their drifting and was stoic about it. As the hours rolled by, her hardened image of him softened with each page she read about a man she had hardly known.
She stopped only after devouring everything - full but not satiated. Angrier than before. Angry at him for not having shared all the love that he had in his heart. Angry at herself for not having fought harder to hear his stories and tell hers. And angry at them for letting their boats drift apart in front of their eyes. They had it all, yet they allowed a malaise of apathy and depression to stand like a wall between them - a wall to pointlessly bang their heads on.
She seemed determined not to give up just yet. Eager to try and mend the tears and pick up the torn pages of what was once their marriage. That's when her phone rang. It was Ravi's number.
"Hello," she said, picking up her phone, surprised by this oddly timed call from him.
"Hi, is this Julia?" said the voice on the other end - it was not Ravi.
"Yes. Who is this?" said Julia, her heart starting to palpitate.
"Hi, ma'am. I'm calling from the NYPD. I have some terrible news to share with you. Unfortunately, your husband met with a fatal accident 30 mins ago, and though we tried our best, we couldn't save him. I am very sorry for your loss," said the voice as it faded away and fell to the floor.
A teardrop finally broke through her eyes and jumped onto the diary in her hand, seemingly trying to hug those lifeless words and bring them back to life. But it was too late.
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