Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Souvenirs of the Past

She touched the blade of the knife with the tip of her long, manicured finger. The titanium felt cold and smooth on her skin. She gently played with the knife, twisting it carefully between her fingers. Contemplating. It was a boning knife, part of a thirteen-piece set held in a block of maple wood. It had been a wedding gift from a distant uncle. They had laughed over it. The set of knives had stuck out like a sore thumb among the plethora of crystal vases and satin sheets that had been gifted to them. Ironically, the boxed set was all that remained of their wedding gifts over the years. The satin sheets had been ruined by fishmoths that had infested the wooden box where they lay unused for years. The crystal vases, most of them tacky, had been gifted, donated, broken or discarded. But the boxed set of knives lay on the mantle above the kitchen counter, untouched, but a reminder of the past. A reminder of the day it had all begun. A souvenir of their beautiful life, interwoven with love and dreams, and of a magical future together.

Until last week when her life had turned topsy-turvy. When he had walked out on her. It had been a bolt from the blue. Everything had been rosy- he had always been the perfect husband- caring and warm, with a contagious smile that never failed to throw her troubles out of the window and arms always ready for a warm hug. And she had been the lovely, dutiful wife. Or so she had believed. Over time, he had gotten busy with work, and reached home tired and weary. He worked on weekends and on holidays. She often found him sitting in solitude; preoccupied and deep in thought. Probably unaware that she was even around. And she had misconstrued his behaviour as a lack of interest in her. They had more than their fair share of fights, but the fights were never ugly. She vented out and he always said one thing- that he loved her. And then he would walk out. When he came back, he would be a gentle soul and she would cave. But the issues only bottled up. Until about a year back when he changed for good.

He had walked in with a bouquet of roses and a bottle of wine. They had driven off to the country-side for a magical weekend and everything became perfect after that. She should have known the change in him was a blanket for his guilt. A façade. But her simple, trusting nature grabbed on to the new life he had offered her and she held tight. Afraid to let go. Afraid to see beyond the four walls. And last week he brought the façade crashing down. He broke down and told her about the woman. The other ‘her’. It felt like someone had plunged a knife into her gut. A knife just like the one she was holding now.

She looked at it and then down at the soft, supple flesh she was going to plunge it into. She touched the flesh. It was warm. But she had made her decision. She would not live a life of misery and gloom. An entire week had been enough. Today, she was ending the sad, dependent life she had led. She held the knife with both hands, took a deep breath and brought it crashing down on the warm, brown flesh. The smell of butter tingled her nostrils and she smiled. She cut a big slice of the turkey and poured herself some wine.

Thanksgiving had to be special this year. She was celebrating her freedom.