Wife is at home.
The husband rings the doorbell. There is silence from within, reminiscent of their relationship these past few days.
He rings the doorbell again. Still no answer.
He reaches for the key in his pocket and unlocks the door, and enters. The house is spacious and lavish. But also cold and forlorn. It’s an expensive but sad house. As he steps into the hall, he can hear water running in the shower. The bedroom door is slightly ajar. He sees a shadow move across.
‘Puja?’ He calls, tentatively.
He drops his bag on the sofa. In front of it, on the table, a bottle of wine is popped open. A half empty stem glass stands beside it, staining the glossy sheets of the magazine under it.
He walks tenderly towards the bathroom. Apprehensive. He stops two paces from the door, his heart pumping, considering. The indecision is evident in the way his legs are twitching.
He enters the bathroom. His wife is behind the shower curtain. Through the translucent plastic, he can see the outline of her body. He feels an attraction to her he hasn’t felt in years.
He tries to put out of his mind all the bitterness that has been building up between them over the past couple of weeks. He hopes that maybe a session of passionate lovemaking will melt the differences away.
He pushes aside the shower curtain. The look on her face is far from what he had expected. There is shock there, and embarrassment. But above all, there’s revulsion. “What the hell are you doing?” She pushes him away and hastily draws the curtain back.
He feels his lust giving way to confusion. As he stands there dazed, in front of the closed curtain, anger spills through the cracks of dubiety.
“I am your husband,” he says through clenched teeth.
“Apparently.” Her tone is indignant.
“I don’t understand why you just can’t let it go.”
“Oh, I will let go. I will let go of you.” She scoffs at him. “Now get out of my bathroom!”
He is shivering so violently he can hardly breathe. “Your bathroom?” he manages to utter.
She does not reply. Like he is not worth her time and attention. He feels inside of him a loathing so deep, he thinks it will make him physically sick.
He rushes out of the bedroom and into the hall. He heads straight to the liquor cabinet and pours himself a generous dose of scotch. He downs it in two large gulps. The alcohol flows down his throat, burning his insides. He grimaces and lets out a disgusted grunt.
“Fuck!” he slams the glass on the table. “Fucking arrogant piece of shit.” He wipes his teary eyes.
He blinks and looks around. The kitchen island is to his left, and just an arm’s reach away, the expensive knife set they had bought a fortnight ago. It is a Ghidiny set, shiny and sharp. He traces the handle of the largest one with his finger. He mimics the high-pitched voice of the salesman who sold them the set: Sir, I’m telling you, this is Italian steel. It can cut through anything!
Then with a swift motion, he pulls the knife out.
He holds it in his hand, turning it this way and that, as though pondering a very profound question. Almost like it was a matter of life and death. Then suddenly, his grip on the knife hardens. As does the resolve in his eyes. The steel of his pupils matches the one of the blade.
He looks back in the direction of the bathroom, and then starts moving towards it. This time, his feet are sure. His wife is still in the shower. The sound of falling water drowns out the noise of his boots against the marble.
He pulls back the shower curtain again.
“Hi.” He smiles, maliciously.
Again, his wife looks at him with shock. But then her eyes travel down to the knife in his hand. And then fear rises in her eyes.
“What —” she begins. And stops when he steps closer to her.
She stares at him, incredulously, not wanting to believe that he might actually do what she’s thinking. “Don’t be an idiot Mahesh,” she stutters. And even as she shakes her head, half disbelieving, half pleading, she feels the touch of the cold steel.
He watches as the knife slides in. Smooth. Silent. Deadly. And then he watches as the blood rushes out. Viscous. Hot. Carmine. He looks up into her eyes, leans forward, and whispers into her ear, “I am your husband. And I am taking care of you.”
The blood mixes with the flowing water, creating whirling patterns of crimson hues on the white ceramic. He watches as his wife’s body falls to the ground, the fading light of her pupils, casting eerie shadows on the crumbling ruins of her life.
He turns the shower off, draws the curtain close, and comes out of the bathroom. He washes the knife clean in the kitchen sink and puts it back into the set. He wipes his hands dry, folds the towel neatly and places it on the ring. He goes to the sofa, pushes aside his bag, sits down, and turns on the TV.
He reaches out to the phone, picks up the receiver and dials a number out of memory. He flicks through the channel while he waits for the line to connect. Eventually, when it does, he says, “Hello, PizzaHut?”