Two Years

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Chapter 43

Does it Live Still?

A weak sun attempts to peek out from behind the clouds, but the clouds still have a field day. When I think of last night, it seems ethereal. Did Karthik and I really have that conversation, or did I dream it up?

Where would he have gone in the storm? Our house… His house… It’s far… Why did I let him go!

Should I call?

As I debate, the phone rings. “Karthik? I was worried.”

“I am, too. Look, I thought we… you… I mean, you had moved on… And were living your life… Last night... I am not sure what to think now.”

I am silent, my emotions in a turmoil, my thoughts confused.

“That house you are living in… That’s not home, is it?” I choke back a sob. “Come back home,” he says urgently.

I stay silent in shock.

“Say something, Kalpana!”

“Something came between us, didn’t it? What about Madhuri?”

“It was not a good period… I have wanted to wind time back, to do things differently… But the best is not to go back there, to pretend nothing went wrong,” he says in a heavy voice. I wait for him to continue, to tell me why it was not a good period.

But as the silence prolongs, I say irritably, “I am waiting for you to tell me, Karthik.”

“What?” he asks.

“Why! About what went wrong! And now you are trying to escape again!”

“Not escaping telling you! Just escaping the memories… Let’s go away… Then nobody will ask you anything,” he says impatiently.

My irritation turns to anger. I sulk, “Fine, if you don’t want to tell me, I can’t make you.”

He says hurriedly, “Kalpana, it’s not that!”

“It’s okay, Karthik. I didn’t come begging to you, but when I finally told you my problem, I thought you would understand how I feel.” He does not respond. “You know, Karthik, I have been bothered that you were so upset with me, and always trusted that you had a reason. Now… I am not so sure and that bothers…”

“Why didn’t you tell me? Why was I blind?” he whispers.

“How could you have known?”

“Small, small things – your bike, your coming to the office, there was a change in your manner, greater clarity in your eyes… I thought you were recovering. And having recovered, you didn’t need me anymore…” he stops.

“Why would you think that, Karthik?” His silence enrages me. “Tell me how I can move back with you! How do I know there was no other woman?”

“Think that, think that by all means.”

“Oh Karthik, it is something worse, isn’t it?” I start crying.

“Please, don’t cry!” he pleads. “Don’t blackmail me, please!”

“Blackmail!” I demand indignantly through my tears. “All this is futile. Leave me alone!”

“Give me time, please,” he begs.

“Till when? Tell me that at least!” I grab at this straw.

“Tomorrow… tomorrow… I will…”

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