It was their first quarrel within a month’s marriage and neither of them was relenting. It disheartened him when their earlier whirlwind romance couldn’t stand a feud over a mere closet. His argument was that, if he could come and live with her, contrary to popular culture, why couldn’t she let him in her walk-in closet. The secrecy was hurting him. He was astonished that her usual alluring self had withdrawn in a shell – silent and cold.
She was in the kitchen when he arrived. He hesitated but hugged her from behind. Her body, slender yet full at places, smelled of Victoria’s Secret. She shrugged him off and walked away. That’s it! He wasn’t caving in anymore.
Gulping down his dinner with a mouth full of wine, his eyes furiously scanned the wife’s activities. It was all the same – The flipping of magazines, clicking of the remote and then finally getting up to leave for the bedroom. All except for one thing when she placed something on the mantle of the fireplace. Curious, yet adamant, he finished his meal and waited long enough to exhibit no interest in it. But then hope struck him and he walked towards the fireplace to find a note. It said ‘You may come inside.’
Dressed in fine satin, she lay on the chaise, sipping wine. His anger subsided. Wife had finally given in and how! Tonight’s gonna be a good night, he sang to himself.
She flung her bare legs across the chaise and walked towards him. She came closer and looked him in the eye. His smile changed into anticipation; her smirk into determination. She started to unbutton him, making her way up his shirt, all the while looking him in the eye. Not once did she falter the gaze. On the last button, she set her finger on his chest and drew down a line, digging her nail into his taut skin. He heaved and looked up, trying to fast-forward the scene in his head.
A light kiss on his neck and she stepped back. Eyes fixed on the ceiling, he anticipated moist warmth. A swift motion and something cold touched past his navel.
He lay close to the chaise while she walked to the closet and opened the door. Four porcelain dolls stood in a fine line of smoke-filled cabins. They looked beautiful. His eyes drooped. He was tired but looked closer. The dolls were big and white like marble except for one long streak of red running from throat to the navel. It looked like a rusted barbed wire.
He looked down and his barbed wire seemed more as if the Earth split and poured out lava. He could now see his exhausted heart pump very slowly. One… Two… Three… Four… Scalpel in hand, the wife stood at the door.
He stalled and let out the concluding gasp. She eyed four vertical lines scrapped on the wood and struck across them. Five.