The next morning Alpana woke up to find Shreya sipping on a cup of coffee and reading the paper in the balcony. She walked into the balcony unsure of what to expect. She’d never found her to be this indifferent. Shreya looked up at her and asked, “coffee?” Alpana nodded and Shreya went into the kitchen to pour her a cup.
What was going through Shreya's mind after what had happened last night, Alpana wondered.
While handing her the cup Shreya was giving her part-time maid the instructions on the clothes that needed to be washed. Just as Alpana was about to say something the doorbell rang. Shreya said, “That must be Sudhir.” It was. Alpana just stood there, puzzled, as Shreya went to open the door to him. She met him cordially, invited him into the house. An apologetic looking Sudhir walked into the living room and sat beside Alpana on the sofa. Shreya excused herself and went into the kitchen.
Alpana could barely focus on Sudhir’s usual apology and promises. “I can’t believe this happened. I feel so ashamed. How could I do this to the woman I love. I’m really sorry. Please forgive me. I promise I will work on this. We together will work on this. Just come back. You know I love you.” Alpana kept wondering about Shreya’s behavior but then snapped out of it and just nodded at Sudhir’s speech, as usual. He then told her he’s planned a vacation for the two of them. He wanted a new beginning for them for the third time in the last five months. “Anywhere you want. We’ll just take off. Just the two of us. And once we’re back we’ll sign up for counseling like you wanted. I don’t ever want this to happen again.”
Just as he’d managed to convince Alpana of a better life again Shreya walked in with breakfast for the three of them. She laid a plate in front of Sudhir and placed a toast on it. She then moved to Alpana’s plate but she refused breakfast, saying she wasn’t too hungry. Alpana was quiet but disturbed. Earlier Shreya didn’t let Sudhir enter the house. Only on Alpana’s insistence did she let him in. The first time this had happened Shreya was furious but didn’t suggest divorce or even separation. But she had strongly requested her to stand up and put an end to it now and seek couples counseling. But Alpana was vulnerable and had given into Sudhir’s first apology. After that the episodes and apologies followed frequently. So did Shreya’s pleas to Alpana on getting out of the marriage.
But things had changed now. After breakfast Shreya walked them both to the front door. “After we get back from the trip you must come over,” he said. Shreya nodded with half a smile. Sudhir sat in the car. Alpana and Shreya stood in front of each other. “I don’t know what you’re trying to prove here but it’s not all that big like you’re making it out to be. I know what you’re trying to do but it’s really juvenile. It’s not like I need to be on a talk show like one of those battered women or anything. It was just a fight and now it’s sorted. Anyway, thanks for your help,” said Alpana. Shreya didn’t say anything, just calmly smiled and nodded. “Bye” they said to each other as Alpana sat in the car and drove off.
*This is a work of fiction and bears no resemblance to any person or any place.*
What did you think of Sudhir’s apology? Was Alpana right in giving him another chance? Should Shreya have stopped Alpana from going with Sudhir? Tell us in the comments below.
Read Again - Part 1
You can share your feedback with the writer on Twitter