IT STARTS with a silent stare. Yes, not on her, not on the one you’re in a relationship with, not on her eyes and lips and hair, not on the way she walks and carries her bag. It begins with the invasion of your heart of a foreign being you believe captures your imagination. What if I ask her out? What if I’m with her? Would I be happier? I’m tired of the current one. I’m bored. Is it time to move on? Her legs look great.
You tell yourself that it’s okay to look at the other woman passing along the streets. It isn’t the first time you see her. She’s on her way to work. Her attire says so. It’s a weekday anyway, and you’re just having coffee. It’s freezing outside. Earlier, your girl greeted you ‘Good morning, babe‘; you do not reply to her. Here you are about to pursue a new prospect. Everybody does that, you tell yourself. It’s as if you know every soul in the human population. You arrive at that generalization simply because it’s easier to justify what’s going on in your mind that way. The blank glimpse. Possibilities. You’re observing the world you’re in. It’s fascinating. Still, she’s beautiful. You wonder what her phone number is.
And you approach the stranger. Confidently. You’re wearing an enticing fragrance. It’s your lone chance. It might slip away, and you don’t want to have any regrets later.
You abandon your coffee you bought for two dollars. You tell her that she forgot something. She turns around and asks what it could be. There’s grin on your face, and you tell her the magic word: “Me.”
Her face lights up to the novelty of the act. She finds it cute.
You ask her where she’s headed. For a moment, for the second time, in a span of minutes, you forget about your girl. You erase your vows, your promises, and the spirit contained in the inspired letters you wrote to win her years back. She was your dream then. Take note of ‘was.’
You go back to the current situation. The stranger smiles at you. She asks where you live, your work, your hobbies on weekends. You both love movies, but not just any movie. You love mystery films, investigative, those that oblige you to think. Your girl likes romantic – comedies. But you no longer care. It’s getting deeper.
There’s connection, a spark, or so you believe. You inquire about her number, and she willingly gives it you.
“Where’s your phone?” she says.
“Here it is,” you respond.
And you part ways. But, it doesn’t stop there.
For the next few months, you secretly communicate. The stranger and you. The other woman and you. Your girl follows the routine: cooks you breakfast, washes your clothes, and kisses you each morning and before you shut your eyes. These don’t mean anything to you anymore. Your body is with her, but your heart is trying to escape.
And escape you do. Little by little.
You no longer respond to your girl’s “I love you’s”. For you, her value depreciates every day you look at her. She senses it. She’s not dumb. She questions what’s going on. What’s wrong with me? What’s lacking? I’m educated and independent and intelligent, but again, am I not enough?
You think it’s okay to play around. Your girl confronts you, but you lie. Hundred times. Maybe thousands. You tell her that everything’s okay. You’re just tired from work. It’s your boss. Your colleagues. It’s the book. The series. The weather.
Until one day, your phone rings as it receives a new message. Curious, your girl unlocks it using your thumb. You’re still asleep. She reads the text message from the stranger. The sender is named ‘Babe.’ The text says, “I miss you.” She uncovers the truth. She scrolls the thread. It’s been going on for a long time. The puzzles in her mind vanish in an instant. You’re a cheater.
She sobs. Alone. In another room of your just furnished house.
She thinks of confronting you, of waking you up. She imagines hurting you physically and calling you a liar. But she chooses not to engage in such quarrel. She knows her worth and packs her things. She left.
You wake up with her no longer around. There is silence…
And weeks later, your fling with the other woman stops. There’s a simple misunderstanding, and she deserts you without any explanation. It’s miserable. While you’re in your room, the memories of your girl visit you. You ponder on her value in your life. But there’s nothing you can do about it now.
You never see her again.