She chooses white. It somehow seems just the right shade to reflect her mood. Resolute, Spartan. Almost unwilling yet… able.
Putting on make-up is a chore she is unwilling to undertake in any great detail, so settles for a light bronze lipstick and a dash of mascara to match.
Ayaz was so right, she thinks looking at herself in the mirror. Nothing like a little vanity to remind you that life has got to go on.
She looked ravishing. Subtle but ravishing. Her beauty magnified by the simplicity of her appearance.
She had learnt long ago that she had a face that was better off without too much make up and a body that could add sensuality to anything she wore.
She smiled at herself and for an instant could almost feel Aamir standing behind her. His arms folded around her waist, leaving love bites on her neck.
She shuddered for an instant. The passion she had been suppressing for so long rose in a spasm, rending her body in tremors. She could feel his skin warm against hers, his hands exploring the softness of her flesh. She closes her eyes, unable to keep herself tuned into reality. The memories come gushing at her. Memories of lust and passion. Animal, hedonistic, exasperating passion. Visions of his body entwined with hers. Writhing on top of each other, gasping, moaning, screaming his name. Feeling him tear through to her soul. She loved the look in his eyes when he came inside her. Like a little boy who can’t believe his luck. She would smile every time she would see that look and collapse on top of him. They would lay silent, breathing hard for a few moments and then the fire would find itself rekindled and they would go at it again with renewed vigor extracted from never ending lust for each other.
She remembers… and finds herself aroused. Traces the outlines of her nipples pushing against the soft chiffon of her dress, she remembers how he loved playing with her breasts… how he never wanted to let off the grip of his mouth on them. Feverishly moving from one to the other, never satisfied, never getting enough.
She feels her knees grow week and slowly glides towards the bed. Slides onto it and lies face down. Guides her hands over her body, pretending to be him. He knew exactly what she liked done and she knows exactly what he liked to do. Soon enough, she falls into erotic reveries that make her feel almost as if he really was lying beneath her, with his tongue swiping across her eager flesh and his hands firmly guiding her rise and fall on top of him. Her hand finds a hold right where she needs it to be and slowly begins to maneuver her fingers in the motions that will bring her as close to satisfaction as possible without him really being there.
Finally, on the verge of climax, she imagines him release himself inside her. She erupts in moans and envisions herself opening her eyes, as always, to catch a glimpse of his eyes at their most vulnerable. And sees instead Ayaz lying beneath her. His hands ravaging her body, his tongue slithering across her flesh.
She sees him smile.
The shock is such that she screams out loud. Jumps up off the bed, shivering. Trembling. Not from ecstasy but fear. She didn’t want to see this. She didn’t want to know this.
Heart racing, nerves throbbing, breath finds itself restricted. She backs away from the bed. eyes wide open. Afraid to see his face again, afraid to feel that moment again.
She tries to laugh it off.
Frowns. And settles for it. The guilt enveloping her soul is tenacious. She can feel her heart sinking. Never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined this. But she just had. Wide awake, she had conjured him up while thinking of her husband. She couldn’t even begin to understand the implications of this. All she knew was that she felt like a slut. Like she had betrayed the only man she loved.
I love Aamir. I love Aamir. I love Aamir.
She says it again and again and again inside her head trying to drown out the impression of Ayaz’s smiling face burnt on her sub conscious. Waiting simply for her to close her eyes to resurface and reclaim.
Oh my god. She whispers. Leans against a wall, looks down on the floor and sees her vanity case at her feet.
Hurriedly, she opens it and extracts the journal and a pen. Feverishly she flips to the first blank page and begins to write.
Hardly has she rendered two lines about Sahil’s death that a horn blares from outside. Fear now commanding her actions, she drops the journal. Hands trembling, slowly gathers herself up. And stands before the mirror.
She stares at herself, glares at her reflection as if trying to frighten away the lechery inside her mind. Until the horn blares again.
I love Aamir. She murmurs, combs her fingers through her hair, touches up the lipstick, puckers her lips, plasters a smile on her face and heads out the door.
He awaits her at the door to his house. One of the few brick buildings in the vicinity, it lies nestled in the shadow of snow peaked mountains.
She steps out of the car and sees his beaming face. He’s dressed in a grey suit with a pink shirt and a black tie. He hops down the steps towards her and gently takes her hand in his.
“You look positively ravishing” he says with an ever broadening smile.
“Thank you.” She responds looking down at her feet.
He leads her inside to a dining hall with a few couches placed before a blazing fire place and a table set for two.
“I-I thought this was a celebration… Ayaz. Where is everyone else?” She stammers suddenly aware of the painstakingly prepared mood for the evening.
“It’s just us tonight, my dear. Celebrating the life that lies before us.” He replies tightening his grip on her hand.
She knows it’s too late to walk out. She knows it’s too dangerous to go through the night. But she knows there’s no way in hell any man can take her away from Aamir. The mere thought of his name brings a smile to her face and peace to her heart. I love Aamir she intones once again inside her head and snatches her hand out of his grasp.
She places herself in the couch lying before the fireplace and starts talking about Sahil.
About how much he meant to her and how big a loss she felt his death was for the entire community. She goes on and on about him, trying to bring herself to tears and re-invoke the misery of his death inside her heart so that she can rid herself of the lust coursing through her body.
Ayaz sits down besides her, nodding his head and trying to use words of consolation. Words of motivation. Words basically meant to drive her towards what lay ahead instead of what needs to be left behind.
The butler comes bearing refreshments.
She sips at hers and relishes the crispy coolness of the juice slice its way down her throat. It’s almost a welcome relief from the constant blabbering she has been indulging in to try and suppress her whims.
Dinner is laid out and like the perfect gentleman; Ayaz offers her his arm to walk her to the table. She gets up and almost falls. Her legs give way under her, as if asleep after sitting for too long.
She wonder how long it’s been, and glances over at the grand father clock gingerly tick tock-ing away in the corner. It’s too dark to make out the positions of the hands.
He leads her over to the table, sits her down and they begin to eat.
Talk of classical music, and surrealist art and cynicism in literature ensues.
With every passing moment she feels less and less like taxing her brain with unpleasant thoughts.
The food is scrumptious. Roast lamb done so perfectly that it melts in her mouth like chocolate. And the home made juice is the perfect accompaniment to the whole meal.
Done with dessert, a marvelous soufflé, he takes her out to the patio for coffee under the stars.
The further the night progresses, the more she finds herself at ease. Laughing without a care in the world, making pubescent jokes about his pink shirt.
The coffee is the best she’s ever had. Its just the perfect blend of beans and cream, home ground he tells her, the armed forces are connoisseurs of good food she remembers saying. Tripping over the pronunciation of connoisseurs, laughing till her jaw hurt. Watching his eyes twinkle in the moon light as he laughed. It was so easy to be around him. Just like always. He’s a kindred spirit she decides and finds herself overwhelmed by the naiveté of her reaction to her earlier vision about him. She begins to blush just thinking about finding him instead of Aamir making love to her in her fantasy.
She shrugs it off as just a freudian slip of the sub-conscious, and looses herself in his talk of the beauty of the Taj Mahal under the brilliant light of a full moon.
He’s a good man. She catches herself thinking. A good honest man.
Leans closer to him and tugs at his tie
“Captain Sahib: she begins, almost giddy with pleasure and excitement. “You’re a good man”
“My dear” Ayaz begins, pulling her gently towards himself “you deserve only the best”
And when he jerks her into his embrace, she gasps
And when he placed his mouth over hers, she could not resist his tongue from sliding in.
Eyes closed, senses surrendered, she tastes Aamir instead.
I Love you Aamir, she murmurs under his breath.