The Gift

Carrots, red and juicy, were slowly being cut into a steel bowl over which a woman sat hunched.

‘Do you recall, that long ago, we would walk on the sidewalk,’ she hummed under her breath.

The doorbell rang.

‘..we were bold and young,’ she walked towards the door.

It was Mihir.

“Hey Seema,” he said.

Seema turned her back to him and went back to the dining table. She resumed cutting carrots, putting unwanted pressure on the knife this time.

“Oh cmon, how many more days Seema? You are my wife, you can’t ignore me like this,” Mihir said.

‘Blow a kiss, fire a gun..’ Seema sang to herself.

“Hey, here I brought something for you,” Mihir came to the dining table and placed a badly wrapped gift near her bowl.

Seema didn’t look up.

“Seriously woman?” Mihir asked, his voice dripping in exhaustion.

He gave up and went into the bedroom.

Seema checked behind if he was gone and slowly unwrapped the gift. It was a pink lingerie, with lace all over. It felt as if it was made of feathers.

Seema held the gift delicately in her hands, feeling its lightness, her eyes unfocused.

Her hold on the lacy gown strengthened, as she remembered another gift he had given her.

They were in bed. They had their lips glued to each other, tongues entwined, breathing heavily, lost in each other’s love. Suddenly-

“Ouch,” Seema had said.

Her lip was bleeding.

“It’s a gift, baby,” Mihir had said, “You have to take it, you don’t say no to a gift.”

Seema had opened her mouth but no sound came.

Mihir had slapped hard on her face. “That’s one gift,” he had said.

Then standing up over her and getting down from the bed, he had pulled her to the floor.

He kicked her in her stomach. “That’s one more for my beautiful wife,” he had said.

Blow upon blow had rained on Seema as she crouched on the bedroom floor, covering her head with her arms.

Seema sat on the dining table, clutching that pink lingerie, remembering that night. She was broken out of her reverie when the bathroom door shut loudly.

‘Thwat!’

Just like Mihir’s belt on her back two nights back.

“You know how much I love you baby?” Mihir had snarled at her crouched form, “C’mon, give it back to me, you bitch”

Seema’s back was still sore. It still hurt when she moved her arms.

“You liked my gift?” Mihir asked, back in the hall in his shorts and t-shirt.

Seema did not reply.

“Hey, I am sorry, I shouldn’t have called you a bitch that night.

Seema’s face hardened. She couldn’t take it anymore.

“Yes, that’s the only wrong thing you have done, isn’t it?” Seema replied.

“What is the problem?”

Seema sat in silence again.

“Anyway, what’s for dinner baby?” Mihir asked, walking towards the kitchen to check.

It was that word. Baby.

Seema stood up, the carrot knife in her hand. Her eyes had a feverish sparkle in them, her jaw was set.

She walked fast into the kitchen, turned Mihir to face her.

He smiled at her, surprised at her force.

She stabbed the knife into his heart, putting all her weight on it.

The surprise in his eyes was clouded over by fear. But she gave him no time to say anything. She pulled the knife out and stabbed again. He fell to the ground on her feet.

She turned his face to her, he was still breathing, at the brink of death.

She spat on his face.

And he fell back dead.

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