She sat on the bed, a calm air around her as she looked at the condom in her hand, its jagged edges lightly tickling her fingers. Beside her was another packet, opened, but with its three condoms still intact. Probably savings for the next time, she thought acerbically, closing her eyes and shaking her head in disbelief, agitation beginning to descend. She reached out for the phone beside her on the bed.
“Angie, he’s been doing it again. The assholes been cheating on me.” she spoke into the phone, her voice low and hard. It was as though she felt nothing.
“What? Ivan? Are you serious? How do you know?” her best friend Angela replied.
“I found CD’s on top of the wardrobe.”
Angie remained silent for a second. “Damn,” she then said softly. “I don’t like this guy. Why does he keep on doing this? But, … how are you taking it?”
“I’m mad. I’m just mad. And then I’m tired of all this. Angie what should I do?”
“Leave him.” Angela said without hesitating.
“Sweetheart, you know I have tried … I have really tried. I always say I’m leaving him and then I go back. It’s like I’m cursed or something.”
Shiru hang up and lay back on the bed, pulling the cream blanket around her. This time she refused to fill her mind with gory thoughts that another woman had been in that very same bed, covering herself with that same blanket, in her boyfriends arms. She had gone to visit her parents in Othaya for a week. But apparently a week was too much for her Ivan to contain himself.
Ivan was 33, seven years older than she. He worked as an advertising executive in a local firm. Most of the time he was the most wonderful man ever. They had moved in together and he always helped her cook and clean, called and sent her messages numerous times in the day, bought her nice little gifts and seemingly doted on her. But his cheating maddened her. It was not the first time. Probably the fourth time since they had started going out a year ago. Infidelity to her was not a small thing. She never did it so why did he have to?
As she turned in the bed, she heard a rustle of paper beside her. It was the condom. She picked it up again, sitting up to study it for other clues. Perhaps finger prints, or lipstick, or whatever else. She sat up and as she continued fingering the condom, something snapped. What was this guy doing to her? It was the age of HIV and all other things. What if he gave her a disease or something? Her rage was rising by the minute.
“This is madness, I’m always taking crap and acting like a doormat. This has got to stop.” She told herself out loud.
What should she do? Break his car windows? Burn his house down? Give out all his clothes to charity?
She was always faithful to him, she never even desired other men. Well maybe a few. But she never did anything about those desires. He on the other hand had no qualms about doing it with other girls. I can’t stay like this, I can’t take it anymore, she thought. And yet I know I can’t leave him.
She stood up and stalked to the wardrobe, flinging its doors open, throwing all of Ivan’s shiny suits on the bed. She had previously spied some mean looking scissors in a drawer beside the bed and she quickly got these out. She would begin by cutting holes into his suits, she thought, she had read of another woman who had done that to punish her errant husband. As she reached for the first suit, her phone beeped. New message. Better not be the bastard, she thought as she picked up the phone.
Her first reaction was mild irritation, she frowned as she read it. Gradually however, the furrowed lines of her forehead smoothened out and the beginnings of a smile touched at the corners of her lips. Well, well, well. Very, very interesting, she thought.
She looked again at the SMS:
“Hey Shiru, you’ve been quiet. Can you come to Zanzibar with me this weekend?”
It was Sam, an admirer of hers the last couple of years. Sam was 35 and an extremely successful businessman. Married with two children. But that had never stopped him from running after women, Shiru included. She should have gotten used to the fact that all men would cheat on their spouses by now. Sam was not the only married man she knew trying to get into other women pants.
The phone beeped again, another SMS.
“I’m waiting for your reply. But in the meantime, I’ll book tickets for the two of us. We’ll have a grand time!” It was Sam again.
In that split second, she knew what she would do. No breaking car windows, no cutting up suits, no burning houses down. That was too much drama. Sauce for the goose could also be sauce for the gander. She decided that she was never going to stress about Ivan’s carry on’s again, even when they got married in the next year. She had better things to do with her life. She thought of clear white beaches, palm trees, the ocean breeze and the blue, blue sea. If nothing else, she would get the chance to kick her feet back and relax. And she would feel less of a fool. It was madness she knew, but life had no straight lines, only lots of jagged edges.