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Was it love or his insecurities?

By Diyaa in Stories » Fiction
Updated 12:35 IST Mar 29, 2020

Views » 145 | 8 min read

 

 

Dev and Naina were celebrating their ninth anniversary today. This one, for a change, they had decided to be on their own and not take their in-laws and their seven year old daughter, Tara along with them for dinner. Every year they were surrounded by family and friends on every ‘special’ occasions be it birthdays or anniversary.  It was Naina who insisted on going with Dev alone even though he wasn’t too keen about it. They had made it through the “seven year itch’ phase of their marriage and he thought it’s going to be all smooth sail now. He felt their relation had reached a cozy comfort zone. By now he sensed everything about her with ease, even her reaction to different situations, what she thought and how she felt. He lived his life on an autopilot mode as far as the marriage was concerned. There wasn’t much thinking or newness about it. But for her, she had started to feel a pinch of monotony settling in, if not absolute boredom. She felt they lived like roommates and nowhere close to romantic partners. There was a lot of understanding and respect in their relation. There was love too but both had their own ways of expressing it.

 

 

She worked as a kindergarten teacher in her daughter’s school. That way she felt it gave her more time to be around her vicinity and follow her passion too. He worked with an international bank as a senior manager. They had different interests. She dedicated her other half of the day at home to her daughter, teaching her, playing with her and finding new ways to keep her occupied. She felt having live-in house help was the biggest blessing in her life. That way she could spend time in things she felt were important too. Considering Dev’s working hours, she was the only one who attended to most of her daughter’s school events. Teaching in the same school was an added bonus to that. Though she missed having him around on those days when she saw other parents sitting together and cheering their little ones. She only felt lonelier in her marriage now. Their love life had also dimmed after all these years. They barely found time to get romantic or even make love on a regular basis. The cuddles, kisses and hugs were a distant thought for them. They were saved for days like these when they celebrated 'special' occasions.  

 

 

Naina, one day took Tara to the park near their apartment. On her way down from the stairs of her building she noticed new tenants are moving in the second floor. She saw a cute little boy aged between four and five, accompanied by a tall, sharp looking man in his mid thirties. His athletic and well proportioned structure had caught her attention at once. She was petit with a height of five feet two inches yet very graceful and charming. Naina quickly passed a smile at him and saw them both move down in the same direction as hers. She spent some good time with Tara that evening. She tried hard not to notice the same man in the park playing with his son but she couldn’t keep her eyes away. There was something about him that appealed to her hazel eyes. May be it was the way he handled his son all by himself, so carefree and joyful unlike Dev, who didn’t have enough leisure time ever to be around Tara. She reserved her thoughts for later, the unending questions that her mind barged her with. After serving her family dinner and settling Tara in her bed, Naina quickly showered and picked a book to read before she called it a night. She mentioned about their new neighbor to Dev, who was still busy trying to finish some work on his laptop. He kept nodding without paying much attention to what she had to say. She also did not allow any more thoughts to distract her from finishing the book she was reading. She loved reading paper books even in times of most shifting to e-books. It made her connect to her books more on an emotional level, besides loving the sweet musky smell of it.

 

 

The next morning her door bell rang, it was the same guy she encountered last evening at the park. He introduced himself as Rumi. He came up and was surprised to see her as his new neighbor. His intentions were to get friendly and know the people who stayed around keeping the safety of his son in mind. Rumi was a fashion stylist. His own dressing sense could actually hint you at the same. Even at eight in the morning he was in his well fitted t-shirt that showed off his shapely built physique and stylish joggers. After a brief conversation all of ten minutes, he left form there. He now knew a little about Naina and so did she. At least their professional backgrounds and who they lived with. They bumped into each other once or twice a week at the park. While letting their kids play together, they strolled around the same place and spoke at length. The conversations mostly revolved around their kids. She was very fascinated by his work and that made an interesting topic all together. He loved talking about it while she enjoyed listening to every bit. He told her how he appreciated her dressing style; it always made her look chic and classy at the same time. From being acquaintance they turned to becoming good friends too fast. She would mention about him to Dev at many occasions but his reactions still remained the same. Naina and Rumi realized they shared a lot in common. Rumi was new to the apartment but not the locality. He knew everything around this place too well. They exchanged regular texts and even more frequent calls. She had finally found a friend as bright as her, she felt. All her friends she knew were mostly from school, either mothers or teachers. They shared the same details about home, in-laws, maids and more gossip. He gave her a new broader perspective at life and more things to learn and talk about.

 

 

One late evening Naina requested Dev to step down with her for a walk. He refused giving the same excuse of having to meet a dead line. She made a call to Rumi and asked if he could accompany her. This pinched Dev somewhere hard. It didn’t give him a good feeling. Did he miss out on something important or was he being replaced? His mind was over working now. He couldn’t even concentrate on his work and shut his laptop and packed up for the day. His restless mind didn’t let him sit in peace. He went to his window to take a sneak peek at them. See them laugh and walk around gave his stomach churn. He still preferred to keep mum about this whole episode and let it sink in him. He felt like a fool for ignoring Naina all the times she mentioned about Rumi to him. He didn’t realize when Rumi became such an important part of her life.

 

 

It was their anniversary today. He wished her as usual and gave her a long warm hug. She was pleasantly surprised. May be this had to do with his insecurities with regard to Rumi. After wishing each other and attending to endless phone calls, he heard her speak on one. It was Rumi. He had called to wish her. After talking for about five minutes she excused herself to another room and said, “Listen, you promised me you will do it for me, don’t forget! The time has come; I have waited for this day you know. I trust you on this sweetie. See me before he comes from work this evening please. I don’t want him to know.” She didn’t know he was listening to her. His anxieties grew and it made him uneasy. He could barely work that day. He somehow managed to finish his work so that he could reach on time to catch Naina and Rumi together.

 

 

He came home early that evening. His mind had raced a thousand thoughts like where would they be, what would they be doing together, and what was it that Rumi promised to give Naina? He rushed in his room but didn’t find her anywhere. When he asked for her, he got to know she’s stepped down to Rumi’s house. He wasn’t sure about this. Did he really want to see them together? Would he be able to face this and what would the confession look like later? In haste he ran down to Rumi’s house and frantically rang his door bell. Rumi was surprised to see Dev in his house. Without speaking much to him, Dev yelled “where’s Naina?” “In my dressing room” he replied. “Wait, you can’t enter like that!” said Rumi all confused. Dev didn’t pay heed and pushed the door open.

 

 

There he saw Naina look ravishing like never before. Her hair colored ombre and loosely tied in a bun. Her sugary lips covered in deep cherry color. She looked vibrant in her red gown that flowed below her foot. Dev had fallen in love with Naina all over again. He was mesmerized by her new look. “But you, I thought you were...” stammered Dev. He couldn’t finish his sentence with ease. “What Dev? What did u think I was doing here? This is all because of Rumi. He had promised to help me style for my special day but you couldn’t wait. You spoilt this surprise.” She frowned disappointingly. “I love you! You look so gorgeous”, said Dev hugging her tight. He walked out of his door and glanced at a picture frame that stood on Rumi’s wall. He asked Naina about the picture later. “He’s Rumi’s partner who lives in Australia with his ailing mother since a year. What, why that grim on your face? He’s gay, didn’t you know that?” Naina said and sat quickly in the car. Dev laughed at his insecurities in his mind and felt like a fool for not trusting his wife. Things changed for good for Dev and Naina since then. Though Naina never came to know the reason why!  Was it love or his insecurities?

 

 

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