Sex, Lies And Consequences Part 5
“Sunil, please don’t say one word. There’s something that you should know and I don’t want you to interrupt me.” Sonali then took a deep breath. “Sunil, Menka is pregnant!”
I sat there with my mouth open, totally shocked. Then it hit me, I had completely forgotten about how I screwed around with her birth control pills. I hadn’t really thought that what I did would prove so effective. Conflicting feelings zipped through my head. The first was regret; I really didn’t want to wish this on Menka. This news only made our separation even more inevitable. I just shook my head and sat back in my chair.
Sonali had kept her eyes on me as I reacted to her news. She saw the shock and surprise. “Sunil, you know Menka. She absolutely refuses to even consider an abortion. She has decided to have the child and then give it up for adoption.”
“Well, Sonali. Perhaps she should contact Prakash Mathoor and inform him that he’s going to be a father again,” I replied bitterly. I was immediately sorry for that remark and told Sonali that.
“In any event, Sonali. There’s nothing that I can do. As you know, money is not a problem – Menka has plenty and is perfectly able to take the time off to have the baby. I wish her well.”
“Damn, Sunil. You have really turned into one cold, heartless bastard.” she snapped at me and turned and walked out of my office.
I sat there, stunned. I’m the cold, heartless bastard? I’m the one who screwed around for months behind my wife’s back? I’m the one that cut out all sex because of a made-up disease? I realized then that I’ll never understand women. When push comes to shove, they band together. Well, that’s good in a way. Menka has someone upon which to lean. Good for them both, they deserve each other.
Well, over the next few months Sonali and I managed to regain at least a semblance of a working relationship, and eventually we regained our friendship. She began to understand how dramatically Menka’s unfaithfulness affected me, how devastated I was. She had been so wrapped up in trying to get Menka out of her depression that she had lost sight of her part in our breakup.
It was one day in my office that Sonali told me that she finally saw my point of view. “I’m truly sorry, Sunil. I had been so concerned about Menka and what was happening to her that I completely minimized how you must have felt and are feeling. There’s no question that you have been treated badly. Menka finally got through to me how horribly she had acted. Please forgive me?”
“Of course, Sonali. I’m just happy that Menka has such a good friend in you. I’m sure that you’re a tremendous help to her. I hope that she is coping better?” The question in my voice was obvious.
Sonali nodded. “Yes, it seems that her pregnancy woke her up and made her realize that there was a life to lead. She is far from happy, but she’s coping. I think that she’ll be ok. She’s considering two couples as possible potential parents for the baby. She’s trying to keep busy.
I smiled; a bit relieved to hear that my ex-wife was managing, but I really didn’t want to hear any more news from that direction.
Despite my feeble protests in that direction Sonali managed, now and then, here and there, to let me know what was happening with Menka. She was managing, but was dreadfully unhappy. She was getting through one day at a time. She was doing ok because of the baby – she wanted to be healthy so as not to harm the baby, etc., etc., etc.
I was doing the same, getting through life one day at a time. What no one knew what that I was terribly unhappy also. I missed Menka, missed her with every fiber of my being. I actually, a time or two, thought about trying to reconcile, but I knew, deep down, that that wouldn’t work. I just couldn’t forget the cheating, the adultery. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get over that. That probably says more about me as a person than Menka. Was I really a cold, heartless asshole? Doesn’t everyone deserve another chance? Questions like these buffeted me – drove me nuts. Yet, when the day was done, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to forget or forgive. Maybe I was a bad person after all, or just a weak one.
Everyday ended the same. I would leave work and rush home to my apartment. I would have a sandwich or something else that was moldering in the fridge. Then I would sit down with my first scotch of the day. I would watch the news on the TV and nurse that scotch. When the glass was empty I would refill it with fresh ice cubes and nurse the second scotch. Many times there was a third and occasionally a fourth. I knew that this was not a good thing. Was I turning into an alcoholic? I didn’t think so, but really didn’t care all that much. It wasn’t affecting my work, so fuck it. It made me feel better.
I was now 50 years old and my future looked bleak. I know, I know. I have a profession, I make a lot of money, I can buy almost anything, within reason, I want. So I lost my wife, so what. It happens every day to someone, somewhere. I knew I had better stop feeling sorry for myself and make some decisions. One thing I did know, I was bored, really bored with corporate law. I went into work with my ass dragging and left the same way. I thought about shifting into criminal law. I knew that I would need some retraining. I started to really think about it. I also started to think about chucking it all and retiring. Maybe I’d take a cruise around the world. Shit, I didn’t know what I wanted to do.
Sonali and I continued our friendship. No, there was nothing romantic – she was just a very dear friend, to both Menka and myself. She also remained a link between the two of us. A link I wasn’t sure that I wanted, but was now reluctant to break. Sonali continued seeing Menka regularly, for lunch, some shopping, etc. – whatever women do.
One early afternoon, I was walking past a small eatery near my office, when I decided to stop in and get a cappuccino to go. As I waited at the counter, I glanced into the dining room and there sat Sonali and a very pregnant Menka. They didn’t see me, but this was the first sight I had of my ex-wife since the confrontation in the Guest House room. I suddenly couldn’t breathe; it was as if a giant iron fist had grabbed hold of my chest. I stumbled out of the door and, as quickly as I could, made my way back to my office.
I sat behind my desk and tried to regain control of my breathing. Goddamn it, it wasn’t fair. Why should I have to suffer like this? Menka’s betrayal should have extinguished any love I had for her. Why did the very sight of her cause me such pain? Shit, I was a complete mess. Was this the way my life was going to go?
For the first time since my break-up, I thought about seeing a shrink. Everyone had recommended that I do so, but I had ignored any such suggestion. I didn’t think I had a problem – now I wasn’t so sure. Was it actually possible that I could forget and forgive? I really didn’t think so, but I also knew that I was miserable. I had to do something.
I don’t know how long I sat there, ruminating. It could have been ten minutes or two hours. I looked up and saw Sonali standing in the doorway, leaning against the jamb.
“I saw you, you know,” she said quietly. “I saw how you staggered out of the place. No, I didn’t say anything to Menka, I saw no need to. Sunil, you’ve got to do something, you’re going to drive yourself crazy.”
I knew that she was right. I had to do something, but I wasn’t yet sure what to do. I looked up at Sonali and she could see that I wasn’t a happy camper.
“Sonali, do me a really big favor and just let me be for awhile. I know that I have to make some decisions, and I will, but right now I need to be alone, ok?”
Sonali nodded and left, shutting the door behind her. I just sat and stared at the closed door. I didn’t know what the fuck to do. Then it came to me, I suddenly knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to get the hell away. Away from Menka, away from Sonali, away from the office. I needed a goddamn vacation. I know, not a huge epiphany, but real just the same.
I called the senior partner and told him that I was taking some time off. I had nothing pressing anyway and he asked when I would be back. I told him I had no idea. He chuckled and told me to have a good time. I went down, got into my car and I drove home, packed a couple of suitcases, and a garment bag. I was on the road by 5 p.m, headed to words Shimla. After reaching there next day I went into a real estate office, asked about accommodations and rented a very nice, furnished one bedroom condo with a wrap around balcony right near the mountain. I paid for two weeks up front and was moved in by the afternoon. I went out and bought some basic groceries. I thought about getting a couple of bottles of good scotch but decided against it. I wanted my head to be clear.
I enjoyed myself, I really did. I went out to dinner every night and had breakfast and lunch on the balcony of the condo. I started jogging on the beautiful Lon during the early morning and then walked through the city.
So, for about a week I sat and argued with myself, I jogged and argued with myself, I walked and argued with myself. I was miserable without Menka, that was a given. If I somehow managed an attempt to reconcile with her, I strongly suspected I would still be miserable. I seriously doubted that I would be able to forget and forgive.
What were my alternatives? I could try to get on with my life, try to forget Menka and how she fucked her lover in the bed of that Guest House. Shit, I tried that, I was even more miserable.
Another option would be to move, move away from that region of the country.