PROLOGUE : Dusk’s Diary

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My wife has always insisted that I should write about my life, the time I have had to spend without her, about the numerous adventures and misadventures I’ve had. She herself is an amazing writer, but she says she gets bored with her writing and that I leave her alone a lot, which indeed is true, and I am really busy at my work. But right now, since I have decided to follow her advice and take up the pen, I am coming up blank. I mean there isn’t really much I can come up, because when I wasn’t with her, I wasn’t exactly living.

Right now, she’s exaggerating the non-truth, like, I write really well, but then I have to tell her, flattery really isn’t going to be of much help.

But you, know, she’s as persistent as a Virgo. She tells me artfully, as if it was nothing but the truth, “Even now, you know, I have the only letter you wrote me, preserved. The reason is – it was really beautiful. Your fans would swoon over it and you know it. It’s an art you have – your writing.”

I tell her, “I know how I write, okay? Now…urgh, seriously, stop it. All the blushing isn’t helping my nerves, and I haven’t been in touch with a pen for more than seventeen years! Now, I might even drop the thought of giving in to your wish, and pull you right back into my arms and make you forget what you wanted me to do with the pen in the first place.”

“Oh, really?” she teases me from our bed, smiling wickedly, her deep blue eyes crinkling like they used to when she was a little girl. For a moment I thought she was going to extend her hand for me to take it and…no more talk about pen and paper for the night. But she surprised me again, “Now, you know you won’t think about it. Besides, you know, I know how to resist your charms, Mr. Scott.”

“Since when?” I asked trying to sound confident and flashed the kind of smile I knew she liked the most about me.

“Oh, you know since when… You’re married to me and fathered my three little children! That fact’s got to make you a more sensible man…” she was smiling. Such nerve!

“Well, if I’m insensible, I have to be something… I mean, you did marry me… So, a person, as sensible and wise as you must have found some likeable quality in me…”

“You just had to say you don’t want to tell me your story. I’ll assume, you didn’t even miss me, when I wasn’t with you… I thought you loved me!”

“I love you, I do. I just don’t understand, why I can’t just tell you. Why this sudden need to sit stiff and write? You already know the only reason I disliked school was because of the exams, they made us write. It was a different thing that I fared well through it. But I disliked it.”

“What do you want? I’ll do anything to make you write. If threatening is the only way that’s left, fine. I’ll make you sleep by the pool for a week starting from tonight. Okay with that?”

I fight back a groan. I already get to spend so little time at home with her, the idea of having to continue living away from her, yet being in the same house, was downright disagreeable. Alright. “Fine. I won’t harass you anymore by not writing. But whatever I write, you have to accept. No teasing, no funny looks or anything, later on. Agreed.”

She flashes me another one of her brilliant wicked smiles which I like so much. “Deal. Only if there is no me in your story.”

I say, “Now, that’s unfair… I don’t even know what you’re asking for.”

She sighs while I watch her flabbergasted. “I’d meant, your story mustn’t contain any exaggeration about me,” she rolls her eyes. “Since, I wanted to know what your life had been when I wasn’t there, like asking for something I don’t already know, I don’t want myself interrupting your account at the various interesting climaxes.”

“Now, that’s my story and because you wanted me to write it, dear Wife, I would write exactly what I want to write. And besides, the obvious point is, the story wouldn’t be a story if it didn’t have you, like I am incomplete without you, the story would be just as useless.”

Now, I see she’s the one blushing, the tip of her tongue pressing on her upper lip. “Oh, even after all these seventeen years, you haven’t changed a bit.”

I say, “Now, please if you keep talking like this, the night will be over, and I wouldn’t have completed half a page and I still would have an eternity to write because that’s how it was. My time without you was an abysmal sea, I couldn’t swim across, until the time I saw you again and you pulled me out.”

She pursues her lips. “Maybe, baby, you should leave the writing and come sleep. What would our children say if they heard? Or even the servants?”

I laugh. “They don’t understand English. The servants. Or did you forget it? And anyway, our kids are sleeping peacefully in their rooms. So, what do you say, love?”

She sits back against the cushions and watches me serenely her eyes full of love. “Not tonight, baby. And don’t think I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but there’s no way I’m gonna let you buy your way out of writing the story, Your Highness. You may be the king of the universe beyond these four walls, but both of us know, you are useless without me. Here I’m the boss.” She moves her slender finger in a little circle, putting me back at my place.

I take up the pen again with a groan. “But you’re not sleeping yourself!” I accuse. “Anyway what are you getting, watching me like this?”

There is a long silence. In a flat tone, she says, “I’m getting to watch you like this, Husband dear,” which undoubtedly takes me by surprise. She adds in an overindulgent tone, “Which I luuurve…about you.”

I smile shamelessly at the overdose of pride in her tone. I was surprised as it was one of the many surprises she was always full of. But I didn’t turn to look at her, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to restrain myself again this time, by what I would see. And in fact it was really only the two of us awake at this hour of the night. And both of us had everything but sleeping on our minds. Sleeping together was a different thing though. And I knew if I even so much got up from the floor, she would take an offence – again the threat of having to sleep by the pool, which I would never accept.

Finally I say, “Alright, but no more talking if you really want me to write.”

“Agreed,” this time she zips her lips as if we would be punished by some teacher if we were caught talking. I hold back my laughter at the irony. Earlier it was I who used to refuse to talk and she would always whine that I don’t talk with her. And now we had an un-expiring license to talk for all of eternity and she was acting like that.

Now, maybe it would always be like this, these mischievous adventures. I didn’t mind it so much, as her unconscious, maybe even conscious plots always end up making me livelier, leaving me with a more ambitious and zesty attitude. The challenges, the restraint and as a whole, the deviation from traditional husband-wife relations was what made the institution of marriage exciting for us.

Now, my wife had unofficially closed my access to our bed, just because she wanted me to provide reading material for her, wanting me to write and most silly was that she would be inspecting me! It’s like we never grew up. Or maybe it was because when we were growing up, we had been apart from each other.

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