Olivia opened the carton of orange juice which was one of things she did every morning. Nothing energized her like the sour tingling taste of the fruit. She settled on the chair which was just few feet away from the bed. She smiled at Nathan’s innocent face that was in deep slumber oblivious to the admiration. She wondered how this sweet cute face could cheat on his wife. Nathan was married for three years to Meghna ; a well read engineer from Bangalore. They had known each other in the office and were engaged a year after their acquaintance. One year after their marriage, things went wary and the couple fought every night. This led Nathan to visit the city night clubs and bars and it was during one such occasion that he had met Olivia.
Olivia was just irresistible. With a slim figure that seemed straight out of Victoria’s model agency and independency that attracted most men. She never had a permanent job and never felt the need for it. Every night she frequented the bars and moved with rich men. Nathan was not her type; the reason she was attracted to him. It was one night when Nathan drank away his grief and sorrow in a corner where she met him by accident. On one look, she could tell that he was couple of years younger than her. Nathan was dressed in business suit and seemed to be out of place. She started a conversation which she had never done with anyone else and Nathan just vented out. She was not listening completely; she was admiring his innocent face and the voice that choked between sentences. He was drunk foolishly and she had to help him. She almost carried him to her room and the fateful night became a routine.
Meghna dried her hands in the saree pallu. She was mentally frozen and carried out the chores mostly out of habit. The work in the office took away most of her energy but gave the satisfaction. Also, it distracted her from thinking of what her husband was doing. Meghna was aware of where Nathan went every night although he excused himself with office work. When she first heard about it, she didn’t believe it. As a matter of fact, she didn’t want to believe it; until she had followed him one night. She had seen Nathan go into a bar. She didn’t mind his drinking habits but when she saw him intimate with another female, she just flared up. She moved out of the bar and never spoke to him after that. Nathan did not seem to mind and the distance between them grew more.
Meghna knew they were never going to be together again and decided to file a divorce against him. She was quite sure Nathan would approve of the same. Fate had a mind of its own. It was on the way to the lawyer that she fainted at the lawyer’s office and was taken to a local hospital where the doctors declared that she was pregnant.
Meghna was caught in a dilemma ; she wanted a child and at the same time end it with Nathan. She felt he had cheated her and put her in the situation in which was caught now. The fury grew and it was mixed with sadness. She had never felt more hurt in her life. She wanted to end it all.
Nathan snored gently and changed his position. Olivia sighed and moved to empty the glass in the sink. She wanted to sit there all day watching him but he had to go home. He had to do go to his “first” home where his so-called “other half” lived. Olivia settled next to him on bed and ran her fingers through his hair. He groaned and grumbled something. She shook him gently like she was waking a kid. He suddenly opened his eyes and grinned at her. He took a glance at his watch and sighed. He had to go home now and get ready for office. He got up lazily, kissed Olivia and made his way to the bathroom. Olivia lay on the bed for another fifteen minutes. She missed him already.
Meghna stared at the contents of the bottle that was clutched in her hands. The online search had confirmed an instant death when taken whole at a time. She knew she couldn’t do it and he didn’t deserve this but the evil side of her said he deserved the pain; the pain he had given her. This would be for her child. She didn’t want her child to know what his father was like. Her hands trembled and she poured the contents into the upma she had prepared for him. She was lost in her thoughts.
Olivia stood on the porch as she saw Nathan drive. It was still dark outside and he always left very early to avoid other people recognizing him. She had a mild headache and decided to sleep as there was nothing much to do. She craved for Nathan and had let him know many times. She wanted to marry him which was so unusual of her nature. She never approved of marriages but he had made her weak. She wanted him forever. She wanted him to divorce Meghna and marry her. She was going to persuade him somehow. But for now, she wanted to get rid of the headache.
Meghna watched Nathan eat his favourite upma. Not a word was spoken. This time, Meghna found the silence too obvious. She kind of choked at what she was doing. Nathan didn’t leave a peck on the plate. “It tastes too good”, he told her.
It was sudden for Meghna and she found all the energy draining out. There was guilt and sadness that seemed to fight each other. She told herself that she had committed a grave mistake. Nathan had even smiled when he said that .An unknown bond existed between them even though no words were spoken. The love had not faded. Her hands shivered. She reached out for the telephone. Nathan collapsed near the wash basin.
4 hours later, at City hospital
Meghna watched her husband from outside the ICU. Doctors had just told her that he was poisoned and she tried to give a genuine expression of being shocked. She was very glad that her husband was better. She knew she could never forgive herself if he had died. She needed to talk to him. She waited for him to get better and out of the hospital.
Olivia looked like she was in deep sleep. In fact, endless sleep. One of the police men felt her pulse and confirmed their doubts. The milk man had come early morning and found that the lady of the house was not willing to open the door. He sensed something wrong when the mobile phone was ringing continuously. He called out for the neighbours.
The headlines next day informed the death of a middle aged lady in her apartment. The story went on to explain that she seemed to have been poisoned and it was mixed with the orange juice that she had consumed early morning. The police suspected a murder and wondered who could have poisoned a lady who lived all alone.