Olivia Bradford stared out of the window of her bungalow. The sun was setting. The sky was so red that she felt that someone had inflicted a mean-looking wound on it. The wound-like opening opened wide, pouring out reddish orange light across the sky. Olivia felt that the sky was bleeding just like her heart. The opening atlast swallowed the sun & darkness crept over the vast unknown space. She turned to her room, which was nothing but sombre.
It was time for another sleepless night. This had been the norm for the past nine years. Without Austin, the house seemed to be nothing but an empty place. She lay in her bed & her thoughts wandered over to that one night, when she had done the most outrageous thing in her life. Nine years ago, on a similar night, she had confronted Austin, with so many questions. Austin was her husband of ten years. Olivia & Austin were a wonderful couple. They were childless but then in their daily life they found so much time for each other that not having a child, to call their own, didn’t come as a big problem. Also, they both had married late. At the time of their marriage, Olivia was 41 & Austin, 43. On some outings made on her own, Olivia had heard that Austin was having an affair with Jade, his personal secretary. This news had broken her heart. She trusted him, but then, to hear such a thing…that too when Jade was a woman of only 27, almost half of Austin’s age.
She had cried for nights & at last decided to confront him. His attitude when questioned, made her sure that there was something fishy going on. She was driven to a state of craziness, when he had said “What if I have an affair?. You got anything to lose?”. She had rushed to the kitchen, grabbed the largest knife from her cutlery & ran back to her room. She still remembered how his eyes had widened on seeing the wild look in her eyes & the gleam of the knife in her hands. She hadn’t given it a second thought. She closed her eyes & stabbed hard. The knife passed through his heart, maybe because it showed the breaking of their beautiful bond. Three more stabs & he was lying down on the floor with a frozen look in his eyes. She had cried over his body. Next morning, her neighbours had rushed to her house only to find her screaming her lungs out & Austin lying in a cold pool of blood.
Police came soon, apprehended her & she was taken to the court later, where she confessed to her crime. Considering her age (she was 51 at the time of the murder) & her present disturbed mental state, her eleven years had been reduced to nine years. So she had served nine years in jail. The sadness & agony, she had undergone there, was clearly seen on her face now. She had become a quiet woman, who often burst into angry torrents, when reminded of her past life by any of her neighbours. She never entertained anyone. There was no one who wanted to be her friend or companion. She was called various names such as a hag, a harridan e.t.c. by people. She couldn’t have cared less.
When she was serving her first year in jail, she had come into possession of Austin’s diary, reading which, she had realised that he had given Jade, the position of a daughter. As he was getting older, Jade had supported him in everything at the office, sparking off rumours that they were having an affair. Olivia had not slept soundly after knowing this. Guilt brought her to the edge of madness. That frightened look in Austin’s eyes often flashed through her mind like a lightning. How could she have done this?. Austin had got angry when she had confronted him because he couldn’t have believed that Olivia could suspect Jade, of all the people.
Now, Olivia was back to her bungalow. At 60, she led an austere life. Society didn’t care for her nor did she care for it. She went back to the window. She couldn’t lie in her bed for long. Now, the moon had come out & was shining in full glory. There was only a sycamore in the vicinity from this window. It’s branches were bare. Looking at it, she felt that the bare branches were out to grab her. It had a menacing look. One leaf blew onto her face. She caught it & stared at it. It was very dry, as dry as her life was now, without the caring & loving touch of Austin. She didn’t like crying now. The life in jail had taught her to control her tears. But now, a single tear was forming in her right eye & threatening to run down her puckered cheek. She didn’t want to cry. She looked out at the night & the now waning moon. Before she could control, that one tear started flowing & the rest of her tears followed. No one was there to witness it, but the waning moon, the sycamore & that night…
I wrote this story in the time period of just one hour, on Aug 9th, 2005. More than the story line itself, I love to give more importance to surroundings and to describe things vividly.
Thank you for the few who showed interest in reading my works, giving me the confidence to share it here. Hope you liked it. Kindly leave feedback.
Disclosure : This is the sole intellectual property of Naznin Azeez and should not be copied.