An excerpt from Humbling and Humility
My own thoughts drifted to that mid-July night in 2007 when I chanced upon my wife’s extra-marital affair. It was a hot monsoon night, and a lightning storm was active over a part of the metropolis Dilbut belongs to. I recall that it was about 11pm, beyond my usual bed time, and I’d come back down to the kitchen for a drink of cold water. Hearing the fan running in the half-bath downstairs, I headed to turn it off when I noticed the bathroom light on with the door closed. Passing by the door, I overheard my wife talking––something was strange about her voice, and the conversation, and I stood silently by the door listening. I could hear only her voice.
“I’ll make some egg curry and bring it over to you.”
“Yes! I wasn’t sure if I should have sent you that message,” my wife giggled.
“Yeah! That was so nice…” she continued giggling.
“Yes! I too really like it in the dark!”
Listening to these late night sweet nothings and declarations from my life partner, I felt a wave of nausea spread in me, overpowering me, enraging me simultaneously. There was no mistaking the tone and substance of her conversation. I knocked hard on the bathroom door and demanded to know who she was talking with.
A quiet, almost whispered, “I’ll talk to you later…” emanated from within, followed by a louder––“I’m coming!” in response.
As I waited, I imagined she was deleting suspect messages from her phone. When she came out a few minutes later, I demanded to know who it was she was messaging and talking with, but she would neither reveal that, nor give me her cell phone. As this conversation became more heated by the minute, I knew I needed help––and called our common friends, another local family, and requested their immediate presence.
I had sensed something strange in my wife’s behavior in the few months before this incident––but never suspected that a mother of two little children could take such a step outside the family. Or that she could betray any and all promises and her responsibilities toward our children and the marriage. Not after all that we’d been through in the past together…but that remains to be revealed.
When the friends I called––John and Parvathi, also from India––came by, they pressed her to reveal the number called, and the circumstances of the call. Maybe she thought there wasn’t anything to lose and gave us the number, which I called in the presence of these friends. On the other end was a fellow who was rather nonchalant about his conduct with another man’s wife. When questioned, and asked of his intentions, he said he’d enjoyed a level of intimacy with my wife already, and could make it long term after she divorced me. Very glib, very matter of course, and very disturbing.
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