Saturday, October 24, 2015

“TEDDY BEAR” AND “SUGAR” – Clandestine Love Story

TEDDY BEAR AND SUGAR
Clandestine Love Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

From my Creative Writing Archives:

One of my early pieces of Short Fiction  a story of changing relationships  updated and abridged for online reading.

I wrote this story around 12 years ago – in the year 2003.

Do tell me if you like this simple love story...


TEDDY BEAR AND SUGAR – A Story of Clandestine Love by Vikram Karve

“Your relationship has become so demoralized by distrust that you two better break up rather than try to patch up...” I say to the man sitting in front of me.
 
“What...?” he says, looking surprised.
 
“Yes. It is better for you to divorce your wife  instead of living in perpetual suspicion like this. Why live a lie...?” I say.
 
“How can you say this? You are a marriage counsellor  you are supposed to save marriages – not break up marriages...” he says.
 
“But then what can I do if you don’t change your attitude?” I say in desperation to him, “You have to learn to trust your wife  and just stop being jealous, suspicious, possessive. Mutual trust is important in a marriage  especially a long distance marriage like yours.”
 
I look at the man sitting in front of me.

He is incredibly handsome 
 mid 30’s – maybe 40  well groomed – sharp features accentuated by a smart neatly trimmed beard  clean brown eyes  he looked strong and confident  and his outward appearance betray no sign of what is going on inside him.

He looks at me longingly 
 in a lingering sort of way  that women secretly want men to look at them.
 
I blush.

I feel good at being admired by a handsome man.

But – I quickly compose myself.

In such vulnerable situations anything could happen 
 and I have to be careful  so I say to him in a firm dispassionate tone: “I think you better go now. It’s time for your flight to Singapore.”
 
“The Flight is delayed,” he says.
 
“You’re sure?” I ask him.
 
“Of course I am sure. I am the pilot – the commander of the aircraft. I have to report after an hour,” he says.
 
“But I have to leave. It is almost check-in time...” I say.
 
“No! No! Please stay. There’s still 2 hours for your flight to London. Don't worry  I will get you checked-in – and upgraded to Business Class too. I will order some more coffee. There is something important that I want to tell you...” he pleads.
 
The airport restaurant is deserted at this late hour  and the place wears a dark, eerie look – with just a few people huddled in muted whispers.
 
“I want to thank you for giving me this special appointment – agreeing to meet me here at such short notice,” he says.
 
“It’s okay. It was quite convenient for both of us to meet here at the airport  rendezvous enroute  catching our flights. A nice quiet discreet place  this airport restaurant...” I say.
 
He pauses for a moment – and then – he speaks in a guilty tone: “I did something terrible today.”
 
“What...?” I ask.
 
“I stole my wife’s cell-phone...” he says.
 
Stole...?
Yes.

You stole your wife’s mobile phone...?” I ask him.
 
“Yes. Just before I left. I took her mobile phone from her purse. She was fast asleep.”
 
“This is too much! Stealing your wife’s mobile. That was the most despicable thing to do. I don’t think we should talk any more. You need some serious help,” I say angrily.

I gulp down my coffee and start to get up.
 
“No! No! Please listen. It’s those tell-tale SMS messages...!” he says.
 
“Tell-tale SMS messages...? What SMS messages...?” I ask him.
 
“From ‘Teddy Bear’...” he says.
 
Teddy Bear...?” I ask.
 
“Someone she knows – Teddy Bear’ – must be a secret name. My wife has saved his number. She keeps getting these SMS’s from Teddy Bear  which she erases immediately...” he says.

“Are you saying that this Teddy Bearkeeps sending SMS’s your wife...?” I ask him.

"Yes. I think they are having a good time right behind my back the moment I take off on a flight. This 
‘Teddy Bear’ and my wife are making a cuckold of me and having a rollicking love affair. This evening my wife was bathing while I was getting ready to leave for the airport – and her mobile cell-phone was lying on the bed – and an SMS came from ‘Teddy Bear’ saying: “I am yearning for you. SPST...”
 
SPST...? What’s that?” I ask.
 
“I don’t know. I called the number. A male voice said: ‘Hi Sugar...!’  just imagine  he calls her Sugar’  I got so angry that I immediately hung up in disgust immediately. Then during dinner she kept getting calls and SMSs – must be the same chap: ‘Teddy Bear’...”
 
“Your wife spoke to him? Did she call this ‘Teddy Bear’...?” I ask.
 
“No. But she kept getting calls – I am sure ‘Teddy Bear’ was calling her – but my wife looked at the number and cut it off. Four or five times. Then she switched her mobile to silent and put in her purse,” he says.
 
“You asked her who it was?”
 
“No.”
 
“You should have asked her. It may have been a colleague, a friend. That’s your problem – you keep imagining things and have stopped communicating with her. Ask her next time and I’m sure everything will clear up...”
 
“No! No! I am sure she is having an affair with this ‘Teddy Bear’ chap. Had it not been for the last minute delay in my flight, I wouldn’t have been home at that time.” he says.

And then  suddenly – the man in front of me just breaks down – with tears pouring down his cheeks  his voice uncontrollable: “I hate my wife – she is a bloody cheat – the moment I take off on my flight  she starts cheating on me.”
 
It was a bizarre sight. 

A tough looking man looking totally shattered, weeping inconsolably.
 
“Please,” I say, “please control yourself. And  I think you better not fly a plane in this state.”
 
“I think you’re right,” he says, recovering his composure, “I am in no mood to fly.”

He takes out a cell-phone from his shirt pocket 
– he dials the standby pilot  then he calls a few other numbers  and he tells them he is unwell and is going off the roster.
 
He keeps the mobile phone on the table.
 
“Your wife’s cell-phone?” I ask  pointing to the sleek mobile phone he has kept on the table.
 
“Yes,” he says.
 
“She’ll be missing it,” I say.
 
“No. She’ll be fast asleep. I’ll go back and put it in her purse...” he says.

We sit for some time in silence. 

He looks as if he is in a trance  a vacuous blank look in his eyes. 

Years of counselling has taught me that in such moments  it is best to say nothing. 

So  I just pick up my cup  and I sip what remains of my coffee.

Suddenly he gets up and says: “I think I will go home...” 

Then – he quickly turns and walks away.

It is only after he has gone 
 as I keep my coffee cup back on the table  that I notice that he has forgotten the cell-phone on the table  his unfaithful wifes cell-phone.

An idea strikes me.

At first 
 I am a bit hesitant.

Then – curiosity takes charge of me  and I pick up the mobile phone.

Hurriedly 
 I click on ‘names’.

Then – I press ‘T’.

I scroll down and quickly find ‘Teddy Bear’ – and I press the call button.

A few rings 
 and I instantly recognize my husband’s baritone voice at the other end: “Hey Sugar’  where are you? Why aren’t you answering my calls? Did you get my SMS   ‘SPST’  ‘Same Place Same Time’ – and why did you give me a blank call...?” 
 
I cannot believe this. 

My very own husband is Teddy Bear’ – and he is having a rollicking affair with ‘Sugar  the wife of my patient  the airline pilot. 

It is happening right under my nose  and I am totally clueless. 

It is unimaginable, incredulous.

I feel shattered. 

My very own world comes tumbling down like a pack of cards.
 
I cannot begin to describe the emotions that overwhelm me at that moment.

But  I will tell you what I do.
 
I put the mobile cell-phone in my purse. 

I walk briskly to the check-in counter – and – without looking back – I quickly check in – and I board my flight to London.

And  Dear Reader – as you read this  at this very moment  I am on my way to London to present my research paper on The Efficacy of Marriage Counselling in the Alleviation of Marital Discord at the International Conference of Counsellors and Therapists.

And  till I return  let everyone here stew in suspense.

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in this story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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