Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Neighbourly Affair – Fiction Short Story

A NEIGHBOURLY AFFAIR
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Suppose you are a housewife – at home – in your kitchen.

Your phone and doorbell ring at the same time.

What will you do…?

Your mobile phone is in your bedroom – your main door is on the other side of the house – and – you are midway in the kitchen.

Both your doorbell and mobile phone ring at the same time.

Which will you attend to first…? 

Will you go to the bedroom and pick up your mobile phone…?

Or – will you go and open the front door…?

Well – I was in exactly the same situation.

And – I chose to open the front door.

Yes – I let the mobile phone keep ringing in the bedroom – and – I went to open the front door.

I went to open the front door because I was expecting someone – and – I did not want to keep him waiting.

I gave preference to opening the door rather than attending to the mobile phone – because – I wasn’t expecting a call – and – I thought it must be one of those numerous “marketing” calls I get every day.

In any case – later – I could always see who had called – from the “missed call” details.

I did not want to keep the person who I was expecting waiting outside the front door – because – I was sure that he was in a passionate hurry to meet me.

And – I was yearning to meet him too.

I was yearning to meet him because he was my Lover – the man with whom I was having an extra-marital affair.

He lived next-door – yes – he was my next-door neighbor – and – there were only two flats on the floor.

Our routine was set.

My Husband went to work at 7:30 AM and returned home at 7 PM – his office was quite far away from home – and – he walked to the station to catch the 7:45 local train to Churchgate – and then – he walked down to his Office in Nariman Point.

My Lover (Next-Door Neighbour) went to work at 9 AM and returned at 6 PM – his office was very near – in fact – his office was in the building right next to our building.

My Lover’s Wife went to work at 8 AM and returned at 6 PM – she too walked to the station to catch the 8:15 Churchgate local train – but she got off at Marine Lines where her office was located.

My Lover came home during his one-hour lunchbreak – from 1 to 2 in the afternoon.

First – he would come over to my place for a quick bout of lovemaking – and then – he would go across to his house for lunch and small nap – and then – he would return to his office at 2 PM.

Thus – we – my Lover and I – we just had a few minutes together – and – I didn’t want to waste precious minutes of “quality time” answering the phone while keeping my Lover waiting outside.

That is why I chose to open the door.

My Lover came in – and we rushed to the bedroom.

Meanwhile the mobile phone had stopped ringing – but – as we began our frenzy of lovemaking – the mobile phone started ringing again – so – I just put out my hand to the bedside table – and – I switched off the mobile phone.

A few minutes later – when we were lying in bed together – our lust fully satiated – I heard the doorbell ringing.

I wondered who it was at this time of the afternoon.

The doorbell rang again.

I got up from the bed – I signalled to my lover to remain where he was – then – I closed the bedroom door – and – I went to open the main door.  

It was my husband – and – standing beside my husband – was another man I knew – my husband’s boss.

Seeing the surprise on my face – my husband said: “We had gone to the domestic airport to see off our CEO – while driving back – my boss suddenly desired to meet you and have a cup of coffee – I called you twice – you didn’t pick up – and then – your mobile was switched off…”

I stood there – dumbstruck – trying to recover my wits.

“Won’t you ask us to come in…?” my husband’s boss said to me.

“Of course…” I said – and I invited them into the living room.

They – my husband and his boss – they sat down on the sofa.

I served them a glass of cold water.

Then – I said: “I’ll make a quick cup of coffee for you…”

“Why coffee…? It is past one o’clock – let’s have lunch – why don’t you rustle up something quickly…?” my husband said to me – and then – my husband looked at his boss and said: “My wife will cook a quick lunch, Sir…”

On hearing this – my heartbeats became rapid – I felt tremors of trepidation – my lover was in our bedroom – what if my husband decided to go in there…?

I looked at my husband’s boss.

He seemed to be making up his mind – and – from his expression – it seemed that he was going to accept my husband’s invitation to have lunch at our place.

My husband’s boss was about to answer – when his mobile phone rang.

My husband’s boss took the call – he seemed to be intently listening to whoever was speaking on the other side.

Then – my husband’s boss just said: “Yes – I will be there…” into his mobile phone.

My husband’s boss disconnected his call – and he said to me: “I would have loved to have lunch with you – but something urgent has come up – and – I have to get back to office. In fact – we’ll skip the coffee too – and hurry back – but – I’ll take a “rain check” on the lunch and coffee…”

Both of them – my husband and his boss – got up from the sofa and left for their office.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

It was a close shave – a narrow escape.

I closed the main door – I walked to the bedroom – and – I opened the bedroom door.

There was no one in the bedroom.

I looked in the bathroom – but – it was empty.

My Lover had disappeared.

Then – I saw that the balcony door was open

(Yes – we had a balcony attached to our bedroom).

My Lover was not hiding in the balcony.

I looked down from the balcony – it was quite a height from our 3rd floor flat.

My lover was lying sprawled on the ground – on the concrete.

A Security Guard was standing next to him.

Suddenly – my husband and his boss came out of the foyer – and – when they saw the body – they rushed there – and – they bent down and looked at the body of my lover.

They had an animated conversation with the security guard – I saw my husband make a call from this mobile phone – and then – my husband’s boss left alone in the office car.

My husband looked up – he saw me – and he waved to me – gesturing to me to come down.

I rushed down.

“He is unconscious – he seems injured – we have called an ambulance…” my husband said.

Soon – the ambulance came – and my husband went along in the ambulance with my unconscious Lover.

My husband returned in the evening – and he said to me: “He is okay – two fractures – his shoulder – and his leg – and a head injury – they did an MRI – nothing to worry about…”

“That’s good…” I said.

My husband looked at me – and said: “But – it is a mystery how he got injured so badly – he himself says that he fell down while walking – but – the security guard says that he was climbing down the drainpipe – and he slipped and fell from quite a height…”

“Oh…” I said.

“Seeing his injuries – the security guard’s version seems more plausible – but then – I’d rather believe my neighbour…” my husband said.

“Yes…” I said, “We’d rather believe our neighbour…”

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the 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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