THE PAYING GUEST
Fiction Short Story
PART 1 – NISHA
My name is Nisha.
I am 42 years old – a single woman – a divorcee.
My husband left me 10 years ago – for another woman – his office colleague.
After divorcing me – he married that woman – and both of them migrated to Australia – to live a “Better Life” over there.
It was an amicable divorce.
I was magnanimous.
When I realized that my husband did not love me – but he loved another woman – I stepped aside – and I let my husband fully enjoy and satiate his love unhindered.
My husband was magnanimous too.
He gave me the bungalow we lived in – which he had inherited.
And – he let me have our daughter – full custody – with no strings attached.
Of course – he gave me a generous amount of money as final settlement – which I put in a fixed deposit – whose interest was enough for me and my daughter to live a reasonably comfortable life – so – I did not have to look for a job – and I could continue my “hobby” of creative writing sitting at home.
My home – the bungalow my husband gave me – the bungalow I live in – is a good one – in the most “posh” locality of the city.
There are 4 rooms on the ground floor – 2 bedrooms with attached toilets – a study – and a dining room-cum-kitchen.
On top – adjoining the terrace – there is a “guest” room – a rather spacious room with an attached toilet.
And – the bungalow is surrounded by quite a sizeable garden – a lawn and flower garden in front – trees on the sides – and – a kitchen garden behind.
I did not re-marry – maybe – because I wanted to bring up my daughter – or maybe – because it just didn’t happen – I made no special effort – and – no one came along who showed a particular interest in marrying me.
So – today – I live happily in my bungalow along with my 21 year old daughter – and yes – we have a “paying guest” who stays in the “guest room” on top.
And – for the last few days – I am worried.
I am worried because I sense that there is something going on between the “Paying Guest” and my daughter – Akanksha.
PART 2 – AKANKSHA
My name is Akanksha.
“Akanksha” means desire.
Maybe my parents always “desired” a girl – so that’s why they named me Akanksha.
Or – maybe – “Akanksha” sounded like a combination of their two names – Akash and Nisha.
Anyway – I remember that we had a happy family life – my Father, my Mother, and Me – until – around 10 years ago – my father fell in love with that woman from his office – so – he divorced my mother – and he went away to Australia with that woman.
Actually – I didn’t understand much of what was happening that time – since I was only 10 years old – but everything happened in a very dignified way.
My mother brought me up – and now – I am 21 – I have finished my B.Com. – and – I am on my way to becoming a CA too.
Anyhow – once my father went away – we – my mother and me – we lived in our lovely bungalow.
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