Once in two weeks he would give off hints to let her know that he wanted it. His finger would slide down the curve of her thigh or his hand would trace her bosom in the morning. She’d sigh, hold her breath and get to work. “Won’t take more than 10, baby,” she would console herself, like a young reluctant courtesan. She let him devour her without a single word, without a single feeling. He penetrated her body, but failed to penetrate her soul. Each time he pounded into her, she looked blankly at the ceiling, at the door or outside the window. Although she was as dry as a pond in the summer, she would wipe herself clean after he was done, the way she cleansed the Gods in her mandir.

When he left for work that day, she unconsciously opened her precious little notebook that housed peepal leaves, bookmarks and petals tucked in between its crisp yellow pages. And just when she was about to put it back, a black and white picture of a dark, bare-bodied boy, showing off his glistening muscles in the morning sun, fell out; almost like a burning matchstick, reigniting the dying embers in her body. A fire that instantaneously lit her soft cheeks,  a fire that made her feel comfortably moist down there, a fire, like a shower of rain after an endless, scorching summer.

She smiled, and inched forward toward destruction.


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