|| Scotland ||

She knew it was morning but did not want to acknowledge it; she wanted to lie still and keep her eyes closed, unaware of all that surrounded her. But she could not escape his presence. She could feel him on the other side of the bed even though she ensured her body did not touch his. The way the mattress dipped under the pressure of his body, his rhythmic breathing – everything way too familiar. She tried to close her mind to all of this but gave up after a few moments. She rolled out of the bed, avoided glancing at the handsome sleeping figure that could make her heart skip a beat even after six years of marriage.

 

Outside was brilliant. She pulled her coat closer and feeling snug, she started walking towards the river. She stepped on dry leaves on purpose. The crackling sound of dry leaves was almost on top her feel-good list, just after the smell of soil after it rained. She wondered if she could get a cup of coffee somewhere here but then almost laughed at her own thought. She glanced up at the trees surrounding the path. Leaves had given way to pink flowers. She could see the blue sky through the pinkness. She took a deep breath and inhaled the freshness that surrounded her. It was amazing how none of these things got noticed last night. Maybe last night was just meant for noticing the ugly things. It must have been that kind of evening.

 
“Madam, you be falling ill,” said a little voice. She looked up and saw a surprised face of a little boy with big eyes staring at her feet. They were almost blue. She could have been sitting here for hours for all she knew. She had slipped off her shoes and dipped her feet in the chilly water of the river. She had wanted to feel numb and at that time, it had seemed like a good idea. The boy was still standing there; a cowbell in one hand and a dried branch in the other. He was wearing a red-colored checked jacket and a funny green cap. She pulled her feet out of the water, just for his sake. “Wipe ‘em,” he said and began to walk away.

 
“One mocha, please,” she tried to smile at the waitress but was not sure if she managed to curl her lips upwards. She sat alone at a roadside café, on a little white table meant for two. It was way past noon and she knew she should order some food with the coffee but had a feeling that eating anything would make her sick. She checked her bag for the passport and then counted the cash in her wallet. It would not be enough to buy a ticket back home. The coffee arrived and as she moved her hand to pick up the cup she caught the sight of the sun shining on the big solitaire on her ring finger. This time she truly smiled. She would sell the rock to buy her tickets back to India. Serves the adulterous bastard right!

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