Meera tiredly brought herself to stand up and walk towards the intrusive door. But before that, she stopped to check through the peephole to assure herself that this could not be ignored any longer.
A woman. What does she want?
Tidying the oversized shirt, she loved to wear belonged to her husband. For a second, she was taken to the moments of last night, when they made love. Not once but thrice. Feeling his fingers over her long thin back, she felt the tingle in her legs.
It was time to open that door.
“We have a warrant to search the premises. Can you please step aside Ma’am?” The officer was short but stern in her approach. Meera held out her hand wanting to read the warrant word by word before letting anyone inside their house. The officer stood at the door showing her impatience tapping her feet making an awful sound with the shoes and the wooden floor.
“It says, you are here to arrest my husband for producing adult movies? Are you sure, it is Sam you are looking for? And there is no mistake?” Meera spoke timidly, confused, and unsure.
“No ma’am. This is a criminal investigation, and we need to get in the house now. So, if you would please.” Signaling Meera to move aside, the officer followed by her troupe of others entered the immaculately decorated penthouse.
Stepping aside, Meera nervously tried to smile and turned around walking towards her writing room.
“I am sorry ma’am, but we need you to be present here. And please do not touch anything.” The officer spoke one more time, showing Meera her place in her own house.
“I understand. Can I sit here?” Pointing to her favorite chair in the living room. Meera sat down spreading her hands over the big soft armrests. The chair almost felt like being hugged by a very cuddly bear. In a good way.
She sat there watching the officers go through their belongings. The forgotten drawers with sachets of ketchup and mustard were tossed on the floor as well. Nothing was left untouched.
“Where is your husband?”
“In the bedroom. Must be sleeping.”
“No Ma’am he is not there. Kindly do not obstruct our investigation. Where is he?”
“I don’t know. Maybe in the gym or at the pool. I don’t know I have been writing all night in my study. Last I left him in the bedroom.” Meera was using her hands too much. Her nervous behavior was looking suspicious and annoying.
“If there is something you are hiding from us, you will be obstructing a criminal investigation. This isn’t just about some lewd adult movies he produced. We have evidence to prove, he has been involved in arms smuggling.” The officer looked straight at Meera without any kindness.
Sitting down on her knees staring into Meera’s eyes, the officer spoke again “the arms used in the last Thursday’s riots were provided by your husband and his business partners. So, now you understand what I am saying?”
Meera nodded her head teary-eyed. The riots had been one of the most devastating ones in the recent history. Hundreds of innocent lives were lost on that dreadful day. Meera looked straight ahead in emptiness, shutting her overflowing eyes. Right then, Rekha, her maid came out with a glass of water for her. Bruised and broken, yet she was able to carry trays of water glasses for everyone.
“We found him, Ma’am.” Please come and see this.
Both Meera and Rekha ran after the officers towards the pool.
His lifeless body floating here and there in the extremely clean pool.
Meera fell on her knees trying to scream, but no sound came out of her coarse throat. Freedom and pain had joined hands to stop her from crying out anymore.
She had always wondered what the last straw for her in this relationship would be. Adultery had not shaken her, regular insults or occasional physical abuse felt normal now. Even identifying his borderline gaslighting behavior had not been enough for her to walk out of his world. It was the documents she mistakenly read while looking for their passports in his office that shook her out of the marriage. He was smuggling weapons and drugs.
So, when he came home that night, and kissed Meera, feeling his lips on hers and his hands holding her shoulders pulling towards him, something broke inside her. The smell of the alcohol on his breath made her stomach turn. The air felt muggy, as she tried to pull away. He looked hurt but just not enough.
He pulled her closer again. His ragged fingers on her pale skin hurt even underneath the sweatshirt. She knew what he was trying to do. Assert his control over her. Letting her feel and know who she belonged to. And so, Meera smiled. After the kitchen they got into the shower for another round. He must have popped a pill, she thought to herself.
Her throat closed at the sight of his muscled body. How was she ever going to get away from him? Like a jigsaw puzzle she was trying to put different pieces together to see which one would fit best where. His warm hand on her back bought her back to his world. The one where she was still trapped, and he was a killer responsible for the deathof hundreds of innocent people. She turned the water to cool and his warm hand slid away, leaving her be.
It was while they were in bed, that a thought occurred to her, a possibility. It had to come to an end now. Her nails scratching his back enough for pleasure. Even they knew their limits like well-trained slaves.
Her idea to go for a fourth round but in the pool worked perfectly. Especially since that excited him to take another pill for fun. Letting his hand go in the water as his body gave up on him, was the moment Meera wanted to remember forever. The moment she realized she was finally free. His light brown eyes looked lighter and then he turned white. Ghost white. Suddenly in the water in the deep end.
It was Rekha who found her sitting by the pool naked staring at his lifeless body floating in the water. She got her cleaned up pushing her in the study so she could calm herself by writing. And then the doorbell rang effortlessly putting all pieces in their places.