Note: This is the eighth chapter of 'Memory Intrigues', a collaborative novel being etched out by a group of ten bloggers.
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|Designed by Ruchita|
Read the previous part of the story here
Trapped in the melancholy night, the
crickets screech with a drudgery might
Breaking past the rustling leaves, their
intermittent voice, a story they weave...
Shekhar's unsteady hand works past midnight as Tara tosses in the bed. He gazes at his wife's silhouette beneath the silken sheets...
"What had happened to them? Why had all the love drained?” he sighs. But his lack of desire and interest in his wife is the least of all his worries.
The sound of crickets brings back all the nagging memories which aren't letting him sleep, even after downing four beers. It has been two days since Jen had called. Dark tense clouds hover above his mind, every minute of every passing hour.
"No! She is fine!” Shekhar taps the end of the pencil on his forehead reassuring himself to stay positive, but the feeling of unease has lately become very much a part of him.
"Damn! I hope that she is fine. Oh, please call Jen! What have you gotten yourself involved with?"
He is still clueless about the minister's scandal that Jen was referring to. He has racked his brains but is unable to single out any names, until he can get hold of more clues. And Jen's erratic calls have been of no help, neither in tracing where she is nor in finding anything about the 'sensational' story that she has gotten hold of.
"If an influential political party is involved here, Jen could be in serious trouble!!"
Shekhar starts to freak out again; gradually as his breathing evens out, his hand unconsciously starts scribbling on the notepad again. Poetry has always calmed Shekhar, secretly given him even more satisfaction than seeing his work getting published and recognized. It had been long since he had strung verses baring his soul. The monotonous circle of life had caught up with him and his ever-smiling persona had been eclipsed by Tara's increasing grumpiness.
But Jen...Dear Jenny had always brought out the best in him, and even now when God forbid, she is lost in time, it is the fear and anxiety that he feels for Jen that causes the words to pour out...
Like a lightning that ruptures a dark sky
My heart thunders and wishes it could die
A sign, a whisper is all that I desire
to soothe my burning mind, set on fire
Suddenly, weighed down by the colossal thought of 'what could have been' between Jen and him, drowsiness takes over. Shekhar drops his head on his writing desk and gives a drunken snore.
"What in the world!!! Have you been up all night and messing up my house?" Shekhar gets up with a jolt as Tara's shrill voice pierces his ears.
"Our house!", Shekhar corrects nonchalantly and grabs his throbbing head.
"Please do calm down Tara, you'll bring the house down with that voice! Please, for Roohi’s sake!"
Shekhar doesn’t notice that Roohi has tip-toed into their room and has already been dragged into the couple's fight.
Tara menacingly glances at the strewn sheets of paper on her husband's desk. The written words, which clearly are not meant for her, along with the empty bottles reveal last night's truth, making her quiver with anger.
"Quite a concerned father you have become overnight? Roohi, can you ask your father where this love was yesterday, when we needed him the most? When you deserved a hug after your bad grades and me some affection after my pathetic day at work?"
Without a word, Roohi runs out of their room, banging the door behind her, leaving both her parents shocked. The agitated steps of Roohi running away from them can be heard above the sniffling crocodile tears being shed by Tara.
"Can we behave in a civil manner Tara? Please get me an aspirin while I go talk to Roohi", Shekhar musters an apologetic half smile as he clasps Tara's hand.
He is disturbed by Roohi's behaviour. The naughty, chubby-cheeked little girl has turned very withdrawn over the past few weeks. He fondly remembers the cute pranks she used to play on them and her gleeful laughter. She has now been robbed of that laughter, sadly by her own parents. Shekhar feels a huge pang of guilt and gulps down his dismay as he walks towards Roohi's room…
Read the next part of the story here