‘I wish I didn’t overlook this part of the house which I use everyday?’ Inaaya thinks after opening her closet and stands blank for a minute there. Weekend is the only time when she takes care of those things at home which gets neglected during rest of the week otherwise. And Inaaya’s wardrobe has been neglected ever since they shifted to this brand new apartment ten months ago right after their wedding.
‘What will anyone think of me after seeing my wardrobe?’ she says as if her messy wardrobe is going to some exhibition.
‘But where to start from?’ Inaaya runs her finger through her hair which is also a mess and badly needs a hair spa as soon as possible. Inaaya looks at the time. If she finishes rearranging her clothes within an hour or two, she still can manage some good amount of time to prepare lunch.
‘Baby?’ A music channel is playing a Bollywood item song. Aarush’s voice comes from the living room amidst the loud noise,’Shall I book tickets for movie this afternoon?’
‘Ok baby,’ Inaaya shouts back while she takes out the heaps of clothes from the wardrobe and dumps them on the bed. Before this moment, she never gave much thought on how much she had been shopping these days. She turns towards the wardrobe to fetch the next pile of clothes when a medium sized wooden box beautifully embroidered with flowers catches her attention.
‘Ah !I had been searching you everywhere for so long and you are sitting right here,’ Inaaya smiles and brings out the box. She brought this box from a fair an year back and has used it to store some of the gifts she received during her wedding with Aarush.
‘Let me see what you have for me,’ she takes out the box and pours it’s contents one by one on the bed. The bride-to-be sash from her bachelorette party, envelopes, a small bag containing make up items, someone even gifted a voucher for a spa session for the newly wedded couple. Only if she cared to check it in time.
She brings out the 100 and 500 rupee notes from various envelopes. Only weddings can suck money out from your parsimonious friends and relatives.
‘Why didn’t I check you earlier?’ she says while arranging the money. Wedding, honeymoon, new city, new job, new apartment everything happened one after another which made her forget about the box completely. She opens the last envelope of the lot that had only her name written on it instead of ‘TO AARUSH & INAAYA SAXENA’. Inaaya looks at the handwriting for a split second and a chill runs down her spine after she recognises it’s owner.
Why is anything to do with Kiaan sitting inside this box? Inaaya wonders still in dilemma if she should open the envelope or not. But as they say, forbidden is always attractive, she opens the envelope and a paper comes out of it. She unfolds the paper and reads it.
You must be wondering why a letter. What to do? You didn’t reply to any of my emails, calls and messages. That’s why, I had to take help of this paper and Ritu to make my last attempt in contacting you. Never thought that someday reaching you would be this difficult. Don’t worry. I am not complaining like I did most of the time when we were together.
Inu, I have always loved you and still love you a lot. It sounds strange, especially from an ex-husband who took you for granted, misunderstood your love and affection for a nagging wife, always highlighted your flaws without appreciating your qualities and never gave what you wanted the most from me – my time and respect.
Although your lawyer could not prove the adultery charges on me in court, but I want to admit today that your doubts were right. Flings topped the list of several blunders that I committed in our marriage. So sorry, Inu. I wish I had the same courage then to seek forgiveness from you. But I preferred to pamper my ego instead which was badly hurt because you dragged me to court. By the time I realised my mistakes and started to understand you, the damage was done. We were already divorced.
Now loneliness tears me apart whenever I sit with my drink in our apartment after coming back from work. That makes me realise how you felt waiting for me with my dinner night after night while I was busy running after my aspirations. I deserve this pain. But you deserve much better things in life.
However, this letter is not for gaining sympathy and winning you back. I am quite late for that. Ritu told me that you and Aarush are going to marry next week. A big congratulations to both of you ! I am sure Aarsuh is a great guy and he will give you everything what I could never give you. What I wanted to convey you through this letter is that I have got my dream job in America and am leaving India in two weeks. Before that, I want to fulfil my mother’s last wish. Yes. She died two months ago and even in her deathbed she was singing your praises. It was then, she told me to handover all her jewellery to you.
I know it is inappropriate to ask at this moment, but please do one last favour to me and meet me on 12th Nov evening, at the same coffee shop where we went on our first date. I want to give you the key for the bank’s locker, which I have transferred in your name. Consider this as your wedding gift. You can call or message me in my old number and let me know the time convenient for you to meet.This is probably the only chance for me to apologise and see you for the last time in my life. I am leaving on 13th Nov.
P.S : Please bring Aarush with you. I would love to meet him.
Always feeling repentant,
Dated : 30. 10.2017
Inaaya remembers now why Ritu said in a hushed tone during the reception, ‘Keep this envelope.’ She slowly placed this envelope on Inaaya’s hand and looked at Aarush who was standing beside Inaaya busy in greeting the guests. ‘Open it later. This is from….’ she could not complete her sentence as in-laws, nieces and nephews surrounded Inaaya. The envelope travelled many hands and eventually landed in this wooden box.
‘What are you doing, baby?’ Aarush frowns after seeing his wife sitting on pile of clothes, money and empty envelopes with a pale face
Inaaya says nothing in reply and rather extends the letter towards Aarush. He takes the letter and gives a look at it.
After few seconds, he sits besides Inaaya and keeps his hand on her shoulder, ‘It’s okay, baby. Not your fault.’
Inaaya nods and looks at the date Kiaan requested her to meet at the coffee shop. 12th November. Kiaan died in an accident on 13.11.2017 when his car was rushing towards the airport to catch the flight of his dreams.
This story is based on the Reedsy writing prompt :
Lost and found : While sorting through some old keepsakes, you find an envelope with your name on it that hasn’t been opened. You recognize the handwriting.