Ajay was walking lazily on the footpath thinking about his beloved wife Urmi. These days, she was not be at home when he returned. Earlier when he returned home, she would be at the door with her long brown hair untied, just the way he liked it. Whenever she smiled shyly, tilting her head and exposing her long slender neck, Ajay would feel the urge to hold her and kiss her neck. Usually Ajay would indulge, but sometimes Urmi ran inside, teasing him and laughing, which would sway the white pearls of her favourite jhumkhas. “Will she be at home today?”, he wondered. The screeching sound of the car brakes brought him back to reality. He didn’t realise when he had left the footpath and had come onto the road.

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He rang the doorbell, hoping that Urmi would open the door. The door flung open. Mrs. Smith stood there. She whispered, “Devika”. Devika was standing behind her, wearing shorts and T-shirt.

“Hey man, you are late. Were you busy with your secretary?”, she giggled.

Ajay smiled and asked, “Have you had your lunch?”

“No, I don’t like roti-sabzi, I want pizza.

“Can’t argue with a teenager”, thought Ajay. “Ok, come, I will order your pizza.” he said.

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Ajay watched Devika savouring the pizza while taking sips of Coke in between. The white pearls dangling from her jhumkhas reminded him of Urmi and their passionate kisses. This thought made him impulsive.

“Urmi..” he said softly, then immediately corrected himself, “Devika, do you need anything else?”

“Can I have the car keys? I want to go for a drive.” she asked.

“No, not today. We will go together tomorrow. You can drive and I will sit beside you.”, Ajay replied cautiously as he didn’t want Devika to throw a tantrum.

Ajay watched her sleeping. She looked beautiful. The thought of kissing her neck aroused his feelings. He placed a blanket on her and left the room. He then went to Mrs. Smith’s room. She was on the phone referring to some documents. “Yes doctor, the reports have arrived. You review them when you visit in the morning.” She smiled at Ajay and replied on the phone, “Don’t worry, I will take care of it.” Ajay mouthed “good night” and left.

He entered his bedroom and lied down on the bed. He stared at the photo of Urmi and him. They both looked so happy on their wedding day! It was taken right after they were declared husband and wife by the Registrar of Marriage. Almost three years now, of this picture. Urmi’s orphanage Mausi was so happy while clicking this!

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A touch of warm hands on his thigh woke Ajay up.

“Urmi?”, he asked. No reply.

“Devika?”, he asked again, no reply.

“Rahil?”, he asked.

“Yes, my dear, who else will it be at this time?!”, came the reply from the dark. Ajay got up and sat straight, putting a pillow on his lap.

“You didn’t sleep?”, he asked.

“No my honcho, how could I? And how many times have I told you not to take any girl’s name?”, Rahil said angrily.

“I’m sorry, I won’t.”

“Did you miss me?”, he asked, caressing Ajay’s face. Ajay tried to get up but got pulled down by the delicate hand of Rahil.

“Do you want to sleep here with me?”, he asked, trying to sound as normal as possible.

“Why not?”, winked Rahil.

“Sleep here, I’ll be back in a minute.”, Ajay said and left the room.

“Come soon my hero, I’m waiting…”, he heard behind him.

Ajay saw Mrs. Smith standing outside with a glass of milk. “Who?”, she asked. “Rahil”, replied Ajay, trying to hide his frustration. “I know it’s difficult to handle Rahil, but don’t worry, give him this glass of milk.” Ajay nodded and went back to his room.

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Rahil was sleeping quietly holding Ajay’s hand in one hand and a pair of jhumkhas in another. Ajay freed his hand, kept the jhumkhas under the pillow and slept close to him.

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“Ajay…get up…Ajay? Get up!” The urgency made Ajay jump up from the bed.

Arre…why are you looking at me like this? I am not a ghost, I am your wife Urmi. Please help me find those white pearl jhumkhas. Don’t know where I left them! You know how much I love them, it’s the gift you gave me on our first wedding anniversary.”, she said while frantically looking for the jhumkhas under the bed.

Someone knocked. Ajay got up and opened the door. Mrs. Smith was there.

She asked, “Who?”

“Urmi”, Ajay replied.

“Good. Dr. Kedar will soon be here.” Mrs. Smith said.

“Okay, thank you.”, replied Ajay and went back inside. Urmi was still looking for the jhumkhas.

“Here they are.” Ajay took the jhumkhas from under the pillow and gave them to Urmi.

“Oh, thank you my dear hubby!”, she exclaimed with joy and wore them.

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Urmi and Mrs. Smith were strolling in the garden. Ajay was in the study room with Dr. Kedar.

“Yes, Mrs. Smith is an experienced nurse – she knows how to handle difficult situations. Last night she helped me with sedative to put Rahil to sleep, but when will everything be alright? I know losing our first child is not easy for an orphan like her, but is there no cure? Will she ever be only Urmi or does she have to live with the teenager Devika and the homosexual Rahil forever?”, he asked worriedly.

“We are trying our best, but ‘Dissociative Identity Disorder’, or split personality, is not easy to cure and can only be remitted by therapy.” Dr. Kedar tried to assure him.

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The above story is an entry into the writing event(Feb. 02nd – 20th) hosted by ArtoonsInn: #PullTheRug #UniK-3

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Written by Geeta Jena

Geeta spends most of her time indulging in her hobbies - teaching and writing. She has written short stories and poems in Gujarati and Hindi for her college magazine. During her tenure as a Pre-primary teacher, she has written rhymes and plays for her students. Her favourite genres are romance and supernatural.