‘My marriage is over, you piece of shit!’ Sarika flung the expensive Waterord crystal ashtray towards Alex. ‘And you are the reason for it.’
Alex had dodged the crystalline projectile with ease and looked at Sarika. ‘Calm down, Mi amor! I know you are in shock and disbelief. Pero, would it hurt to sit down and talk as adults?’
‘Easy for you to say!’ Sarika fumed, ‘My husband of ten years slammed the door on my face just an hour back. Do you know how it feels?’
Alex stayed quiet, preferring to let Sarika vent.
‘That’s not the worst thing to have happened today. I deserved that.’ Sarika collapsed to the bed, ‘It was the look on his face. I shattered his life, I destroyed him. And you are the reason for that.’
With renewed fury she fell upon Alex, throwing punches. Alex deftly caught Sarika’s slender hands and manoeuvred them behind her back. Sarika knew what was coming next and tried to wriggle her way out. Alex was too experienced and moved quickly to capture her lips with a searing kiss.
After fifteen minutes of passionate lovemaking, they broke apart. Alex lit a cigarette and blew out lazy smoke rings. Sarika half-heartedly pulled her, now completely wrinkled, floral printed dress over her head. The situation was something she never expected to be in her life. She was a good person, a faithful wife and an intelligent woman. How did she allow herself to be pulled into this vortex of adultery? She racked her brain long and hard and all the answers started and ended with Alex.
Sarika had met Alex during her MBA course in ESADE, Barcelona more than a decade ago. Alex was a local and had offered to show Sarika around the city. They walked along the playas, got their paintings done by street artists in Las Ramblas, enjoyed Flamenco dances at Tablao de Carmen and los Tarantos. Alex even convinced her to watch football matches at Camp Nou. Somewhere along the way they had started a very passionate physical relationship. Sarika had made it clear that her conservative family would never accept someone like Alex. Alex was pretty cool with it.
‘Sarika, mi preciosa, quieres cerveza?’ Alex’s voice broke her reverie. A bottle of cold beer was dangling in front of her eyes.
‘I don’t want a fucking beer,’ Sarika spat. ‘Alex, you don’t seem to understand the situation. I made a mistake sleeping with you again. Now, my life is over. My husband had tears in his eyes. I’ve never seen him cry. But hey! After having sex again with my lover, all I need to do is have couple of beers. That’s all that will take to make things alright. Isn’t it?’
Alex sighed, ‘What do you want me to do, mi Mariposa?’
That word sent tingles up her spine. Alex used to call her Mariposa – a butterfly when they were dating.
‘I don’t know, Alex. My life is fucked up. Help me sort it out!’
Alex lit another cigarette, ‘I cannot influence your life, Sarika. If it was upto me, I’d have forced you to confront your parents about us. I wanted to fly down to India and beg them. But the problem was you yourself were not sure about us. Sure, I did start our relationship on a strictly casual basis, but somewhere along the way I fell in love with you.’
Sarika just gaped at Alex. The past was catching up with her fast.
‘But you were convinced that our relationship would not work out. Let me ask you this, you gave me a lot of reasons why this wouldn’t work. Did you ever stop and give yourself even one reason why our relationship could succeed?’
‘Alex, don’t blame me. My situation was such.’
‘Sarika, I agree we were young back then. Do you know why I kept calling you my Mariposa? Just not because you were beautiful. It was because you were hiding inside a cocoon you had spun around yourself. I wanted you to come out and be the beautiful butterfly you were supposed to be.’
She bit her lips, ‘Alex, what is the connection between what happened then and what is happening now?’
‘You are still inside your cocoon. I know you will be hurting inside. I’m sorry that I came between you and your husband. And I’m sorry that your husband had to come to know about us because of few careless messages between us. But I’m not sorry that you came to me. I have always loved you and I have enough reasons to believe that you have too.’ Alex gripped her shoulders and gazed into her eyes, ‘I let you go once without putting much of a fight. Not now!’
‘But I have hurt my husband for no mistake of his.’
‘Yes! But answer this question. Did you ever love him the way you loved me?’
‘No!’ Sarika lowered her head in shame.
‘There’s nothing to be ashamed of, Sarika. You have been faithful to him, yes. But you have not been able to give your heart entirely to him. Consider this as giving him the freedom to find someone who will love him with all their heart.’
‘I don’t think he’d understand.’
Alex flicked the cigarette into the sink, ‘I think he will. Any reasonable man will. In fact, why don’t you call him? We’ll meet him together. It’s time to come out your cocoon, mi Mariposa.’
The next day Alex and Sarika walked hand in hand into the beautiful bistro on La Rambla. Sarika’s husband was already there, a grim expression on his countenance. He frowned on seeing them together, but composed himself, stood up and offered his hand.
‘Hello! I’m Satish Gopalan.’
Alex smiled warmly and took his hand in hers, ‘I’m Alessandra Pilar León. Call me Alex. I guess we have a lot to talk.’
Two years later: Satish has remarried. He and his wife are expecting the arrival of their first child. Alex and Sarika have moved to Los Angeles. They had married in a simple ceremony. Sarika’s parents and Satish had attended the wedding. Sarika and Alex have applied for adopting a baby girl. The Mariposa was well and truly out of its cocoon.