Her heart shaped lips are sculpted shut in the lemon light of the lamp. Her liquid eyes gaze at me, and yet in a way, not at me. A sea rages in those eyes, a gargantuan wave crashes over and I look sharply away, stung by the salt spray of her beauty. The hints of that alluring smile still plays upon her face. That smile has always mystified me.For me it has never been a smile, it is something that she has used as a charm, as way to get things done, and yet it is that smile, which has done so much for me; which has given me as much as it has taken away from me. It is astounding, to say the least, that something can be so manipulative, caring, and sensual and mystifying, all at once.

Her face is set in the lines of supreme confidence; her proud cheekbones extol and laud her beauty and perfection.She has never done anything wrong, for her everything went perfectly. Her grace and finesse laugh at my childish bumbling ways.

“Puerility”, she once said, “is a man’s liability. A woman is never puerile, John!”

Yes, Madeline, I agree. Yes, Madeline; a woman is anything but puerile. Then, what am I doing here, staring at her like a nincompoop? Why doesn’t she give me that characteristic smile, that knowing smile, that complete assurance, that she knows what is going through my mind and that she has already interpreted my thoughts in that loving way of hers? Why don’t I get that complete satisfaction that used to come from knowing that she is mine, my Madeline?Her favourite boning knife, now plunged through her heart, hardly does anything to spoil her beauty.Death asks me this question, why? Why?! The question, coming from her, is absurd. She should have known. She always knows. Then why is she asking me now?


Because you betrayed me, Madeline! I saw all those letters! Those gifts! They weren’t for me now, were they, Madeline?

I feel a strange kind of giddiness, a crazy half sob half laugh bubbles out of my mouth and dances across the room. I almost expect her to say, “Touché, John!” I feel strangely calm; I feel nothing of that wrath that made me snuff out her life. That wrath was not the culmination of any of the pig headed resentfulness that Madeline would normally attribute to “men like John”. I had felt a sense of loss; that modus, that system of my life, which Madeline had handled so effortlessly, had malfunctioned by her betrayal.I try to assure her. Madeline, I have saved our love…

“John, you are being so puerile!” her dead body interrupts me.

Reason does not appeal to me. No, right now, John is the beleaguered John; John is made of love and trust, and a dash of righteousness in love.

“Love”…..Madeline used to toy and experiment with that word. But, I had never thought the results would be so horrendous. I brush away the thoughts of the oncoming remorse. No! I have to end this before the remorse washes over me. I want to be the saviour for once. I want to tell her that her sensitivities, her perceptions, her decisions and judgements were wrong.I hardly feel the searing pain as I stab myself in the gut. It is almost like Madeline’s sarcasm, sharp and acidic. I don’t know how I’ll ever meet you again in heaven, Madeline. I am an atheist, remember?Yes, she remembers. As my life flows out and starts to dance around me, blacking everything out, I look one last time at her and drown this one last small insignificant worry into the depths of her mercurial eyes.

Rhishabh Jetley