I had trouble recalling when I had left home. Was it four in the afternoon? Yes, that must have been it.
I reeked of alcohol. Or probably I did not. There was, of course, no lipstick stain, for I was too clever for all that nonsense.
But she knew the moment she opened the door. She could tell. She could always tell from the way I looked back at her. She could read the exhaustion in my eyes.
It was my first night home after a fortnight. Was I too harsh on her? Was having an affair that bad? Do people not have relationships?
Of course, she had crossed my mind over these two weeks. There had been moments when I had wanted to call home, call her. I did check my cell-phone for text messages.
But she never texted or called me when I was away for a night. She knew better than that. She settled for the fact that I returned home every morning and slept for hours. She never complained when I left again in the afternoon without taking the slightest notice of her.
Most women would have left me by now. But she understood. That was why I keep coming back.
That was why I took advantage of her, night after night, being completely aware of exactly what I was doing and precisely what was going through her mind.
I did not feel guilty for a minute over the past fortnight. The other woman had been lustful, hungry, demanding, addictive. She was a storm that turned you inside out every time you went to bed, those insatiably ravenous curves demanding more, more...
Even during those nights I always knew I would return home, to her.
Even she knew.
Despite that, you could not miss the sadness in her eyes when you left her for the night. Or return in the morning after hours of frenzied passion with another. She always knew.
She always welcomed me back with a smile, but there was sadness in her eyes, sadness I was selfish enough to ignore.
Today was no different. The relationship, stormy and turbulent, had ended the same way every one of my numerous flings had.
There was warmth in that hug. She knew I was done with the other woman. She has lived it too frequently to not know. I was hers, again, till someone else crossed my way.
“I love you,” she whispered in my ear, still engulfing me in that hug that had was erotic yet tranquil, passionate yet peaceful.
“I love you too, cricket,” I responded gratefully.