The Facade of Perfection

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It had been ten days since Vaidehi and Aniruddh had neither talked to nor seen each other, and it did not seem like they were going to any time soon. To the eyes of an outsider, it would seem an immature thing to do given the reason behind the cold war, but those who had been a part of their world were informed enough to know it wasn't the case.

For long, Vaidehi and Aniruddh had been a couple that every other aspired to be—head over heels in love, immensely respectful, understanding and supportive, zero fights, always making time for one another, and effortlessly keeping the zing alive no matter what. But even this seemingly perfect relationship started to reflect imperfection when it started to crumble two years ago.

It all started when Vaidehi returned from a 3-day work trip with one of her colleagues, Ahalya. Outside the office, Vaidehi and Ahalya were best friends. They were so close that to many, they seemed to be a couple madly in love. And they openly joked about it quite often. However, one unfateful night during the trip, time away from their daily lives and a little too much alcohol turned the joke into a reality, albeit short-lived, and broke Vaidehi's delusion about her orientation.

Vaidehi could not look at their friendship like it was in the past after returning from the trip; neither could she at her erstwhile perfect relationship with Aniruddh. And she didn't dare recount the incident to him. As a result, she started getting distant from both of them.

As the distance increased, so did the tension between the married couple. Vaidehi couldn't contain the secret within her any longer. One fine day, she decided to muster up the courage and confess her switch in sexual orientation. She was as nervous and anxious as she could possibly be. She had been preparing her confession for a while now. She tried to structure it in the nicest fashion she could. She stuttered through her words, but she eventually got through them. Aniruddh was shattered. Even though he tried his best not to show it, his face gave it away—shocked, angry, and in denial he was. The concept of a switch in sexual orientation was too foreign to him. It was something that happened to characters in stories or with faraway acquaintances.

By now, it was clear that he was not taking it well. His rage had taken him over. He could no longer stay silent, nor could he articulate his fury. He paced towards Vaidehi with a face red with anger, and bam! The imprint of his fingers on her face could be seen from afar without any visual aid.

She cried and cried; she had no other response. That night, she contemplated long and hard. Maybe it was her own fault that she hadn't experimented with her sexuality before marriage. She no longer felt the same for him. To her, the situation seemed evidently unfair to Aniruddh. While she kept blaming herself for what had happened to their relationship, Aniruddh had made it clear that he was not going to accept the switch silently. Violence was a regular event now, especially whenever Aniruddh wanted to get close to her but wasn't reciprocated.

Vaidehi continued blaming herself for ruining their precious relationship. She stayed on the receiving end of violence, all this while wondering if she could ever muster up the courage to tell Ahalya what she once told Aniruddh.

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