Her excitement was overwhelming. She beamed and grinned as she stood in front of the huge shiny mirror in her bedroom. She scrutinized herself again and again. She couldn’t afford to make the slightest mistake. She tried various kinds of smiles and finally settled for the one that was restricted to the outline of her scarlet red lips. A smile that was never destined to reach her eyes. Quickly, she marked her mental checklist- the stylish hairdo, with a few careless strands that framed her face, the flawless make-up that hid the shadows around her eyes and the horrible freckles and blemishes, her smooth and supple skin that was newly waxed, the tastefully chosen diamond jewellery that was custom made to look just like the one a woman flaunted at a party few days ago, her designer sari that was sure to steal the show and the stilettoes that cost a bomb but elevated her to “a higher level”. Perfect.
Pleased with her efforts, she dabbed some perfume and nodded at her husband. He noticed the grief and loneliness in her eyes that the make-up couldn’t hide but chose against speaking about it. He got the car keys and prepared to lock the door. She almost forgot her precious Louis Vuitton! She cursed herself for her negligence, grabbed it from the closet and got into the car.
They drove in silence as usual. They had nothing to say to each other. For the past twenty years, their relationship had been engulfed by a strange kind of silence. Convenient, because there were no loud fights that turned eyes in their direction, because they were free to weave their dreams and desires into a cocoon around them and nest peacefully in its warmth. She adorned herself with an aura of confidence that sometimes dangerously lurked near arrogance to hide her insecurities; while he thought of the jokes he would crack at the party to mask his desperation and emptiness. She thought she was happy. She mentally rehearsed her carefully chosen response to all the compliments she would be showered with.
They arrived at the venue that was tastefully decorated with the finest fragrant flowers and soothing lights. There was colour, music, food, chatter, whispers, laughter and clinking of glasses everywhere. She felt glad as people stole glances at her. Some with envy and some with admiration. Her happiness knew no bounds as people admired her attire, jewellery, bag and almost everything about her. So what if her husband did not notice her, so what if they were strangers sharing a bed? She was admired by so many people here at the party. Everyone loved her diamonds. They were jealous of the LV she clutched. She forgot her grief and erased the loneliness that had stealthily crept into her life. She was the star of the show tonight. She was haloed by an endless bubble of happiness.
Suddenly, everyone’s attention was drawn to the black Mercedes that pulled up at the parking lot. Out came a young lady who wore bigger diamonds and a more expensive dress. Everyone was breath taken by her beauty and style. The endless bubble of happiness popped with a bang. But of course, there was another party coming up.
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